Spectators can witness Winter Olympic sports in person on campus this month
Sports fans looking to get into the Olympic spirit here in Central Virginia, while the 2022 Winter Games are going on a half a world away in Beijing, China, can find plenty of excitement on the campus of Liberty University over the next two weekends at the LaHaye Ice Center (LIC) and Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre (LMSC).
This weekend, Liberty’s figure skating team will host the LU Classic, the second of three Southeast Sectional meets this semester, with competition beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday and extending into the late afternoon both days. The competition is free to spectators.
“We have a total of 13 teams competing in-person for the first time since March 7, 2020 (at a sectional meet in Newark, Del.),” Lady Flames Head Coach Dawn Harter said. “There are 30 different events with a total of about 160 (skates). The team is extremely thankful to be able to compete again and looks forward to hosting our guests from around the Southeast section.”
Over the spring semester’s first College For A Weekend (CFAW), set for Feb. 17-19, Liberty’s ACHA Division I men’s and women’s hockey teams will both be in action at the LIC, providing plenty of fast-paced entertainment on the ice. The three-time defending national champion Lady Flames will close out their regular season with a rematch of their second national title triumph in 2018 by hosting Adrian College on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Later those nights, the Flames will welcome Jamestown (N.D.) University on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 10 p.m.
Friday night’s game will be Liberty’s annual Teddy Bear Toss, with fans bringing new or gently used stuffed animals to the rink admitted free. They will wait for the opportunity to throw them onto the ice after the Flames score their first goal, as a donation to locally based Gleaning For the World’s Teddy Bear Brigade. It will also be Club Sports’ first “Pucks and Paws” night, with spectators permitted to bring their friendly, house-trained live animals — from puppies to penguins — to the rink to watch the game alongside them from around the concourse.
For ski and snowboard enthusiasts, LMSC will stage a USCSA Southeast Conference Big Air event on Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. and a Rail Jam on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m., giving a taste of what Olympians are experiencing on Xiaohaituo Mountain.
“We get to practice here on Snowflex throughout the entire year, so we expect to do really well and hopefully put on a really good show for all of the CFAW students,” Liberty ski and snowboard Head Coach Isaac Gibson said.
This Monday, as a Valentine’s Day special, Snowflex will offer special buy-one get-one-free combo passes for two hours’ worth of skiing, snowboarding, rentals, tubing, and aerial awareness trampoline use from 3-7 p.m. Then, on Friday, Feb. 18, spectators are invited to the LMSC for a Snowflex Demo with skilled skiers and snowboards showcasing their tricks and stunts over rails and jumps.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer