Three-time Canadian men’s champion Brian Pockar is inducted posthumously into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the athlete category.
The native of Calgary, Alta., who passed away in 1992 at the age of 32, had six consecutive podium finishes at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships beginning in 1977, including three straight wins from 1978 to 1980.
He won bronze at the 1982 World Figure Skating Championships and placed 12th at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.
Pockar also had a pair of podium finishes at Skate Canada International, claiming bronze in 1978 and silver in 1980. He was presented with an Alberta Achievement Award on five occasions, and was bestowed with the Government of Canada Sports Excellence Award in 1982.
Following his career, Pockar went on to become a respected figure skating commentator and analyst with CTV Sports.
Sarah Kawahara, known for her innovative and artistic choreographic touch, enters the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the Professional category.
During her own skating career, Kawahara trained under Osborne Colson, the legendary Canadian coach who worked with several Canadian greats including Barbara Ann Scott, Donald Jackson and nine-time Canadian champion Patrick Chan.
Throughout her illustrious career, which also saw her take a longtime leading role with the Ice Capades, the world-renowned choreographer has created memorable programs and choreographed ice shows for countless skaters, including Toller Cranston, Elvis Stojko, Scott Hamilton, Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming and John Curry, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov and Oksana Baiul.
In 1997, Kawahara earned the Best Choreography Emmy Award for Scott Hamilton Upside Down. She added a second Emmy in 2002 for the spectacular Opening Ceremonies for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. She has also done choreography work for several ice shows including Stars On Ice, Ice Capades, Holiday On Ice and Disney on Ice, as well as for the hit movie Blades of Glory.
After a lifetime spent making a tremendous impact on our sport, Ron Vincent takes his rightful place in the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the Builder category.
Vincent has spent more than 70 years in figure skating, as an athlete, performer, coach, administrator and artistic director. As former President of the Professional Skaters Association of Canada and Coaching Program Director of the National Coaching Certification Program, Vincent advocated for, developed and implemented coach education programs and was the driving force behind professional certification for coaches.
A well-respected world coach himself, Vincent stressed the importance of coaching standards, and his tireless efforts helped Skate Canada become a leader in national coaching education programs. Vincent also spearheaded the development of courses for Sport Canada’s National Coach Certification Program (NCCP).
Vincent is also Artistic Director and co-founder of the Canadian Ice Dance Theatre, founding the company along with Mary Rose Thacher Temple and Frank Nowosad.
Louise Bertram/Stewart Reburn
Canadian pair legends Louise Bertram and Stewart Reburn, both of Toronto, were the 1935 Canadian Pair Champions and enter the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the athlete category. Both are deceased; Bertram passed away in 1996 at age 88 and Reburn in 1976 at age 63. They were the first pair team to skate to the music instead of using it as background, and were referred to as the “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the ice world.”
Their innovative, charming style captured audiences in both the figure skating and entertainment worlds. They competed at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games, finishing sixth, before retiring from the sport.
As one of the most respected pair coaches in the world for more than three decades, Gauthier, from Saint Etienne-de-Bolton, Que., takes his place in the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the professional discipline.
Gauthier did not begin skating until age 12, and it wasn’t long before he realized his goal wasn’t to win a national championship or step onto an Olympic podium as an athlete.
He wanted to leave a legacy on the sport through coaching.
In 1998, Gauthier brought together the team of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, who would go on to win gold at the 2001 ISU World Championships and 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte mentored two-time defending world pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. At his world-renowned pair skating school in Saint-Leonard, Que., Gauthier also trains several world-ranked pair teams, including 2016 U.S. bronze medallists Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran and 2015 Skate Canada International bronze medallists Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro.
For close to four decades, she has been a pioneer for synchronized skating around the world.
Since 1996, Cathy has served as the Appointed Coach for the ISU Coaches Commission / ISU Synchronized Skating Technical Committee and was instrumental in the development of the International Judging System for Synchronized Skating. Displaying innovative thinking, vision and a devout passion for the sport, Cathy has had major influence on the creation of rules, standards and educational materials for synchronized skating and has shared her extensive knowledge in seminars for judges, skaters and coaches around the world.
At home, Cathy has enjoyed paramount success in coaching. Cathy began coaching singles and ice dance in 1975 and, four years later, stepped into the synchro coaching ranks. From 1979 to 1992, she coached several Whitby, Ontario-based senior, junior and novice teams to national championships. In 1993, Cathy and her sister, Susan Pettes, founded black ice, Canada’s first internationally successful synchronized skating team. Under Cathy’s direction, black ice went on to claim eight national titles at the senior level and won Canada’s first world medal, a silver at the 2000 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships.
Cathy is currently the coach of team Meraki, the 2015 Canadian Bronze Medallists. In January 2016, Meraki, from the Leaside Skating Club, landed on the podium in their international debut, winning bronze at the Mozart Cup in Austria.
Cathy has twice been named the Ontario Female Coach of the Year (1999, 2010).
That year, NEXXICE, based in Burlington, Ont., became the first Canadian team to claim gold at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, defeating Finland’s Team Unique and Sweden’s Team Surprise in Zagreb, Croatia.
Seven years after that memorable triumph, the 2009 NEXXICE senior team makes history again as the first synchronized team inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.
Entering the Skate Canada Hall of Fame are team members Jennifer Beauchamp (captain), Carla Coveart, Amy Cebulak, Tiffany Elliot, Ashley Greenhalgh, Morgan Harper, Cara Horan, Julia Horan, Taylor Kemp, Kristen Loritz, Nichole Manahan, Taryn Milne, Cara Moir, Sheri Moir, Michele Moore, Emily Penrose, Allison Proudfoot, Madeleine Wendland, Danyel Wright-Dykstra and Lauren Zbucki.
Also being inducted are coaches Shelley Simonton Barnett and Anne Schelter along with team managers Debbie Beauchamp, Frances McLellan and Kathy Psutka.
Jeffrey Buttle was born to skate. Born to entertain.
Since learning to skate at age two and competing since he was six, Jeffrey was destined for stardom while working with Lee Barkell at the world-renowned Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ont. and Rafael Arutunian at the Ice Castle International Training Center in Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
In 2002, Jeffrey broke through on the international scene with an upset triumph at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, a feat he would repeat two years later. A crowd favourite due to his exquisite artistry and choreography, Jeffrey won his first of three consecutive Canadian men’s titles in 2005.
Following a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Jeffrey realized the defining moment of his career in 2008. He won the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in stunning fashion in Gothenburg, Sweden, becoming the first Canadian male to win the world crown since Elvis Stojko in 1997.
Shortly after his world triumph, Jeffrey retired from competitive skating – but he has never really left. He is now considered one of the brightest young choreographers in the skating world, working on programs for the likes of Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu, Nam Nguyen, Yuna Kim and Ashley Wagner. As well, he has choreographed and performed in several shows, including Stars on Ice and Battle of the Blades.
Currently working with young skaters at The Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, Jeffrey continues to be a role model and gives back to his community, performing in charity initiatives and giving time to several causes, including World Vision Canada, Skate for the Heart and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.
Born in 1904 in Hungary, John was a master craftsman in orthopedic shoemaking, a talent he brought to Canada when he immigrated to Toronto in 1930. By 1944, in partnership with his beloved wife, Elizabeth, John opened his own shoe store specializing in children’s shoes, soccer, hockey and roller-skating boots.
His career hit a turning point in 1948 when a skating coach convinced him to make skating boots for a student with problem feet, a challenge he finally accepted when he received a sample pair of boots to take apart so he could study their construction.
A designer, innovator, and true fan of figure skating, John was constantly investigating how to make skating boots better. His low cut boot design, his development of specialized leather to withstand the cold and dampness, and his build of stronger and more comfortable boots all became standards in skating equipment.
Throughout his outstanding career, John crafted boots for many Canadian champions and world and Olympic medallists; some of his most famous clients included Brian Orser, Barbara Underhill, Paul Martini, Toller Cranston, and Peggy Fleming.
John’s dedication to his craft led him to shape the sport of figure skating one skate at a time. He passed away in Toronto in 1997 at the age of 92.
Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2012.
A native of Woodstock, Ontario, Kerry Leitch reached the junior ranks as a figure skater and was also a professional baseball player. After his competitive days ended, he turned his attention to coaching which led to a career that spanned six decades. His early mentors were world-renowned coaches Otto Gold and Marcus Nikkanen. He was the long-time head coach of the Preston Figure Skating Club and he coached both pair and singles. A world championship and Olympic coach, his Champions Training Centre in Cambridge, Ontario, was home to both Canadian and international competitors. He and his coaching team led 48 Canadian champions to the top of the podium, including Lloyd Eisler, Katherina Matousek, Christine (Tuffy) Hough, Doug Ladret, Cynthia Coull, Mark Rowsom, Cindy Landry, and Lyndon Johnston.
As a former Figure Skating Coaches of Canada President and board member of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (now Skate Canada), Leitch helped to push the sport forward through his roles as a coach and sport administrator. He authored figure skating coach certification courses in both Canada and the USA, and was a featured presenter at many Canadian, US and ISU seminars for coaches, skaters and judges.
Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame 2012.
As a young skater, Lori Nichol would become absorbed in whatever music was playing in the ice rink; an early indication of her future brilliance as a choreographer. Originally from London, Ontario, she trained with many world-renowned coaches, and then spent three years honing her craft as a member of the John Curry Skating Company. Although she enjoyed coaching for a few years, choreography was her true calling in the skating world. Her ability to design skating programs that combined detailed technical elements with the best qualities of each individual skater, all perfectly timed to each subtle nuance of the music, revolutionized the sport.
Although she has choreographed many Olympic and World Championship winning programs, her greatest joy is working with athletes and helping them find the style and skills that create their unique place in the skating world. As a result, many of her programs are considered unparalleled signature skating pieces. And she is never prouder than seeing the pure joy on an athlete’s face when the program has been skated at its best.
She continues to push the sport forward as an author and presenter, and has been recognized by many Hall of Fames around the world.
Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame 2012.
A remarkable multi-sport athlete, Norman Scott played hockey at the elite collegiate level before turning to figure skating. In 1914, he won the Canadian men’s title at the inaugural national championships, as well as the pair discipline with his partner Jeanne Chevalier. No figure skating competitions were held during the First World War and throughout this time, Scott served in the Royal Canadian Engineers, the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air Force. He returned home early in 1919 with the rank of Captain and resumed his skating career. At the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in 1920 he again placed first in men’s and also first in the fours event where two pair teams skated together.
Once his competition days were over, he served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Amateur Skating Association of Canada from 1920-1921 and was a board member from 1922-1934. Scott’s presence in the sport expanded as he focused on judging. In 1932 he was the first Canadian judge appointed to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® in Montreal, Canada. Scott went on to judge many other prestigious events.
His image is legendary, as it was sculpted onto the original Canadian Championship medal which was used from 1914-1950 at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.
Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame 2012.