By Carol Fawcett, Founding Member
To my knowledge, North Delta was never known as a land of crisp, cold winter afternoons where gaily dressed skaters enjoyed the sport on frozen outdoor rinks. Therefore, one could be forgiven if, in the summer of 1971, one passed disparaging glances at a group of people who were forming a skating club with no indoor arena in the neighbourhood.
Plans for an arena were in the works, however, and with the North Delta Parks and Recreation Committee on Future Use looking for input from local organizations, I and my husband, Ron Fawcett, headed up an eager group to represent figure skating. A $35 donation from Parks and Rec started our bank account.
Anyone who was interested (or who could be cajoled) served on the interim executive. We set the structure of the club and a pre-registration was held for those who wanted to skate. We printed our notices at municipal hall and delivered them by foot, door to door. We also advertised in the paper.
The first meeting was full and each family paid one dollar to help the club on its way. Officers were elected to the interim executive: president, Carol Fawcett; vice-president, Ed Dueck; recording secretary, Ken Mills; corresponding secretary, Millie Wallace; treasurer, Elaine Farden; registrar, Marg Parquette; directors, Bonnie Leksen (programs), Barb Wudy (administration), Phill Arason (membership), Lillian Lesoky (finance), Penny David (public relations); judges committer, Shirley Kelly.
The Sungod Skating Club was registered as a society and was sanctioned through the CFSA. We solicited applications for professionals.
While Ron and I attended a BC Section annual meeting in Kamloops, we interviewed a young professional from Penticton who was there with his wife, Linda, a baby in her arms, and a four year-old son by their side. We were very impressed, and at the next executive meeting, we hired Vernon Hartt as our senior professional.
It was the spring of 1972 and we were making progress. We had a constitution, an executive, and a professional. The only thing we didn’t have was an ice rink. We forged ahead. The arena was to be completed and ready for use September 15. (Thanks to a CUPE strike we didn’t set blade to ice until October.)
We held registration at the North Delta Outdoor Pool. The building was freezing, the response was warming. We knew we could stop worrying whether our professionals could make a living-membership in the club hat first year was 1,450. Thirteen hundred of those didn’t know how to skate. Vern rolled up his sleeves and, with the help of a few armature coaches who had started skating at the North Surrey Skating Club, he organized our members on the ice as only he could have done. Tiny Tots were 2 ½ to 5 years old (there was a lot of babysitting). The NST badge sessions had 200 to 250 skaters each, 99 percent of whom couldn`t skate. There were no junior or intermediate sessions as we had few patch skaters. The senior category contained all skaters working on preliminary to gold figures. Ice costs the first year were $11.50 to $15.50 per hour. Senior patches began at 4:00 am.
We hired a second professional, Patricia Shutty, from Nelson, BC. Unfortunately, Patricia was injured during a power skating session and left us before year end. She was replaced by Wendy Beresosky.
The Executive established the club’s crest and mascot in 1972 and chose the official club colours of orange and gold.
By the end of the first winter season, many of the originally elected executive members were no longer involved. According to the first carnival program from the spring of 1973, the executive was as follows: president, Carol Fawcett; vice-president, Roy Staples; corresponding secretary, Millie Wallace; recording secretary, Ken Mills; treasurer, Elaine Farden; registrar, Jean Somers; director, Emilia Bourgeault (door, patch, and music); pro committee, Barbara Wudy; Special events, Shirley Kelly; carnival, Penny David; and test chairperson, Frank Baine.
The club’s first carnival was called Sugar and Spice and almost everyone participated.
One of the most exciting things about that first year was the way the whole community seemed to pitch in and help. No matter how big or small the job; there was always someone willing to lend a hand. We live in a great community and I’ll always be grateful for the support we received in our formative years.