Jeffrey Buttle

Athlete
Jeffrey Buttle

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.

 

John Knebli

Builder

John Knebli making a skate.Known as “Skate-maker to the stars”, John Knebli’s skill and dedication spanned five decades.

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.

 

Kerry Leitch

Professional

Kerry LeitchA 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.

 

Lori Nichol

Professional

lori-nichol1.jpgAs 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.

Norman Scott

Builder

Norman ScottA 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.