We are very proud of our Club and would like you to know a little of its history.
Figure skating in Detroit was in its infancy around 1910. Skaters could be found on the lakes, on Belle Isle and on the small artificial rink of the David Brown Company alongside their coal and ice plant in downtown Detroit. But this rink did not last and the “fancy” skaters were soon in trouble because of the stiff breezes blowing from the lake.
In the meantime, David and Harry Brown erected a modern ice rink. The Arena, and a few enthusiasts under the leadership of Gladys Salsinger organized a real figure skating club. The club prospered and began to develop some good skaters until the First World War brought the close of the Arena by government orders. Luckily, the Detroit Tennis Club had some skating addicts who saw to it that the courts were sprayed in the winter and could be used for skating by our group, who became winter Tennis Club members. After the War was over, some local enterprising young men built the “Olympia Stadium” and our skating group under the leadership of Mrs. Salsinger, formed a new club, “The Olympia Skating Club.”
The Olympia Skating Club went ahead and held carnivals, featuring such outstanding amateur skaters of their time as Sonja Henie, Pierre and Andrea Brunet, Papez and Swack. But due to their fast decreasing ice time, the group was finally forced to reorganize.
By 1946, the members were able to purchase a facility, previously used to house the horses of automotive magnate Charles T. Fisher and call it home. In 1949 the Club Changed its name to “The Detroit Skating Club, Inc.”
The Club grew in size and stature, many Olympic and World Champions were developed here. The expanding world of figure skating demanded a larger facility for the Club. In 1978, the club took the opportunity to move to its present location in Bloomfield Hills. In 1994, the members changed the Articles of Incorporation to become a tax exempt organization.
The Detroit Skating Club is one of only a handful of clubs in the United States that owns and operates its own facility. The club is totally managed by the member elected Board of Directors. This is an awesome responsibility and requires much effort by them collectively.
DSC has three ice surfaces including the Olympic size rink completed in 1994. DSC has a modern off-ice training center and spacious member only locker rooms. DSC’s coaching staff is comprised of two dozen professionals. They teach every level of skating up to Olympic and World class skaters.
In the 1960’s Gary Visconti and Tim Wood both won 2 National Men’s Titles. We also lost a promising young skater, Doug Ramsey, in the 1961 plane crash of the U.S. World Team.
The 1970’s produced pair skaters Melissa Militano and Johnny Johns who won 3 National Pair Titles and Mary Karen Campbell and Johnny Johns the 1973 U.S. Dance Champions.
In 1995, club members won an unprecedented three National Titles. Todd Eldredge was the Men’s National Champion; Nicole Bobek was Ladies National Champion and Team Elan was the Precision National Champion.
In 1996 Todd Eldredge became the Men’s World Champion and in 1997 Tara Lipinski became the youngest female ever to win the World Championships. Danielle and Steve Hartsell became the World Junior Champions in Pairs. DSC also had the National Champions in three out of four divisions with Todd Eldredge in the men’s division, Tara Lipinski the ladies division and Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow in dance.
Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler started off 1998 with the Gold medal in dance at the World Junior Championships marking the first time in U.S. history that an American team won this event. Todd Eldredge and Liz and Jerod won their 5th National Championship. DSC sent 6 of the 13 U.S. skaters to the Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. They were Todd Eldredge, Tara Lipinski, Elizabeth Punsalan, Jerod Swallow, Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler. Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest female to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games.
1999 proves to be equally exciting as the past several years with 3 major competitions being held at DSC. The ISU Junior Series Grand Prix Final in March, Skate Detroit in July and Midwestern Sectional Championships in December. We also will start a complete renovation of “B” arena in the spring. Jamie Silverstein and Justin Pekarek become the World Junior Dance Champions. The National Championships held in Salt Lake City gave DSC 8 new National Champions: Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev in Championship Dance; Danielle and Steve Hartsell in Championship Pairs; Jamie Silverstein and Justin Pekarek in Junior Dance and Terese Anselmi and Mike Adler in Novice Pairs. March of 1999 we held the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, July of 1999 we hosted our 18th Skate Detroit, December of 1999 we hosted the 2000 Midwestern Sectional Championships and in March of 2000, along with the Detroit Metro Council of clubs we will help host the 2000 Synchronized Team Skating National Championships. Four major competitions in a year has kept us very busy, along with our normal day to day business. Let’s see what the new millennium brings to DSC.
We have made it to the new millennium! DSC crowned 8 National Champions at this year’s National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. They were Kristen Roth and Mike McPherson in Novice Pairs; Stephanie Kalesavich and Aaron Parchem in Junior Pairs; Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto in Junior Dance and Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev in Senior Dance. We also helped host the Synchronized Team National Championships held in Plymouth. All of our age eligible teams qualified to skate with the Intermediate and Adult Team Ã‰lan becoming the 2000 National Champions. Our Novice and Senior Team Ã‰lan earned the silver medal. This qualified the Senior Team for the first ever ISU World Synchronized Team Championships that were held in Minneapolis. June brought our first ice show “Millennium Magic on Ice”, which was a huge success. We lost a lifelong member and past president, Dr. Lou Rossoni. A memorial rock has been placed in the front of our building to commemorate him. Peggy Bowman is awarded an honorary membership to DSC in appreciation of her many years of volunteer service.
The 2001 National Championships were held in Boston with DSC capturing 15 medals in the Junior and Senior events. The Canadian dance team of Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe who train at DSC earned a Canadian National bronze medal. Our Novice and Adult Team Ã‰lan won the gold medal at their first ever international competition in Hutwill, Switzerland. Todd Eldredge returned to the competitive scene and earned a bronze medal at the World Championships. The World Junior Championships were held in Bulgaria and Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto earned a silver medal in Dance and Kristen Roth & Mike McPherson a bronze medal in Pairs. DSC held its annual events including the Ice Show, Golf Outing, Adult Dance Week-end, Skate Detroit and Awards Banquet.
Everyone was excited to attend the 2002 National Championships in sunny Los Angeles. With 16 DSC competitors qualifying for this championship and 6 competitors at the Canadian Championships the same week, DSC skaters brought home twelve medals. While our skaters did exceptionally well, the brother and sister team of Danielle and Steve Hartsell had to withdraw after the short program due to injury, making their dream of skating at the Olympics in Salt Lake City impossible. Our young skaters also did extremely well at the Junior National Championships with all 18 skaters advancing to the final rounds and 5 becoming Junior National Champions. Due to the events of September 11, 2001 many of our skaters were unable to compete at the international competitions as the USFSA withdrew all of the Junior level skaters for safety reasons. DSC, like the rest of the nation, faced some of the same economic problems as other businesses during a period of economic slowdown. Some very tough but necessary decisions were made to cut back in certain areas to assure our future for our members. Team Ã‰lan qualified to send all teams to their National Championships in Lake Placid and received 4 bronze medals.
This was the year for Synchro! Four medals at 2003 National Synchronized Championships, with the Junior Team qualifying for the World Team to compete in Sweden. We had 18 skaters qualify for Junior Nationals, held in Lake Placid, New York. William Brewster became the Intermediate National Champion. We also had 27 skaters qualify for the National Championships held in Dallas, Texas, with 5 medals being awarded. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto qualified for the World Team for the U.S. and Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe qualified for Canada. Our Birmingham High School Figure Skating Team won the State Championships and Bloomfield Hills United Team finished with the bronze. “A Night at the Oscars” was this year’s theme for the ice show. Our 22nd annual “Skate Detroit” competition was held in July.
2004 brought optimism to Detroit Skating Club. New coordinators have taken the helm of the skating programs: Mitch Moyer, Singles; Jason Dungjen, Pairs and Jerod Swallow, Dance. We also joined forces with one of Michigan’s premiere dance company’s “The Eisenhower Dance Ensemble”. With this great team of leaders, DSC continues to attract new members and talented competitors and is hopeful for a successful future. Meryl Davis and Charlie White earn a spot on the Junior World Team and travel to the Netherlands, while Team Ã‰lan heads to Nationals in San Diego. The High School Figure Skating Teams are very successful competing at the State Championships in March. We had skaters competing from high schools in 4 of the 5 districts at Level A & B. The Junior Team Ã‰lan travels to Italy for Junior Worlds for the second year in a row. Our annual ice show was held in June with the theme of “Music Across America” and “Skate Detroit was held in July with a record amount of entries. A change to DSC’s annual awards banquet was a great success, hosting a family barbeque with games and a dunk tank. Everyone had a great time!
Another exciting year for DSC! January 2005 started with DSC hosting another successful annual Special Olympics competition, providing opportunities for those skaters with special needs. Also many skaters participated downtown in the first ever Motown Winter Blast. Team Ã‰lan and our high school figure skating teams had a great season, along with successful representation from our competitive skaters in singles, dance and pairs at all the qualifying competitions, including international. Skate Detroit was selected by the USFSA to host the new judging system that has been implemented worldwide. When disaster struck our country, our skaters organized and performed at the “Hurricane Relief Skating Spectacular” show, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.
What a year! The Detroit Skating Club has been in a state of constant motion over the last twelve months. Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem led our Club into the 2006 Olympics; more than 70 of our skaters participated in the Motown Winter Blast ice shows at Detroit’s Campus Martius to support Super Bowl XL’s festivities; several of our skaters achieved medal success at the Sectional, Regional, Jr, National and National levels; and our Adult Synchronized Skating team brought home a National Championship. There was also our tremendous Ice Show and the elite competition of Skate Detroit â€“ the list just keeps going.
These accomplishments are the tip of the iceberg as it applies to the tremendous activity at DSC. More than $1,000,000 has been targeted – or already invested into improvements for the Club. A new parking lot, zambonis, off ice facility renovations and equipment, tuflex flooring, and a fresh coat of paint are all on the list of these endeavors. The refinancing of our existing bond has made all of these projects possible and affordable!
Jerod Swallow is named Managing Director in 2007 and we look forward to the months ahead with both confidence and anticipation for the next array of DSC achievements. 2009 & 2011 Alissa Czisny was the Ladies National Champion and 2010 Olympic team member and Men’s National Champion, Jeremy Abbott joins DSC. Meryl Davis and Charlie White earn the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada! In 2011 they also become the first American Dance Team to ever win the World Championships.
DSC has become one of the premier skating centers in the world. We have many skaters, not only from the U.S. but from around the world, coming to our facility for choreography and year round training. Many thanks to our excellent coaching staff! The past several years have been both exhilarating and a learning experience in our struggle with the economy but the DSC Board of Directors has been heavily involved in a strategic planning process that will pave the way for our continued growth and development. By examining our strengths and weaknesses as well as our opportunities and threats â€“ DSC is preparing a blueprint that will guide us through the years ahead.