The Ann Arbor Hockettes, a synchronized ice skating organization based out of the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club, has eight teams with about 100 members ranging in age from 4 to 19. Known for winning competitions, the Junior Hockettes (14-19 year olds) have recently won the Bronze Medal at the U.S. National Synchronized Skating Championships and the Silver Medal at the Midwest and Pacific Coast Sectional Synchronized Skating Championships.
Throughout their time in the organization, Hockettes synchronized skaters earn not only awards, but also develop valuable life skills, personal values, and great friendships while practicing at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Erin Donovan, head coach, describes the team spirit, hard work, and dedication that encompass the nature of synchronized skating. “The sport requires many hours of practice and very little performance time. Synchronized skaters have to stay focused and continue to work hard despite not having any immediate gratification or competitive evaluation for their efforts.”
The performances require that skaters be in sync both physically and mentally to create an incredible piece of art. Donovan states, “There is no personal glory, they truly put the team first and genuinely care about the other people on the team and their success.” This awareness, consideration, and connection with others flows outside the skating rink and into the skaters’ everyday lives.
“My favorite thing about Hockettes is how we all treat each other as family and we are always supportive of each other,” said Hockettes skater, Nicole Blaha. We all have similar goals and dreams, and we motivate each other to never give up.”
Although synchronized skating can be more costly than other sports, the Hockettes take part in many fundraising activities to help their skaters with the costs. The equipment needed for the sport include skates, hard guards for the skates, costumes, tights, warm-ups for travel, leggings and shirts for off-ice.
Winning competitions while developing great personal values, such as kindness, consideration for others, confidence, dedication, and a positive work ethic is a result of the time they spend with the organization.