Login  /  Register  | 3 premium articles left before you must register.

Skaters take to the ice in Norwich

By Judy Benson

Publication: The Day

Published February 16. 2014 4:00AM

Norwich - As soon as the skate guards opened the rink door for the afternoon public skate session Saturday, brothers Nathan and Alex Pratt of Colchester burst onto the ice, etching the first blade marks on freshly smoothed surface.

"We're here every time it's open," said Nathan, 8, clad in hockey skates as he practiced ice-scraping stops, backward maneuvers and intricate weaving between other skaters at the Norwich Ice Rink.

The Pratt brothers' father, Mike, said he and his sons "live here on the weekends," and that the afternoon snow was no deterrent. His boys had started the day at the rink with hockey lessons, while he and other parents gathered around a television set in the lobby outside the rink to watch the U.S.-Russia Olympics hockey game.

"It's just something I like to do with the kids, and this is like the only exercise I get," he said as he laced up his black hockey skates. "During the holidays, we were here like all day, every day. The staff is really nice, and they make my kids feel at home here."

About 60 people turned out for the public skate session Saturday, Shannon Fitzgerald, box office manager said. Lately, she said, public skate sessions have been drawing as many as 200, but the heavy snow Saturday kept the usual numbers down. Bethany Telgarsky of Norwich, an 18-year-old skate guard, has noticed a new enthusiasm for skating, inspired by the Olympics.

"The Olympics has sparked an interest in skating," said Telgarsky, who started skating at age 7 and now teaches basic skating at the rink. "I have little girls coming up to me to ask me how to spin. That's the best."

Telgarsky herself is finding new inspiration from watching some of her favorite skaters in the Olympics, including Gracie Gold and Jason Brown of the United States, and Yuna Kim of South Korea. After teaching young skaters the waltz jump and some basic spins, Telgarsky spends hours working on her own jumps and spins.

"My first regional competition will be this October," she said. "One of my goals is to try to make the Olympics in 2018. That's my life."

As skaters of all ages and levels of expertise circumnavigated the rink, two skaters occupied a space in the center cordoned off with orange traffic cones.

"Today we're learning a new program," explained instructor Rachel Bailey, who was teaching 6-year-old Skylar Shapiro of Waterford some steps for a "Rock Around the Clock" routine for an upcoming competition. "We're learning the bunny hop, and working on some backwards crossovers, and she did a nice two-foot spin."

Skylar said she's been skating for about a year, and has been watching as much figure skating on the Olympics as possible.

Friends Jordan Warecke, 14, and Matt Kane, 15, both from Old Lyme, skate at the rink once a week. It didn't take the Olympics to get them interested in the sport, they said, but they did enjoy watching the U.S.-Russia hockey matchup that morning, getting up at 7 a.m. to tune into the live broadcast.

"It was intense," Jordan said of the game, which ended with a 3-2 win for the U.S. team.

Before driving from his home in Colchester for an afternoon at the rink, Bill DeRosa was up early watching the game, too.

"It was incredible," he said, as he pulled a black skate over a thin white sock - the type he prefers to the "squishiness" of a heavy wool one.

He plays in a men's hockey league, and said he keeps his skate legs strong by coming to the public skate session "whenever I can."

"I'll skate for about an hour today," he said. "It's a great workout, another way to burn some calories."

j.benson@theday.com

Town News

Visit Zip06
Submit Your:  Submit Your News Submit Your Photos Submit Your Events
Most Recent Poll
A new study found that website comment trolls are often characterized by traits like narcissism and psychopathy. Some sites have shut down comment sections to avoid the negativity. What do you think of comment sections and the people who troll them?
Comment sections are for reader feedback, even if it's off-topic or inflammatory.
11%
Trolling is a misuse of the comment section, which should add to content not distract from it.
26%
Websites shutting down comment sections unfairly cut out the good comments with the bad ones.
14%
Anyone who gets offended by anonymous posts are as over-invested in the comment section as the trolls who post in the first place.
28%
I don't pay enough attention to the comments section to know about trolling.
22%
Number of votes: 882

No current items found