Freshly retired figure skating champion Patrick Chan is scheduled to perform at the Gibsons arena on March 2019 as part of the Sunshine Coast Skating Club’s (SCSC) fundraising efforts.
“Our club is very excited to be hosting another big event such as this,” Kate Turner, SCSC registrar, said in an email. “Top calibre athletes, like Patrick Chan, inspire our young athletes to achieve greatness at their own level,” she said.
Chan, 27, retired from competition last April after securing a gold medal for Canada in the team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He has won two silver Olympic medals, is a three-time World Champion and eight-time Canadian Champion. In 2011, he received the Lou Marsh Award, given to Canada’s top athlete, after winning the world championships and setting three world scoring records.
Inviting world-class Canadian figure skaters to the Coast has become a budding tradition for the club, which raises money from the performance nights to offset expenses for club members. In 2017, Olympic medalist Elvis Stojko skated in Gibsons followed by Olympian Larkyn Austman in 2018. The athletes are paid to perform. Stojko and Chan were invited through SCSC coach Lesleigh Farr’s Skate Canada connections. Austman, a relative of SCSC coach Daryl Austman, will be making another appearance this year with Chan.
These performance nights have become critical fundraisers for the club, according to Turner, who said the club has seen a “significant rise” in registration. Its annual fundraising goal of $30,000, on top of its Gaming Grant, offsets programming expenses such as ice rental and professional coaches, which she said “makes the sport of figure skating unique to most low-cost, volunteer-coached organizations.”
The club relies on grant support from programs such as KidSport, JumpStart and Athletic Funding for Kids, and offers in-house bursaries to minimize the financial barriers for low-income families, but their performance nights brings in the bulk of the club’s fundraising dollars. “We do plan and pursue our ice shows as major fundraisers for the club; however, it is always a gamble,” Turner said.
The club is aiming to raise more than $20,000 from the Chan event, according to Turner, charging $30 for an adult ticket. This year, the club is also offering “on-ice and off-ice development” to their members the following day with Chan and Elizabeth Putnam, a retired competitive skater and Canadian national bronze medalist and also Chan’s partner.
Tickets are available at Trail Bay Source for Sports in Sechelt, The Medicine Shoppe in Wilson Creek and the Rona Coast Builders Appliance Store in Gibsons. Information can be found on the Sunshine Coast Skating Club’s Facebook Page.