Osmond, Reynolds, Weaver & Poje, Duhamel & Radford headline 2014 Skate Canada International in Kelowna

OTTAWA, ON: The International Skating Union (ISU) has announced the line-ups for the six 2014 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating® events. Canada will host the second stop on the circuit, the 2014 Skate Canada International in Kelowna, British Columbia from October 31 – November 2, 2014 at Prospera Place.

Fans will get to watch members of the Canadian 2014 Olympic silver medal team compete, including Kaetlyn Osmond, Kevin Reynolds, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford and Kirsten Moore-Towers. Joining them will be Canada’s reigning silver medalists in ice dance, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, along with a number of world-class skaters including Spain’s Javier Fernandez, USA’s Ashley Wagner, Japan’s Takahito Kozuka and many other Olympic and world competitors.

“Canadian skating is coming off a high from the Olympic Games this past February and we hope Canadians will embrace this opportunity to see old favourites and cheer on new faces,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “The Grand Prix series is an exclusive group of talented skaters and we are excited to have so many international stars coming to Kelowna this October.”

Skate Canada International is the second competition in the annual series. The other events take place in the United States (Skate America), China (Cup of China), Russia (Rostelecom Cup), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), and Japan (NHK Trophy).

Skaters are awarded points based on their placements in the series’ events. The top-six men and ladies and the top-six pair and ice dance teams qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final® to be held in Barcelona, Spain from December 11-14, 2014.

All-event tickets are on sale now. Prices range from $135-$185, plus applicable surcharges and can be purchased online at www.selectyourtickets.com, by phone at 250.762.5050 or in person at the Prospera Place Box Office.

2014 Skate Canada International Entries*

Elladj BALDÉ (CAN)
Florent AMODIO (FRA)
Takahiko KOZUKA (JPN)
Takahito MURA (JPN)
Konstantin MENSHOV (RUS)
Alexander MAJOROV (SWE)

Véronik MALLET (CAN)
Kaetlyn OSMOND (CAN)
To be determined (CAN)
Valentina MARCHEI (ITA)
Hae Jin KIM (KOR)
Courtney HICKS (USA)

Britney JONES / Joshua REAGAN (CAN)
Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN)
Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES (FRA)
Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV (RUS)

Elisabeth PARADIS / François Xavier OUELLETTE (CAN)
Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE (CAN)
Alexandra ALDRIDGE / Daniel EATON (USA)
Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA)

Canadian Assignments for the 2014 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series*

Skate America — Chicago, IL, USA. — October 24-26, 2014
Men’s: Nam NGUYEN
Ice Dance: Nicole ORFORD / Thomas WILLIAMS

Skate Canada International —Kelowna, British Columbia— October 31 – November 2, 2014
Ladies: Véronik MALLET, Kaetlyn OSMOND
Men’s: Elladj BALDÉ, Liam FIRUS, Kevin REYNOLDS
Pair: Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD, Britney JONES / Joshua REAGAN, Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO
Ice Dance: Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER, Elisabeth PARADIS / Francois Xavier OUELLETTE, Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE

Cup of China — Shanghai, China — November 7-9, 2014
Ladies: Gabrielle DALEMAN
Men’s: Nam NGUYEN
Ice Dance: Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM

Rostelecom Cup — Moscow, Russia — November 14-16, 2014
Ladies: Alaine CHARTRAND
Men’s:  Jeremy TEN

Trophée Eric Bompard — Bordeaux, France — November 21-23, 2014
Ladies: Kaetlyn OSMOND
Pair: Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO
Ice Dance: Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER, Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM

NHK Trophy — Osaka, Japan — November 28-30
Ladies: Gabrielle DALEMAN
Men’s: Kevin REYNOLDS
Pair: Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD
Ice Dance: Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE

For full entries at the five other ISU Grand Prix events please visit www.isu.org.

*Entries are subject to change

Zach Daleman carving his own path to the podium

Zachary Daleman isn’t just Gabby Daleman’s younger brother. He’s Zach Daleman, Esquire, with a passion of his own for the skate blade.

His time will come.

Now 14, Daleman has his cap set for bigger things: getting all of his triples, winning junior Canadians, maybe even this coming season. As a novice, he was doing two triples (Salchow and toe loop) and he has a triple loop in his back pocket. This year, he’s trying on triple flip and Lutz for size. And he says he is starting to work on a triple Axel.

He finished fifth at the novice level last January, but that was more of a triumph than it looks. For one thing, he’s grown seven inches since last May and now towers over his sister, who is two years older. For now, he’s five feet, seven inches.

And last fall, he broke his ankle when he came out of a three-turn and slipped during training.  “My leg went the wrong way,” he said. It was his left ankle, his take-off ankle. He couldn’t walk coming off the ice and off he went to hospital. The fracture was hairline, but still, it set him back badly.

“He was beside himself with grief,” said his mother, Rhonda Raby. “He had worked hard.”

“I was in a walking cast for a month,” Daleman said. In all, he missed four or five weeks of training during the important fall months. He started working again a few weeks before sectionals. And it wasn’t easy. “It was hard because every time I tried a jump, my leg would not want to do it,” he said. “So I was sometimes afraid of jumping.”

The first week, he just stroked around the ice, and did skating skills. In a week or 10 days, all the doubles came back and then the triples.

By Skate Canada Challenge, he still lacked mileage, and finished 18th. He knew he wasn’t that. He was better than 18th. He wanted so badly to get to the national championships. That finish was just good enough to get there.

With a few more miles of training under his belt, Daleman was third after the short program at the Canadian championships novice division (triple Salchow, double toe loop, triple toe loop, double Axel, level four combination spin and a measure of pizzazz). Sixth in the long with a near-clean skate, he finished fifth overall.

“It was a miracle,” he said. “I didn’t have a good year.” He’d broken that ankle just as he was starting to land his triple Salchow and toe loop consistently.

Young Daleman wasn’t always keen about this pursuit in the early days. His parents were both advocates of exercise. Michael Daleman, a teacher at Pickering College in Newmarket, Ont., was a former track athlete, who specialized in triple jump. He is now a level three track coach and also works as the conditioning and strength coach for both of his children. Mother Rhonda is a figure skating fan. “It’s part of being Canadian to me,” she said.

Michael Daleman would take Zach skating sometimes. “He would lie on the ice,” Raby said. “He didn’t want to skate…He was the laziest kid known to man.”

But little by little, Zach skated more and more. He’d skate two days a week, then three and four. He improved. He tried hockey for a while, but one day told his parents he didn’t want to do it anymore. He just wanted to skate.

Now you can’t get the kid off the ice. “Now if you tell him he can’t skate, he will go crazy,” his mother said. “My son loves skating so much. He loves to perform, even more than his sister.”

Zach showed such promise that Skate Canada’s Ontario Section sent him off to a developmental international competition, the Mladost Trophy in Zagreb, Croatia in April of 2013, because of his excellent showing at the Challenge event in Regina in December, 2012. He was a pre-novice champion of Canada.

In Croatia, Zach finished third in the short program, and then went for it in the free, unleashing a clean free to win the gold medal overall. There, he landed his first triple Salchow in competition.

Last February, the entire family packed up and went off to Sochi to watch Gabby compete as the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic team. They got a hotel only 15 to 20 minutes from the arena. His grandparents went too. Ann and Theo Daleman were from the Muskokas, where Michael was born.

In Parry Sound, Daleman and Raby have owned a 106-seat family restaurant for 20 years, where Gabby has worked in the past.

In Sochi, the Daleman family attended speed skating, hockey and figure skating, although Zach said he saw only his sister’s events. “It was good seeing all the good athletes there and stuff.” He says the experience has inspired him to get to the Olympics as well.

Mother Rhonda said the experience was also difficult for him. “When is it going to be about me?” Still, they all support each other. They are best friends.

Zach has big footsteps to follow. But he’s intent on leaving his own mark.

Beverley Smith

Beth Crane awarded Canada’s top female official by Sports Officials Canada

OTTAWA, ON: Sports Officials Canada (SOC) announced today that Skate Canada judge Beth Crane of Burnaby, B.C., has been named Canada’s top female official, winning the 2014 SOC Award of Excellence.

Crane’s career as a figure skating judge has spanned over 40 years. She is a qualified International Skating Union (ISU) judge and referee in singles and pairs and an ISU technical controller in singles. Her officiating record includes 16 international events, including two ISU World Figure Skating Championships, and six Canadian championships. She is currently the Chair of the Skate Canada Officials Development Committee, and her leadership capabilities were also recognized with this award.

“It is wonderful to see one of our officials being honoured nationally. Beth’s expertise as a judge at the highest level is extremely beneficial in developing figure skating in Canada.  She is a positive role model for all of our officials and a valued member of our Skate Canada team from the club level to the international level. Congratulations Beth on this distinguished honour,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO.

Crane will receive her award on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Sports Officials Canada Hall of Fame Dinner in Ottawa, Ontario.

Sports Officials Canada
Sports Officials Canada (SOC) is a federally incorporated national organization dedicated to promoting excellence in sports officiating. SOC represents Canadian technical officials as a national voice. For more information about SOC please visit their website at www.sportsofficials.ca.

Skating in the family for Eric Liu

Tiny when he won the junior men’s bronze medal at the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa several months ago, Liu is now inching up to the skies. The 12-year-old skater from Edmonton/Vancouver has stretched up about four inches since January. He’s now a towering five feet tall.  It seems as if it’s all in his legs.

And don’t forget the feet, too. Liu notes that since his growth spurt surged, he’s gone through four pairs of boots to accommodate the lengthening of his peds. He’s not even sure of the size he wears now. It’s hard to keep track.

But Skate Canada is definitely keeping track of him. He was one of the youngest invitees to the development camp in Markham, Ontario in April. He’s got style. He’s got the jumps. Liu is a prodigy, having landed a triple Lutz – double toe loop combination to earn his way to a medal in his JUNIOR debut in January. He looked like Nam Nguyen did a few years ago, dwarfed by his competitors on a podium. But Liu is more balletic on the ice (at the same age). Both of them are crowd pleasers.

Liu comes by his skills honestly. His father Louie (Wei) Lui, is a Chinese national who competed as an ice dancer in China at a time when China didn’t have huge numbers of skilled ice dancers. But Louie knows his edges. He moved to Edmonton while he was still a skater, tried out with a Canadian partner at the junior dance level, showed up at the Thornhill Summer Skate with her, and then had to deal with life in a new country. He faded from view.

Louie eventually married Edmonton dentist Linda Xie, and they had two sons, Eric and Aaron. Louie and the boys moved to Vancouver to study under Joanne McLeod. Not surprisingly, younger son, Aaron, is an ice dancer, skating in the powerful dance group led by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe in Vancouver. Eric’s path to stardom (on this small scale) didn’t come in such a predictable way.

He was a hockey player first. His first gold medal came in hockey. He loved to swing that stick. But everything changed when the Liu family travelled to Japan to attend the 2007 world championships. It was a big deal. Louie’s best friend, Hongbo Zhao and partner Xue Shen made a comeback that season after Zhao’s Achilles tendon injury had scuttled their career the previous year. They roared into Japan, undefeated for the season. The Lius saw Shen and Zhao win that world title in Japan by 15 points and as Zhao finished his free skate, he knelt onto the ice and proposed marriage to Shen. What could be more dramatic?

The Lius had been sitting in the best of seats and little Eric was mesmerized by the scene, no less so because Zhao is Eric’s godparent. The little boy saw a major spectacle with an audience that loved skating. He’s met Zhao several times since, also in Canada.

It was a life-changing event for Eric. “I saw them get a lot of flowers,” Liu said. “I told my dad I wanted to do that, too.”  He loved the glitz of it. He was five years old. Toe picks it was.

His father has taught Eric how to skate, how to use his edges. And so did Edmonton coach Jan Ullmark. It shows as he slips across the ice. He’s been taught to use his arms, quite nicely actually.

Ullmark isn’t surprised by his progress. He spent an hour every day teaching figures and turns to Liu. But Ullmark was taken aback by the little boy’s knowledge of what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Ullmark had him doing a back outside edge, the first test. “Isn’t this like the entry into the Lutz?” he asked Ullmark. Ullmark was floored.

And the back double three? “Doesn’t this lead to the loop?” Liu asked him.

When Liu was only eight years old, he did a clean double Axel, Ullmark said.

McLeod, who started working with Liu two years ago, says the boy has a beautiful flow across the ice. And already he is starting to work on triple-triple combinations and a triple Axel. He has a good start, McLeod said. Now they need to work on the height of his jumps and increase the trajectory. Every day, he’s been skating on the same ice as veterans Kevin Reynolds and Jeremy Ten. It all helps.

The kid is gutsy, too, McLeod said. He’ll try anything. “Let’s talk about it first,” McLeod tells him. But he might be already half-way down the ice.

“My favourite part is doing the jumps,” Eric says. “I like the speed and being in the air.” No ice dancing for him.

Liu’s goals are big, as big as they come. His idol is Evgeny Plushenko. He believes he can be just as good as the Russian. He spills it out with confidence: he wants to go to two Olympics and win one of them.

Liu had already been to the Skate Canada development camp last year. He’s not even a newbie on the scene, at his tender age. “I learned a lot of new tips from different coaches,” he said, referring to Christy Krall, the former coach of Patrick Chan. At one point at the most recent camp, he raced pell-mell down the ice with Roman Sadovsky, two years his senior but already a senior competitor at the national level. He’s already met Sadovsky several times.

And he’s already won internationally. In late March, Liu won a gold medal at the Gardenia Spring Trophy in what was called the advanced novice boys category. He faced skaters from Japan and Italy and won by almost seven points.

He sees and knows where he has to go.

Beverley Smith

Canadian skaters return from 2014 ISU Adult Competition with 34 medals

Canada’s adult figure skaters had a successful week at the 10th annual International Skating Union (ISU) Adult Figure Skating Competition held in Oberstdorf, Germany, from May 25-31, 2014. The team consisting of 50 Canadians took home a total of 34 medals, including 10 gold medals, 14 silver medals, and 10 bronze medals.

The competition drew a record 432 skaters plus 12 synchronized skating teams, between the ages of 28-78, from 28 countries. Canadian skaters showed great prowess in the record-sized fields that ran as high as 35 entries.

“The Canadian team in Oberstdorf did a phenomenal job representing our country both on and off the ice,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada Chief Executive Officer. “They truly embody the positive healthy lifestyle seen throughout the adult skating community, while achieving excellence in competition.”

ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta was in attendance last week and echoed these sentiments: “The enthusiasm and passion for ice skating that adult skaters transmit is a gift for the entire skating community.”

The Canadian medalists at the 2014 ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition were:

Gold medalists:
Jannette Wood (Ladies Artistic Bronze III)
Annette Nymeyer (Ladies Artistic Silver III)
Jacob Brunott (Men Artistic Bronze III)
Linda Maundrell (Ladies Artistic Bronze V)
Gary Beacom (Men Artistic Master (Elite III & IV)
Diane Gilders (Ladies Bronze III Free Skate)
Terri-Lynn Black-Calleri & Jacob Brunott (Bronze Pattern Dance)
Ken Langlois & Alison Clark (Master Pattern Dance)
David Dickey (Men Gold III & IV Free Skate)
Gary Beacom (Men Master Elite III Free Skate)

Silver medalists:
Diane Gilder (Ladies Artistic Bronze III)
Don Murray (Men Artistic Silver III & IV)
Raye Ryan (Ladies Bronze IV & V Free skate)
Hisayo Shibata (Ladies Artistic Gold II
Gloria Purvey (Ladies Artistic Gold III & IV)
Denis La Rochelle (Men Silver IV & V Free Skate)
Sarina Tsai (Ladies Artistic Master (Elite) I)
Jannette Wood (Ladies Bronze III Free Skate)
Hisayo Shibata (Ladies Master Elite II Free Skate)
Diana Barkley & Geoff Squires (Gold Pattern Dance)
Sarina Tsai (Ladies Master Elite I Free Skate)
Diana Barkley & Geoff Squires (Ice Dance Master Short Dance)
Sue Edwards & Jim Wilkins (Ice Dance Bronze Free Dance)
Diana Barkley & Geoff Squires (Ice Dance Master and Elite Master Free Dance)

Bronze medalists:
Joan McGrath (Ladies Artistic Bronze III)
Denis La Rochelle (Men Artistic Silver III & IV)
Francesco Ventura (Men Artistic Gold III & IV)
Jeffrey Bullard (Men Artistic Bronze III)
James Wilkins (Men Artistic Bronze IV)
Francesco Ventura (Men Silver IV & V Free Skate)
David Dickey (Men Artistic Master (Elite) III & IV)
Michelle Lamothe (Ladies Artistic Silver IV)
Gloria Purvey (Ladies Gold III Free Skate)
Luda Kalenuk (Ladies Artistic Master and Elite Master II & III)

The ISU Adult Working Group also took the opportunity to announce next year’s event, which takes place May 18-24, 2015 in Oberstdorf, Germany.

For more information, please visit www.adultskating.org or www.isu.org.


Canada’s newest pair team – Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro

OTTAWA, ON:  Two national team members, who had success with previous partners, are Canada’s newest pair team.  Kirsten Moore-Towers, 21, St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro, 22, Sarnia, Ont., have teamed up, and will begin competing together for the 2014-2015 season.

The two came together in late May, and have begun training at the Kitchener Waterloo Skating Club with coaches Kris Wirtz and Kristy Sargeant-Wirtz.

“It’s been really fun to work with Mike these past few days,” said Moore-Towers. “Although we’ve known one another for many years, now we are going through the process of transforming from friends to partners. We’ve been working on our pair elements, the lifts, the throws, the twists and side-by-side jumps. As we’re getting to know how one another skates, we’re also looking at interesting and innovative entrances and exits, and just exploring what we can do together.”

According to Marinaro, “We’re just getting to know each other and trying to find our strengths. Everything right now is extremely new, but we’re having tons of fun on the ice and I’m looking forward to the next season.”

Outstanding members honoured at 2014 Skate Canada Achievement Awards Gala

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada recognized award winners over the weekend at its Annual Convention and General Meeting (ACGM) and National Coaches’ Conference (NCC) in Quebec City, Quebec.

The recipients were presented with their awards on Friday night at the annual awards gala. The winners received their awards from various presenters, including Olympic silver medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, world silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, and Kristen Loritz, team captain of world synchronized skating silver medalists, Nexxice.

The Skate Canada National Awards Program honours dedicated members of the skating community who have donated their time to help contribute to improving the quality of skating in Canada.

The 2013-2014 recipients are:

  • Skate Canada Club and Recreational Coach Award of Excellence
    Lynda Thompson, Hamilton Skating Club, Western Ontario Section
  • Skate Canada Competitive Coach Award of Excellence
    Brian Orser, Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, Central Ontario Section
  • Skate Canada Officials Award of Excellence
    Karen Howard, Skate Regina, Saskatchewan Section
  • Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award
    Debbie Beauchamp, Burlington Skating Centre, Western Ontario Section
  • Billie Mitchell Award
    Debbie MacMurdo, Kensington Area FSC, Prince Edward Island Section

Skate Canada also presents a volunteer award to one member of each of the 13 Skate Canada sections. The following exceptional volunteers have been awarded the 2013-2014 Skate Canada Section Volunteer Award of Excellence:

  • British Columbia/Yukon Section
    Laura Carr, Kelowna FSC
  • Alberta/NWT/Nunavut Section
    Lee Johnson, Grand Prairie SC
  • Saskatchewan Section
    Ivan Hruska, Skate Esterhazy
  • Manitoba Section
    Linda Melnick, The Pas SC
  • Northern Ontario Section
    Stephanie LaFleur-Morin, Ignace SC
  • Western Ontario Section
    Vermell Stevens, Woodstock SC
  • Central Ontario Section
    Kathy Adams, Meaford Amateur Athletic FSC
  • Eastern Ontario Section
    Ann Monaghan, Bowmanville FSC
  • Quebec Section
    Pierrette Boissonneault, CPA Laval
  • New Brunswick Section
    Nicole LeBlanc-Richard, Dieppe Gold Blades
  • Prince Edward Island Section
    Lynne Beairsto, Sherwood Parkdale FSC
  • Nova Scotia Section
    Tammy Conistis, Halifax SC
  • Newfoundland/Labrador Section
    Gail Hopkins, Flying Blades FSC

Three additional awards were given out to the home section in the CanSkate, STARSkate and CompetitiveSkate athlete area, as representatives of those categories.

  • Skate Canada Section CanSkate Athlete Award
    Jade Laplante, CPA Les Lames d’Argent de Laval, Quebec Section
  • Skate Canada Section STARSkate Athlete Award
    Chelsea Abraham, CPA Asticou, Quebec Section
  • Skate Canada Section CompetitiveSkate Athlete Award
    Joseph Phan, CPA Asticou, Quebec Section

2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships heads to Quebec

OTTAWA, ON: Quebec City, Quebec will be the host of the 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships. The event will take place from February 27 to March 1, 2015 at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse.

“Quebec has a rich synchronized skating heritage and we are elated to bring this event to Quebec City,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “The championships will kick-off an exciting time for synchro in Canada, as Hamilton, Ontario prepares to host the world synchronized skating championships later that year. I hope fans in Quebec will take the opportunity to come out and see our talented teams compete for national titles and a chance to represent Canada internationally.”

“The Quebec Section and CPA Charlesbourg are thrilled to be hosting the 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships. This will be a fabulous opportunity for us to show off our first-class hosting abilities and our facilities,” said Sylvie Simard, Quebec Section Chair. “We are looking forward to welcoming the hundreds of skaters, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans that will come out to watch Canada’s best synchronized skating teams.”

The 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships will bring approximately 40 teams and over 800 skaters from across the country to Quebec City.

Teams will compete for national titles in the senior, junior, open, intermediate and novice categories. The top two senior teams will represent Canada at the 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships from April 10-11, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario.

CPA Charlesbourg is the host club which is located in Quebec City the host of the 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships.