When I was told that the Oswego State Ice Effects team went to Nationals this year, my first reaction was apparently on-point with the rest of the student bodies’: “What team is that?”
“Most people have no idea that we have a skating team,” said Hoffmann, as I let out a collective sigh of relief knowing that I wasn’t alone on the subject. “You and probably everyone else in this room.”
The thing is, even though I had no idea about anything related to skating or the Ice Effects team, I walked away from this interview thoroughly impressed with everything that I had heard. Read on to learn more about Brittany, the Ice Effects team and the Disney Program here at SUNY Oswego…
Image taken from the SUNY Oswego Ice Effects Facebook page
Everyone has, or will eventually have, a passion. I love sitting down and talking to someone about their passion, simply because I just like to learn new things about people. I have my own passions and I know how much they mean to me, so once and a while it’s nice to learn something that means a lot to someone else.
Brittany Hoffmann is a Junior at SUNY Oswego, and one of her passions (as you should already know by now) is being on the ice. She first got into skating when she went to a show in her hometown around age eight.
“They did an annual ice show and it was kind of a big deal … I was hooked.”
She started competing the very next year, and began skating synchro when she was 11. “Usually within the first year you will really see them (new skaters) improve, or you’ll just see them lose it,” said Hoffmann. “I started skating synchro when I was 11, and it did not take me long to get hooked at all.”
Brittany was 11 years old, skating with girls that were 18. I don’t care what it is that you’re doing, but keeping up with people that are 7 years older than you, especially at age 11, is remarkable. Hoffmann skated with the CNY Synchronats, Blue Order Blades and CNY Blizzard before she came to college.
So why Oswego?
“For the team, to be honest with you … I didn’t want to go to school far away … I wanted to skate, that was a must … and I wanted to go into Broadcast Journalism,” she said. “That left me with Syracuse, Oswego and LeMoyne.”
Syracuse is Hoffmann’s dream school, however she has family that attended Oswego and friends that skated on the team here as well, which made the decision a bit easier.
In her Freshman year, Hoffman and the Ice Effect’s team went to Nationals, but the next year, they weren’t even allowed to go; they didn’t have enough skaters.
Sometimes it just isn’t possible to do everything that you want to do—in this case, Brittany had a great opportunity to join the Disney Program (more on this later), and another teammate got the opportunity to study abroad. With two additional girls leaving the team for personal reasons, the Ice Effects team in 2012 had to drop down to the Open Collegiate division (as opposed to the Collegiate division.)
This wasn’t all bad though, as Oswego won the Open Collegiate Eastern Sectional Division Championship that year. “That was pretty cool,” Hoffmann said.
However according to Hoffmann, the hardest part was yet to materialize.
“When the Freshman come, they want to be on a team that’s competitive … they don’t want to be in the Open Collegiate division, so the fact that we could bounce back from that was a really big deal.”
This brought up another related question, how did she feel about the Ice Effects team being a club sport, rather than a varsity sport? Does this turn potential skaters away?
“No … we kinda love it”
…Definitely not the answer I was expecting, but as it turns out, there are some good reasons for this.
“Adrian College in Michigan is a varsity team and they’re underdogs just like us. Several years in a row, they had qualified for Nationals and the school didn’t send them because they didn’t think it was worth it,” Hoffmann said. ”For all we know, if we were varsity, our school might do the same.”
Student Association actually does their best to help fund the Ice Effects team, along with the team itself doing a good amount of fundraising.
An interesting note here is that according to Brittany, Oswego is really the only SUNY school, besides Cornell, that has a functioning skating team. Potential recruits, look no further, Oswego is the place to be.
Another benefit for the Ice Effects team is that their coaches actually work on campus—one works for Res Life and Housing, and the other for Alumni and Development. This is good for a variety of reasons, the prominent one being they are there for the majority of the day if you need to talk.
When asked about how this upcoming year is going to be, Hoffmann was up-beat. She said they were going to have around 16 girls on their team, and possibly only skate the best 12. She says it is difficult to skate with more girls, however, because every skater needs to be in sync. Whenever you throw more girls in the mix, there is always more of a chance for mistakes; that’s just the way it goes. Brittany looks at this as a challenge, and is excited to see how it pans out.
The ultimate goal this year is to make it back to Nationals, which is in Colorado. “We are going to Colorado this year,” said Hoffmann. “Senior year, Nationals in Colorado, we’re doing it … if we don’t, I think I’ll just lose my mind.”
The Ice Effects team is an extremely close-knit group—after all, they kind of have to be to experience any type of success in their sport. “I have competed either with, or against, every single person on my team,” said Hoffmann. “When you come to college, you forget about all the other stuff … we’re here and we have one common goal.”
Brittany learned that coming to a smaller school (in the skating world) has taught her way more than she ever expected.
“It’s almost like it means more to us, you know, just to even step foot in Nationals is like winning to us,” said Hoffmann. “We’ve really gained some credibility these past couple years in the skating world.”
Brittany recruits a ton for the Ice Effects team, and hopes to stick around and help the new skaters as long as she can; if anyone is looking to learn more about skating on the Ice Effects team, either add Brittany Hoffmann on Facebook, or add The Oswego State Ice Effects Synchronized Skating Team.
The Disney Program
I wanted to talk a bit more about the Disney program while we had the time. I have a friend who’s in this program and he’s having the time of his life and learning a ton—he’s having so much fun in fact, that he dropped out of our basketball league this summer to stay longer, and for that we all despise him (I hope you read this somehow, Jeremiah.)
The fact of the matter is that this program is a fantastic program to get into, and if one has the opportunity, they should, at the very least, look into what it has to offer.
Brittany is a recruiter for the Disney Program as well (she wears a lot of hats here at Oswego) and says it isn’t too tough to get accepted. “They really look for your extra-curricular activities … not so much your GPA or what you’ve done in college, rather your motives and what you can bring to Disney, said Hoffmann. It also depends on their availability for the role you are applying.
If anyone has questions about this, do not hesitate to contact Brittany.