I couldn’t come all the way to Africa and not find a skating story to do! Sort of fitting when you think that I work mostly in winter sports and it is now wintertime in South Africa.

The Ice Station is located in a casino/entertainment complex on the outskirts of Capetown, South Africa. It houses one of only a handful of locations where skaters can train.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of public skating sessions which help to underwrite the costs.  On the night I visited, there was some figure skating taking place on half the ice while public skating was taking up the other half and if you can imagine those enormous foam boards like they use for short track, they are what was run across the ice separating the two groups.

I had been asked  by former Finnish skater turned coach, Oula Jaskaalainen if I could transport a new pair of skates from Toronto to Capetown for his student Matthew Samuels. Matthew’s skates had been stolen from his car at home three weeks before SA Nationals and he has been skating since then, with an older boy’s skates that are 2 sizes too big for him. The good news is with his new boots and blades delivered, I now have more room and freed up weight to carry stuff home! (But I digress…).

I met Matthew and as polite and poised as he was, you could see the excitement over the new skates bubbling over.

Matthew is as keen a skater as any boy I would find at home. He has been skating for 7 years and has a personal best score of 72.87.  At 14 years old and as a novice skater, he has definite goals.  See for yourself:

On the same evening, Matthew’s 11 year old sister Abigail was also around.

She is a promising young skater who finished with a silver medal in pre-novice at the recent SA Nationals Equally delightful, I asked if she would be willing to answer a couple of questions:


Looks like skating in South Africa is in good hands 🙂