• Homer figure skaters bring home hardware
By Sean Pearson
Black-scarred plexiglass boards surrounding the rink at Kevin Bell Arena bear witness to the number of aggressive, cutthroat, relentless hockey teams Homer has produced over the years.
Hockey players are generally not a quiet and subdued bunch. Known for their hard-hitting, adrenaline-infused intensity, these skaters aren’t afraid to leave a little blood and sweat out on the ice.
Apparently, however, not everyone who straps on a pair of skates is ready to sacrifice a kidney or a couple of teeth to the hockey gods.
That’s where WeSkate comes in.
“WeSkate started how a lot of things start in Homer; a desire for something that wasn’t here,” said WeSkate Coach Megan Magee. “Andrea Stineff’s daughters really wanted to skate, so she took up the torch of starting WeSkate. She did most of the leg work to get it running, but didn’t have a coach and can’t figure skate.”
And that’s where Magee comes in.
“I’ve always had a great desire to teach,” Magee said. “I skated for 10 years in Soldotna and taught there for several years before moving to Homer.”
During that time, Magee competed every year in two Alaska competitions: RiverSkate in Soldotna and Iditarod Days in Wasilla.
“When I married and moved to Homer, I always thought it would be a great idea to start a figure skating program,” she explained. “But I have no management skills, and started having kids pretty quickly. That makes it harder to manage anything.”
After talking with a friend who knew Stineff, the two skating enthusiasts met and began discussing details.
“She was totally on-board with starting WeSkate and I was very much excited to coach,” Magee said. “Andrea did most of the work, which made it easy for me.”
In its first year of teaching figure skating in Homer, the WeSkate program sent three young ladies to compete in this year’s RiverSkate at the Soldotna Sports Center on Saturday.
Magee said she was quite pleased with her young skaters performances.
“All three students showed a desire to compete in RiverSkate this last weekend,” she said. “And they did a fantastic job.”
Skaters Rosy Kauffman and Ireland Styvar each competed in three events, while the younger Kaiah Stineff competed in one.
Kauffman placed first in the interpretive and the stroking competition, and third in Alpha (the level at which they competed). Styvar finished second in Interpretive, third in stroking and third in Alpha. Stineff placed fourth in Alpha.
Magee said the WeSkate program starts each skater off at a basic level, and in each session, the goal is to have them pass a level.
“As they work up the levels, they become better figure skaters and learn more complex moves, like jumps and spins,” Magee said. “It gives kids a place to have goals for themselves and be able to reach them.”
Magee said this has been a “wonderful” season, teaching skaters of all levels and ages.
“One of the biggest things I value as a coach is giving them confidence and having fun,” she explained. “It helped me grow into the person I am today; ice skating gave me a confidence that nothing else could have.”
WeSkate plans to continue next year and hopes to take even more kids to competition.
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