"The only thing we can do is to keep a positive mind and keep training with the same intensity"


Quebec teams, like Golding Ice, can no longer return on the ice before the end of the month. (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2020)

The Covid-19 is changing the skating season in Quebec. Since the announcement of the ice rinks' closure in the province until October 28, synchronized skating teams are keeping their spirits up and finding alternatives. Reactions.

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"We are disappointed to stop skating for the second time in six months. Fortunately, we were already resolved to this eventuality", begin Novalie Godbout and Éliane Laroche of Golding Ice Open (CPA of Blainville and St-Eustache).

If the disappointment is palpable among all the teams, on the coaches' side also, the recent closure of the ice rinks is not easy to swallow. "It is certainly difficult, especially since the teams made a late return, so to find themselves confined again is not an easy thing. The most important is that the skaters and their families stay healthy. Health above all!" says Nancy Alexander, coach of the Pirouettes.

"We want to keep our great team chemistry"
Luckily, the first spring confinement allowed many Quebec teams to test new ways of practising as a team and keeping fit.

"We will keep in touch on Zoom, and we will work hard off the ice since our program is very demanding in terms of cardio and muscle strength. Therefore, we will do training and practise our program on feet, " explains Bianca and Magali, skaters from Les Rythmiks Open. “Obviously, we want to keep our great team chemistry and make sure all of our teammates are safe and doing well. We know that the lockdown is very difficult for the athletes,” they continue.

For the Golding Ice teams, there is no question of being bored during this second lockdown. "We will be doing Zoom training, workouts, as well as workshops with various stakeholders. We will diversify our activities in order to preserve our beautiful energy during these difficult times. In addition, we will take advantage of our reduced schedule to resume our habits of running, a question of keeping our cardio,” emphasize Novalie and Éliane.

"We know that the only thing to do is to keep a positive spirit within the team and try to train off the ice with the same intensity that we would like on the ice. We remain definitely motivated and ready to put our skates back on at any time ", continue the skaters.

On the Pirouettes side, off-ice training will also continue via Zoom. "We had the experience during the first wave of the pandemic and several positive aspects emerged from it so we will continue to work on the cardio, technical and mental aspects," explains Nancy Alexander.

Cancellation of Quebec regionals
These new guidelines also have implications for synchronized skating competitions. Patinage Québec recently decided to cancel the regional synchronized skating championships scheduled in Laval in February. "Several factors led to this decision, including the inability to practise this discipline anywhere in the province, the stopping of ice practices of this discipline in all municipalities and cities in maximum alert mode (red level), as well as the required preparation time for the teams," Patinage Québec wrote in a press release.

In the coming weeks, Skate Canada is expected to provide full information on the opportunities available to the synchronized skating community this season.

These recent decisions end "a difficult week for all federated sport in Québec" wrote the federation. "We have a special thought for the athletes who are living an extraordinary season and who are trying to continue their development. Be sure that we are making every effort to allow the practice of our sport safely. Health is our priority."

Consequences for the season
The cancellation of certain events has an impact on the rest of the season.

“When the second lockdown happened, we were learning and practicing the last element of our program,” regret Bianca and Magali of the Rythmiks Open, who “worked very hard” to create their new program in the current circumstances. "Even though we knew that we were starting a season full of uncertainties, we wanted to continue to set up our program since this allowed us to keep a source of motivation, both in terms of synchro, but also for our personal lives, ”they add.

For Les Pirouettes, everything will be discussed again regarding the next few months. "We are evaluating the possibilities of making the Canadians or not competing for this year and taking advantage of this break time to work in a polytechnic way and the elements for a future season the following year. Both scenarios are discussed at this moment with our teams," notes the coach Nancy Alexander.

In Sherbrooke (Estrie), synchro teams are still allowed to skate for the moment. However, the practices are done with sticks, and the synchro athletes train above all the skating skills.

"The Cassiopée teams are practising this year to develop the skating skills for next year. If we had had national competitions, it is certain that a delay would have been created between the teams", admits Daphnée Grenache, skater in the Open team and coach at Cassiopée.

"Appreciate every moment"
But synchro skaters keep their spirits up. "We see this second confinement as an opportunity to have time further to improve our physical abilities as well as our resilience. We intend to find the ice stronger than ever. To all the teams in Quebec: be strong! Together, we will move on to through this hard ordeal ", launch Golding Ice Open.

For Nancy Alexander, these moments make you realize that you have to enjoy every moment on the ice. "It makes us realize that what we love the most can be taken away from us at any time. It's a great lesson in life. Appreciate every moment and live the present moment", concludes the coach who wishes success to all teams starting a competitive season.