Skating show coming to Meridian Centre Jan. 30

By Bernie Puchalski, St. Catharines Standard

Kurt Browning will be performing at a skating show Jan.30 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

Kurt Browning will be performing at a skating show Jan.30 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.


For four-time world figure skating champion Kurt Browning, there’s something special about being a performer in the first skating show at a new facility.

The World Figure Skating Hall of Fame member and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, two-time Olympic silver medallists, will be the headliners of the inaugural Skate Niagara Ice Show Jan. 30 at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

“When you’re off the ice it’s like ‘First year, claimed it’ and it’s kind of like a house party,” the 48-year-old said.

And for the fans in attendance, it might be their first visit to the Meridian Centre.

“Together, there’s a synergy and an energy that you don’t get in from other venues and I’ve learned that over the years,” Browning said.

He loves skating in shows and spreading the gospel of figure skating.

“I can remember that first moment a guest skater came to my home club. I was inspired and I feel any chance we have to get out there — not on television — but in person to shake hands, sign autographs and inspire do it because one of the greatest ways to give back to the sport is to inspire the next generation.”

When Browning heard Sandra Bezic was producing and directing the show, he was quick to sign up. Bezic was co-creator of CBC’s Battle of the Blades and producer/director of Stars on Ice for 11 seasons.

“I’m completely here for selfish reasons,” he said. “Any chance I get a chance to work with Sandra I jump at it.

“She is probably 85% responsible for most of all the nice things ever said about me. We are going to have a lot of fun.”

Browning attended a news conference Tuesday at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines to publicize the show while Moir and Virtue did phone interviews that were played live at the press conference. Virtue called from London, where she is finishing a psychology degree at the University of Western Ontario.

Her and Moir are exploring career options on and off the ice.

“It also means that any chance we have perform now, since we’re not at the competitive circuit, is really exciting and exhilarating,” she said. “So Jan. 30 in Niagara will be that much more meaningful because we are really relishing every chance we have to perform.”

Moir echoed that excitement.

“We have a little bit of a different season this year, not competing as amateurs. It’s nice to have the opportunity to do shows like the one Jan. 30 in St. Catharines. With it being in Ontario, it is extra special”

The ice show is more than just filling dates at the new spectator facility, said Ken Noakes, the Meridian Centre’s general manager.

“This is the type of event this building was built for. When you spend the amount of money St. Catharines spent on this building, we want to make sure everyone gets in here and enjoys it,” he said.

“It’s not just a rock and jock palace. It’s not just for hockey players. It’s not just for rock concerts. It is truly for everyone.”

Noakes has high expectations for booking plenty of events at the Meridian Centre.

“We want to see 110-120 event days in this building but it’s going to take a little time to build it,” he said. “It will take a few years.”

Noakes didn’t want to estimate how many days would be booked in 2015.

Skate Niagara Ice Show

Where: Meridian Centre.

When: Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Headliners: Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir and Kurt Browning.

Local flavour: Olympic silver medallist Kirsten Moore-Towers from St. Catharines and new partner Michael Marinaro and Nexxice synchronized skating team from Burlington, which includes Emma Bonafiglia from Beamsville.

Tickets: $49, available Dec. 5 at Ticketmaster and Meridian Centre box office.


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