You had to know the Yk Skating Club would do what it could to get one of the greatest figure skaters of all time to drop in for a visit.

And that’s exactly what Tessa Virtue did on Sunday afternoon.

Virtue was in Yellowknife this past weekend working on a film project but found a few spare minutes to stop by the Multiplex to talk with some members of the skating club on Sunday afternoon and it was the visit of a lifetime, said Tara Kaip, one of the club’s coaches.

Some members of the Yk Skating Club got the chance to rub shoulders with Tessa Virtue on Sunday at the Multiplex during a practice. In the photo are, front row from left, Tessa Virtue, Janica Silviero, Julia Reid, Myah Harris, Natalie Power, Peyton Koe, Jariah Silviero, Courtney Dalton and coach Lisette Kaip; back row from left, Emily Hazenberg, coach Brenda Dalton, Victoria Hamm, Niobe Clinton, Keira Clinton and coach Tara Kaip.
photo courtesy of Tara Kaip

“She’s such an important person to figure skating and such an inspiration to younger skaters,” she said.

Virtue is, without question, a legend in the sport, having won two Olympic gold medals, three world championships and eight national championships in ice dancing and all with her partner, Scott Moir. Virtue and Moir retired from competitive skating shortly before the start of the 2019-2020 season, setting off waves of emotion around the country.

So how did Virtue come to join in with the club for a few minutes on Sunday?
Kaip said it all happened completely by chance.

“I went to gymnastics practice with my daughter (on Saturday) and I spoke with one of the coaches, who told me she was on her flight up to Yellowknife the day before,” she said.

Taking a chance, Kaip said she drove down to Back Bay on Saturday, thinking Virtue would be doing some sort of filming or production of some kind.

Just her luck, Virtue was there with a film crew.

“I walked up and asked if I could watch with my daughter and they were really amazing about it,” said Kaip. “They asked if I wanted a photo with her and my daughter and Tessa just picked up my daughter and we took the photo.”

The following day, Virtue was at the DND Gymnasium at the Multiplex and Kaip said she wondered if Virtue would be interested in dropping in for a visit.

“I asked her film crew if she had some time to say hello to the girls if she had some time,” she said. “I was hoping she would be able to spare five minutes or so for a quick chat.”
The girls all knew Virtue was there and all did their off-ice warm-up hoping to catch a glimpse of Virtue, she added.

But the big moment eventually came when Virtue entered the Ed Jeske Olympic Rink.

“The girls all shrieked with excitement,” said Kaip. “They ran over and got photos taken with her.”

The one thing Kaip noticed right away about Virtue was how down to earth she was in person.

“She introduced herself as ‘Tessa’ and she was so humble, so genuine,” she said. “She talked with all of the girls and was interested in what they all had to say. She couldn’t have been more nice.”

Virtue is scheduled to depart Yellowknife on Tuesday morning and NNSL Media wasn’t able to get a chance to talk with her before she left but Kaip said it’s a visit she won’t soon forget.

“Having the girls get the chance to meet someone like Tessa is such an inspiration,” she said. “She was so sweet, she had a big smile and it was just so exciting to be able to meet her.”


James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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