Stephanie Murphy going solo in her last performance as a Silver Blade

Dave Kearsey
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Members of the Silver Blades Skating Club in Corner Brook will bid farewell to one of its dedicated skaters  — 17-year-old Stephanie Murphy — when she performs a solo at the club’s annual skating show Saturday night at the Pepsi Centre. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

Figure skaters who become immersed in their sport often talk about how they are all part of one big happy family.

Young girls and guys hone their skills into the wee hours of the morning with their coaches encouraging them to do their best. They become a close-knit group through spending hours on end at practice and competitions, having fun while meeting fellow skaters who often become friends for life.

So, it would seem only natural that there is a sense of loss and sadness when one of their own leaves the nest.

Members of the Silver Blades Skating Club in Corner Brook will bid farewell to one of its dedicated skaters  — 17-year-old Stephanie Murphy — when she performs a solo at the club’s annual skating show Saturday night at the Pepsi Centre with Elvis Stojko in the building as the guest skater.

Emily Park has shared the ice with Murphy for a number of years.

“It’s really sad seeing Stephanie go because she’s probably my best friend on the ice, and next year it’s just going to be me by myself,” Park said. “It’s just really sad to see somebody like that go.”

Murphy and her fellow skaters actually had a final session for the winter season last week where all hands shared an emotional moment with tears flowing down their cheeks.

“Everyone else is sad because Steph is just a part of our club,” Park said. “Having her on the ice is just normal. It’s just going to be wierd for her not to be there. Everybody contributes to the club and it’s always different when somebody leaves. I’ll definitely miss her.”

Murphy, daughter of Corner Brook’s Ian and Krista, will graduate from Corner Brook High School in June and begin the next chapter of her life as she ponders what courses she will pursue at an undetermined post-secondary institution in the fall.

She has been skating for 14 years and always focused her energy on having fun, meeting quality people to hang out with and striving for her personal best with every flip and spin.

It’s never been about winning medals. It’s been about doing something that brought a smile to her face and kept her content.

“I just really enjoy myself when I skate,” Murphy said. “I just love competing and the memories you make with all your friends and everything.”

Murphy will be a busy girl on Saturday night with her highlight being her solo performance to the song “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. She will also skate in the opening and closing numbers, hit the ice with the senior skaters for a number and also participate in a synchronized skating number in her last night as a Silver Blade.

“I guess I’ll be feeling a lot of emotions then, but I’m kind of happy that I’ve come this far and everything,” she said.

Yvette Targett coached Murphy throughout her skating career that began with participation in the CanSkate program at just three years of age. Mark Scott has been coaching for the past two years.

Murphy’s active involvement in the club is something that has particularly impressed coach Scott. He said Murphy always gave a helping hand at competitions when the need arose, she was a program assistant in the CanSkate program where she helped the younger skaters develop and she’s been one of the biggest promoters and recruiters for the synchronized component of the Silver Blades club.

“People have helped me through the years, so I feel like I need to be there for them to help them,” Murphy said of her active role in the club.

Coach Scott believes Murphy can be proud of what she accomplished as a skater, leaving the ranks with two high level tests — Gold Interpretive and Senior Silver Skills — knocked off the list of things she wanted to do before she finished up.

“She always loved to skate for herself and achieve personal goals, whichs she’s done very, very well,” he said. “She’s a pleasure to teach, she really is.”

Scott expects Murphy may continue with the sport on the synchronized side depending on where her educational pursuits take her, but no matter what she decides to do her coach believes she has a bright future.

“I think that her commitment to skating and her drive has really shone through and she’ll be able to really continue on and bring the skills she learned from the rink as well as in school to whatever path she takes. I think she will do well and be successful in any avenue she takes.”

“I just wish her the best of luck in whatever she decides to do,” he added.

Park, meanwhile, won’t be around to see how the show unfolds because she was already committed to a school band trip to New York for five days when the ice show date was announced.

She would have liked to see her friend’s solo, but also realizes that it’s not every day you get an opportunity to spend five days in New York.

“I just hope she really enjoys it because she worked really hard. She deserves this solo,” Park said.

Organizations: Silver Blades Skating Club, Pepsi Centre, Corner Brook High School

Geographic location: Corner Brook, New York

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