More Than Just a Team Sport: A Profile of the Synchronized Skating Team ‘CP Ice’

The nonprofit organization brings together a sense of community with athletics.

What comes to mind when you think of team sports? Most people envision a field or a court: soccer, baseball, volleyball, or basketball. But one sport that almost never comes to mind is synchronized skating. Combining skating skill, artistry, and perfect synchronicity, it is a unique sport that many student figure skaters are passionate about. Though it may be drastically different than soccer or volleyball, hard work and teamwork are universally recognized across all team sports, and CP Ice stands out as a team founded on the core belief that the teamwork and companionship skills that are learned through synchronized skating will benefit skaters for the rest of their lives. 

Synchronized skating, or “synchro” for short, is a sport where a team of figure skaters perform together on the ice rink at once. Skaters linked arm to arm speed down the rink with effortless flow and speed, executing agile footwork sequences while forming, maintaining, and shifting between dynamic shapes on the ice. The key to delivering a perfect performance is stamina and synchronization, and this requires lots of discipline and practice. “To be a synchro[nized] skater requires an immaculate level of focus and devotion. We give our entire lives to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Sydney Butler, a long-time member of CP Ice. 

But synchronized skating is not simply a sport at CP Ice. CP Ice develops a strong sense of community and cooperation through their unique, volunteer-based community of passionate figure skaters and devoted parents. Founded in 2007 as a nonprofit organization, head coach Ashley Walker Green has made it her life’s work to train skaters not only to develop strong skating skills, but also to teach the value of hard work and good sportsmanship that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 

Green cultivates a sense of closeness among skaters, parents, and coaches by doing everything together as a team, which is critical to its success. “I’ve built relationships with my teammates and coaches that will last a lifetime. The girls that I skate with are without a doubt the best friends I’ve ever made, and I am so beyond grateful for that,” said Butler. The sheer dedication that grueling practice sessions and intense competitions require is demanding. Working through these challenges with one another creates lasting bonds between the skaters and coaches, and practicing team traditions throughout the season only brings the CP Ice members closer to one another. “I really value the sense of tradition at CP Ice, as it makes you truly feel as though you’re a part of something larger than yourself,” said Izzi Holmes ’21. 

Through meetings, check-ins, and pep-talks, Green works hard with her assistant coaches to teach their skaters the value of hard work and perseverance. “Synchro is all about goal setting and strategizing, and I feel as though it’s given me a purpose to keep pushing, even when times get hard,” said Butler. Teaching about the “fixed mindset versus growth mindset” concepts during team meetings and applying them during practice sessions not only pushes skaters to work hard for their ambitions, but allows each one to learn more about themselves. It also helps them to improve upon their weaknesses by setting individual goals, along with a combined team goal each season. “I love the friends and family that I have created, and the space that CP Ice has given me to be my best self, as a teammate, skater, and person,” said Holmes.

Being part of CP Ice is more than just being part of a team. It’s being part of a diverse yet tight-knit community of skaters, parents, and coaches who share a passion for figure skating, and for many, it is family and it is home. “I have the opportunity to do what I love, figure skating and performing, with the greatest people and community I have ever met. Skating practice, even at 6 a.m., is truly a safe haven,” said Holmes. “I say this often, but I truly believe that joining CP Ice was the best decision that I ever made.”

CP Ice is the experience of a lifetime; doing what you love with people you love and learning valuable lessons about life and the individual along the way. “To me, CP Ice is absolutely everything. It’s gotten me through so much, and has taught me many valuable life lessons. I feel safest and happiest when I skate with my team. CP Ice is truly my home,” Butler said.

CP Ice develops a strong sense of community and cooperation through their unique, volunteer-based community of passionate figure skaters and devoted parents.