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Skating show will benefit top instructor

Olympians rally to help longtime coach Iveta Ice

Julie Graham (left) and Danielle Hardiman are coordinating An Evening for Iveta. Julie Graham (left) and Danielle Hardiman are coordinating An Evening for Iveta. (DAVID KAMERMAN/GLOBE STAFF)

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto have never met Iveta Ice, but the longtime, and highly regarded figure skating coach has earned the utmost respect from the four-time US ice dance champions.

On Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., the 2006 Olympic silver medalists and other renowned skaters from around the world will be on the ice at New England Sports Center in Marlborough for a dazzling, choreographed show in honor of Ice.

In March, Ice was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. "An Evening for Iveta" will benefit the Iveta Ice Fund, which help with family and medical expenses.

Those involved with the show hope, however, that the 42-year-old Ice is not in attendance.

"If she's not there, then that's a good thing," said Danielle Hardiman, co-coordinator of the event.

"That means there has been real progress made with her treatment and she's in the hospital being treated. It's been a great response from the skating community to see skaters donate their time for Iveta."

Prior to her diagnosis, Ice, a native of Latvia, served as skating and ice dancing coach at the New England Sports Center for eight years, leading novice dancers Jane Summersett and Elliot Pennington to a silver medal at the US nationals in 2006.

"In December she began getting sick and we thought it was lymphoma," said Julie Graham, who came up with the idea of the show after learning Ice would need a bone marrow transplant. "It was so shocking, especially since I've been like a surrogate mother to her while her family's in Latvia."

The talent scheduled to be on the ice is impressive.

Three-time US champion and Olympian Johnny Weir has committed to make the trip to Marlborough, along with defending US pairs champions Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski and four-time US ice dancing silver medalists Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov.

Julia Vlassov of Hudson and Drew Meekins of Wellesley, the 2006 world junior pairs champions, will also perform. Joining Meekins and Vlassov are 2007 world junior men's champion Stephen Carriere and 2007 US ice dancing bronze medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, among others.

Graham said, "It's just an unbelievable outpouring of love for Iveta; Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov literally asked to be in the show."

"No one wants someone you care about to be sick, so right away we thought about how we could help her," said Vlassov. "We should use the skills she's taught so many great skaters and do something that involves ice skating, which is what she loves most."

Tickets ($35 for adults, $20 for children 5 and under) are available at the New England Sports Center ticket office or by calling 508-229-2700, ext. 212.

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