By Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz
Wacky Day, USA Day, Tie Dye Day and Neon Day. For skaters taking part in The Center Ice Skating Club’s summer program, these themes meant putting together the silliest and craziest outfits to match the day, all of course as part of the North Canton, Ohio, rink’s Spirit Week.
“During the summer, the rink hosts a summer package that includes on- and off-ice classes and general skating sessions for the skaters to choose from,” said club president Tracy Hapstak. “We work together to amp up the club for the fall season and to encourage skaters ready to join in renewing their club membership by hosting some fun socials sponsored by both the rink and the club. That is where Spirit Week started, and we will have fun days throughout the season too. It brings about a sense of fun and togetherness.”
Center Ice Skating Club has been a part of U.S. Figure Skating since 1999. They are also a member of the Greater Cleveland Council.
“Center Ice was founded to encourage the instruction practice and advancement of the members in any or all of the disciplines of figure skating,” Hapstak said.
The club calls the Center Ice Sports Complex in North Canton home. They currently have nine coaches and are adding several more instructors going through the coach mentorship program.
Hapstak believes fun programs like Spirit Week are an essential part of the Center Ice Club.
“These activities are important to our club because we are growing our membership and trying to buddy up our skaters to make and grow new friendships,” Hapstak said.
The club also hosted a summer carnival that included on- and off-ice games, “pie the coach,” a Kona Ice truck and more.
“This was our first year for the carnival, but it will definitely be an annual event,” Hapstak said.
When skaters were asked what they love about their club, friendship, community and coaches were in the top six along with shows, the drive to compete and being challenged with new moves and jumps.
As president of the club, Hapstak works to make all of this happen. Not only is she club president, but she is also a skating mom.
“My daughter is a junior in high school and has been skating for about eight years,” Hapstak said. “As president, it’s important to keep our mission and make it fun for our skaters. For most of our skaters, this is their chosen sport, and they live at the rink. We want to foster the relationships and help them be strong and enjoy their time spent here.”
The club’s season runs from September through May. Throughout their season, they host a competition in October call “Skating Spooktacular,” which is open to skaters from Compete USA to the senior level. They also host two to three test sessions to advance their skaters levels and two shows during winter and spring.
Hapstak believes Spirit Week and the carnival were fun activities that brought club members together.
“The skaters had a lot of fun at both events,” Hapstak said. “Both skaters and coaches participated in Spirit Week. The carnival was great back-to-school and back-to-skating fun. It was nice to see everyone laughing and enjoying themselves on and off the ice.”