The Colgate Skating Series on ABC continues with “Holiday Movie Skating Spectacular: Where Did They Film That?” which was filmed at the Stockton Arena.
The arena seats 12,000 fans and is the home venue of the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat, which is affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames.
Even so, the venue seems like an odd choice to host a television special, considering there are ice rinks in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Brian Boitano, the 53-year-old Olympic medalist from the Bay Area who is featured in the special, offers an interesting response when asked about the selection of Stockton as the show’s host city.
“Are you wondering why they didn’t select Selland Arena?” Boitano asks.
The Mountain View native knows Fresno well, having been through here with various ice shows throughout the years. Even before he picked up Olympic Gold in 1988, Boitano skated in numerous competitions as a kid that were held in Fresno.
“I know the fog well,” Boitano says.
His serious answer is that the arena is a great place to skate and offers plenty of seating for an audience. It’s also much cheaper (because of union costs) to film a TV special in a smaller town than if it is produced in a major city.
The holiday-theme show celebrates the greatest holiday movies and holiday soundtracks of all time. Kristi Yamaguchi and Michael Weiss host the lineup that also includes Kimmie Meissner, Caryn Kadavy, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, Steven Cousins, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Carly Donowick, Jonathon Hunt, Erin Reed, and Ashley Clark.
There will be a special musical performances by Romina Arena and The Four Phantoms.
No matter where an arena is located, skaters have to adjust their routines to fit the facility. For instance, a normal-sized rink can shrink dramatically if the decision is made to put chairs on the ice. Adjustments also must be made when dealing with live music performances.
“If they change the tempo of the song at all, a skater has to adjust or they will end up completely out of synch,” Boitano says. He says he had no such problems when skating to the performance by The Four Phantoms.
It helps that Boitano has been skating the majority of his life, making history in 1982 by becoming the first American to land a triple axel. He marvels at how almost all young skaters can now do a quadruple axel.
But Boitano is worried about the young skaters who are doing the bigger moves, especially how that kind of strain will impact their lives when they get older.
Being the first to do a triple didn’t hold Boitano back. Along with being an Olympic champion, he was the world champion in 1986 and 1988 and won the U.S. National Championships from1985 through 1988. And he’s been working as a professional skater for the majority of the time since his competing years ended.
It’s something he can do that athletes in other Winter Olympics sports can’t do.
“When you think about it, it’s the only sport with life after the competing ends,” Boitano says. “You can go from competitions to this whole entertainment side.”
And the entertainment options have gone beyond the ice for Boitano, who hosted his own cooking show on The Food Network a few years ago.
His recent focus, though, was just up the road in Stockton for the holiday skating show.
Holiday Movie Skating Spectacular: Where Did They Film That?
- 2 p.m. Dec. 4, ABC (Channel 30.1)