SIOUX CITY | Sonja Henie wasn’t just an Olympic darling. The three-time gold medal winner was also a Sioux City skating favorite.
Appearing with Holiday on Ice, the Norwegian figure skater and film star skated at the Municipal Auditorium, a regular stop on the ice show circuit.
Promoted by Sioux Cityan Bill Hawkins, ice shows at the auditorium began with the Ice Capers. They were followed by Holiday on Ice and, more recently, Ice Capades. In the 1980s and 1990s, other champion skaters (like Scott Hamilton and Linda Fratianne) performed at the auditorium, continuing the trend.
When the Tyson Events Center opened, one of the first shows in the facility was Smucker’s Stars on Ice. That production starred Hamilton and the two couples who shared the gold medal for pairs skating, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, and Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharudlidze.
Michelle Kwan, Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Viktor Petrenko and Brian Boitano also called the facility home in everything from Champions on Ice to Boitano’s Skating Spectacular, which was broadcast on NBC in 2010.
Those early visits, though, set the stage for decades of ice skating interest in Siouxland.
Hawkins said Ice Capades frequently started its tours in Sioux City, rehearsing in the community for more than a week and learning routines before presenting them for the first time at the auditorium.