The Gagnon family were not new to skating when they first came to The Skating Club of Boston. They had been active in a club in their hometown, where daughter Danielle had shown promise. But Ronellen, her mother, says they were apprehensive when moving to The Skating Club of Boston. “It is a large Club. I wondered, ‘Would we be small fish in a big pond?’”
Not so, as it turned out. The Gagnon’s were warmly welcomed, and The Skating Club of Boston would become a big part of their lives. Not only has Danielle advanced, but her parents also have become enthusiastic volunteers. A former Club secretary, Ronellen now serves on the Board and the Building Committee and co-chairs Ice Chips. Both Ronellen and Eric are also managers of the Novice Theater On Ice team and members of the Theater on Ice Steering Committee. They also stepped up to co-chair the 2019 New England Regional Championships.
“The Skating Club of Boston has been an amazing experience for Danielle,” she says. “And what we also found is that there is so much we can do as parents. We love helping out, and we’ve made some wonderful friends. Parents can enjoy going there as much as the kids do.”
The coaches have been “incredibly nurturing,” says Ronellen, and have helped Danielle pursue her dream. “When we first joined, we were looking for coaches who would give her the best opportunity to go wherever she wanted to go—whether to pursue an Olympic dream or simply to improve her skills. Whatever path she wanted to take, there was a coach at the Club who could take her there.”
Ronellen acknowledges that excellence in figure skating demands hard work, but it is also a “creative and expressive outlet” that builds self-confidence. The Skating Club of Boston coaches “instill that positively by “allowing Danielle’s personality to shine,” she says. That confidence has carried Danielle, now 15, far. She performs with Boston’s Theater-on-Ice team, which swept the Novice, Junior and Senior competitions at the 2019 national championships, and her team earned a gold at the 2019 Nations Cup.
The family is now looking forward to all the new Norwood facility will offer. For Danielle, those amenities include an upstairs lounge where skaters can relax off-ice. “It’s going to be great to have a place where we can sit and talk,” she says.
Ronellen calls the new home “breathtaking,” and hopes it brings on board a whole new generation of figure skaters and their parents. “I believe once families step inside, they will experience an inspirational feeling,” she says. “It’s a point of pride for us to be involved with the Club as it begins this new chapter, and I encourage others to share in it too.”