This is the late evening news coverage on BBC South Today on 22 February about the rally in Ryde in support of the rink.

The rally also demonstrated another key feature of the rink: it is one of the few wet-weather venues of any great capacity on the Island.

Trophy D’Ecosse videos

Perhaps it’s a good opportunity with the Ryde rink under threat to look at some of the recent successes of its synchronized skating teams. If Ryde rink closes, the Isle of Wight will lose all the coaching experience and skating experience that has seen its teams compete on the world stage. Wight Jewels have won the British championships at junior level four times, and represented Great Britain three times at the junior world championships.


Wight Jewels, Junior B gold medallists, free programme


Wight Crystals, Basic Novice B silver medallists


Wight Sparkles, Elementary silver medallists (no sound owing to technical fault):

Planet Ice announced yesterday that it is to cease operations at Ryde ice rink on 25 March. The company has been the rink’s operator since it took over from Isle of Wight Council. The council still owns the building; Planet Ice is simply the leaseholder.

Planet Ice had an obligation to run the venue as an ice rink for 15 years, after which any guarantee that it would remain an ice rink ended. That obligation runs until February 2016, according to IW Council, and the council is currently seeking clarification from Planet Ice about how it intends to keep to its obligations.

Mike Petrouis of Planet Ice has said he is prepared to talk to interested parties and to sell the remainder of the lease plus fixtures and fittings for £5. Petrouis said the rink was currently losing about £140,000 a year.

iowskaters knows of several interested parties and wishes them well in ensuring the continued operation of the Ryde rink.

The rink, of course, was in the news in January 2012 when HM Revenue and Customs issued winding up orders against eight of Arena Group’s Planet Ice rinks – Basingstoke, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Gosport, Isle of Wight, Peterborough and Hemel Hempstead – over unpaid taxes. Mike Petrouis, previous owner of the Planet Ice brand, at that time emerged as the saviour of those rinks. Of those eight, Norwich has since closed, Cardiff will close when the new winter sports village opens under a different operator (Planet Ice was dropped as a partner by the council over perceived financial concerns), and Hemel Hempstead was at risk until an active campaign saved it. Milton Keynes has benefited from extensive refurbishment as a result of work on the development of which it is part and has reopened. Gosport remains in a run-down condition with a long-promised refurbishment depending on financial support.

Planet Ice recently closed its Leisure Box ice rink in Birmingham, also citing poor financials; a planning application to turn the site into an 11-storey development of flats and shops has since been submitted. Planet Ice has twice tried and failed at the planning stage to redevelop the Ryde rink, first into a hotel and apartments, and second into a combined rink and supermarket.

There is an action group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/794820610588525/

An online petition to express support for the rink is at: https://www.change.org/p/isle-of-wight-save-our-rink

Spring Cup 2015, Milan

The 21st Spring Cup gets under way at the Palasesto ice rink in Sesto San Giovanni, Milan, on 13 to 15 February. This synchronized skating competition attracts some of the world’s top teams, including the awesome Team Surprise from Sweden at senior level, Haydenettes from USA, Tartarstan from Russia and Nexxice from Canada. Nexxice will be fresh from the Trophy D’Ecosse, where they amassed a stunning 202.69 points.

Junior level has also attracted some top teams, with Nexxice Juniors, Idel from Russia, Synchroettes from the USA, three Swedish teams including Convivium and Spirit, and Team Berlin Juniors.

The draw takes place on 13 February, with the skating on 14 and 15 February. The event has an active Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/user/springcup. iowskaters understands that this year’s event will be streamed and details will be available later this week. As Ryan T Thornton was on our flight from Gatwick, and arrived at the PalaSesto rink shortly after we did on Thursday, streaming will almost certainly be by On The Rocks and available on a YouTube channel. Update: Stream is by On a The Rocks, see link below.

iowskaters will be at the event, updating via our Facebook page when possible, depending on internet connections.

Link: www.springcup.it

Teams: www.springcup.it/15/team.html

Schedule: www.springcup.it/15/time.html

Results: www.springcup.it/15/results.html and http://www.fisg.it/upload/result/3544/index.html

Live streaming: http://www.ontherocks.co/spring-cup.html

Wight Jewels and Wight Crystals at the Trophy D'Ecosse 2015

Wight Jewels and Wight Crystals at the Trophy D’Ecosse 2015

IW synchronized skating teams had a successful Trophy D’Ecosse in Dumfries on 6 to 8 February, coming away with one gold and two silver medals.

Wight Sparkles, the IW’s youngest team, took silver in the Elementary category, scoring 16.19. Winners Ice Pops from Nottingham scored 21.03, Solway Lightning from Dumfries took bronze with 11.51, just ahead of fourth-placed Starlight Blizzard from Stirling on 11.39. Solway Lightning were therefore Scottish champions, being the top-placed Scottish team in the category.*

Wight Crystals, skating in the Basic Novice B category, also took silver, scoring 26.06. Gold medallists and, therefore, Scottish champions Solway Eclipse from Dumfries scored 32.63, and bronze medallists Fusion of Bracknell scored 21.82.

Wight Jewels were second after the short programme in the Junior B event on 22.00, with Dumfries’ Solway Stars ahead on 25.27 and Eindhoven’s Kids on Ice third on 21.72. However, the tables turned in the long, with the Jewels able to to overtake the Stars. Scores for the free programme were Wight Jewels 51.60, Solway Stars 43.77, and Kids on Ice 34.32, giving the overalls scores of Wight Jewels 73.60, Solway Stars 69.04 and Kids on Ice 56.04. Although Wight Jewels took the gold, Solway Stars as the highest placed Scottish team in the category are Scottish champions.

Catch-up videos are available on YouTube on Ryan T Thornton’s channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwLf0F2HLnuWVirEMLV445w. At the request of Trophy D’Ecosse organisers, Ryan was able to provide streaming coverage of the event at very short notice, a service that iowskaters for one greatly appreciated.

* It is a peculiarity of the Trophy D’Ecosse that the winners are not necessarily also the Scottish champions. The event combines the former Scottish championships, and so the Scottish champion is the top Scottish team in each category. This leads to situations where the Scottish champion can be one of the non-medalling teams, as happened this year with Braehead’s Starlight Rain in the Mixed Age class, who were sixth.

Results: www.icephoto.co.uk/TDE2015/index.htm

Wight Sparkles at the Trophy D'Ecosse 2015

Wight Sparkles at the Trophy D’Ecosse 2015

The organisers of Trophy D’Ecosse in Dumfries (6 to 8 February) have contacted us to advise that live streaming of the event will be available thanks to the On The Rocks team at: http://www.ontherocks.co/trophy-d-ecosse.html

Trophy D’Ecosse 2015

The Trophy D’Ecosse takes place in Dumfries on 6 to 8 February, as IW parents will already know, having packed the teams off on a coach this morning in the small hours. They should arrive in time for the draw tonight and for early morning practice on Friday.

Wight Jewels, competing in the Junior B event, are in a group of four including Kids on Ice (Eindhoven), Solway Stars (Dumfries) and Team Destiny (Wales & West).

Wight Crystals, competing in the Basic Novice B event, are in a group of three, including Fusion (Bracknell) and Solway Eclipse (Dumfries).

Wight Sparkles, competing in the Elementary event, are in a group of four including Solway Lightning (Dumfries), Icepops (Nottingham) and Starlight Blizzard (Stirling).

The competition has attracted a stellar name at senior level: Nexxice of Canada. The category also has a team from Turkey, Team Turquoise of Ankara, which should prove interesting for the three British senior teams involved: Team Spirit (Wales & West), Zariba (Aberdeen) and Moray Dolphins (Inverness).

Nexxice will also be competing at the Spring Cup in Milan on 13 to 15 February, which is where iowskaters will be next. We’re not at Dumfries this year, so we regret we will not be able to report results live on our Facebook page.

Start order and results are in theory at: www.icephoto.co.uk/TDE2015/index.htm

Official site: http://trophydecosse.co.uk/


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