‘Everyone in this rink is one team’

Dunedin Ice Skating Club coach Megan Kliegl. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
Dunedin Ice Skating Club coach Megan Kliegl. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
In a series, The Star reporter Jessica Wilson aims to highlight unsung heroes of Dunedin’s sporting community. This week, she talks to ice skating coach Megan Kliegl.
An ice skating coach is carrying on her family legacy.

Dunedin Ice Skating Club’s Megan Kliegl was a competitive skater most of her life, before shifting her focus to coaching in 2009.

Originally from South Africa, the 30-year-old started skating when she was 6 and continued when she moved to New Zealand in 2004.

"My grandmother and my mum were South African champion ice skaters," Kliegl said.

"If it wasn’t for my grandmother . . . she had this whole big legacy that she just gave to me on a silver platter.

"When I was little I didn’t know what it was and now I couldn’t be more grateful for her."

Kliegl coaches at Dunedin Ice Stadium at least four days a week, directs the ice shows, and does some marketing work with the Dunedin Thunder ice hockey team.

Skating was one of the few sports that included a range of elements, such as discipline, skill and artistry, she said.

The skills and knowledge Kliegl gained from skating transcended the sport into other areas of her life and taught her more than any other experience or education.

"I did a degree in management but that didn’t even touch on an inch of what you learn in leadership through sport."

As a coach, she recognised "full circle" moments, like when she made her skaters do something that her coaches made her do when she was competing.

Sometimes even a look from one of her skaters would be reminiscent of her skating days.

There were plenty of highlights in her coaching career, from the "insignificant moments that become the good old days" to the pivotal ones.

Last year, the synchronised team won the national ice figure skating championships.

The competition was delayed multiple times due to Covid-19 restrictions and the team did a lot of training at home via video chats.

"They got on the ice at nationals, they won it, they got personal bests, they got international selection and they’ve just never looked back," Kliegl said.

"I’m coaching a team of champions, nothing’s a problem to them."

Watching skaters reach their goals, no matter how big or small, was rewarding.

Things happened so quickly when she was a skater, it was nice to be able to witness other peoples’ success.

"I wish, in hindsight, I had enjoyed my own journey more and I think because I’ve got that feeling, I’m enjoying the journey of coaching."

Kliegl felt lucky to get to go to the rink before work and spend time with her friends, who were also coaches.

"Our whole rink, curling, hockey and figure, I’ve never been part of an environment quite like the one we have made here.

"Everyone in this rink is one team.

"This place is home to so many."



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