Laurie Johnson-Kruger and her husband Dan have just moved to Devils Lake to revamp the city's youth figure skating scene.
Everyone has a passion for something in life whatever it may be. For Laurie Johnson-Kruger and her husband Dan that passion is figure skating.
Dan and Laurie originally met in Janesville Wisconsin and have now been married for 17 years. During their 17 years together, the couple has been coaching figure skating together for 13 of them.
Laurie and Dan moved to Devils Lake from Minot in May to take over the figure skating program in town. The couple coached in Minot for 15 months before deciding to move to Devils Lake.
“I was intrigued by the Devils Lake program and moving to Minot for those 15 months was I believe a stepping stone to getting us to Devils Lake,” said Laurie.
Laurie is originally from the Twin Cities and has quite the figure skating resume. Some of her biggest accomplishments include being a four time national pairs champion along with two trips to worlds and one of them receiving a Pewter medal. She also has 31 years of coaching under her belt to boot.
Laurie began coaching in the Twin Cities but finally left the area when she was offered a new job in Jamestown, North Dakota. She coached there from 1987-89 before moving to Devils Lake to take over the program from 1990-92.
“Once I took that job in Jamestown I knew it was what I was meant to do,” said Laurie.
Laurie’s first stint in Devils Lake was one that she still remembers.
“We won the team trophy in January of 1991 at the Magic City Figure Skating Club which was an international competition held in Minot. We were able to do something really special at that event,” said Laurie.
It is hard to believe that someone could remember all of the specific details of an event that was almost 25 years ago but Laurie explained it like it happened yesterday.
Her husband Dan, who is originally from Milton WI, never had a huge interest in figure skating until the two met. He gained interest in the sport more and more over time and has really become a great coach over the years. Dan is now using a pro motion jump harness which follows kids and assists them with their high level jumps. It helps kids gain confidence and reduces the risk of injury. Dan is also a professional skate sharpener and is hoping to share that talent with the figure skating club.
“We really enjoy teaching the kids the sport but more importantly the life lessons that come with it,” said Laurie.
Laurie and Dan know that every skater has the potential to be great, but a lot of hard work and dedication is required.
“The sky is the limit for every skater and it is up to them to see how far they can go,” said Laurie.
The figure skating season will begin in October and runs through early March. There are three scheduled competitions as of right now with the locations being in Minot, Grand Forks, and Fargo.
Dan and Laurie will also be teaching synchronized skating, exhibition skating, hockey skating, along with offering a learn to skate program for families. These are all open to skaters of all ages.
All skaters in the family learn to skate program will have an opportunity to participate in the 68th annual ice show at the end of the year.
“The ice show is a fun family show that allows skaters to show what they have learned throughout the year,” said Laurie.
In 2012 there was a total 85 skaters which is a good amount but Laurie and Dan are hoping the numbers increase even more this winter. The couple is very excited for the opportunity they have in Devils Lake to teach skaters of all ages along with being part of a great community.
“The people we have met are so friendly. We know that this is the environment we want to be in and we are very excited,” said Laurie.