BWHL’s, Kathleen Knowles sits down with Scott & Sandy Magneson of the Port Huron Figure Skating Club.
If you haven’t already got your tickets for the Port Huron Figure Skating Ice Fantasies, it’s not too late. The PHFSC will hold their annual show at the McMorran Arena. Blue Water Healthy Living had the opportunity to sit down with Scott & Sandy Magneson for some insight into the group.
It all began in 1963 when a group of theater players transitioned to figure skating. Starting primarily with adult skaters, it didn’t take long before they were getting their kids involved, and a “Basic Skills” program began. In March of 1968, the group hosted its First Tri-State Competition which included Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. By 1970 the Port Huron Figure Skating Club (PHFSC) membership swelled to 395 members. That same year the Eastern Great Lakes Regional Competition was held in Port Huron, MI.
In 1974 the club boasted its first member to attain a Gold Medal in Dance (Sandy Gilbert). Sandy (Gilbert) Magneson began skating at the age of 12, while her husband, Scott didn’t begin until he was 18 years old. Today, skaters have received several dozen Gold Medals in Dance, Freestyle, and Figures.
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Morris Snyder, the General Manager of McMorran Place, was very good to the club. Scott recalled, “He definitely was responsible for helping them to get started as a club.” The PHFSC has skated there for many years and continues to do so to this day. Canadian coaches came over and taught the kids to skate.
Sandy remembered fondly Lois Gardner, who coached and taught her to skate. When Glacier Point Ice Complex opened approximately 20 years ago, the club began a lot of the teaching and training at the Complex, while continuing to hold their shows at McMorran every year. McMorran’s seating and ability to handle the props makes it a more enjoyable show.
Both Sandy and Scott gave back to the Club when they became teachers, and started teaching kids to skate as their predecessors had done for them. Their involvement also included being the Ice Show Directors for many years. They have now passed the torch to their students, Kim Kirkendall and Tracy Dewey. Most of the coaches today, including Patrice Lottner, Alyssa Hankins, and Justin Williams were all taught by Scott and Sandy.
All the kids participate in the Ice Show, even the very young beginners. The director assigns the music to different coaches who are responsible for the choreography for that number. In the beginning, the music was on reel tape, then records, graduating to cassette tapes, and with the advancement of technology, it is now digitally on computers and iPads.
Skating has become a family affair for the Magnesons. Sandy’s Dad, William Gilbert, became involved as a judge and served as president of the club. There is now a competition called the William E. Gilbert Competition. They also hold the Edith Scheonrock International Competition in February.
Scott and Sandy’s son, Kyle placed 3rd in the U.S. Nationals in Rhode Island and 1st in the Midwesterns in Denver. Both placements were in Novice Men’s Figures. The family did not stop there. Today, their eight-year-old twin granddaughters are skating! That makes four generations of the family involved in the sport!
The kids (parents) are responsible for purchasing the skates and costumes for practice and shows. As in all sports, it is expensive to participate, but the rewards are great. It is $25.00 for the membership, but there is a substantial charge for each 10-week session (there are 4). Fundraising is held throughout the year to help offset some of the cost of ice time.
Just this past year, they have joined with minor hockey and are teaching kids to skate. It helps the hockey program and offers both the hockey and figure skaters to be out on the ice together learning “Basic Skills.” The hockey skaters can choose to go on to “Learn to Figure Skate.”
This coming Friday, there will be a dress rehearsal at McMorran. On Saturday, March 7th, the Port Huron Figure Skating Club will present two shows, one at 1:00 p.m. and another at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 for adults if purchased ahead, or $12.00 at the door.
The cost for seniors and children is $8.00 purchased ahead, and $10.00 at the door. So, get your tickets and enjoy an evening of figure skating. Blue Water Healthy Living highly recommends the shows. Come on out and support the kids of the Port Huron Figure Skating Club!