Halifax, Nova Scotia isn't exactly the figure skating capital of North America. Aside from the 1990 World Championships, the city I live in and love dearly did host the inaugural Four Continents Championships back in 1999 but has only three times hosted the Canadian Championships and Skate Canada International. The last professional competition the city saw was The Gold Championships in 1996 and the last time the Canadian Championships were held here was back in 2007. I attended and let me tell you... it was a TIME!
Speaking of attending things, this very morning I attended a press conference at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall Of Fame on Argyle Street at the invitation of Skate Canada. On hand with a VERY exciting announcement to talk about were Olympic Silver Medallist Patrick Chan, Halifax's Mayor Mike Savage, Skate Canada's Chief Marketing Officer Mark Haliday and Scotiabank Centre's President and CEO Scott Ferguson. I'm sure you can put two and two together. Time to finally let the cat out of the bag to stretch its legs a little... The 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships will be indeed be held RIGHT HERE in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Considering the buzz about town this time last year was that Halifax was getting Nationals and they ultimately went to Kingston first, I couldn't be more thrilled this is finally happening. It will be great for the city and great for skating! CBC analyst, author, coach and skating AUTHORITY PJ Kwong told me that, "Halifax holds a special place in my heart. In 1990, I was in the audience at Worlds in Halifax and the mood in the building was electric. I remember hearing the voices of the announcers (one was announcing legend Wilf Langevin) and loving the way the audience was responding. I decided that week I wanted to be PA announcer. Thanks Halifax! I have been there a few times since and I think the skaters love coming there because they are so receptive."
Mayor Savage earned even more brownie points with this skating history buff when he shared his excitement (and knowledge) with me about skating in Halifax and the significance of Nationals coming back to the city: "Deeply rooted in Halifax’s culture and heritage, our community has a natural connection to skating through recreation and sport. From historical traditions of skating on our frozen lakes with blades made by Starr Manufacturing, to recent investments in permanent surfaces like the Oval, Halifax celebrates skating as a way to achieve a healthier, happier community. Halifax is proud to host many past and future national and international figure skating championships, welcoming competitive athletes from around the world and recognizing the importance of skating and its natural role in our community." This event offers enormous potential for our local economy as well, with an expected four to five million dollars in economic impact to the city and province. Hotel rooms will exceed three thousand, five hundred for skaters and families alone.
The opportunity to welcome so many of you while attending Canada's Nationals in person literally right down the road from me will be such a treat and I cannot wait! As the focus of the blog is so largely to share skating history, I'm very much thinking about organizing a meet and greet or a skating history lecture with special guests or something along those lines during Nationals week so I can catch up and meet with all of you who will be attending in person. I think it would be a blast. Something with wine and cheese and nibbly things... it would really be rude not to, now wouldn't
So, what do you need to know? The dates are January 18 to 24, 2016 and tickets go on sale TOMORROW (May 2) at ten AM Atlantic time and all event packages range from one hundred and twenty five to one hundred and seventy five dollars (plus surcharges). You can book your tickets online at http://www.ticketatlantic.com, by phone at 1-877-451-1221 or in person at the Scotiabank Centre. There are tons of hotels and restaurants in walking distance as the event venue is right in the downtown core. And don't you worry, there are plenty of Tim Hortons too. You're covered. Now, if you'll excuse me... it's soon time to get ready, grab a bite to eat and head off to the very venue that will host the 2016 Canadian Championships for the kickoff of the twenty fifth anniversary of Stars On Ice tonight. Stay tuned for a full recap tomorrow!
Bet you are wondering what comes next on the blog? MORE interviews, MORE skating history, MORE interesting articles for you to read, that's what! Stay tuned to the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard and my Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/ohh_N and thanks as always for your support and most importantly... spreading the word!