Judging by the 90 medals Carly Albrecht has hanging in a display case in her parents' Georgetown home, collected at competitions over the past three years, a promising future in figure skating lies ahead for the Grade 7 Stewarttown Middle School student. But at just 12 years old, Albrecht has shown maturity beyond her years in matters not entirely related to her love of skating and sports in general, and she was recognized for that recently by Skate Canada with a national award. The Georgetown Skating Club member was presented with the StarSkate Athlete Award after being selected from the nationwide winners in each of the 13 sections at the Skate Canada Achievement Awards Gala in Markham. "I got to meet Jeffrey Buttle, my favourite skater. It was awesome," she said this week. Albrecht was named in mid-May as the Central Ontario Section representative out of the 121 skating clubs in the region. The winner "reflects the essence of the StarSkate program through participation, achievement, personal success, displaying spirit and passion for the sport, as well as striving for new goals and maintaining a balance within skating and other areas of life." Albrecht's coach with the GSC for the past five years, Cindy McGilloway of Acton, said that besides her pupil's outstanding talent in skating, her selflessness as a competitor and an assistant with the CanSkate program have made her a role model for younger club members. "Carly just feels the music when she's skating and you can tell she loves to perform and to win," said McGilloway. "Some kids skate around like robots, but she has a passion for it, and it comes through in her facial expressions and body language. Carly is very humble and doesn't like attention drawn towards her, and all the little ones look up to her. That's why she's so special." A straight-A student, Albrecht also loves to score goals while playing for her Georgetown under-12 Eagles' selects. But because she's one of the team's fastest runners, her coach prefers to use her in a defensive role to neutralize the
opposition's top striker. No complaints from Carly. Just like when her now 10-year-old cousin Jeremy from the Thunder Bay area had to spend several months in Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto with a life-threatening condition last year. Albrecht passed on enrolling in summer skating and missed several other competitions because she spent many weekends visiting with Jeremy in hospital, keeping him entertained and his spirits up. Visitors as young as Carly aren't usually allowed in the Critical Care Unit at Sick Kids, but because of the positive impact her presence was having on the young patient's difficult recovery, doctors and nurses made an exception in this instance. Albrecht is skating this summer with the Streetsville/Meadowvale club in Mississauga and is training hard to pass her pre-novice test, after which she'll move up a level from StarSkate if successful, on her way to one of her goals of being on Canada's national team one day. "I'd like to pass my test at the end of July and to go up to competitive and then go on and compete at the sectional level," she added. Albrecht has chosen Egyptian music for her short program and a Spanish theme for the long routine-- the requirement for her pre-novice test-- and is excited about the new outfit she'll be skating in. With her younger sister Emily also taking a keen interest in becoming an elite-level figure skater, it means hours of road travel time per week for parents Dan and Michele, especially with Carly increasing her practices to five each week during the winter months. "Dan and I are usually passing each other on the road, going to or from practices at different times," joked Michele, who works for Norval's Sunopta Inc., a generous sponsor of Carly. "But it's something we enjoy doing as a family." Also at last month's Central Ontario Section 50th anniversary celebrations in Mississauga, Acton resident Lorriane Graham of the Georgetown Skating Club received the 2006 COS Volunteer Coach of the Year award, chosen out of 11 nominees. As well, GSC volunteer Marilyn Johnson was the recipient of the Central Ontario Accountant of the Year award.
Georgetown's Carly Albrecht receives gifts from three-time Canadian men's singles champion Emmanuel Sandhu at the recent Skate Canada Achievement Awards Gala in Markham. Albrecht earned the 2006 StarSkater Athlete Award for her on- and off-ice efforts over the past year. She was selected for the national award out of the 13 StarSkaters who had been previously recognized in their Skate Canada sections for the honour. Also in the photo are Skate Canada president Marilyn Chidlow (left) and an unidentified representative from HomeSense, which sponsors the StarSkate program nationally.