By Lauren Levine
With a room full of medals, pint-sized spinning starlet Hailey Blodgett has achieved what some figure skaters could only dream of accomplishing at such a young age. Now, she’s using her status to help underprivileged kids enjoy the ice rink, too.
Many 9 year olds spend time dreaming of future careers, wondering what might await them when they grow up. These goals will probably change at least a handful of times throughout middle and high school. Though for Hailey Blodgett of Madison County, there’s no wondering and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
“I want to be a professional figure skater and go to the Olympics. That’s my goal,” she said. Her voice is soft, but there’s no mistaking the determination she has. “I want to skate for the rest of my life,” she added.
Hailey’s skating career began in an unlikely way, shortly after she turned two. “It was October and there was nothing to do outside. The only thing that was open was an ice rink next to our house,” she explained. “We went over there and I just started skating. I was doing spins and all that.” Though it may seem hard to believe now, a career as a figure skater was not always apparent for Hailey. She was born prematurely and weighed less than two pounds at birth.
Now, Hailey has fit decades worth of skating accomplishments into her nine years, including being the 2012 Empire State Juvenile Girls 6.0 champion and a winner of three gold medals at the 2011 ISI World Championships held last July. She’s traveled as far west as Nebraska and Minnesota and as far south as North Carolina to compete; her next event will be Skate Wilmington in Delaware this month.
When she’s not at the rink practicing (she trains for three hours every day, except on Sundays) or working on schoolwork (she is home schooled by her mother who is a teacher), she’s performing between periods during Colgate University hockey games. Hailey’s talents have earned her the attention of national skating companies Riedell and Chloe Noel. She models the companies’ skates and skating apparel. In addition to this work, Hailey gives lessons to a 3-year-old student.
One of Hailey’s biggest undertakings is working with Hasek’s Heroes. The Buffalo-based organization collects hockey equipment and skates for low-income families, with children who might not otherwise have the ability to play hockey. Introduced to the program coordinator by her coach, Lisa Ervin-Baudo, Hailey was instantly excited and eager to volunteer with such a great organization, her mother, Stacy, said. “Hailey’s love for the ice is something she would love everybody to experience!” Stacy added. To help, Hailey and her parents have put bins out around Central New York so people can drop off used skates and equipment. “I’ve got six bins in four counties,” Hailey said proudly. “So far I’ve got, like, 18 pairs of skates and $2,000 worth of used equipment. My goal is to get 100 pairs of skates.”
Needless to say, Hailey is pretty busy. How does she balance it all? “I don’t know, I just do it,” she giggled. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing!” Her schedule sets her apart from most kids her age, but she says her friends admire both her charity work and her skating accomplishments. “My friends are really proud of me. They can’t believe I can do all of the tricks. They’re like, ‘Wow! That’s cool!’” she said.
Hailey’s parents echo that sentiment, but see things from a slightly different perspective as her father,
Ken, explained, “We’re just glad she’s healthy. This is just extra gravy.”