The History of Figure Skating in the U.S.

U.S. Figure Skating History

Taken from U.S. figure skating website:

Although skating was born in Europe, Americans can be proud of the fact that figure skating, as we know it today, traces its origins directly back to an American – Jackson Haines – who was born in New York in 1840 and died in 1875 in Finland (popular folklore holds that he caught pneumonia during a raging blizzard he encountered while traveling by sled from St. Petersburg to Stockholm; in reality his death was attributed to tuberculosis).

Just before the Civil War, a skating craze, accompanied by a dancing craze, swept America, and during this time, Haines leapt into the limelight with his daring combination of both skating and dance. He was a true revolutionary, for in a country where figure skating had laboriously developed a stiff and rigid style, the free and expressive movements of his virtuoso performances were frowned on, if not actually condemned.

Haines claimed to be the champion of America in 1863; however, at that time many self-proclaimed “championships” were held without any legitimate or official claim to the title, so Haines’ title cannot be substantiated. At any rate, the continued cool reception given to him in his own country prompted him to go to Europe, where he was warmly and enthusiastically received. When he arrived in Vienna, he received the warmest reception of all; he was an immediate success. Little wonder, in the home of the graceful Viennese Waltz! It was here, as a direct result of his pioneering performances, that the so-called “International Style of Figure Skating” was born. It wasn’t until many years later – in the first decade of this century – that this style finally came home to America.

Although local skating clubs had been formed and competitions held since the middle of the 19th century, the sport functioned informally, and some years were to pass before the formation of the United States Figure Skating Association in 1921 (now known as U.S. Figure Skating). Only then was the machinery established that has guaranteed the growth in this country of the modern, highly-developed sport of figure skating. U.S. Figure Skating is comprised of member clubs, individual members and associate members.

When the association was first formed and became a member of the International Skating Union (ISU), there were seven charter member clubs of U.S. Figure Skating. Now the organization has more than 600 member clubs across the country. Membership in U.S. Figure Skating carries certain privileges and entitles figure skaters to participate in the tests, competitions and exhibitions sponsored by the association.

Until the early ’20s, there were no set standards of proficiency; if a skater felt qualified to compete, he/she did so. Today, tests – figure, free skating, moves in the field, pair, dance and synchronized team skating – are the measurement of progress in the various branches of the sport. Official test sessions sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating are conducted by member clubs for their members and members of collegiate clubs, as well as for individual members. Under certain conditions, ineligible persons and members of other skating associations may also take U.S. Figure Skating official tests.

Competitions on every level are a principal incentive for figure skaters to train, develop and improve their proficiency. By ascending the competition “ladder,” competitors registered with U.S. Figure Skating gain entry into international figure skating events – among them the Olympic Winter Games and World Championships. All figure skating competitions in the United States, especially the regional, sectional and U.S. Championships, which are the steps that are ascended to qualify for international competitions, are sanctioned directly or indirectly by U.S. Figure Skating and are conducted by member clubs.

Exhibitions provide exposure for the talents of figure skaters. U.S. Figure Skating member clubs are eligible to hold figure skating exhibitions in the United States with the sanction of U.S. Figure Skating. Most people are aware nowadays of the professional ice shows that tour the world, but how many people know the genesis of this extremely popular form of show business? In the 1920s and ’30s, commercial ice shows did not exist. At that time, a few U.S. Figure Skating member clubs regularly mounted ice carnivals – showcases for the top national and international skating talents. Only later, after champions such as Sonja Henie had gained their reputations through these carnivals, did they turn professional and inaugurate the professional shows that have developed into the multimillion-dollar businesses they are today.

A very important function of U.S. Figure Skating has been the financial assistance provided to skaters by the Memorial Fund, which was founded in the wake of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of the entire 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team.

The Memorial Fund was conceived as a means to not only honor the memory of the team, but also to give continuing support and assistance to up-and-coming skaters to help them reach the World Championships.

In addition, U.S. Figure Skating publishes SKATING magazine (est. 1923), which provides factual in-depth coverage of the world of skating for sports enthusiasts.

U.S. Figure Skating made its home on the Internet when U.S. Figure Skating Online debuted in 1995 ( The web site features news, results, ticket information and information on the organization’s many programs, and it has become a regular stop for more than 300,000 skating enthusiasts each month.

U.S. Figure Skating expanded its presence on the web with the launch of in 2007. The site has the exclusive rights to U.S. Figure Skating’s interactive media properties and is a partnership between U.S. Figure Skating and MLB Advanced Media. offers exclusive live and on-demand coverage of domestic and international competitions while giving fans the opportunity to stay updated with news and information from the world of figure skating year round.

Figure skating has come a long way since the time Jackson Haines took to the ice, and its continued growth will be assured the support of the American people through U.S. Figure Skating.


The Top 10 Stereotypical Adult Hockey Players

07/13/2015, 10:00am MDT
By Michael Rand  Taken off of

It’s the middle of the summer, which either means you’re a hardcore adult league hockey player hitting the ice in between heat waves or you’re having visions of the fall when you’re back at the rink.

As such, let’s pause for a moment of levity and recognition – identifying 10 stereotypical adult hockey players. This could be you. This could be someone you know. If it hits close to home, you can decide whether to laugh or cry (and please note that the generic use of “guy” in all of these does not preclude female adult players from being just as guilty).

Forgot-the-Beer Guy: If a postgame cold one is part of your team’s routine, chances are you rotate beer-buying duties throughout the group. And chances are, you have someone who “conveniently” forgets when it’s his turn to bring it (but never forgets to drink it when a teammate brings it). This is the game misconduct of teammate penalties. Do not be this person.

Let’s-Skip-the-Game-and-Drink Guy: Again, if we accept that having a beer or two after the game is part of the ritual, don’t let us forget that there is often someone a little too eager to get to the postgame on every team. A lot of players like a little beer with their hockey, but don’t make it vice-versa. Postgame is not the main event.

I-Could-Have-Been-in-the-NHL Guy: You’ve likely encountered a player or two (or 20) in your adult league days who can’t wait to tell you about the huge season he had in squirts or how he schooled (imaginary player X) when he was 13 and should be making the big bucks in the NHL now. These guys are still probably trying just a little too hard to rekindle past glories. If their go-to breakaway move is a shot-for-shot remake of the key scene in Youngblood, you’ll be able to identify this person easily.

Obsessed-with-Equipment Guy: Gear is fun. Equipment keeps getting better, lighter, all of those things. But at a certain point, most of us realize this is for fun – and that the basic equipment that promotes safety and quality is good enough. But you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars compensating for a lack of skill. And that’s what obsessed-with-equipment guy does.

Playing-a-Level-Too-Low Guy: One of the keys to good adult hockey experiences is matching players of reasonably similar skill levels. If you’re sandbagging in a league in which the vast majority of players can’t match your skill, just so you can rack up a bunch of goals and feel good about yourself, maybe consider not doing that.

Stick-to-the-Routine Guy: Did you or one of your teammates have a pregame ritual back in peewees that never failed? Maybe a certain stick tap sequence, a secret handshake or even just the order you put your equipment on? We’re happy for you. That’s cute. And ultimately, a little routine isn’t really hurting anyone. Just don’t fall to pieces if the order gets interrupted. You’re an adult now.

Goalie-Who-Thinks-He’s-a-Skater Guy: It’s hard enough to find qualified goalies who want to play in an adult league. When you find a good one, you want to keep him in the net. But former goalies are curious creatures and they get notions that they might make good forwards.

Over-Celebrating Guy: When it’s 8-2 with three minutes left in the game and you score a goal, there might not be a need to jump into the boards (in an empty arena), point your stick like it’s a rifle, go canoeing or any other such celebrations. It’s great to put the biscuit in the basket. Go ahead and raise those arms and be happy. But if you’re going to hoist a plastic cup instead of the Stanley Cup postgame, maybe ease up a little on the dramatic celly.

Forgot-My-Tape Guy: In 2015, hockey tape is available in a variety of wonderful colors and can be bought online or in a store quite easily for just a few bucks. It might as well be the most luxurious and hard-to-find item in the world, though, if you’re forgot-my-tape guy. Can I borrow some of yours? Of course you can. I’m an adult with foresight and a five-dollar bill.

Wants-to-Fight Guy: Our last character is quite possibly our least character. Very few adult hockey players like having wants-to-fight-guy in their league – particularly when this stereotypical player overlaps with “overly intense” guy. It’s a game. Get some exercise. Be competitive, but have fun. There’s just no need to be a goon.

5 Tips to Skating Smarter, Not Harder

05/18/2015, 9:30am MDT

By Michael Rand  Taken off of

The notion of working smarter, not harder, has become a well-worn cliché. But within every overused expression is an element of truth, and when it comes to becoming a better skater, the smarter-not-harder approach certainly applies.

If you’re looking for an extra skating edge in your league, here are five tips from Sean Cromarty, a former NCAA Division I player at Colorado College and currently the owner of Competitive Advantage Training – many of which come from a simple change in approach.

Out not up: One of the biggest mistakes skaters make comes from wasted movement, Cromarty says. There is a natural tendency to recoil upward at the start of a skating burst toward the puck; if a player can work on making that first motion forward instead of upward, the resulting efficiency increase will be easy to see.

“Some people get excited and almost start running toward the puck, but their momentum is bringing them upward vs. someone whose momentum is bringing them forward, they are losing a step,” Cromarty says. “And that’s where someone going forward might appear quick or fast.”

He compares it to a sprinter in a 40-yard dash.

“They’re almost falling into those first few strides because their forward propulsion is so great,” Cromarty says. “If you go from that beginning stance to upward and then forward, you’re behind. It’s critical when you talk about the first-three-step quickness.”

Body in unison: Cromarty’s next tip also has to do with efficiency of movement. Skating shouldn’t be a herky-jerky movement, but sometimes in the excitement to get to a loose puck or to switch gears to chase down an opponent, bodies get out of whack. The “quieter” you can keep your movements, the better your skating will be.

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” Cromarty says. “You want equal motion, with the hips and shoulders in unison, you’re going to be a much more fluid skater than someone who has shoulders, arms and pelvis going all over the place. We’ve all seen the guys, from little kids all the way up to men’s league guys, but the ones who are most economical in terms of use of energy are usually the fastest and most efficient players.”

Off-ice advice: When it comes to training off the ice, Cromarty advises adult players to skip the simulated skating devices like slideboards or skating treadmills because, as he says, “I don’t think there’s anything better than the real thing.”

Instead, work on squats because those in some ways mimic the beginning skating position, and also try short-burst speed work on land to become faster on the ice. Cromarty says he went to a speed school and worked with football players training for the 40-yard dash. But even just going to the local track and running short sprints is a great idea, he says.

“If you can build that into your off-ice conditioning, you’re killing two birds with one stone,” Cromarty says. “Instead of being the guy who goes to the gym and does an hour on the elliptical, go to the track and do short sprints to build up quick-twitch muscle fibers.”

Get the reps in: Repeated work in key areas – quick bursts in one direction, starting and stopping, explosion of stride – are particularly important because, well, practice makes perfect.

“I think with the on-ice skating things – power skating methods and ways to become comfortable with your edges – the commonality is reps,” Cromarty says. “You need that time. That’s the number one thing, and they have to be quality reps.”

Gain the mental edge: It might seem disconnected, but simply becoming a better hockey player can make you a better skater – bringing us to Cromarty’s final tip.

Thinking a better game won’t make you physically faster, of course, but it can make you appear faster.

“If you’re thinking a step ahead of everyone, you might not be a great skater in terms of edge control and work, but you can anticipate where the play is going to be and get a head start,” Cromarty says. “Gretzky is the perfect example of someone who had it put together mentally and who was never the biggest, fastest guy.”

It sounds like he’s saying the greatest player of all time worked smarter, not harder. So why shouldn’t you?

Boston is the most interesting team at the draft right now

Ryan Kennedy

Dougie Hamilton (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dougie Hamilton (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

For a team just a few years removed from a Stanley Cup and really only one season removed from being a titan in the Eastern Conference, there sure is a lot of chaos surrounding the Boston Bruins right now.

And chaos is not always a bad thing, though new GM Don Sweeney certainly won’t have the luxury of easing into his position.

Simply put, the Bruins are strangled by the salary cap right now. They have about $11 million in space, once you put Marc Savard back on long-term injury reserve (his cap hit is $4 million until 2017). But the list of needs for the team is long.

First and foremost, you have rising defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who needs a new contract now that his rookie deal has expired. Hamilton had a breakout season for the B’s and based on his size and skill set, he’ll be crucial to the Boston defense corps for years to come, particularly since the franchise already lost Johnny Boychuk and will have to deal with Zdeno Chara entering the twilight of his career.

From what I’m hearing, Hamilton’s contract could go a number of ways. Boston can sign him for up to eight years and in that scenario, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get something similar to what Drew Doughty got from Los Angeles when he came off his rookie deal (eight years, $7 million per).

High praise comparing Dougie to Dewey, I know, but Hamilton was an advanced stats monster for the Bruins this year and his 40 points mirrored Doughty’s totals in the last year of the Kings blueliner’s rookie deal.

The other way to go is a shorter pact, such as the one P.K. Subban signed in Montreal – a “bridge deal,” as it is known. Subban, who became exactly what we all thought he would become, got paid even larger once he came off that bridge deal and now makes $9 million per campaign. But his bridge deal was a more-than-reasonable $5.7 million spread over two years.

If Sweeney can get Hamilton under contract for that, I’m sure he will be over the moon. Because the future is a lot more bright for the Bruins than the present, financially speaking. On top of Hamilton, the B’s need at least one more NHL defenseman for next season, even if they skew younger. It sounds like Adam McQuaid will walk as a free agent, unless big moves happen this weekend.

The most talked-about in that scenario is Milan Lucic, who reportedly has given the Bruins a list of teams he would accept trades to. Lucic has a $6 million cap hit and though Boston loves the guy, that would certainly solve a lot of problems.

One player I don’t see a problem with is center Ryan Spooner. Like Hamilton, he needs a new pact coming off his rookie deal, but I’ve been told that things are moving smoothly on that front. If anything, Spooner could help the Bruins by signing a reasonable deal and building off the succcess he had in 29 NHL games this season.

Oh, and the Bruins need a backup goalie for Tuukka Rask. Will it be one of the kids, such as Zane McIntyre or Malcolm Subban? That would work for me, though reps are important at their age and the AHL might be better for them than sitting on the bench for 60 games.

Overall, things are far from settled in Boston and the Bruins will be the most intriguing team to watch in the next 48 hours and beyond.

2015 Draft Preview – It’s blue sky for the Toronto Maple Leafs

2015 Draft Preview – It’s blue sky for the Toronto Maple Leafs | The Hockey News.


2015 Draft Preview – It’s blue sky for the Toronto Maple Leafs

William Nylander (Getty Images)

William Nylander (Getty Images)

It was a great indictment of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ drafting and developing when Brendan Shanahan fired the man who ran the hockey department, GM Dave Nonis, plus several key scouts two months before a pivotal draft. The scouting dismissals were on the advice of director of player personnel Mark Hunter, who has essentially been given the keys to the kingdom when it comes to picking and cultivating prospects. Hunter comes with an excellent track record of talent identification from his days with the London Knights, and the Leafs hired him to help find NHL-caliber players.

Round 1, picks 4, 24
Round 3, pick 65
Round 4, picks 95, 107
Round 5, pick 125
Round 6, pick 155
Round 7, pick 185

The Leafs have lacked a true No. 1 center since Mats Sundin. Tyler Bozak has good chemistry with Phil Kessel, but their defensive acumen is so lacking that Toronto’s top line, which also included James van Riemsdyk, made up three of the NHL’s bottom five in plus-minus.

Depending upon what happens in what should be an interesting off-season, the Leafs have enough top-end talent. They need secondary help, the kinds of players you get in the middle to late rounds of the draft where the Leafs have been so bereft of impact picks.

Even if the Leafs don’t manage to shed salary over the summer, they have just $57.4 million committed for next season, and their only RFAs of note are goalie Jonathan Bernier and center Nazem Kadri.

IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
The Leafs have consistently ranked near the bottom of THN’s Future Watch rankings, which is a big reason why they find themselves in their current situation. Top prospect William Nylander got his first taste of North American pro hockey playing for Toronto’s AHL affiliate. Stuart Percy saw some NHL time and looks ready to make the jump. Connor Brown, the CHL’s top scorer in 2013-14, led the Marlies in scoring.

Of the eight players taken by the Leafs in the 2008 draft, only one remains with the organization. That’s D-man Andrew MacWilliam, taken 188th overall, who played 12 games with Toronto this season.

Vince Vaughn interviews Mr. Serious

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:23 PM CT

By Leah Pascarella – / The Blackhawks Blog
Found on the Chicago Blackhawks website.

Jonathan Toews had a special interview after practice earlier this week, as actor Vince Vaughn stopped by the United Center to ask Captain Serious some not-so-serious questions.

From celebrating his 2010 Olympic gold medal in a crammed room to what goes through his head during the national anthem, Toews gave Vaughn the inside scoop on life as the captain. Vaughn and Toews also debated if the electrifying atmosphere of the United Center is comparable to a rock concert, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello made a special appearance to give his expertise.

Toews had the opportunity to ask Vaughn a few questions, including his most memorable moment as a fan and what’s it like to be funny. Sounds like No. 19 might be looking for some tips!“>Vaughn’s Interview

Click here to see Bonus Content from the interview.

Hockey AGAIN leads NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate

Hockey Again Leads NCAA’s APR

Student-athletes’ success in the classroom highlighted in annual report.

Cornell’s senior class posed together on graduation day.

The NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) data, released Wednesday, features men’s hockey as the nation’s No. 1 men’s sport in terms of student-athletes successfully progressing toward their degree for the second year in a row.

Men’s hockey’s four-year average APR score of 985 from 2010-14 is tied with fencing and water polo for the best mark of all men’s sports and leads all men’s sports with more than 22 programs (hockey has 59). Men’s hockey’s APR score is seven points above the NCAA average and a one-point improvement from last year’s score.

NCAA Release | NCAA Averages & Trends Report (.pdf)

“These NCAA statistics demonstrate again what exemplary young men are competing in Division I hockey today,” College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee said. “Our student-athletes are not only pursuing their dreams of playing hockey at the highest level, but also simultaneously earning the degrees that will serve them so well for the rest of their lives. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments both on and off the ice.”

The APR, created in 2003 to measure Division I schools and teams on their student-athletes’ success in the classroom, awards points to teams based on students’ grades, their progress toward their degree and for staying in school. Teams are also rewarded in the APR for students who return to school to complete their degree.

The APR is related – but not identical – to the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR), serving in a way as a predictor of GSR success. Hockey also leads all men’s sports in the latest GSR data with a 92.1% graduation rate for student-athletes who enrolled in 2007.

Hockey’s single-year APR score for 2013-14 of 986 also shared the lead of all men’s sports with 50 or more programs (tied with golf). Hockey’s single-year eligibility rate (991) ranked first and its retention rate (979) ranked third.

The calculation of APR also rewards teams when former student-athletes return to school to complete their degree. In the 11 years since the introduction of the APR, 124 men’s hockey student-athletes have done so, including NHL players David Backes (Minnesota State), Nick Bjugstad (Minnesota) and Anders Lee (Notre Dame) in the past year. Calder Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau will be on campus at Boston College this summer to continue working toward his degree, while Torey Krug recently tweeted a picture of himself taking an online class in pursuit of his Michigan State degree.

“Earning my degree was something very important to me when I enrolled at Notre Dame and remained so once I signed an NHL contract after three years on campus,” said Lee, who ranked fourth among NHL rookies with 25 goals this season and graduated from Notre Dame last spring. “I’m grateful for the opportunity Notre Dame gave me to fulfill both of those goals – reaching the NHL and graduating from such a prestigious institution.”

Not only is hockey excelling on average as a whole, but each of the individual teams has demonstrated success. The NCAA penalizes teams with low APRs by banning them from postseason play of enforcing other limitations. Across all sports, 89 teams had APR scores below 930 and were subject to penalties, but none are hockey programs.

Five teams – Dartmouth, Merrimack, Princeton, Rensselaer and Robert Morris – had perfect four-year average APR scores of 1,000. More than 70 percent of all teams (43 of 59) had four-year APR scores of at least 980.

– See more at: