The Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club has it roots from a coin toss. On June 18, 1956, J.L. Bonus, second vice president of the Toronto Cricket Club, and F.J. Boland, president of the Toronto Skating Club, decided that whoever won the coin toss would decide which sport would come first in the name of this newly formed organization. Boland called out "heads" and the rest is history. On April 10, 1957, a third club, curling, was brought into the merger.
Today, the skating club of this tri-sport organization boasts membership in excess of five hundred members, comprised of a diverse mix of competitive, recreational, adult, and power skaters. (see above, club member and current World champion Jeffrey Buttle, fourth from left, with club members) The club also has 18 coaches on their coaching staff, including eight-time (1981-1988) Canadian champion, two-time (1984 & 1988) Olympic silver medalist, and 1987 World champion, Brian Orser. Also part of the staff is ice dancer Tracy Wilson, who with partner Rob McCall, won the Canadian national championships seven times (1982-1988), were three-time bronze medalists at the World Championships and won the bronze medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics. What a reason to train there if you're undecided about your discipline! "Let's see, should I be coached by Brian Orser, or Tracy Wilson? How about both?" They were initially brought in to help revive interest in the club and boy, did they ever! In addition, noted choreographer David Wilson is also part of the coaching staff. (see below, Jeffrey Buttle, left, and his choreographer, David Wilson)
The club's interim skating coordinator, Patti Cooke, recently told me that the club also attracts attention as a world-class training facility. It is not uncommon to see skaters from Australia, Poland, Korea, Mexico, Israel, and Germany, to name a few, come to the facility to train. Recently, the Canadian senior pairs team of Rachel Kirkland and Eric Radford were at the club working with their German coach Ingo Steuer. Patti also added that Brian Orser, as well as being the main coach for South Korean phenom Yu-Na Kim (see right, Brian and Yu-Na), also teaches an adult class once a week and is involved with CanSkate. For those unfamiliar, CanSkate is the Canadian learn-to-skate program that covers basic skills such as balance, gliding and edges.
One of the goals for the club, which is being spearheaded by Tracy Wilson, is to create a program for those young skaters, ages 15 and up, which will maintain their interest in figure skating beyond testing. Whether these kids will become involved with teaching or judging, Tracy's vision is to create a program from the ground up which will offer many options for the skaters once they've decided that they want to explore other areas. What a great idea...I don't think enough young adults are exposed to the other avenues of skating, such as judging, or coaching, early enough. Regardless of whether they do decide to pursue it, the exposure to the different sides is invaluable to their growth in the sport.