Back Row: (L-R): Coach Courtney Malkow, Adison Labonte, Samantha Love, Hannah Hoffman, Haddassah Hoffman, Phoebe Frost, Isabelle Frost, Kolbie Doodson, Coach Deb Portman, Coach Clair Ben Zina; Front Row: (L-R): Amber Alexander, Brielle Pott, Aja Alexander, Sarah Lo, Madison Malkow, Brynn Garland, Cassandra Kotai, Katie Lo, Emma Butler, Brinley Pott, Addison Leach, Taya Kasum

Smithers skaters glide to podium at Kla How Ya competition

SFSC skaters are now preparing for regional championships, scheduled for Jan. 17-19 in Prince George

It was a medal-studded weekend for the Smithers Figure Skating Club (SFSC) at the Kla How Ya competition, the largest annual skating event in the north, hosted by the Houston Skating Club earlier this month.

The Skate Canada-sanctioned event had to be moved to Smithers after the installation of a new refrigeration plant at the Houston arena fell behind schedule earlier this fall. More than 100 skaters from Prince George to Prince Rupert competed.

SFSC’s new director of skating Clair Ben Zina said she was really happy with the results.

READ MORE: Northwest figure skaters get special training in Smithers

“I’m extremely proud of all of our skaters and really excited to have got to our first competition together at Kla How Ya last weekend,” she said. “We showed a mentally strong and well-prepared team with lots of enthusiasm for learning and growth.”

Ben Zina brings 22 years of coaching experience — both internationally and within Canada — to the team.

“Over the course of the next few seasons I’m really looking to build not only numbers of youngsters entering the sport but also keeping them in the sport longer,” she said. “Skating really can be for life. Aiming to increase disciplines offered within the club and show that small communities can produce competitive skaters if they have the desire.”

A number of SFSC participants in the CPC Points Competitive and Star 4 -10 categories took hardware home, including: Haddassah Hoffman (Gold medal Star 6 Elements); Adison Labonte (Gold medal Star 5 U13 Freeskate, Silver medal Star 5 Artistic and Silver medal Star 5 Elements); Samantha Love (Gold medal in Star 4 U13 Freeskate and Star 4 Elements); Hannah Hoffman (Bronze Medal Star 4 U13 Freeskate); Taya Kasum (Bronze Medal Star 4 Elements); Kyra Eklund (Star 4 U13 5th place).

READ MORE: Podium finishes for Smithers skaters

There were also a number of winners in the Star 1-3 categories, including: Brynn Garland (Silver, Star 3); Sarah Lo (Bronze, Star 2); Amber Alexander (Gold); Phoebe Frost (Silver); Isabelle Frost (Bronze); Addison Leach (Silver); Star 1 Quad Threat: Madison Malkow, Brinley Pott and Brielle (Gold); Cassie Kotai (Silver); Emma Butler (Silver); Katie Lo (Bronze), Bella Harris (Bronze); Star 1: Aja Alexander (Gold).

Kla How Ya is the largest annual competitive gathering of figure skaters from across the north with this year’s event drawing 147 skaters from 10 communities reaching from the northeast down into the Cariboo and west along Highway 16.

More recently the SFSC hosted their Christmas Showcase Dec. 15 at the Civic Centre and their annual Christmas tree fundraiser at BV Wholesale.

Their skaters are currently preparing for regional championships, which are scheduled for Prince George Jan. 17-19.

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