A Russian ice skater who has performed in shows all around the world has landed on the Border to manage Wodonga's rink.
Roman Khitiaev has taken over management of Wodonga Ice Skating Rink and is keen to share his knowledge of the discipline with the community.
Figure skating has been his life, starting at the age of four before going on to compete at a national level in Russia.
However, with so many top ice skaters in that part of the world, Mr Khitiaev found it difficult to progress to the next level and represent his country at the Olympics.
After studying at university, he was offered a contract to work in one of the world's biggest skating shows, Hot Ice, in England, opening up several opportunities.
Mr Khitiaev then spent time skating in Germany, before travelling the world with Royal Caribbean as a performer on cruise ships.
He met his girlfriend, Abby, an Australian, while working on a ship and they moved to Melbourne, before the opportunity came up to manage the Wodonga rink.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"I didn't know where Wodonga was, but I spoke to the owner Ken Jensen and he told me it was about a three-hour drive and wanted me to come and have a look," Mr Khitiaev said.
"We just fell in love with the place. I saw great potential and that's pretty much how we moved here.
"Abby was finishing her job in Melbourne and was about to start working online, so she was happy for us to go for it."
Mr Khitiaev now wants to use his 24 years of skating experience to introduce people to the sport, with the long term aim of setting up figure skating and ice hockey schools.
The response has been extremely positive and Mr Khitiaev said he couldn't have felt any more welcome.
"The people here are really friendly and Abby and I really enjoy it here," he said.
"Because of COVID we have restrictions and we can only allow 20 people per session, but we've had quite a lot of people wanting to skate," Mr Khitiaev said.
"We have hockey night every Wednesday and we have some guys from inline hockey, basically roller hockey, who wanted to try ice hockey.
"We have a nine-year-old boy and we recently had a 12-year-old boy join and they've really enjoyed it."
Wodonga Ice Rink is located on Queen Street and is open all year round, with extended operating hours in the school holidays.
Ice hockey is played at the centre every Wednesday evening, while Friday night is disco themed.
Mr Khitiaev also offers private lessons individually or with small groups.
To book, visit wodongaiceskatingrink.com.au.