Born in Summerside on May 23, 1956, Deborah J. MacMurdo would become one of the most influential people in figure skating — not only on Prince Edward Island, but across Canada.
On Friday, she will be inducted into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame during a sold-out event at the Rodd Royalty Hotel in Charlottetown.
MacMurdo began skating as a child on outdoor rinks in her backyard in Kelvin Grove. When the Kensington Figure Skating Club was created in 1968 she began taking skating lessons. Her interest grew in the sport, leading her to become a competitive skater. She later took on many roles such as amateur coach, judge, technical liaison and team manager. Debbie did not stop there. She became involved in the administrative area, becoming a board director and committee chairwoman at the provincial and national levels for three decades.
As a teen, Debbie became a national skating test amateur coach, helping the professional coach teach younger skaters. At age 16 she became a judge and has officiated at many test days and competitions. She was the Island’s first gold level judge and continues to be the province’s first, and only, Canadian singles judge. She judged at many national championships and will continue this tradition at the 2018 nationals in Vancouver.
Canada Games have been a big part of Debbie’s sport involvement. She was named an alternate for the P.E.I. figure skating team for the 1975 Games in Lethbridge, Alta., and in 1983, was manager of the Island team for the Games in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Que. She acted as a judge at the 1987 and 2011 Games and a technical representative for the 1991 Canada Games in Charlottetown. Debbie was also a P.E.I. mission staff member in 1995 and a member of the Provincial Canada Games Committee and vice-president sport and board of management member for the 2009 Canada Games in P.E.I.
Debbie became a technical representative responsible for the oversight of all technical aspects of the competition, including working with officials, coaches, skaters, volunteers and television. She started this role at the sectional and divisional level in the late 1980s. In 2001, she was appointed to the same role at the national level and continued to serve for 18 national championships and seven Skate Canada international events.
The highlight of Debbie’s career came when she was one of the first volunteers assigned to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as field of play on-ice supervisor. She worked directly with International Skating Union (ISU) officials ensuring athletes had the best environment to compete and worked closely with team managers and athletes from participating countries. In 2013, she was named technical liaison for the World Figure Skating Championships held in London, Ont.
Debbie was involved with the Skate Canada board of directors for 27 years before stepping down in 2014. At Skate Canada’s annual meeting in 2014 she received the Billy Mitchell Award for outstanding contribution to the board, becoming only the second person to receive this award twice. She also became an honorary member of Skate Canada, only the 37th person in the history of Skate Canada to receive the honour.
During her time as a board member she held many roles.
Prior to becoming chairwoman of Skate Canada P.E.I. in 1985 she held various board positions. She was one of the original members of the committee that established the ADL Junior Figure Skating Championships that have been held in Kensington for more than 30 years.
Debbie was elected as a director of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, now known as Skate Canada, in 1987 and assigned to the chairwoman of rules and technical advisory for a four-year term. She was a member of the rules committee from her first year on the board in 1987 until 2014.
In 1996, Debbie stepped down from the board but was asked by the president to chair the national judges committee.
Since retiring from the Skate Canada Board, Debbie has continued to be a member of many committees both at the national and provincial level.
She was not only involved in administration, she was a team manager for Skate Canada at a number of international events, including the world junior championships in 1994 and 2002 and the world championships in Helsinki, Finland, in 1999.
Debbie’s involvement in sport administration was not limited to figure skating. She was a board member of Sport P.E.I. from 1993 to 2002, serving as a director, secretary, vice-president and president. When the National Special Olympics were held in P.E.I. in 2004 she was chairwoman and technical representative for figure skating.
– Compiled by Dave Holland, Queens County director for the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame.
Need to know
A look at the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame 2017 induction ceremony.
When – Friday, Nov. 24. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Where – Rodd Royalty Hotel.
Tickets – The event is sold-out.