UNE Figure Skating Club struggles to get “consistent ice time”

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UNE Figure Skating Club struggles to get “consistent ice time”

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Megan Hall, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Since the creation of the UNE Figure Skating club, members and Club officials have struggled to get “consistent ice time” mostly due to “hockey season,” as stated by the Club’s current President, Melissa Ferris. The club was originally started several years ago by Colleen DeCola, who graduated from UNE last year. As a club, UNE Figure Skaters hope to provide a “supportive and fun environment,” that welcomes anyone interested in figure skating. The club wishes to promote figure skating as a sport at UNE, with the future desire to use the club as a platform for a club sport, and eventually, for a competitive team. For now, however, the club aspires to provide a place in which people can share their love of figure skating, as well as have a space to practice their sport.

The problem the figure skaters face is well-known to them; figure skating is often regarded by skating rinks as being a lower priority than hockey. There are many probable reasons for this, one being that economically, hockey brings in more profit to the rinks—another being that predominantly male sports take priority over what many rinks see figure skating as a highly feminized art form. Yet because it is common for figure skaters not to have prioritization when it comes to ice time the problem doesn’t necessarily stem from gender discrimination within the club or UNE as a whole. UNE has both a men’s and women’s hockey team, and male figure skaters are always welcome to UNE’s Figure Skating Club. Instead, Ferris believes that the task of distributing ice time is “challenging,” because “the forum is home to so many different sports and activities.” Yet still, why is it that the figure skaters aren’t getting their fair share? When asked, Ferris prefers “not to say too much about…hockey vs. figure skating,” mostly because she does not want her opinion to “ruffle anyone’s feathers.”

Yet no one can argue that the figure skaters need ice time in order for their club to succeed. Ferris claims that the club has never really “needed a large budget” because the club focuses on “attending practice sessions.” These practice sessions are, in most cases, on the ice. Without the equal opportunity of ice time as, at least, UNE’s Club Hockey Team, the figure skaters will never have an ultimately successful club, and will never have the opportunity to grow and represent UNE in a competitive realm.