Les Suprêmes synchronized skating teams to compete at 2015 French Cup

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will have two teams at the 2015 French Cup international synchronized skating competition in Rouen, France. Les Suprêmes senior and junior will compete at the event which takes place from January 30-31, 2015, and features 36 teams in senior, junior, and novice.

Les Suprêmes senior, the 2014 Canadian silver medallists, will be the sole Canadian entry in the senior category. They placed sixth at this event in 2014, and fifth in 2013. Representing Quebec, they placed sixth at the 2014 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships. Les Suprêmes are coached by Marilyn Langlois, assisted by Pascal Denis, Amélie Brochu, and Amanda Gaiotti.

Les Suprêmes junior, also from Quebec, will be the sole representative from Canada in the junior category. They are the 2014 French Cup bronze medallists, and placed eighth at this event in 2013. The 2014 Canadian champions, Les Suprêmes junior also won silver at the 2014 Junior World Challenge Cup. They are also coached by Marilyn Langlois, assisted by Pascal Denis, Amélie Brochu, and Amanda Gaiotti.

Marion Dyke of Mississauga, Ont., will be the sole Canadian official at the event.

Songs from the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

Add these 10 hot music tracks to your skating playlist!

Lyrics were heard for the first time at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. There were a lot of great songs. Here are 10 that you have to hear!

1. James Brown – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World
Elladj Baldé (Senior Men / Hommes senior)

CanSkate Developing Champions in Every Ice Sport

Paige Lawrence and a CanSkate student. A fuzzy video shows Jeff Skinner doing double jumps, footwork, a camel spin with his hands behind his back, all manner of things showing various skating skills.

He was a little mop-haired kid who was good enough to win the bronze medal at the juvenile level at the 2004 Skate Canada Junior Nationals.

That was 11 years ago. So where is he now? Jeff Skinner, who used to take lessons at the York Region Skating Academy, now plays for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He’s racked up all sorts of important hockey milestones: the youngest (18) to play in the NHL All-Star Game and winner of the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie in 2010-2011.

Best of all, there is the famous hockey video of Skinner ripping off a single Axel in hockey skates to avoid a hit at the red line during a game.

See what CanSkate can do for you?

You see, CanSkate isn’t just for figure skaters who want to learn spins and jumps and Russian splits. The CanSkate of today teaches skating for all – for recreational skaters, or for anyone who straps on a pair of blades to cruise around an ice surface: hockey players, short track speed skaters, long track speed skaters, all of them.

It’s not out of the pale to see that some of Canada’s finest ice-sport dynamos have had their start in Skate Canada’s CanSkate program. And with the revamping of the system – to focus on efficient, fun skill development at the proper stages of life – CanSkate will become the go-to source of skating skills in the country in years to come.

Yes, Marie-Philip Poulin, currently Canada’s most formidable women’s hockey player and a star at the past two Olympic Games got her start as a figure skater at a little club in Beauceville, Quebec at age four. By five, she was playing hockey. But in that one year of instruction, Poulin said the most important thing that skating lessons taught her was balance. “It’s a good way to start, without pucks,” she said. “I think just being coordinated in figure skating, that’s the main part. To learn how to stop and start and stay on your feet, that’s key for sure.”

Currently, Poulin is probably one of the most agile skaters on the ice, thanks to all the lessons on skills and edges and crossovers. She progressed through all the levels very quickly.

“I think I was lucky to learn to skate right away instead of having to try to figure it out on my own,” Poulin said. “I’m always impressed with how skate, but as a hockey player, just turning, quick stops and starts, there’s a lot behind it. It’s not just your legs. It’s your whole body that needs to be stable and just being able to be quick on your feet.”

Olympic short-track speed skater Valerie Maltais took CanSkate lessons for two years at a tiny club near La Baie, Quebec, before she started school.

“I think it helps me with my agility just on the turns and the edges and the straightaway,” Maltais said. “The first thing you learn in short track is just to stay on your feet and crossover,” she said. However, short trackers skate only in one direction, so skaters tend to become more agile on one side of their bodies than the other. But Maltais is a little different from most: her skating lessons taught her to continue to train and turn and do cross-overs on both sides, which helps maintain muscle balance. And one added bonus: she knows how to skate backwards, too.

“I learned really good basics for skating,” Maltais said. “If one day, I have kids who do short track, I think I will introduce them with figure skating. It’s a very good base to learn.”

There is an impressive list of the members of Canada’s men’s hockey team in Sochi who learned their early skills in a CanSkate program: Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, Nathan Mackinnon of the Colorado Avalanche ( he has speed to burn); Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (started skating at age two); Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks (known as a good skater); Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, (has impressive speed); Troy Brouwer of the Washington Capitals; and Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres.

It only made sense that a hockey parent one day asked Olympic pair champion David Pelletier if he would help his son improve his skating skills. The dad told other dads. Soon, Pelletier started working with a novice hockey team in Edmonton, and then last April, the Edmonton Oilers came calling, asking him to focus on player development, mainly with the farm team and draft players.

Hockey coaches tend to focus on system passing and shooting and only a little bit on skating, Pelletier said. “There are parents out there who have the time and desire to help out, but they might not have the qualifications to teach skating.

“We [figure skaters] spend every year until we retire to perfect skating,” Pelletier said. “Patrick Chan spends the first 10 minutes of every practice on skating skills. It teaches balance, change of direction. I find a lot of hockey players, even the big guys, don’t know how to use their upper body to make the feet do what you want them to do.”

These days, Pelletier said, you cannot be a great hockey player without being a good skater. The game moves faster than ever before. Now the demand for proper skating skill training is growing.

Pelletier says 1984 world pair champion Barbara Underhill inspired him to take this new course in life. He’s never talked to her about it, but he knows her path. “I could see when she talked about it at “Battle of the Blades” the first year, there was a spark in her eye,” he said.

Underhill now works on improving the skating skills of hockey players for the Anaheim Ducks, the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2012, she began to work with the Toronto Maples Leafs, too, using Dartfish technology to analyze strides and body movement to improve efficiency, speed and balance. In 2011, The Hockey News ranked Underhill as one of the 100 most influential people in hockey.

“Sometimes I shake my head and I can’t believe it,” Underhill said. “I wake up every day and can’t wait to get to the rink and see who I’m working with.”

Skating for Joy!

You have to admit … skating is in Canada’s DNA.

Millions of Canadians know how to skate. Whether it’s outdoors on a frozen pond, in a backyard on a home-made rink or indoors at the local arena, whether it’s hockey, figure skating, ringette or speed skating, whether it’s in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in Tofino on Vancouver Island, or anywhere in between, Canadians love to skate!

Add to those wearing the skates and you have all the folks who participate in other ways, as club administrators, volunteers, families, friends, supporters, TV watchers and FANS … and you’ll find there’s a love affair going on with the wonderful sport of skating.

How did this love affair begin and what is it about figure skating, in particular, that makes its supporters so passionate about the joys of skating?

Perhaps a little history lesson will help demonstrate that skating and Canada were meant for each other.

Back at the very beginning of the sport, blades were made of animal bone and used for transportation during the long, cold months of winter. With the invention of iron, bone blades gradually gave way to engineered blades of steel, until by the mid 1800’s, improved facilities and equipment led to the development of the “sport” of figure skating.

At that time Canadians were beginning to realize the benefits and joys of skating for fun and started developing and joining skating clubs where they could practice on ice that was smooth and well maintained. The first official club opened in 1833 in Lilly Lake, New Brunswick, but with interest for skating steadily on the rise, it wasn’t long before other clubs followed in Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Toronto and points west.

By the late 1800’s, Canadian Governors General were playing a pivotal role in the sport’s development too. The Earl of Dufferin offered his grounds at Rideau Hall in Ottawa to the local “fancy” skaters; the Earl of Minto and his wife, Lady Minto, hosted skating parties, with the Earl becoming Patron of Ottawa’s Minto Club, still in operation today; Lady Evelyn Grey, daughter of the Governor General in 1910 and 1911, represented the Minto Club when she won two titles at the event considered the forerunner to what would become the official Canadian Championships in 1914.

One hundred years later, that interest in skating has grown and spread out across the nation.

Certainly coverage of our Canadian athletes has contributed to the sport’s popularity and star power both on and off the ice. Names like Barbara Ann Scott, Don Jackson, Petra Burka, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Liz Manley, Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir … and their engaging personalities … have brought skating into our homes and into our hearts. We follow their stories, their wins and their losses to such an extent that, for example, when Kurt Browning apologized to the nation for missing an Olympic title in 1994, fans sent him enough metal to open his own mint!

It also helps to build the profile of skating when our athletes become leaders and innovators in the advancement of the sport. When Don Jackson first landed the triple Lutz in 1962 or when Patrick Chan set Guinness World Records 50 years later, we felt proud and a part of that success.

Much of that ownership and pride stems from the realization that our legends, those incredible athletes at the top of our sport, and those who are only beginning to discover their talents, all began their journey at the same place … the local club. Those dreams were identified and nurtured by coaches and volunteers who passed along their passion for skating and inspired gangly beginners to dream of greatness.

Those lovers of the sport who are active at some level of skating … plus many other dedicated fans … were front and centre last week at the National Championships in Kingston, loud and enthusiastic in their support.

What we discovered in Kingston is that fans and participants have as many different reasons for loving the sport as there are clubs in Canada … and it was clear that for each one of them their passion for skating was ignited by something special about the sport.

When asked what they love about skating and what it brings to their lives, many spoke of the lessons they’ve learned from the sport, things that they’ve taken beyond the rink and into life. Perseverance, goal-setting, motivation and dealing with success and failure were common themes. Others spoke of their admiration for the creativity and artistry the sport demands, of the rigors of training and competition and the enormous thrill of witnessing the best in the country perform.

On the softer side, those with less athletic explanations for their interest described the magic of skating, the effortless beauty of a glide across the ice where there are no boundaries except the ones you choose.

But above all, the attribute about skating that was shared the most was about the sport’s ability to offer friendship and community; where individual interests are often set aside in favor of providing thoughtful direction about what is best for skating; it’s here where newcomers are welcome and where new skills are learned.

Whether it’s at a tiny club in rural Canada, in a major training location or at the national championships, Canadians are embracing the joy of skating!

Skating inspires the imagination.

Skating is for life!

Skate Canada Gives Back

With over 180,000 members in some 1400 clubs across the country, Skate Canada reaches into hundreds of communities both large and small. Add to those numbers the thousands of volunteers who steer those clubs, officiate at competitions, run test days and produce ice shows and special events … and we’re talking about a BIG family.

What motivates that family? They’ll all tell you skating isn’t only about triple jumps.

As an organization we’re proud of our learn-to-skate program CanSkate, the work of our clubs, our Synchro skating programs, our National Team and our events … but we’re also proud of the off-ice opportunities we’re given by the sport we all love. Turns out that every day at the rink we’re offered the chance to build relationships, celebrate success and resolve differences … all in the name of what’s best for skating. And if we’re lucky, we also discover an appreciation for individual interests and causes outside the sport, those worthy undertakings that can potentially benefit the larger community and, like in skating, can teach valuable life lessons through friendship, innovative ideas and mentorship, while expanding old skills and learning new ones and just generally building a stronger society.

At the local level, support for non-skating causes is as natural as gliding across the ice. What do they say? “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Those same folks that dedicate themselves to running their skating clubs are also quick to offer help to a hockey tournament or to the spring bazaar at the elementary school. They are “givers”. They recognize that giving to the community makes for a healthier neighborhood.

The same can be said for how things work at the national level although the dynamics are somewhat more complicated.

Skate Canada is classified as a not-for-profit (NFP) charitable organization … sort of a dual identity. To operate and pay the bills, the organization relies on membership fees, sponsorship and government funding to do its work … and as a charitable organization, on donations from its fans and supporters.

Through great exposure on television and coverage in the media and on the web, Skate Canada finds itself in the enviable position of having a very public “face”. And as a result, the organization is frequently asked to provide support for many worthwhile causes that may have little to do with skating.

It’s a bit of a tricky spot. Promoting the growth of skating is always Skate Canada’s focus however that doesn’t mean the organization is blind to the needs of the larger community working for the benefit of society.

At Nationals, there were many inspiring stories about how the organization … and its athletes … are giving back.

Just down the road from Kingston is Picton, a picturesque and historic town in Prince Edward County near Belleville. It’s home to the Matthews family.

From Skate Canada’s press release:

“When Habitat for Humanity (HFH) in Belleville wanted to commemorate the day that the Matthews family moved into their new home in Picton, they had two very special items in mind. Each Habitat family, including the children, has to contribute many hours of community service towards the building of their home. To honor the Matthews’ children, Hannah and Cole, for their volunteerism, the Habitat team sought out items that would encourage them in their active lifestyles.”

Since Hannah is a figure skater, Skate Canada offered to donate two tickets for Hannah and her mom to attend the Nationals in Kingston. It has always been Hannah’s dream to see Canada’s top skaters in person!

Many of our athletes are also aware of their responsibility outside of the skating fraternity.

Ice dancer Piper Gilles (Paul Poirier) has recently signed on as a spokesperson for the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (ONBIDA), an organization committed “to informing, educating and supporting the 1 in 10 individuals living with dyslexia, their families and the communities that support them”.

This was a choice close to home for Piper who has coped successfully with her own dyslexia while growing up.

“This is my personal mission to try to make sure that the barriers I faced growing up don’t happen to others.”

Her role as spokesperson will be talking about her own struggles, helping with fund raising and building awareness. In Kingston, she was thrilled to meet with some dyslexic children and their families to talk about her story and to offer inspiration.

For Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, the Olympic Excellence Series in 2013 was a turning point in their decision to support an important cause. “Right to Play” is an international organization that uses sport to teach life skills to children to help them overcome the effects of poverty and disease in disadvantaged communities around the world.

“As elite athletes,” says Kaitlyn, “we are constantly taking, taking, taking … from our parents and friends, our coaches, Skate Canada and all the wonderful people who support us.”

Andrew chimes in, “And now it’s time for us to pay that back somehow … and Right to Play just seems like the right fit.”

They’re hoping to have opportunities to share the story of their journey like Andrew recently did at his former High School in Waterloo, Bluevale Collegiate Institute. He believes if he could inspire one person to become involved in sport, he’d feel his speech was a success.

“I was more nervous delivering that speech than I was performing at the Olympics!”

New faces, new teams, new tricks keeping Canadian skating exciting

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – The effects of the post-Olympic season showed up at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships: name skaters taking a year off, team splits, new pairings, new tricks, and new faces emerging.

Most of all, said Michael Slipchuk, high performance director at Skate Canada, new and young faces aplenty stepped up to the bar and earned their way onto World, Four Continents and Junior World teams.

The women started it off on Saturday, with new national champion Gabby Daleman and free program winner Alaine Chartrand seizing opportunities (with Kaetlyn Osmond out with injuries) and both scoring more than 180 points. “They showed competitive fire,” Slipchuk said.

And without seven-time Canadian champion Patrick Chan and the injured quad king Kevin Reynolds, Nam Nguyen, all of 16, got some good advice from coach Brian Orser: stop looking up to others. “You are the best out there,” he told his pupil early in the week. And Nguyen skated like that, winning the title with 256.88 points, more than 34 points ahead of his closest competitor.

Only a year ago, Nguyen was floundering in Junior Grand Prix events, finishing 23rd in his first one. Four months later, he won the world junior championships. And he’s adding quads at a rapid pace, pushing himself, and according to Orser, actually working harder than his more famous training mates, Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez.

“He just lit it up,” Slipchuk said. “He gives us that legitimate top-10 threat (Orser figures he could be in top eight) to keep our numbers up.” And Jeremy Ten, who hasn’t been on a world team since 2009, has returned rejuvenated, with great programs and a quad, exceeding his goals just to have a final skate at a Canadian championship.

Slipchuk figures it’s a realistic goal for pairs champs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje to finish on a world podium if not win the entire thing altogether. Some of the others are unknowns, he added.

The unknowns are exciting: new pair team Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch delighted the Kingston crowds to take the silver medal, but they’ve only been to one senior B competition in Poland.

Other highlights: new senior team, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau, bronze medalists here, have made both the junior and senior world teams: their goal is to win the world junior title this year. Slipchuk says they’ve come into their own this season, improving their scores by 40 points and turning to dance choreographers Marie-France Dubrueil to give them a different look.

They will, however, give up the Four Continents assignment to Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who finished a close fourth in the pair event.

“Let’s see where these guys fit into the world scene,” Slipchuk said. “We have two that have proven themselves. The rest, we’ll have a better idea after Four Continents.”

Meanwhile, former world champion Patrick Chan is hanging in the wings, and was the first to congratulate Nguyen as the new senior men’s champ.

Indications are that Chan will return next year. Slipchuk has seen him training in Detroit, and he still has his quads, has kept his technical prowess and even has improved in some ways. Chan still has it: he won Japan Open earlier this year with one of the highest free program scores of the season.

Asked if he misses being out there, going toe to toe with other Canadians, Chan said: “A little bit.” You could see it in his eyes.

Skate Canada names teams for ISU Junior and Senior Worlds and Four Continents

KINGSTON, ON – At the conclusion of the highly successful 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships Skate Canada named the teams for three upcoming ISU Championships.

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships – Seoul, Korea – February 9 – 15, 2015

Nam Nguyen, 16, Toronto, Ont.
Jeremy Ten, 25, Vancouver, B.C.
Liam Firus, 22, North Vancouver, B.C

Gabrielle Daleman, 17, Newmarket, Ont.
Alaine Chartrand, 18, Prescott, Ont.
Véronik Mallet, 20, Sept-Îles, Que.,

Ice Dance
Kaitlyn Weaver, 25, Waterloo, Ont. / Andrew Poje, 27, Waterloo, Ont.
Piper Gilles, 23, Toronto, Ont. /Paul Poirier, 23, Unionville, Ont.
Alexandra Paul, 23, Midhurst, Ont. / Mitchell Islam, 24, Barrie, Ont.

Meagan Duhamel, 29, Lively, Ont. / Eric Radford, 29 Balmertown, Ont.
Lubov Ilyushechkina, 23, Moscow, Russia, Dylan Moscovitch, 30, Toronto, Ont.
Kirsten Moore-Towers, 22, St. Catharines, Ont. / Michael Marinaro, 23, Sarnia, Ont.

ISU Junior World Figure Skating Championships – Tallinn, Estonia – March 2-8, 2015

Roman Sadovsky, 15, Vaughan, Ont.
Nicolas Nadeau, 17, Boisbriand, Que.

Selena Zhao, 16, Varennes, Que. – Colorado Springs, USA
Kim DeGuise-Léveillée, 16, Sorel-Tracy, Que

Ice Dance
Mackenzie Bent, 17, Uxbridge, Ont./ Garrett MacKeen, 20, Oshawa, Ont.
Madeline Edwards, 18, Port Moody, B.C./ ZhaoKai Pang, 19, Burnaby, B.C.

Julianne Séguin, 18, Longueuil, Que. / Charlie Bilodeau, 21, Trois-Pistoles, Que.
Mary Orr, 18, Brantford, Ont. / Phelan Simpson, 18, Lunenburg, N.S.,
Shalena Rau, 15, Waterloo, Ont. / Sébastien Arcieri, 20, Montreal, Que.

ISU World Figure Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – March 23-29, 2015

Nam Nguyen, 16, Toronto, Ont.
Jeremy Ten, 25, Vancouver, B.C.

Gabrielle Daleman, 17, Newmarket, Ont.
Alaine Chartrand, 18, Prescott, Ont.

Ice Dance
Kaitlyn Weaver, 25, Waterloo, Ont. / Andrew Poje, 27, Waterloo, Ont.
Piper Gilles, 23, Toronto, Ont. /Paul Poirier, 23, Unionville, Ont.
Alexandra Paul, 23, Midhurst, Ont. / Mitchell Islam, 24, Barrie, Ont.

Meagan Duhamel, 29, Lively, Ont. / Eric Radford, 29 Balmertown, Ont.
Lubov Ilyushechkina, 23, Moscow, Russia, Dylan Moscovitch, 30, Toronto, Ont.
Julianne Séguin, 18, Longueuil, Que. / Charlie Bilodeau, 21, Trois-Pistoles, Quebec

Weaver and Poje win first Canadian title in ice dance

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – Andrew Poje started this podium selfie thing, and now others are doing it, too. On Saturday night, he took his favourite selfie: he and his partner Kaitlyn Weaver on top of the podium at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

After so many years of seconds and thirds and ups and downs and injuries and all, Weaver and Poje finally won the Canadian championship title they have always wanted. “We finally made it,” said Weaver. They were obviously emotional in the closing moments of their sophisticated free dance to the Four Seasons.

“Ever since we were little kids, we dreamed of being national champions,” Poje said. “And to be the top of your country is an amazing thing.”

“It means so much more than any other gold medal that we’ve won this year,” Weaver said – and she’s counting the Grand Prix Final gold. “We’ll be Canadian champions for the rest of our lives.”

Poje said it was one of their most nerve-wracking competitions. “Even though we felt we could achieve this as long as we put two good programs together, we were nervous, because we really wanted this and it was really important to us,” he said.

Weaver and Poje won the free dance with 111.62 points and the gold medal with 187.88.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were pleasantly surprised by their free dance score of 104.67 – highest ever for them – and their final total of 174.70 to take the silver medal.

Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam won a tight fight for the bronze medal, nailing that down with 160.67 points. However they finished only fifth in the free dance and Islam said they were hard hit in the technical marks for a Peter Gabriel routine that is only two months old.

Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams were third in the free dance while Elisabeth Paradis and François-Xavier Ouellette were fourth. Paradis and Ouellette ended up fifth overall, missing out on fourth by only .06.

In pairs, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won their fourth Canadian title and blasted their own previous Canadian record doing it. Their previous mark? 220.72, set at the Grand Prix Final. Their mark at nationals? 230.19.

“It was the best we’ve done this year, but we can still do better,” Duhamel said. Duhamel singled a double toe loop at the end of a triple-double-double combo. “We want to leave something for worlds,” she said.

Duhamel and Radford believe all four teams in the final group delivered powerful skates. “I don’t really remember when that has happened,” Duhamel said. “It was a great day for Canadian skating.”

Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch won the silver medal in their first season together, earning 65.15 points for the free and 187.85 overall.

While in the past, Moscovitch had always been pushing Duhamel and Radford with his previous partner, Kirsten Moore-Towers, he and his Russian-born partner trailed the winners by a whopping 42.34 points.

“We really feel lucky that we found each other and that we had a shot at doing this,” Moscovitch said. “I had no idea what was going to happen to my career. The fact that we came together the way that we did feels like it was meant to be, almost serendipitous. It’s very enjoyable.”

Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau, competing at their first senior event, won the bronze medal with 181.43, narrowly edging out Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro. Séguin and Bilodleau edged Moore-Towers and Marinaro by only .56 in the free.


New Canadian Champions in Kingston

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – Gabby Daleman has mixed emotions when she finished her long program at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships on Saturday.

She had made some mistakes, had a fall, was chugging on after her sixth bout of strep throat this season, and she didn’t know if she had done enough.

She did, by 1.78 points. Daleman, 16, of Newmarket, Ont., won her first Canadian title with 186.02 points over a high-flying, very tough Alaine Chartrand, who actually defeated her in the free skate.

Chartrand, 18, or nearby Prescott, Ont., looked entirely shocked when her marks came up on a monitor. She had won the free skate with 123.99 points, only .88 points more than Daleman. But she had been third in the short program, and she finished with the silver medal and 184.24 points.

Véronik Mallet, 20, of Sept-Îles, Que., took the bronze medal by finishing third in the free skate with 111. 24 points and ending up with 172.43 points.

Kim Deguise Léveillée, 16, of Sorel-Tracy, Que., burst into tears when she discovered she had finished fourth in the free skate and fifth overall, meeting her goal of finishing in the top five.  She was the Canadian junior champion last year.

“When I finished, I was relieved because I skated my heart out,” Daleman said, the tears coming out on the ice. “I was also so proud of myself,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘You want to be Canadian champion, you deserve it, you’ve been working hard, you want it bad, don’t give up. If you give up, you’re going to lose. I gave it my everything and held on.”

Chartrand earned the first standing ovation of her career to her Doctor Zhivago routine. “That was really exciting,” she said. “And it wasn’t just my family because they did that last year.” She improved her personal best by 12 points.

The men’s event was just as tough a fight, although Nam Nguyen, only 16, left the field in the dust with the 175.10 points he received for the free skate and 256.88 overall.

“That is just gigantic,” said Liam Firus, who ended third with 222.40 points, only .18 behind a rejuvenated Jeremy Ten. “That’s comparable to top five in the world.”

What’s it like to be called Canadian champion after a seven-year rule by Patrick Chan (who congratulated Nguyen afterward), “It feels pretty cool,” Nguyen said. “I’ve been dreaming of becoming Canadian champion since I was eight years old (and won the juvenile title.)”

Coach Brian Orser was not surprised. Nguyen’s potential is limitless, he said. “He keeps pushing it,” Orser said. “He surprises me, but the thing he’ll want to do now is put a quad in the short. We’ll discuss that. But he’s been landing some quad toe loops. He keeps pushing the boundaries. And he’s consistent.”

Orser hopes for a finish in the top eight at the world championships.

Ten, who returned only for a farewell year at the Canadian championships, may also be on the world team. “I’m just beyond myself right now,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Coach Joanne McLeod was emotional in the kiss and cry. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said.

Firus was hoping for second, but he’s okay with third. One of the most beautiful of skaters in the field, he outpointed everybody, including Nguyen in program components, earning 82.52.

Canada reign Supremes at international synchro skate event

SALZBURG, Austria – Les Supremes from St-Léonard, Que., won the gold medal in senior competition and Les Pirouettes from Laval, Que., added a bronze in the junior event on Saturday at the Mozart Cup synchronized figure skating competition.

In the senior event, Les Supremes held on to top spot despite ranking second in Saturday’s free skate with 189.13 points.  Rockettes from Finland were second at 189.00 and Miami University from the U.S. third at 169.24.

Les Supremes team members were Elodie Marie Acheron, Audrey Bédard, Jessica Bernardo, Lou-Ann Bezeau-Tremblay, Joannie Brazeau, Sara Irma Corona, Alexandra Del Vecchio, Laurie Désilets, Jacqueline Hampshire, Maria-Victoria Langon, Clémence Léa Marduel, Agathe Sigrid Merlier, An-Kim Nguyen, Minh-Thu Tina Nguyen, Anne-Louise Normand, Geneviève Rougeau, Marina Rousseau, Laurra Olivia Sena, Claudia Sforzin and Yasuko Uchida.

In the junior competition, Crystal Ice from Russia was first at 155.68, Lexettes from the U.S. second at 140.83 and Les Pirouettes third at 135.26.  The Canadians were second in the short program and third in the long.

Les Pirouettes team members were Dominique Beaucage, Katherine Beaucage, Anouk Begin, Karianne Begin, Marlyne Bernier, Laurie Eve Brisebois, Véronica Dowse, Frédérique Earls Bélanger, Naomy Farand, Bianca Garabédian, Amélie Guillemette, Marie Pie Haineault, Chelsea Karamanoukian, Ann Frédérik Lapointe, Annaelle Maheux, Tara Santavicca, Sarah Sorgente, Helene Stojanovski, Émilie Villeneuve.


Skate Canada mourns the loss of iconic figure skater Toller Cranston

Skate Canada and the entire skating family are saddened to hear of the passing of six-time Canadian champion and Olympic bronze medallist Toller Cranston. Cranston passed away at 65 years of age in San Miguel, Mexico where he had lived for many years.

Referred to by some as a modern pioneer of artistic skating and by the European press as “skater of the century”, Toller Cranston’s influence on men’s figure skating is incalculable.
“A skater with a painter’s eye”, his original artistry and dramatic showmanship on ice broke new ground in figure skating and thrilled audiences.

From 1971 to 1976 Toller was six-time Canadian champion. He placed second in the 1971 ultimate North American Championships held in Peterborough. In 1973 and 1975 he won the newly created competition, Skate Canada International. At the 1974 world championships in Munich he earned a bronze medal. That same year he was chosen as the Sports Federation Athlete of the Year.

At the 1975 and 1976 world championships in Colorado Springs and Gothenburg, respectively, he placed fourth. In Innsbruck, at the Olympic Games in 1976, at twenty six years old, Cranston won the bronze medal.

Since retiring from amateur skating, he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1976 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada that year. In 1995 he received a Special Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Association. In 1997 he was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame. An accomplished painter in his later years, Cranston’s artwork is as well-known as his skating.

Skate Canada offers its sincere sympathies to Cranston’s family and friends. Skating has lost a true legend.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford set Canadian record in Kingston

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – No surprise here: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the pair short program at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships with a wide margin – 14.35 points – something they are not used to.

Their winning score of 79.50 was a Canadian record.

“This relaxed feeling has allowed us to spread our wings and enjoy our skating and if we can keep building it, then we can keep on improving,” Radford said. “For us, as long as we can keep on improving, we’ll keep on going.”

They have learned that it’s not wise to get complacent about a big lead. They had one at NHK, went into the free in a rather nonchalant manner and as soon as the music started, their muscles just did not respond.

The most interesting battle was the one between two new teams formed by Duhamel and Radford’s toughest competitors over the past several years: Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch.

Moore-Towers decided she wanted to skate for two more quadrennials and hooked up with Michael Marinaro. Moscovitch went to Russia to find Lubov Ilyushechkina, who had last skated in Canada at the 2010 Skate Canada International ironically in Kingston, Canada. There is a video out there somewhere of Ilyushechkina declaring that she loved Canada and would love to live here.

She had her homecoming on Friday night in Kingston. When Ilyushechkina and Moscovitch took to the ice, the crowd cheered noisily. And every time they landed a throw or a jump, the crowd cheered more. With this wind beneath their wings, they finished second with 65.15 points.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro ended fourth with 61.08 points, saying they felt a bit stiff and nervous. What were they most proud of? Moore-Towers seemed to say it was about the way they handled the “awkward” situation of being on the ice with an old partner. All week, they have been on the same training session together.

“It is difficult to compete against an old partner,” she said. “I think that all four members of us have done a pretty good job of it. I’m happy. They look happy.
“We’re just kind of hoping for people to adapt to that and learn that’s the way it is now. And it’s the way it’s going to be. We can be happy for everybody.”

In third place are new seniors Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, the Junior Grand Prix champions, who had to adapt their routine to match the senior requirements. They added a triple Salchow instead of a double Lutz, but the entrance into the new jump was on a different pattern. Seguin put a hand down on the throw, but otherwise they sung, earning 61.47 points.

Bilodeau admitted he felt a responsibility to do well here after such a strong season on the Junior Grand Prix circuit. “It was a good beginning,” he said.

In ice dancing, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won the short dance with 76.26 points, 6.23 points ahead of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

The big race was for third spot and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam got it with 64.87 points, 3.37 points ahead of new international sensation Elisabeth Paradis and Francois-Xavier Ouellette.