For someone who fell into figure skating somewhat by accident, Tyler Miller has risen to some pretty amazing heights.
By virtue of a second-place finish at the Western Challenge in Kelowna last month, the 17-year-old Abbotsford athlete has qualified for Skate Canada. He’ll compete in the novice men’s division at the national championship, which runs Jan. 16-22 in Moncton, N.B.
Miller got his start in the sport seven years ago, hoping to build his skating ability in order to play hockey.
“I didn’t want to do it at first,” the Abbotsford Skating Club member acknowledged with a chuckle. “It was more like I was just there because we were on the ice.
“But I would always see people jump, and I thought that was so cool. When I was younger, that was the cool part for me.”
Qualifying for Skate Canada has been a very labour-intensive process for Miller. Monday through Thursday, he attends his Grade 12 classes at Yale Secondary in the morning, then drives to Burnaby 8 Rinks for figure skating training through the provincial centre for excellence. Those sessions run all afternoon and into the evening. Fridays represent something of a reprieve travel-wise, as he trains at Matsqui Recreation Centre.
“I enjoyed it when I first got my license and driving was cool,” Miller said with a chuckle, noting that he’s been legally allowed to drive on his own since September. “But after a while, I got a little tired of it. But it’s okay.”
Miller’s goals for the prestigious Skate Canada event have more to do with the quality of his performance, as opposed to a specific finish.
“I’m not thinking about placement as much, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I would like to skate clean, but I’m going there just not freaking out about it and hoping for the best.”