The Arctic Edge has earned some new hardware for its trophy display case – or rather, its skaters have.
Three ice-dancing pairs took center stage in April at the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, earning a unique place in the history books.
Two U.S. teams and one Canadian team – all of whom skate out of the Arctic Edge, under the tutelage of world-renowned coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva – executed the first three-team sweep in skating, bringing home to Canton the gold, silver and bronze medals.
“I am proud of everything we were able to accomplish,” said Charlie White, who grabbed the gold medal with his U.S. skating partner, Meryl Davis. “Obviously, we skated well, but it was thinking back on everything we had to go through that me most proud.”
Canadian skaters Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue won the silver medal, and U.S. dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani, a brother-and-sister pair, earned the bronze medal.
No skating club has ever secured all three medals in a single category – in this case, ice dancing – in world competition.
“I am very proud,” said Zoueva. “From an individual competition, we have really created a team sport.”
The six skaters and their coaches were all honored by the Arctic Edge – in partnership with Canton Township – at a ceremony Tuesday at in the .
Several Arctic Edge and Canton officials addressed the gathered crowd. Township Supervisor Phil LaJoy praised the ice dancing champions for representing Canton's dedication to excellence, and Canton Leisure Services sports and recreation coordinator Ann-Marie Carravallah called the opportunity to be around such talent " a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Before a crowd of young figure skaters -- clad in brightly colored skating uniforms, clutching skates and photos to be signed by the medalists -- Arctic Figure Skating Club President Diane Keils thanked the honorees for showing the younger generations of skaters how hard work and determination pays off.
Jason Varlesi, marketing director for the Arctic Edge also said that having such talent around the rinks was immeasurable, and that as a result many of the younger kids in the skating programs go on to success in college -- and beyond.
"These guys can skate anywhere in the world," he said of the world champion ice dancers. "But they chose to come to our rink. I think that says a lot."
After addressing a crowd of family and friends, as well as Canton and Arctic Edge officials, the medal winners joined their adoring fans for pizza – and a few autographs with some of the club’s younger skaters.
“We had a great time,” said Alex Shibutani, 20, who is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. “It was a great event. We love training here.”
Maia Shibutani, 16, attends Huron High School in Ann Arbor and plans to follow in her brother’s footsteps and attend U of M when she graduates
White, 24, and Davis, 23, also attend the University of Michigan. Virtue, 22, is studying at the University of Windsor; she and Moir, 23, are both from London, Ontario.