Norwood – Four-time world and Canadian figure skating champion Kurt Browning will dazzle a full house when he takes the ice at the Norwood and District Skating Club’s “Skating Through Time” carnival March 6.
The crowd is expected to match or surpass the biggest draws for on-ice events at the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre rivalling the Montreal Canadiens’ alumnae game and sold-out Norwood Vipers playoff games.
By any measure it’s a brilliant coup for the 70-member club which has been a home to young figure skaters since 1968.
“It will probably be a real highlight in the history of the club,” says longtime member, coach and executive Bernadette Vanderhorst who extended the invitation to Browning.
Browning is a skating “icon,” both nationally and internationally, says Vanderhorst, and to bring him to Norwood where he’ll meet with skaters and skate with them is thrilling.
“For our club it will bring great exposure and we hope to pack the house.”
The club has developed a bit of a relationship with Browning over the past few years with members and their families meeting him regularly during his Rock The Ice appearances in Peterborough.
“We have met him at different times wearing our NDSC jackets. He was very kind,” says Vanderhorst. “He knows who the Norwood District Skating Club is.”
During those meetings Vanderhorst asked Browning if he’d be interested in possibly being an instructor at the NDSC’s popular inter-club “On The Leading Edge” clinic. They shared contact information but scheduling has never worked out. They’ve also tried to bring him in for their carnival but that’s always conflicted with the world championships where Browning is a television commentator.
But this year’s show is earlier so Vanderhorst “persevered” and extended the invitation.
“It all came together. The skaters are just thrilled. It just pumps them up way more for their preparation for the show and finessing what they’re preparing for EOSIC and the Winter Fun Skate in Bobcaygeon.”
Even though the club’s skaters weren’t born when Browning was capturing his four world and Canadian titles, they know him through his brilliant ice show performances, TV commentary and his co-hosting of The Battle of the Blades.
“He’s a personality that all generations know. There’s people who follow Kurt and they’ll be wanting to catch another closer glimpse of him. The word is spreading fast (but) the club’s skating families will get first dibs on the tickets. That’s what our club is here for, those families.”
Vanderhorst has nothing but “accolades” for the club’s carnival volunteers.
“I’ve complicated the ice show a little bit this year,” she quipped. “They’re ready to dig in and work hard.”
“This is going to bring focus to what our skaters are doing here. It’s a great incentive for the kids to reach taller,” added head coach Leanne Decker.
Browning will also bring along autographed copies of his children’s alphabet book “A is for Axel.”
Tickets go on sale next week and are $20 for seats and $15 for standing room.