|Shea Zukiwsky and Coach Sherry Mackenzie|
The Pincher Creek Skating Club has close to 60 skaters in their ranks this year. Those members plus their families were invited to attended the club's annual Skating Christmas party on Monday, December 14 in the lobby of the MCC Arena.
The gathering was a pleasant casual way for the families to get to know each other better. This year they had a special guest speaker, Shae Zukiwsky. Zukiwsky grew up in Pincher Creek and has competed in 11 national figure skating championships. He is well respected and sought after for his technical expertise in skate dance, dance, coaching, and choreography. He learned a few things on the ice and in life which he shared with the crowd: Focus on what you want, even when you love what you do there will be obstacles, do not let others negate your path for you, and do not give up.
|Zukiwsky was an engaging speaker|
"Figures are actually the 'figure' in figure skating. It really started with artistic designs on the ice. Back in the day to compete as a free-skater, you needed to pass a certain level of figure test." Zukiwsky admitted he failed to pass his figure tests multiple times. Determined, he practiced figures for 1 to 2 hours a day at 6:00 am until he did pass. "The last Nationals that I competed in while figures were still in, I placed third and that was a pretty big deal, but there was a time when I simply could not do it. It was a huge obstacle and I had to figure out how to get past this obstacle, and it really was time and effort."
|There was fun at the social|
Zukiwsky started to pursue ice dance. "The first year was like the white boots-toe pick year all over again. I wasn't used to skating with another person, there were new skills I had to learn." During this difficult time a judge discouraged him from continuing down this path as it was her belief that he was starting ice dance too late in his career and it would be a waste of time for everyone involved. "I just remember thinking 'This woman doesn't know me, she doesn't know anything about me, who is she to decide how good I can be at the sport? Who is she to decide the limit that I can achieve with something that I had really had so much joy with, and pride in doing?' Four years later I was on the national team competing internationally."
"I got recruited to be a technical specialist in the ice dance. As a technical specialist I have a officiated at every major Canadian ice championships including the World Championships." Zukiwsky said he had the opportunity to work with a number of young competitors including Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford. Zukiwsky coaches, monitors, and does choreography.
|Evan Mahli enjoyed the potluck|
|Zukiwsky looking at the commemoration|
From the dedication hung in the MCC Arena:
Pincher Creek Skating Club Honors Past Member: Shae Zukiwsky
Like most male skaters in Canada, Shae started out playing hockey in Pincher Creek. To improve his hockey skills he tried figure skating at 11 years old. Within a few years, he had moved to Calgary to train full time. Shae competed nationally in singles first in Junior mens then Senior mens. He then made the switch to ice dance pairs and began taking off-ice dance training seriously as well. Once paired up with Judith Longpre in 1999, Shae moved to Montreal to train. In pairs came more success both nationally and internationally. Shae competed in 11 national figure skating championships – 6 as a single skater and 4 in ice dance.
It is important to also note Shae’s pursuit of higher education. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University and Master of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University in Interdisciplinary Studies. He is also finishing his PhD in Dance at York University.
Also, on the resume, is current International Skating Union Techincal Specialist in Dance, NCCP Level 3/National Coach, chair of the National Sport Coordination Council, former athlete representative on the Skate Canada Board of Directors, former member of the officials coordinating committee and technical officials committee. As well as, choreographer for CBC’s Battle of the Blades.
Currently, Shae judges, choreographs and coaches competitive figure skaters in singles, free-skate pairs, and ice dance disciplines working with national and international competitors, taking him all over the world.
Pincher Creek Skating Club is so proud to be able to say, “Shae Zukiwsky is a hometown hero”.
|Austin and Alan Kaupp at the presentation|