Children and adults can learn to ice skate this winter with the help of the team at Northford Ice Pavilion.
The Record-Journal recently stopped by to talk to Anne Buccino-Katz, director of the Learn to Skate program, Sydney Hogan, a skating instructor, Mary Anne Ferro, a skating instructor, and Debbie Roos, rink office manager.
Q: How long have you been involved with ice skating?
Buccino-Katz: Probably over 40 years.
Hogan: I would say maybe 10 years.
Ferro: About 43 years.
Roos: Probably 45
Q: What got you into ice skating?
Buccino-Katz: My mother was in the Ice Follies (a touring ice show.)
Hogan: My mother was also an ice skater.
Ferro: It’s just something I always enjoyed and I love working with the kids.
Roos: My family.
Q: What is your background in coaching?
Buccino-Katz: I love working with the kids, that’s my background. My education is early childhood education
Hogan: Well I’m in college right now, I go to Eastern Connecticut State University and I’m majoring in education. Mostly early childhood, it helps because I work with kids a lot.
Buccino-Katz: Well we have a continuing education program where every year we have to take tests online to coach.
Q: What are the levels or ages being taught here?
Buccino-Katz: We teach tots from three and four-years old through adults.
Q: What is the Learn to Skate program about?
Buccino-Katz: The children will either turn to figure skating or hockey. We have a synchronized skating team as well here at Northford that the kids can join. They can either do competitive skating or just testing. We also teach hockey.
Q: What skills are you teaching?
Buccino-Katz: There’s a program that Learn to Skate USA has put out that we follow. So there’s different levels within that program. There’s probably five to seven skills in each level. Once the kids are ready to move on the teachers will have them tested, I’ll test them, and if they’re ready, they’ll move up to the next level. Some skills are swizzles, rocking horse, then there’s a one-foot glide.
Ferro: Backward skating too. As they climb up the ladder progression wise they do things like forward and backward crossovers.
Buccino-Katz: Turns, stops, stroking and using the correct use of their blade since the blade has two edges.
Ferro: It’s the basic skills program so it’s geared toward either a beginner hockey player or beginner figure skater.
Q: What would you say is the most popular form of skating you teach here?
Roos: I would say hockey.
Q: What is the difference between figure skates and hockey skates?
Roos: First off the blades are different on a hockey skate. The blade is flat and on a figure skate it’s a little bit more rocked and it has a (toe) pick at the end.
Hogan: I skate on both. I actually put my mom’s skates on last year and was able to skate around perfectly but I don’t have my own figure skates anymore.
Ferro: I use only figure skates. I teach power skating but I use only figure skates.
Q: Has skating become more popular over the years... have you seen an increase in people wanting to learn?
Buccino-Katz: Every Olympic season it does become more popular.
Roos: Well we started with two rinks here and we just added a third rink two years ago. This part of Connecticut I believe is very popular, we have six high schools that skate here.
Hogan: High school hockey is definitely popular around here.