Kim Orr-Briel Retires But Her Skating Passion Lives On!


This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a celebration at the John Rhodes in honour of a friend, Kim Orr-Briel. Kim recently announced her retirement as a figure skating professional and coach.

As a Sault Figure Skating Coach for the past 6 years, it was obvious that Kim had touched the lives of many… both young, and young at heart as numerous skaters took to the ice in appreciation of 30 years Kim devoted to sharing her passion.

students-01The first 3 skaters were affectionately called Kim’s “Babies” since they started skating over 10 years ago! Between these 3 ladies they have 4 Gold Level tests. Michaela passed her Gold Interpretive as well as working on her Sr Silver Free skate and her Gold dances. Amy has passed her Gold Interpretive and just last month achieved her Gold Dances. This accomplishment makes Amy a double Gold skater with Skate Canada. Sara is working on her Gold Interpretive and is also working on her Gold dances. Way to go ladies!

As Kim watched intently from the ice, family and friends were rink side as each student took the ice to demonstrate the skills they obviously had worked so hard to achieve:

Aimee Carter
– Working on Sr Bronze Free skate
– Jr Silver Dances and Bronze Interpretive
– Only skating for 6 years

Karli Walker
– Working on her Preliminary Free skate & preliminary dances
– Fun, bubbly and loves to laugh

Shayla Prgoment
– Passed her Jr bronze free skate last weekend
– Working on her Bronze Interpretive
– Working on her Jr Silver dances

Ashley Matthews
– Working on her Jr Bronze Free Skate
– Working on her Jr Bronze Dances
– Working on her Introductory Interpretive

Miya Thomas
– Working on her Jr Bronze Free Skate
– Working on her Preliminary Dance
– Working on her Bronze Interpretive

elvisWhat happens when you team up 3 hockey players and 3 figure skaters? Former figure skating coach Lindsey Holmes-Faithfull (who travelled from Barrie to skate in the show), Kim’s daughter Brianne, Kim’s soon to be son-in-law James Gallagher, Kim’s long time friend Sean McNally and Kim’s husband Chris Briel took to the ice sporting attire complete with side burns for an Elvis performance!

cow-girlsNot to be outperfomed by the big kids… Kim’s talented Jr skaters Corinne Turgeon, Sierra Casola and Karli Walker took to the ice next as Cow Girls.

Sara Duguay and Amy Rudnicki followed with solo skates before Aimee, Shayla, Miya & Ashley returned for an icy rendition of Katy Perry’s “ROAR”.

Next up were the big kids. Ladies with an array of accomplishments like Gold Level status with Skate Canada, many championships and even a few who have devoted a significant part of their lives teaching the Sport of Figure Skating. “These beautiful Ladies are all former skaters who have come to share their talent with you… Mag Barban, Deb Capellani, Christianne Monico, Marnie Stone, Adrienne Kelly, Liisa George & Cindy Thomas. The Love of the ice will stay with you FOREVER! Ladies & Gentlemen… Kim’s Rockstars!!!”, announced Brian Livingston – MC.


Next was Michaela Duguay followed by special guest who travelled all the way from Ottawa. Karl Herbert, previously a National Level Senior Competitor and Northern Ontario Sectional Champion! Karl is a Grade 1 French teacher and has also carried on his love of the Sport by Coaching in Ottawa.

Kim Orr-Briel – “I have been surrounded by beautiful children and their smiles for over 30 years… to watch a child excel at the Sport I loveso passionately is beyond words. I cannot explain the emotion that I am feeling today being encircled by Family, Skaters, Parents and Friends! Through the years we have shared laughter, tears, tragedy and accomplishments!! As I start into the next adventure of my life, the ache in my heart is very raw… I will miss everything that has been of comfort to me for many, many years. However, as I reflect on my accomplishments as a Professional Figure Skating Coach; I am overwhelmed with the pride that I have produced Gold Level skaters and Champions! A big heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you for making my life so complete… I wish you a wonderful journey filled with Love and Laughter!!!”

It was awesome to see so many people of all ages come together to celebrate not only Kim’s retirement, but a shared passion for the sport of figure skating. Excellent work as MC Brian, not to mention the fact that you can skate circles around this guy! Thanks to Pat Greenwood, a retired figure skating dance coach for years of playing the music for the skaters.

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