Adult rink rats
Lunchtime skating a big success

Cindy MacDougall
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 25/00) - That do you do at lunchtime? Do you hit the fast food lines, run some errands or hide in the company lunchroom?

A growing group of Yellowknife workers are ditching the office and taking to the ice for lunch.

"It's just a nice break from the office," said Peter Hough, as he laced his skates at the Gerry Murphy arena Wednesday. "It's a chance to get away."

The arena offers an hour of adult-only skating every noon hour from Monday to Thursday. The ice time is free to anyone over 18, and is well used.

On Wednesday, about 30 people glided on the rink, some whipping around the loop, and others practising their figures at centre ice.

Margaret Soon Holland said she tries to come to every session.

"I'm a wanna-be figure skater," she said, laughing. "A couple of us take coaching at night, and practice during the day."

She said the lunch hour is a perfect time to skate.

"I love coming at lunch. It gives me a break in the work day," she said.

On the ice, Maria Urban practised her figures. She said the ice time allows her to skate with her friends.

"We have nice music and good people, and we have the others to help," she said.

Hiromi Amameya, originally from Japan, works for Raven Tours and said she comes to the noon-hour skate whenever she can. She said skating was a rare treat in her home country and in Vancouver, the last city where she worked.

"There was not enough time to go skating at lunch," she said. "But I like that here, it's a small city and I can walk right over."

The regulars only have one small complaint: there's not enough ice time for adults.

"We only have one hour to go skating each day," said Elizabeth Krol. "If we could have another hour, it would be better."

"But we do appreciate the time we get," Urban said.

Anyone with a pair of skates is encouraged to come, even if your skating is a little rusty.

"I encourage people to come, even though it gets crowded," she said. "And if you want, we will teach you!"