IceReach was created in 2004 by Ann Marie Shipstad, the granddaughter of Eddie Shipstad, founder and creator of the first professional traveling ice show, The Shipstad and Johnson Ice Follies. Growing up in a family of professional ice athletes, she saw firsthand the positive attributes that these sports fostered within her family (her mother, a professional figure skater, her father an arena manager, her brother, a national champion curler & speedskater, her sister and other brother professional figure skaters). Working within the arts field of non-profits, she realized the lack of outreach within ice sports. Inspired by her father and her mother’s efforts to expand diversity in ice sports, as part of her thesis project for her master’s degree at Northwestern University, she started doing free ice sport lessons in Chicago. Twelve years later, this free programming has been recognized and now funded by the City of Chicago, with hopes to expand into more urban areas. Since 2009, more than 8290 people have participated in our IceReach events.
Since its formation, IceReach has partnered with the following agencies to create free ice sport experiences and performances in and around the greater Chicagoland area: The City of Chicago (DCASE: Department of Cultural Arts & Special Events), The Mayor’s Office of Special Events, ABC Television’s Good Morning America, World Sport Chicago, The Chicago Cubs, City Year Chicago, Northwestern University, Capital One Rocks and Rings Outreach Curling Program, Shriners Hospitals For Children, The Chicago Park District, The Carol Stream Park District, The Winnetka Park District, North Shore Suburban Recreation Association and all four ice sport National Governing bodies: US Figure Skating, USA Hockey, US Curling and US Speedskating.
Olympic ice athletes that we have worked with include figure skater Jason Brown, speedskaters Shani Davis, Emery Lehman and Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr., and members and coaches of the US Sled Hockey Team as well as the coach of the US Para Olympic Curling Team, Steve Brown. We have worked with hundreds of local skaters producing sport demonstrations and on ice performances. Artistic skating companies such as American Ice Theatre, Ice Semble Chicago as well as competitive figure skaters and synchronized skating teams have performed in our exhibitions.