Announcement: Michigan SElect Coming to AEU for 2022-2023
For Immediate Release – April 30, 2022
Ann Arbor, Michigan - Canton, Michigan
The coaching staffs of Arctic Edge Unity Synchronized Skating Teams (Canton, Michigan) and of Hockettes Synchronized Skating Teams (Ann Arbor, Michigan) are thrilled to announce a special partnership beginning in the 2022-2023 season to enhance skater development and parent education for the synchronized skating discipline in Michigan. The program is called Michigan SElect (capital “SE” representing southeast, referring to the region of Michigan) and skaters of both member organizations will have access to its programming and educational resources beginning May 1, 2022.
“As program directors and longtime members of the southeastern Michigan Synchronized Skating and US Figure Skating community, myself and Erin (Donovan) felt this was a unique opportunity to help better develop and educate Michigan synchronized skaters and their families. Skater development and parent education are key to generating sustainable success and growth for Michigan teams at the Sectional, National, and International levels” said Erin Cullen, Director and Head Coach of Arctic Edge Unity Synchronized Skating.
For those unfamiliar with the rich history of synchronized figure skating in the area, southeastern Michigan and Metro-Detroit once led the United States in depth for the synchro discipline. The area used to boast anywhere between four and six Team USA teams throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, a statistic that is still unmatched anywhere in the country today. Some of those teams included Hockettes Junior (of which Donovan led to multiple international showings, national medals and titles since 2002) and Team Elan Junior and Senior (where Cullen grew up competing under Director Jeannine Weinschrod - 2004 PSA Synchronized Coach of the year, Advisory Coach for Arctic Edge Unity, and Cullen’s mother), before starting Arctic Edge Unity in 2016.
“Southeast Michigan is the birthplace of synchronized skating, founded in Ann Arbor with the Hockettes in 1956, and it is our responsibility and privilege to continue the tradition of excellence in synchronized skating that this region has become known for. The sport was conceptualized as a way to teach teamwork and provide opportunity for athletes to come together sharing skills and a common goal. We plan to create new opportunities for athletes in our area to do just that,” said Hockettes Director Erin Donovan.
As a part of Michigan SElect program, members of both organizations will have access to comprehensive skater development opportunities including on-ice seminars and skills sessions, virtual training classes, special speakers, and more. Additionally, parents and guardians of skaters from both programs will have access to special educational sessions and resources, including SafeSkate seminars (formerly SafeSport), resources for skater mental health, judging and IJS technical information, and more.
“It is due time for more meaningful collaboration amongst reputable programs in our area to improve the overall health of our discipline in Michigan. In our efforts to improve skater development and parent education, we would like to put Michigan teams in a better position for consistent, reliable, and unquestionable success on the national stage.” Arctic Edge Unity director Cullen said.
The first development opportunity for skaters in this new collaboration will be the 2022 Collegiate Skating Seminar (first run pre-pandemic at Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton in 2018 and 2019). This event is slated to be held on Sunday, May 22, 2022 and will include coaches from multiple nationally-ranked college synchronized skating programs. The seminar format will allow skaters to learn from collegiate coaches, meet and greet with college coaches and skaters to learn more about collegiate skating. More information on this first joint initiative and more upcoming sessions for skaters and parents will be communicated to program members in the coming weeks.
“Collegiate synchronized skating provides student athletes with the opportunity to continue in the sport they love while pursuing higher education. The skills learned as part of a team have real life applications in the classroom and the workplace. We want young skaters to learn that academic success and synchronized skating can go hand in hand,” said Hockettes Director Erin Donovan.
If you have any questions regarding the Michigan SElect initiative or want to get involved in a member organization or receive more information regarding our resources, get in touch with Arctic Edge Unity Director Erin Cullen at ArcticSynchro@gmail.com or Hockettes Director Erin Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org.