Former S.F. resident cuts across skating’s tough color barrier 

It’s hard to avoid puns when your alter-ego is a fast-talking ice-flinging superhero in a blue unitard.

"He’s the cool character," said Oakland native and former San Francisco resident Skyler Rogers of his role as "Frozone," the hero from the Disney animated movie "The Incredibles." Frozone is just one of the characters in the Disney on Ice show "A Disneyland Adventure," opening in San Jose today and coming to the Cow Palace March 7. Other characters in the show range from Cinderella to Baloo from "The Jungle Book."

Rogers — a soft-spoken skater and dancer who spent his high school years at the School of the Arts in San Francisco — said the role of Frozone has given him a chance to travel across North America and inspire a generation of young black athletes who, like him, have few role models in the ice-sports world. There are only a handful of black hockey players in the National Hockey League, including the San Jose Sharks’ Mike Grier.

"They loved me in Atlanta," Rogers said. "I remember after one of the shows, one of the kids walked up to the ice to touch and told his mother he wanted to ice skate."

The role of Frozone — voiced by Samuel L. Jackson in the film — has been as easy fit for Rogers, both as a person and an ice skater, since both are laid-back characters with smooth moves. And while it’s been fun skating around the United States, Rogers said he’s excited for a chance to skate in front of hometown crowds.

This is his first West Coast stint in his two seasons with the show, which he joined aftergraduating from college in Philadelphia in 2005. Rogers has been skating for 13 years. He first stepped onto the ice in middle school as part of an honors field trip to a Berkeley ice rink.

Rogers said he is debating what he will do after the tour ends. If he signs on for another season, he’ll take his super-suit to Europe, but if he stays home and begins coaching, he could pursue his goal of a masters degree in dance composition.

Disney on Ice is at the HP Pavilion at San Jose today through Sunday; the Oracle Arena in Oakland from Feb. 28 to March 4; and the Cow Palace in Daly City on March 7-11.

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