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Life-Long Ice Skaters Turned Inspiring Coaches at Centennial Ice Arena

January 24, 2024

We sat down this week to chat with Emily, Riley, and Campbell, skating instructors at Centennial Ice Arena who have skated there since early childhood. Their enthusiasm – for skating, teaching, and the Centennial community at large – is palpable. The three teens’ passion goes beyond the sport itself; their love for skating is inseparable from the deep camaraderie they have found at Centennial. For them and many others, Centennial is more than just an ice rink – it’s a home away from home.

Pictured: Riley, Campbell & Emily at Centennial Ice Arena

How have your experiences as a student at Centennial Ice Arena shaped your approach as an instructor?

Riley: “Coaches have helped form my teaching methods. They help walk you through things and they’re very communicative.”

Campbell: “Since we’re all skaters, when we’re teaching, we know how the kids feel.”

What’s the most rewarding aspect of teaching ice skating at the same arena where you learned?

Riley: “Seeing kids grow – not only kids you teach but other kids around the rink. It’s really rewarding to see not only yourself grow but also your community grow.”

Campbell: “It’s nice to see the whole community come together.”

Can you share a memorable moment from your skating journey at Centennial Ice Arena?

Emily: “The coaches at this rink have encouraged us to be friends with each other, and without them we wouldn’t have these bonds for life.”

Riley: “I was able to create new friendships because of skating. I fell in love with the sport when I could see my own progress – and I wanted it not only for myself but also to help others.”

Emily: “When I found my own support group at the rink, it pushed me because I had people who wanted me to succeed. It helped a lot.”

Campbell: “This is my safe space – to those Gilmore Girls fans, it’s like Stars Hollow. It’s such a nice community.”

Riley: “Every day is like a warm fuzzy moment here. Everyone is so sweet. Everyone is here to cheer us on.”

Emily: “The world of figure skating can be very cutthroat, but I feel like here it’s very welcoming and everyone wants you to succeed.”

Riley: “If I have a good day here, I have a good day for the rest of the week.”

What advice do you often give to aspiring skaters based on your own experiences at Centennial Ice Arena?

Riley: “Do it because you love it.”

Emily: “Figure skating is like life in general. You fall, you get up, there are peaks and valleys. It’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine – it matters how much work you put in.”

Campbell: “Putting in the effort for the long run. Practice makes perfect.”

What motivates you the most about being part of the skating community at this arena, both as an instructor and a former student?

Riley: “What motivates me most is the progress I’ve seen within myself. My coaches are super understanding, and my coach pushes me to better in a nurturing way. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my friends by my side. When I have a really bad day, they’re here to make me feel better. Putting in effort whether it’s a good or bad day makes those days great.”

Emily: “Friends and coaches. If I’m skating on my own, one of my coaches might skate past me and say good job or give me a helpful reminder, and that keeps me motivated.”

Campbell: “The community keeps me motivated.”

Riley: “Maybe I’ll have a really bad day at school, but I’ll come here, and my friends will make me laugh and it will make me feel better about things. It’s a safe space.”

Finally, what message would you like to share with the community about the value of ice skating and Centennial Ice Arena in particular?

Riley: “Centennial has a great community. Everyone knows each other – I’m friends with everyone from the little kids who just started skating to the people who have been here for years. Everyone knows each other and people say hi. That healthy supportive community keeps people wanting to skate.”

Emily: “I don’t feel the same at other rinks as I do here. If I’m skating at another rink, I’ll think ‘I’d rather be at Centennial.’”

Riley: “It’s way warmer here than all the other rinks – (Emily) “literally and figuratively. Warmer and fuzzier in every sense.”