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Kenny Moir, beloved Sky Rink skating instructor, dies at 61

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Kenny Moir, a beloved veteran skating instructor at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, lost his battle with liver cancer. He died on Dec. 23 in Los Altos, California, at the home of his sister, Glenda, who had set up a hospice for him. He was 61.

As The Village Sun previously reported in January, Moir, who lived in Chelsea, was seeking a liver donor, but having difficulty locating one. He had been diagnosed with a liver disease known as NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis).

When he was initially diagnosed, the cancer was only in a small part of his liver — the bile duct — and the plan was to keep it from spreading through chemotherapy and other treatments while looking for a live donor.  However, all the candidates who came forward were rejected due to strict testing standards.

After efforts to find a living donor failed, Moir was put on a dead-donor list, which is long, but by then he had become quite ill.

Kenny Moir skating at Bryant Park in a video that went viral. (Courtesy Ice Theatre of New York)

Helen Hyun-Bowline, a fellow skating instructor at Sky Rink, stayed in touch with Moir during his illness.

“He went through a roller-coaster ride between bad reactions to chemo, allergies and infections, and then the mental anguish of waiting, getting hopes up, then finding out the process had to start over again,” she said. “But he never complained while he was keeping us updated with information; he stayed positive, at least to his colleagues and friends at the rink, throughout the process.”

In the end, when he saw they were no longer working, Moir decided to cease receiving treatments. He passed away a few weeks later.

“The entire Sky Rink-and-beyond skating community stepped up for him and helped me support him through sending videos, old photos and messages that we put together into a slideshow,” Hyun-Bowline said. “He was a kind and extremely intelligent person, with a stinging sense of humor and a ton of knowledge in his brain. He was full of wisdom and will be missed. We loved him dearly.  He had sent me a video message for me to send or show the coaches, basically a goodbye video, and he was even joking about his hair in that video.

“I last spoke with him — we set up a phone call between his morphine treatments — on Thurs., Dec. 17,” she said. “He was alert and, although his voice sounded feeble, he was sharp as a tack and still so positive. He spoke about his condition and the cancer as though he were a doctor, very measured, and I thought he would live a couple more weeks, but he passed quietly in his sleep in the morning.  He seemed content. He knew how much everyone loved him, and he was in a loving place surrounded by his family.”

A Vancouver native, Moir started figure skating at an early age and rose to become Canada’s silver medalist. He never competed in the Olympics because, at that time, the country did not send as many skaters to the Games as it does today.

After leaving competitive skating, he toured in ice shows and moved to New York City around 40 years ago to coach the sport. He was a skating coach at Sky Rink since 1984, and was formerly the rink’s figure-skating director.

On a lighter note, Moir recorded what is said to be the world’s most-viral ice-skating video, with more than 4 million views. In the comic bit — done for the local nonprofit Ice Theatre of New York and filmed at Bryant Park — he starts out looking like he can’t skate for his life, then winds up giving a perfect performance.

Moir’s sister Glenda and his friend Scott Schwartz, who works at Chelsea Piers, plan to hold a celebration of the skater’s life in the late summer or early fall, “after everyone is safe and vaccinated,” according to Hyun-Bowline.

Moir was also president of the Sky Rink Scholarship Board for more than 15 years. The skating coaches have requested that the Sky Rink Scholarship Fund be named after him.

One Comment

  1. Moira North Moira North December 30, 2020

    Bravo Kenny… keep dancing on ice and entertaining us from another dimension!

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