Twenty-one people mingled and munched on the evening of March 20 chatting with guests of honour from Estonia, figure skater Jelena Muhhina and her coach Irina Kononova. The two were in Calgary to participate in the 2006 Figure Skating World Championships.
Jelena is currently Estonian champion and was selected by the Estonian Skating Federation for this, her first major international competition. Her fellow skater Jelena Glebova had participated for Estonia in the recent Winter Olympic Games at Torino. Neither proceeded to the next stage of competition. Pairs competitors Diana Rennik and Aleksei Saks qualified for the Winter Olympics where they placed 17th for Estonia and were also scheduled to come to Calgary but illness prevented them from making the trip. His employment situation meant judge Nikolai Salnikov was also unable to travel to the Calgary championship.
The Alberta Estonian Heritage Society gifted the Estonian representatives with flowers and a fruit basket plus a small book and DVD about Canada. The conversation flowed smoothly, sometimes in Estonian, mostly in English. A couple of locals also arranged private use of a hockey rink for extra practice, brought some requested medication for Jelena’s sore throat and took her to the top of the Calgary tower for a grand view of a Canadian prairie city. Jelena was impressed by the number of tall buildings, a special dinosaur display, the cowboy culture and the huge size of the competition rink, called the Saddledome.
The Alberta Estonian Heritage Society hosts skater and coach from Estonia