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  • Courtesy photos Trace Hansen was a three-time member of Team USA from 2004 to 2006. He and his partner, Kylee Berger, finished eighth at their first Worlds competition in California. The next two years, they finished fifth.

  • Trace Hansen, who lives in Warsaw, was one of four to be inducted as a distinguished service honoree to the Competitive Roller Skating Hall of Fame in 2019.

  • Trace Hansen  

Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:00 am

Letting the good times roll

Skating Hall of Famer runs Warsaw rink

CHARLOTTE STEFANSKI | The Journal Gazette

Although Trace Hansen has been in roller skates since he was 3 years old, having his name listed in the Competitive Roller Skating Hall of Fame was something he never imagined.

Hansen, who lives in Warsaw, was one of four people to be inducted as a distinguished service honoree in 2019.

“For me, it meant a lot. It's not something I ever strived for. I give back to the sport because I love the sport,” Hansen said. “All of the things that I do are because the sport has provided me a lot in my life, and I wanted to provide that opportunity to build membership within it. It's very humbling.”

USA Roller Sports governs the sports of figure skating, speed skating, inline and rink hockey, roller derby and freestyle skating.

Created in 1983, the Hall of Fame program has three categories including athletes, coaches and distinguished service.

Since the creation of the distinguished service category in 1994, over 80 individuals have been inducted.

Hansen, originally from Seattle, started his competitive skating career at age 4 and stuck with the sport as a teenager. While in school he also played soccer, but skating offered something more than a team sport could.

“I really enjoyed it as an individual sport because you have to motivate yourself, push yourself and be self-accountable,” Hansen said.

Once college rolled around, Hansen took a small break from the rink, but something called him back.

When he was 20, he began teaching, and soon found his way back to the competitive circuit.

Hansen was a three-time member of Team USA from 2004 to 2006. He and his partner, Kylee Berger, finished eighth at their first Worlds competition in California. The next two years, they finished fifth.

Hansen was also a member of the Everett Police Department in Washington, all while keeping a strict diet, working on his core muscles and flexibility and spending more than 25 hours a week in a pair of skates.

However, in 2007, a lifelong dream of owning his own skating rink became a reality.

“The reality is here, the day-to-day work (as a police officer), it's so reactive that you don't have time to be proactive in your community,” Hansen said. “I just thought it's time to really make an impact.”

So, Hansen retired both his skates and badge and moved to Warsaw to run Eastlake Skating Center. Since then, he has added two other rinks.

In addition to the rink, Hansen served on many boards and committees since 2008. Most notably, he is part of the board of directors for USA Roller Sports, and for the past three years now, he has been chairman.

Hansen started the Great Lakes International Skate Camp at his facility in 2014, which brings in 80 to 90 skaters from around the country every year for four days of training with international coaches.

“We fly in two or three top coaches, usually from Italy or another European country, which is where the hub of skating is right now,” Hansen said. “They came over for four days, and we spent about 12 hours a day training.”

With his name now listed in the Hall of Fame, Hansen hopes to stay in the sport by helping his 6-year-old daughter compete.

“I hope I am able to continue to teach her as she grows, and for her to have success in the sport,” Hansen said. “Not just at the tournament level, but in terms of sportsmanship, work ethic and all intangible things that come from the sport outside of just the work.”