ELLENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - Every Monday, “Tropical Spice on Ice” comes together for an hour at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex to practice.
This ice skating team is a unique group of women, who range from the ages of 45 to 80 years young. Some of them have been ice skating for more than a decade, while others for only a few years.
“The thing that is unique about us, there are various skill levels. Everyone helps each other. We work together very well as a team. I feel like everyone is encouraging,” said Head Coach Kelly Paige.
The team has been around more than 25 years. It first started in Nokomis at the Ice Chateau Skating Rink and has moved around to different skating rinks all over the Suncoast.
Coach Paige says throughout the 25 years, “Tropical Spice on Ice” has lost three team members to cancer.
“We lost my first member Janice Owens to breast cancer. Then our second member, Susan Evans, to breast cancer. And our third member, Linda Spinelli, to breast cancer. When we do a performance we dedicate our performances to breast cancer awareness,” said Coach Paige.
Out of the 11 team members, there are two cancer survivors, until now. Team member Marylin Pagni found out her cancer came back weeks ago.
“I was just recently diagnosed after 25 years it came back. So I was not able to skate with the girls today. I just had my surgery about two and a half weeks ago. I’m going to miss a competition which I’m so upset about," Pagni said.
But she says cancer will not slow her down and she’ll be back on the ice with her team for the next competition.
“I intend to be the survivor of this cancer. So I’m very optimistic that I’ll be back on the ice in no time,” said Pagni.
Tropical Spice on Ice will be competing on March 1st. And if you’re interested in joining or taking ice skating lessons you can look them up on Facebook.