At­tract­ing the big names

Pla­cen­tia, Whitbourne ice shows to fea­ture Elvis Sto­jko

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

It ap­pears hav­ing Kaet­lyn Os­mond at their ice show last sea­son was not enough for the PARC Fig­ure Skat­ing Club.

A year af­ter hav­ing the Marys­town na­tive per­form­ing at the PARC Unity Arena in Pla­cen­tia, the club is bring­ing an even big­ger name to their 2016 show.

On March 21, es­teemed Cana­dian fig­ure skater Elvis Sto­jko will be grac­ing the ice for a trio of per­for­mances.

Sto­jko is a three-time World Cham­pion fig­ure skater. He has also won two Olympic sil­ver medals and is a seven-time Cana­dian Cham­pion.

The op­por­tu­nity to bring the skater to Pla­cen­tia came about when head coach Vanessa Grif­fiths took a shot in the dark and con­tacted Sto­jko’s camp to see if he’d be in­ter­ested in vis­it­ing the club.

Af­ter some back-and-forth, Sto­jko agreed to make the trip.

From there, PARC pres­i­dent Kim­ber­ley Fol­lett and the rest of the ex­ec­u­tive - Edna Browne (V.P.), Ann Marie Barry (se­cre- tary), Char­lotte Hickey (trea­surer) and Cindy Hann (synchro co-or­di­na­tor) - got things go­ing pro­mo­tion­ally and oth­er­wise.

“As soon as we found out there was a chance (Sto­jko) could come here, we got the ball rolling,” said Fol­lett. “All that we do is for the skaters we have in the club. The ex­ec­u­tive is good at com­ing to­gether and try­ing to do what­ever we can do. The ice show is all for the club.”

She cred­ited the club’s coaches and par­ents for en­sur­ing PARC gives skaters the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence they can have.

“It is kind of a big deal for our club,” said Fol­lett.

With over 100 ath­letes com­ing from as far away as St. Bride’s, PARC FSC will see Sto­jko take to the ice three times dur­ing their show. He’s sched­uled to open the pop­u­lar event, then he’ll see the crowd off for in­ter­mis­sion and then close the show by per­form­ing with the club’s skaters.

“It’s the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time for our skaters,” said Fol­lett. “When will they get the chance to speak with and learn from some­one like Elvis.”

Pla­cen­tia isn’t the only lo­cal rink where Sto­jko will put his tal­ent on dis­play. He is also sched­uled for the Trin­ity-Pla­cen­tia Fig­ure Skat­ing Club’s ice show held at the Trin­ity-Pla­cen­tia Sta­dium in Whitbourne on March 24.

Town on board

When word broke that Sto­jko would be head­ing to the town, Pla­cen­tia’s town coun­cil jumped on board im­me­di­ately to help with the pro­mo­tion.

The idea is to make it as big an event as pos­si­ble. To that end, Fol­lett said she has re­ceived mes­sages from peo­ple liv­ing out­side the town who want to come and see Sto­jko skate.

Of course, tick­ets go to PARC skaters first.

“Elvis com­ing here is a big at­trac­tion for the town,” said Fol­lett.

The town has ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with big name ath­letes in the past. Just last year, Pla­cen­tia suc­cess­fully pro­moted a hockey game fea­tur­ing NHL alumni, in­clud­ing Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.

For PARC, many of their skaters are a bit younger and have lim­ited knowl­edge of their spe­cial guest.

Sto­jko reached the height of his pop­u­lar­ity in the 1990s and early 2000s. Af­ter com­pet­ing as an am­a­teur un­til 2002, he turned pro un­til his re­tire­ment in 2006.

The pres­i­dent said when they first told the skaters who was com­ing to the ice show, they were met with some blank stares.

“A lot of our skaters aren’t fa­mil­iar with Elvis Sto­jko, but we are in the process of ed­u­cat­ing them,” said Fol­lett. “We’re fa­mil­iar­iz­ing them with who he is and stuff like that. Some our older skaters are pretty hyped about it.”

Sto­jko is a skater known for the jumps he weaves into his pro­grams, slick foot­work and an ath­letic style.

His name res­onates with skat­ing fans around the globe and es­pe­cially at home, where fans un­doubt­edly re­mem­ber his mon­u­men­tal bat­tles with Kurt Brown­ing for Cana­dian male skat­ing supre­mecy.

“The town is a lit­tle bit hyped,” said Fol­lett.

There are no re­ports he’ll be wear­ing blue swede skates dur­ing his per­for­mance.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Elvis Sto­jko will be skat­ing in the PARC Fig­ure Skat­ing Club’s an­nual ice show in Pla­cen­tia on March 21. That’ll be fol­lowed by a per­for­mance at the ice show for the Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia Fig­ure Skat­ing Club in Whitbourne on March 24.

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