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The Story of Haley Rose Gans

A Different Kind of Figure Skating Story - By Patricia Gans


Haley Rose Gans

Haley Rose Gans

Gans Family Personal Photos
This is a different kind of story. It’s not a story about a skater who worked hard and made it to Worlds or the Olympics or landed triple-triple combinations. It’s a story about a different kind of gift. It’s a story about Haley Rose Gans.

Haley Gans Was Deaf

Haley was born June 16th, 1995, completely deaf, but that didn’t stop her at the ice rink. By the age of 4 Haley knew she loved to skate. She skated at Snoopy’s Home Ice while her mom stood by the rail signing coaches’ instructions. Haley couldn’t hear the music but that never stopped her. Her coach signaled when to start and stop her program and explained what the music was trying to say. Haley filled in the rest.

At age 4, Haley received a cochlear implant to help her hear. With lots of hard work she learned to understand speech and was able to do choreography and interpret her music. In time she became quite an accomplished skater.

Haley Loved to Perform

She skated in shows at Snoopy's Home Ice including skating Schulz’s Woodstock character. Haley loved drama and comedy. She won gold medals at National Showcase in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and her wind up doll and Charlie Chaplin programs will be remembered. She could make us laugh and cry. She passed her Senior Moves test and was ready to take her Novice Pairs and Freestyle tests. She loved to perform and skated with an uncommon elegance.

Haley Made Many Figure Skating Friends

Haley made many friends in the skating world traveling with her loyal assistance dog, a pug named “Sushi.” “Haley was lucky to have many amazing coaches in her life as teachers, role models and friends,” said her mother. She traveled to Los Angeles to work with World and Olympic coach Christa Fassi and to Sun Valley to work with skating star Gia Guddat and U.S. National Ice Dance Champion, World bronze medalist, and Olympian Judy Blumberg.

The Gans Family Moved to Colorado

By 2007 Haley met Kathy Casey and the excellence of the Broadmoor Skating Club program drew Haley and her family to Colorado Springs. Haley skated with most of the coaches at the World Arena. Janet Champion as Haley’s head coach lovingly polished Haley’s skills to a level which allowed her to pursue her real passion which was pairs skating. Dalilah Sappenfield became Haley’s head coach and while searching for a partner, Haley mastered pairs elements practicing with U.S. Pair Champion Rockne Brubaker and Senior Competitor Laureano Ibarra.

Haley Gans Brought a Gift to the Figure Skating World

Haley never made it to Worlds or even found a partner. She died tragically in a skiing accident November 20th, 2009.

Haley brought a gift to the world of skating-- A gift to be remembered.

Thousands will work hard every day testing their will and skill and perseverance to the limits--Only a handful will make it to Worlds or the Olympics.

Haley reminded us to skate because we LOVE to skate. Everyday she arrived ready to work and ready to share hugs and smiles. She brought happiness to all who knew her.

Haley Skated and Loved With Her Heart

“Skate with all your heart,” Colleen Phillips, Haley’s first coach, told her each time Haley stepped onto the ice to compete. Haley lived life with all her heart everyday. She never skated against her competitors. She skated WITH them.

"Haley Gans was delightful. Her death is such a sad loss for skating and for all of us who knew her. She was just an angel. We'll all miss her terribly," said Judy Blumberg.

Immediately after Haley's death, Dalilah Sappenfield asked her pair skating students to say a prayer for Haley and to dedicate their skating to her. "We will miss her greatly," said Sappenfield.

Members of the Broadmoor Skating Club came together to make memory books of Haley and decorated a Christmas tree in her honor. The skaters in Santa Rosa also gathered together with a skating party dedicated to her memory.

Haley Rose Gans Loved and Everyone in the Skating World Loved Haley:

Haley’s last journal entry said "The sun twinkles on snow, on tree and snow on branch. Snow everywhere I see. My Love is everywhere."

"It's a devastating loss for all of us," said coach Janet Champion. "Everyone loved Haley."

Remember to Skate With Your Heart

So next time you step on the ice, if you knew Haley remember her smile. Even if you didn’t know her, remember you are lucky to be skating… so skate with all your heart.

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