Spirit Skaters pump up crowd during hockey games

In Focus Editor and In Focus Editor

Freshman Erica Rybak has been skating ever since she could walk, so it was a natural fit for her to join the newly created team called Spirit Skaters that go on the ice and perform before hockey games.

“At my age, it’s hard to find competition,” she said. “So it’s nice to be able to come together and do something like this.”

The team that started at the beginning of the year varies from 12-15 skaters per game and only perform during home games.

They skate before the puck drops and in between periods to get the fans excited, she said.

“We skate with Freddy and Frieda, do spins and jumps during the breaks,” Ryback said. “It’s a way to connect with the fans.”

Program Coordinator Laura Dunn works with the Spirit Skaters’ choreography and helps plan the pregame routine.

“This is exciting,” she said. “There is a long tradition of figure skating here in BGSU and it’s great to see students who want to participate in this kind of activity.”

Marc Horwitz, a marketing intern, brought the concept of Spirit Skaters to the University. He saw other skaters like them at another tournament and wanted to bring it here.

“They help us with promotions by being on the ice with the T-shirt give away,” he said. “The pregame figure skating routine gets the crowd involved and interacts with the fans.”

Dunn wants to bring that fan interaction to the games as well.

“There’s a lot of excitement and support around hockey,” Dunn said. “[Spirit Skaters] add one more level of excitement and interaction to the games.”

Even though the team is new to the University, Horwitz has heard positive news from several sources.

“We are getting good feedback from the staff and fans,” he said.

Rybak said the team is still bonding and getting to know each other.

“It’s fun to be in the locker room together,” she said. “We get to hang out and listen to music while we get ready.”

Andriana Nativio, freshman, is also a part of the Spirit Skaters and enjoys being on the team.

“It’s fun,” she said. “I met a lot of people. It’s nice to be a part of it, to go out there and skate.”

Nativio doesn’t want people to think they are the new ‘cheerleaders’ for the hockey team.

“No one’s used to girls skating on the ice before a hockey game,” she said. “We are spirit, but we showcase what we can do for the team and support hockey.”