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No Limitations: Kim Muir Has Tremendous Pride in Helping Players Improve Their Skating

By Brianna Rhone, 05/23/24, 3:30PM MDT


Kim Muir has always been a perfectionist. It’s been ingrained in her ever since she first got started as a figure skater and that same mentality has followed her as she helps a new generation of skaters improve their technical skills. 

Muir’s path to becoming one of the premiere skating coaches in Michigan was not linear. Muir always let her talent speak for itself when she stepped on the ice vs. letting any preconceived notions from others hold her back. 

“I grew up in a hockey community and being the youngest of three, my two older brothers played hockey. The culture and the vernacular in our household, in my city and at the kitchen table was always hockey. They knew nothing about figure skating,” Muir recalled. “My dad was pretty traditional old school. Back when I was growing up, there weren’t many avenues for women's hockey like there are today. My dad reinforced this by saying, ‘Girls are to figure skate and boys are to play hockey.’”

Muir’s dedication to perfecting her figure skating saw her spend long hours at the rink in her hometown of Trenton, Michigan, eventually catching the eye of Pete Zancanaro, father of two scrappy identical twins, Tony and Brad Zancanaro. At just 15 years old, Pete was immediately impressed by Muir’s skating prowess, Pete knew Muir could be used as a weapon to give his players a competitive advantage. She could help teach them the ability to outskate any opponent they faced. Muir, who skated light on her feet and was efficient with her strides and footwork, didn’t have a hockey perspective to lean on like the athletes she coached, but she used her expert skating techniques to help her athletes see the game from a different angle. 

Under Muir’s tutelage, the Zancanaro twins went on to have successful college hockey careers at Boston University and Providence College, with Tony captaining the Friars and Brad holding co-captain honors for the Terriers in 2005. 

Muir realized after training her first two athletes that she had an opportunity to help athletes from all facets of the game. The birth of her program “Can’t Skate, Can’t Play,” quickly turned into a prosperous endeavor, growing from just the Zancanaro twins to over 200 eager athletes in just six months.  The long hours spent in hockey rinks watching her brothers growing up allowed her to dissect the game and use this knowledge in her power skating lessons, informing her students of ways to tweak their skating just slightly to execute more effectively on the ice. 

“When giving lessons, my defensemen have to be the best at agility. They may not be the fastest, but they should be equally fast as the forwards,” Muir said. “My forwards probably aren’t as good at lateral movement. So, we spend a lot of training time on lateral movements. I don't care what position you play; you're going to be an all-around skater when you train with me, especially for my goaltenders.”

Muir’s resume of athletes she has worked with is formidable, from a host of former and current National Team Development Program athletes, including 2023 Under-18 Men’s Worlds Championship gold-medalists Trey Augustine and Zach Schulz, to working with the Detroit Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes. 

“When I worked with the Carolina Hurricanes, their goalie coach had me work with the goaltenders, and I learned so much about skating for goalies that fast forward, now we run our own goalie camps, specifically focusing on power skating for goalies,” Muir said. “When you talk to pro goalies, they will all say they have to be the best skaters on the ice. There are so many variations of skating, and goalies have to be skilled at multiple forms of them.”

Muir has been a power skating coach since 1990 and has seen the game grow and evolve. Therefore, Muir has worked to adapt her coaching techniques as well. Watching the game transcend into a speedier, more technically skilled sport, Muir has worked to transform her own focus. Although she enjoys seeing the fruits of her labor illustrated on the ice, her greatest accomplishments are the bonds she makes off the ice. 

“As a coach, the highest level of gratification for me from what I've done in the 30-plus years that I've been coaching is the relationship that I have with students.” Muir said. “I have a particular athlete that this is probably the most relatable to. Matt Roy's playing with the LA Kings right now and I've coached him since he was 5 years old. I've been at his high school graduation, his NHL draft, his wedding and the baptism for his kids. When you are part of that journey and someone wants you to be there in the most poignant and vignettes of their lives, that's the privilege, that's when you feel like you’ve made it. Not the NHL teams I have worked with, but that someone wanted you along their whole journey and still see you as that valuable in their life, as a human being, not as a coach.”

Using Her Personal Experience as a Mother, Muir Finds An Additional Calling


For Muir, she is a true believer of hockey being inclusive and accessible to every athlete who wants to don a pair of skates. Her power skating program has extended to special hockey programs, a cause incredibly personal to her. Her son, Vinnie, has allowed Muir to not only find a newfound appreciation for the game, but motivated her to find ways to ensure hockey is truly for everyone. 

“My son is autistic and, and probably five, six years ago, USA Hockey had asked me to come out and help out with the special needs program that they were holding at USA (Hockey) Arena, and it was the most gratifying thing I've ever done in my entire life,” Muir recalled. “Bringing my whole staff and working with children who are blind and deaf and have their own physical disabilities and having three or four instructors just help them to give them an experience truly inspired me.”

Muir’s power skating program, “Can’t Skate, Can’t Play” has opened the door for many disabled youth looking to explore adaptive sports find a community of similar individuals. From hosting Learn to Play clinics and introducing many to sled hockey, Muir knows firsthand just how powerful and profound finding connection with teammates can be. Her program recently hosted a sled hockey charity game featuring Vladimir Konstantinov, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings.

“My son, who's now 16 played on his high school team. When he scored his first goal you would have thought it was a double-overtime, Stanley Cup game-winning goal by the way that, not only himself and his teammates, but by how the parents and the parents of the other team reacted to Vinnie scoring. It was just beautiful. It was a win-win for everyone. Everyone wants to feel included and loved. More than anything, there's so much to be learned by, or taught by these children of disabilities, that give us a different recalibration on life and love and they're just happy to exist and they're happy to be part of something. It was in that moment that I knew I had to do something more than just teaching children how to skate better. I just want every person with a disability to have an opportunity to play a sport, be part of an organization, but ultimately feel like they belong.”

Muir prides herself on being with her athletes every step of the way in their hockey journey, from the first time they step on the ice in her program until they graduate. A teacher, a coach, and a mother, Muir leans on her different skillsets and uses them to her advantage, refining her technique as a coach as she helps her students polish their technique as skaters. 

Leaning on her most foundational role, Muir hopes her background as a punctilious skater has transformed her students into becoming confident athletes ready to take on any challenge the game throws their way. 

“On the ice, the technical skills that they learn from me, the efficiency of skating, I hope they always know that less is more, but they learn to perfect their technique to expend less, while producing more,” Muir said. “Off the ice, I hope they understand that I am always going to be their home, I will take care of them from the day that they start with me to the day that they end with me. 

“I always say, ‘Sometimes the game will humble you and you just have to go back home, go back and get your confidence back from the person that you felt the best with, who makes you feel good.’ Hopefully they consider me, my staff, and the program as a whole home, and I just hope that they always love the game and love skating with me.”

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