When did Skate Guard begin?
Skate Guard started back in 2013, so that would make this the blog's ten year anniversary. The format was quite different the first couple of years. The focus was more on current events and interviews with a few skating history blogs peppered in there, but in 2015 I made the shift to focus on skating history. It is a niche that doesn't get enough coverage and one I love filling!
Who is Skate Guard made for?
Anyone who loves figure skating and wants to learn more about its history.
How frequently do you release new blogs?
I release two new blogs each week.
How many blogs do you have?
The tally as of February 2023 is over 1,350!
How many people read this thing, anyway?
As of February 2023, Skate Guard has had over 2,846,000 page views, averaging over 20,000 visits a month. Most of the blog's readers are in Canada, the UK and United States.
I'm a new reader. Where should I start?
A great place to start is my reading the four Features. They are online book-length projects that each offer a 'deep dive' into particular topics. I'd also recommend checking out the Popular Posts, Blog Archive and search bar in the blog's right hand column. In the Blog Archive, you can expand each year and month to see all of the blogs that have been covered.
How long does it take to write a blog?
It really depends on the topic and how far in-depth I go. Some blogs take an hour or two; some take a week or two. The great part about writing about things that happened decades ago is there is really no urgency.
Where do you find your information?
I'm all about using primary sources and not relying solely on skating books to do my research. Newspaper and magazine archives, genealogy sites, pictures, videos, old protocols and handwritten notes are all part of my research. I interview former skaters, coaches and judges if it is relevant to a topic I cover sometimes too.
When will the blog cover Yuzuru Hanyu/Sonja Henie/Old Skating Boots/The 1994 Olympics/(insert favourite skater or subject here)?
This is a question I get a lot and the answer is complicated! As a rule, my 'cut-off' for selecting topics is when the IJS system was introduced, so unfortunately no... I'm not going to be writing any blogs on Yuzuru Hanyu or any of your favourite skaters who are competing at this year's World Championships. There are plenty of other great blogs and podcasts already doing that.
If I have covered a skater before, it is very likely I may not cover them specifically again, so I would suggest using the Search function and Blog Archive to see if I have already done a short bio on them already.
My focus is on figure skaters, events and topics that aren't already well-documented, so I won't be rehashing topics like Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, the Olympic pairs fiasco in 2002, etc.
My interest is really in highlighting the social history of figure skating - the who, what, when, where and why - not the how. Things like the science of skating, boot and blade design and evolutions in coaching technique are not the kinds of topics I cover.
How can I support Skate Guard?
In so, so many ways... You can get yourself of a copy of one of my three books - "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating".
If you have old skating memorabilia collecting dust in your attic, you can donate it. You can tell people who might be interested in Skate Guard about the blog and suggest they follow on social media.
Leaving a short book review on Amazon or Goodreads would be a huge help! Most importantly, you can keep reading.
Will you write a review of my book?
If it has to do with figure skating history, of course! I don't review skating fiction... I had a publisher send me some sort of a skating-themed Harlequin romance novel years ago and I'm still recovering. It was fifty shades of no.
I found a pair of old skates at a rummage sale. Can you tell me how much they are worth?
As fabulous as Antiques Roadshow is, that's not me and unfortunately appraisals or identifying skates is not something I can help with. I would suggest reading Russell Herner's book "Antique Ice Skates for the Collector", bearing in mind that antique skates - while still very collectible - are not necessarily the commodity that they were when this book was written in 2001.
Where is [favourite skater from years past] now? Will you interview them?
Hopefully they are living their best life! I stopped doing interviews back in 2015 unless it related specifically to something I was already writing, so the answer is probably not - as much as I'd love to.
I am writing a paper for school and read your blog on [something cool to do with skating history]. Where can I more information on that topic?
In many cases, the information that is covered in each blog is all that I have. In many others, I have tons more. It really just depends. If you're writing a thesis, working on a school project or are a teacher or professor looking for material, I am happy to help if I am able to. Just shoot me an e-mail.
Why can't I leave a comment?
Do you send out updates?
Do you accept advertising?
I am absolutely open to advertising if it's a good fit! If you would like to discuss advertising your product or event on Skate Guard, you can reach me by e-mail.