September/October 2021

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CEnter ice Q&A with a rink professional 54 / SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER.2021 USICERINKS.COM PHOTO: COURTESY OF JESSICA MILLER // How did you get into the rink business? My parents were both coaches—my mom, figure skating and my father, hockey. When I was 10, my parents accepted positions as Rink Manager and Skating Director here at Northern Kentucky Ice Center (then Alpine Arena). Eventually, the owners decided to sell the rink and my grandfather purchased it. He owned the rink for five years, before my parents took over from there. They have now owned the rink for 25 years. // We know a little about your com- petitive skating background, but how about filling in our readers? Having grown up in an ice rink I was actu- ally discouraged from becoming a skater, which only made me want to skate more! I competed at my first U.S. Nationals at age 15 in the Junior Pairs division. I did not do very well, but the experience wasn't something I was willing to give up on quite yet. I competed at five Senior Nationals, the highest placing being fifth. We won a bronze medal at the Grand Prix Cup of China in 2007, placed fifth at ISU's Four Continents and competed at two other Grand Prix events. In 2008, I retired from competitive skating and joined Royal Caribbean's International Ice Cast for five years, three of which was in the Ice Captain position. In 2013, I officially hung up my skates in performing and came back to Kentucky to start coaching. // What's the best part of your job? The best part of being a family-run opera- tion, is we get to see the generations of skaters come through our doors. You know you have done something right when you see skaters you trained with or hockey players my brother played with bring in their children to share a love of the ice. My dad has seen three generations of fam- ilies through our doors. And watching that love and passion for the ice grow in them, is truly a beautiful thing. // What do you think has been the hardest part about running your rink? Our rink is not a state-of-the-art facility. It's older and definitely not the most beautiful. So, the upkeep is hard for us. Location, too. Kentucky is far more known for basketball and horses than skating, so, getting the awareness of our rink and the programs we offer out there has proven to be a challenge even after being here all these years. // Any advice for other rink professionals? Don't be afraid to ask questions! As some- one who has lived my life in an ice rink, I thought I knew quite a bit about an ice rink. One week of running the rink with- out my father's presence quickly disabused me of that notion. Now, I'm constantly asking questions and trying to do every- thing I can to further educate myself. The CRA courses have been a great learning tool. A wealth of knowledge and the con- nections made with other professionals have been invaluable. J Jessica Miller PROFILE Skating Director/Rink Operations Northern Kentucky Ice Center Years in the Industry: 24 Professional Designations: CRA Crescent Springs, Kentucky THE BEST PART OF BEING A FAMILY-RUN OPERATION, IS WE GET TO SEE THE GENERATIONS OF SKATERS. YOU KNOW YOU'VE DONE SOMETHING RIGHT WHEN YOU SEE SKATERS YOU TRAINED WITH BRING IN THEIR CHILDREN TO SHARE A LOVE OF THE ICE.

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