Kurt Browning's appearance with Stars on Ice March 8 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont will be a noteworthy event for the champion skater and his U.S. fans.
This season marks Browning's last performance with the U.S. tour version of Stars on Ice, the popular ice production started by award-winning skater Scott Hamilton nearly 30 years ago.
For Browning, his departure from Stars on Ice signals no big retirement message from him. While he'll be absent from U.S. renditions of the show, fans will still be able to see him in Stars on Ice' Canadian and international tours and well as other performance formats in the future.
Browning said Stars on Ice has been a rewarding experience.
"It's been a great 20-year relationship. The longevity of my career has been due in part to Stars on Ice," he said. The departure "is not something I like to talk about too much," he added.
The skater said his career is not coming to an end but will just "taper off" through the years. "I have two little boys and I'll be spending more time with them," he said.
Browning said what he'll miss most about Stars on Ice are the people he's come to call family and friends.
"I'll miss the time spent with other skaters," he said, adding he has wonderful memories of great performances and things that happened on tour.
"Being around the best skaters in the world made me a better skater," he said.
During this season's production titled the "Now and Then" tour, Browning will skate a number he did years ago and also one he said will be a "bittersweet goodbye."
The show, which also stars Dorothy Hamill; Ekaterina Gordeeva; Ryan Bradley; Joannie Rochette; Kimberly Navarro & Brent Bommentre; Sinead & John Kerr; and Shawn Sawyer, puts the focus on individual skaters' careers and highlights special past performances as well as contemporary works.
In Browning's case, he'll be doing his "Singing in the Rain" number as well as a special number in honor of his farewell. He'll also perform a duet with Hamill.
"I did 'Singing in the Rain' two decades ago on a TV special but never did it live," he said.
About performing with Hamill, which he's doing for the first time, Browning said, "She an iconic figure to be skating with. We have a lot of fun together."
Hamill was just chosen to be in "Dancing with the Stars" this season. Browning said he's sure Kristi Yamaguchi, a "Dancing with the Stars" alumnus, "will have a lot of advice" for Hamill.
Browning said he's still extremely fond of the skating art and feels "lucky" to have been very healthy throughout his professional career. He looks forward to doing a variety of projects in the future.
"I'm still totally curious about skating. I love it," he said.
FYI: Stars on Ice will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 8 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Tickets start at $25. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com for tickets and information.