Club Spotlight: Meet the New Clubs - Things are Happening at Las Vegas Club
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
When people think about Las Vegas, pictures of great hotels, restaurants and spectacular shows come to mind. The new Golden Knights Center of Excellence Figure Skating Club wants everyone to know Las Vegas has some pretty good skating too.
The club’s home rink, The City National Arena in Summerlin, is also the practice facility for the Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL hockey team.
“Skaters at the City National Arena begin with the Vegas Golden Knights Skating Academy,” said board president Amelia Keene. “The Learn to Skate USA beginner skating program currently has over 1000 skaters enrolled in the program. From there we have a bridge program called Golden Edge which flows into the skater joining our figure skating club and beginning the U.S. Figure Skating test and competition path.”
Their programs include Learn to Skate USA, a Golden Edge bridge program, Excel and high-level freestyle sessions, competitive training seminars, a summer competitive training camp, adult sessions and power skating for hockey.
“We’ve also begun off ice programs which include dance, yoga, pilates, performing and more,” said Skating Director and Club Treasurer Chad Goodwin.
Goodwin was a coach and skating director in Montana when he was selected to become the inaugural Vegas Golden Knights skating director.
The club is proud of a coaching staff that hails from skating clubs far and wide, and represents several states as well as Canada, England and South Africa.
The coaching staff includes Melissa Militano –Warkmeister, Jennie Walsh, David Nickel, Samantha Liegner, Savannah Lily, Melissa Dillon, Lisa Solomon and Michael Ashton.
“Both David Nickel and I trained at the prestigious Toronto Cricket Club when we were young competitors during the days of Toller Cranston, Sandra Bezic and recent U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame member Sarah Kawahara. Now, David is my coach as I work on my goal of passing my Gold dance test,” Keene said.
Their board of directors includes Haley Craven, the daughter of Murray Craven, the Vice President of the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team. Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie also serves on their advisory board.
The club recently hosted skaters from Korea and Japan, who were training at their rink during the summer. Ravi Walia, Ryan Bradley and Paul Wylie attended competitive seminars over the summer.
As a new club, the Vegas Golden Knights Center of Excellence is looking forward to moving many of their Learn to Skate and Golden Bridge skaters to their skating club and watching them grow as they test and compete.
“We also look forward to hosting more seminars, non-qualifying and qualifying competitions and building an elite training facility,” Goodwin said.
Keene added, “The vision of the Vegas Golden Knights Center of Excellence is to focus on a fun, innovative way of learning, moving forward the enjoyment and advancement of athletes in all aspects of figure skating from local through international levels.”