Testing Moves in the Field in Hockey Skates
by: Kelly Rossbach
Left to right: Coach, Kelly Rossbach; skater, Sean Pike; and Sean’s Father and Mother
Kelly Rossbach is a PSA rated coach in Moves in the Field and Free Skating who coaches at the Lakeview Recplex Ice Arena in Pleasant Prairie, WI and the Rinkside Ice Arena in Gurnee, IL.
Are you kidding? Why would anyone want to test their Moves in hockey skates? And is that even allowed?
Sean Pike is a 16-year old boy who figure skates, plays hockey, and is a member of the Southport Skating Club. In May 2013, he ordered new custom figure skating boots because he has wide flat feet. In September when the boots arrived, they didn’t fit. They were punched out and stretched to no avail. Sean couldn’t get through ten minutes of a lesson without having to take the boots off for a few minutes. During one especially frustrating lesson I suggested that he put on his hockey skates. He did pretty well in them, and most importantly, he was comfortable. We ran through his Juvenile MIF. It took a while for him to get the feel of doing back three turns, but they seemed doable.
Since it seemed that new boots could be another long wait I decided to see if Sean could actually test in his hockey skates. In asking coaches and judges, many doubted it would be allowed but no one knew for sure. I don’t think that the idea ever occurred to anyone. The USFS Rulebook (section 4035) states that, “Figure skating blades used during competition and tests must be sharpened to produce a flat to concave cross section without change to the width of the blade as measured between edges.” It does not specifically rule out a hockey blade. I contacted PSA. They weren’t sure either, but recommended that I contact Juliet Newcomer, Director of Technical Services at USFS. Juliet replied that there are no rules prohibiting skaters from using hockey skates for a MIF test. Just to be sure, she checked with Diana Wisner, Chair of Tests Committee. Diana confirmed that a skater is welcome to try a MIF test in hockey skates.
On February 14, 2014, Sean took his Juvenile MIF test at the Skokie Valley Skating Club and passed by all three judges -- in hockey skates (watch the test by clicking on the link). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCOKm-INukA
This experience got me to thinking that skating MIF in hockey skates might be a worthwhile exercise for others. Encouraging hockey players to work on MIF could strengthen their ability to understand and use edge pressure, lean, and power, as well as improve transitions. One skater I worked with a few years ago, who passed her Gold MIF (in figure skates), now plays division-1 high school hockey. She’s currently a junior and being looked at by several division-1 colleges. The skating skills she gained from figure skating contributed to her being a strong and successful hockey player.
Going a step further, MIF could be a way to attract hockey players to figure skating. We see figure skaters migrate to hockey, but not very often the other way around. The initial expense of quality figure skates keeps many hockey skaters from trying figure skating. Introducing MIF in hockey skates could ease transition, and passing tests could give a skater a sense of accomplishment while providing him or her with a decent foundation. After passing a test or two, some hockey skaters may become more invested and want to purchase figure skates.
USFS could benefit nicely from this too. If USFS offered a limited, lower cost membership to hockey players to test MIF in hockey skates it could be a win-win for all involved. Revenue would be generated from hockey memberships and their MIF test fees, and USFS could potentially gain an occasional (often male) figure skater. The hockey player would improve the quality of his or her skating and may even discover an interest in a new sport along the way.
….It’s something to think about.