Ross Miner may be one of America's best figure skaters, but he is also a hockey fan. Just don't ask him to watch a game with you.
"I can't watch college hockey," Miner said. "I just want to play."
Miner, 22, visited Berkshire County on Saturday as the featured performer in the Bay State Winter Games' Bay State Skate show at Lansing Chapman Rink. He is just the latest in a long line of nationally and internationally known skaters to perform in the show. Nancy Kerrigan, Paul Wylie and Surya Bonaly have all put their blades on the Lansing Chapman Rink ice.
If you didn't make it to the show, go next year. Watching world-class skaters in person is a far cry from watching them on television. In person, you really get to see their athleticism.
Miner grew up in Burlington, Vt., and first took to figure skating in 2003.
"I played hockey as a little kid," he said. "I wanted to try [skating]. I played hockey and figure skated for a long time."
Miner may be a figure skater through and through, but when you talk with him, it sure sounds like he misses putting on the pads and helmet and taking a slap shot.
"I don't really love watching the NHL as much as I love college hockey," he said. "When I watch college hockey, it just makes me want to play college hockey."
According to the biography on Miner's web site, he played hockey from 1995-2003 before figure skating took over his sporting life. He currently trains out of the Skating Club of Boston with coaches Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson.
"Hockey is different, but being a good skater means you're a good skater no matter what," Miner said. "A lot of professional hockey teams bring in ice dancers to work on some of the efficiency of hockey player skating."
Miner may not be a household name yet, but he is on his way.
His resume includes a third-place finish in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Japan back in June, a fifth place in the Grand Prix event in Canada. Most recently, he was second in the U.S. Championships. Miner said his current world ranking is 12th.
"For me, my goals going in were to make the [World Championship] team this year and to make the Four Continents team, both of which I did," he said. "At the end of the day, I got my job done and it's still a good result.
"Given the opportunity, would I have changed one or two things? Yes. But I got the job done that I was going there to do."
Miner will head to London, Ontario, Canada, next month with the U.S. team for the World Championships. Competition begins on March 13 and the men's championship will be determined on the 15th.
Miner and Max Aaron are the American men competing.
The competition in Canada is but a first step toward the Winter Olympics next Feburary in Sochi, Russia.
"I think we're a very young team this year," said Miner. "We're there to compete and we're there to be good."
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