Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

CURTAIN CALL – Bronwen Hayes, left, and Alissa Russell in between performances of Finding Frozen Apr. 30 at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

YOUNG FAIRIES – Ava Belay, Harper Geymair, Chloe Zhang and Mabel Mayr (left to right) perform as fairies in the Finding Frozen program Apr. 30 at CGC in Whitehorse.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

BONDING MOMENT – Bronwen Hayes as Maleficent, left, shares a moment with Kayla Huffman as Diaval.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

BELL OF THE BALL – Alissa Russell performs as Tinker Bell during the second Finding Frozen program Apr. 30 at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse.

Two longtime skaters leaving Arctic Edge for university

Arctic Edge Skating Club presented two Finding Frozen ice shows Apr. 30 at the Canada Games Centre

By Morris Prokop on May 9, 2022

Arctic Edge Skating Club presented two Finding Frozen ice shows Apr. 30 at the Canada Games Centre

For Bronwen Hayes and Alissa (Ali) Russell, it was their final performance with the club, as they are moving on to university. Hayes is going to the University of Alberta and Russell is off to the University of Calgary.

The Star caught up with them in-between the two shows and asked them how the first performance went.

“Really good,” said Hayes.

“I really like how they ended up turning out cause when you’re doing your rehearsals you don’t really see everyone’s performances until like the real day and then seeing them all together is really amazing.”

Russell added “I thought it was a lot of fun being out there with all of our friends and was a good way to show what we know.”

Hayes said moving on to university is “a little bittersweet. It’s been my whole life since I was five so saying bye is definitely sad but I know that in the future I can always come back and they’ll always be here for me.”

Russell said “I’m definitely going to miss this experience and being here with all these people but I know like in the future there’ll be other opportunities, whether it’s coaching or skating in a club.”

As for memories, “I would say just going on trips with everyone. The team bonding with that – it goes a long way,” said Russell.

Hayes added “I would definitely say the relationships that you form with everyone. I know that my coaches will always be there for me throughout my whole life and if any of the skaters like, if I need help, they’ll always be on my side.”

“I’d say Arctic Winter Games is definitely the peak highlight cause the whole team got to travel together and stay for a week. We really got close during that time. And like learned how to work together as a team. I’d say that made us as close as we are today,” related Hayes.

Russell recalled “we went on a trip to Chilliwack one time as a skating club and I really liked that one because it was just a small group but it was still really good and we were all so tight with each other.”

Of course, the girls have had major influences on their careers.

“Definitely our coaches Anne Milton and AP (Anne Patrice Cross). They have really pushed us to be the best we can be and have helped us learn lessons at skating and also outside of skating,” said Hayes.

“I’d say the same thing, as well as all the parents have also helped us get to where we need to be,” added Russell.

Both girls consider former Arctic Edge Skater Makayla Kramer, now with Disney on Ice, an influence on their careers.

“I remember growing up always watching Makayla and seeing her doing all of her jumps and wishing I could be like her and then now seeing her with Disney on Ice – which kind of inspired this one I think – it’s amazing to see what she can do now,” recalled Hayes.

Added Russell: “And getting to skate with her and then see her go off and do all these things. It’s really cool.”

When asked about coaching and being role models for the younger kids, Hayes replied “I really like working with them in practice and then seeing how they do out in their performance like today, when I was watching them skate around, it was very cute and just seeing how it transforms from practice on to the ice is really nice. And just seeing all their smiles and how skating makes them happy like it makes us – it’s really amazing.”

“Seeing them skate and you can see that they’re enjoying it, it makes us enjoy it even more,” said Russell.

As for what they’re taking in school, “I’m going into Kinesiology – it works with a lot of athletes. So my hope is in the future I can come back and coach and have a more in-depth idea about how the body works for sports,” said Hayes.

“I’m going into nursing, but I’m hoping that I’ll find time to still be able to coach,” related Russell.

Neither athlete has any plans to remain in competitive skating.

“I think I might be doing it recreationally, but not competitive,” said Hayes. Russell agreed.

The girls were asked what they’re looking forward to about starting the next chapter in their lives.

“The new experiences I’ll get to make, because living into a bigger city for me, I think it will be a nice experience since I’m used to being in a small town kind of feel where a lot of people know everyone. Now I’ll get to meet some new people,” said Hayes.

“I’d say the experiences we’ve had here and like the skills we’ve learned, I think it’ll help us in our future,” added Russell.

Hayes added “skating’s had a really big impact in our lives and we’re super-thankful for it – like all the parents and coaches and even all the younger skaters just keeping us inspired to continue skating.”

Ann Milton, Director of Skating for Arctic Edge, said her two young charges will be missed.

“Oh, it is a very sad moment for me. They were the first skaters that I taught – my first students and we’ve seen them through some tough competitions and some really good successes. Super, super-lovely girls, huge asset to the club and – of course tears are coming to my eyes, because they are a huge valuable part and the heart of our club. These skaters have been with us for so long.”

Milton has some special memories of the two athletes.

“I can actually say when they became program assistants they were just over 10 and they were super-keen and right away you could see that it wasn’t just about skating for themselves. It was about sharing their passion and love and I remember Bronwen in particular, when I asked her why she skates, it’s like ‘it just feels so good to skate.’

“And so I think for both of them it’s the passion and it means something different but really, it’s the heart. It’s the heart of the sport and of course they’re very dear to the club and myself and it’s a very sad moment to see them moving off to university. I wish them all the best and I expect to see them back from time to time when they’re in town.”

Comments (1)

Up 6 Down 0

what a nice article! on May 9, 2022 at 11:50 pm

What a nice article. Athletes thankful for their coaches, parents and support. Best of luck you two! Sport unites us all.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.