Written by Paul Dore
It’s a habit of mine to look for patterns and understand through-lines. I like to believe there is an evolutionary continuum. There is an element of comfort to seeing how things evolve and go from generation to generation. History builds upon itself in incremental, and sometimes seemingly invisible steps. I’d like to take a moment and look at three continuums: from an organizational standpoint, a community aspect, and a personal perspective.
As we look to the future of the upcoming World Championships in Montreal, it’s worth looking to the past. Almost twenty years ago, Vancouver hosted the World Championships, and the international skating community had never seen anything like it.
The Director General at the time, my father David Dore, had previously overseen World Championships in Canada. However, when approaching Vancouver, my father and his team not only had the goal to put on the best-organized event, they wanted to give people an experience.
Canada always had a presence on the world stage. In Vancouver, my dad wanted to not only showcase where skating was at the time but the possibilities of where it could go in the future. And we are now in the future. I think you could say it was prescient. There were 220,000 people in attendance, and $600,000 made from the event were distributed to British Columbia skating clubs as a legacy. There were also an additional 35,000 visitors to the innovative SkateFest, which was held in the adjacent plaza. SkateFest was an immersive and interactive exhibition well before any social media existed.
This event in Vancouver was such an achievement for my dad that he retired from Skate Canada a year later. Anyone that knew my dad was not surprised when he not only kept involved with figure skating but went on to become the Vice President of the International Skating Union. Even with the worldwide focus of his work after retirement, my father was always at his happiest when watching a skating competition in his home country of Canada.
That is one of the reasons we established The David Dore Mentorship Fund – to help foster continuing success in Canadian skating. The Fund provides an opportunity for a Skate Canada skater, coach, official, or volunteer to develop leadership skills with the goal of enhancing the organization’s leadership depth.
Being part of the David Dore Mentorship Fund for a few years now, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to a cross-section of people working in local skating collectives across the country. From judges to administrators to community organizers, I am continually impressed and encouraged by all the applicants and recipients. They are interested in new experiences and learning opportunities to better equip themselves and to grow the community around them.
As Val Masek, 2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund recipient said, “It is not all about skating. We feel skating makes us better citizens and appreciative of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I see my work as a piece of a larger continuum guided by Mr. Dore’s principles of strong fundamentals and the importance of community service.”
After four Mentorship Fund recipients, I think my dad would be happy with the results. Four people from four corners of the country all working in different ways towards the common goal of improving the skating lives of those around them.
Returning to those Worlds in Vancouver, I hope that my father took a moment or two for himself to think about just how far he had come. A highpoint of his skating career was making it to Nationals. This idea of through-lines and historical patterns have been on my mind lately because my father’s grandson, and my nephew Joshua, who just competed in his first National Championships in Mississauga. We are officially three generations of figure skaters.
Although I never got there during my skating career, I did make it to the Olympics in Sochi when working as a director for the Olympic Broadcasting Service. My father always offered his guidance and he helped navigate me through my first time at an Olympic Games. From how to pack for a month to the nuances of new ice dancing rules to understanding the immensity of participating in such an enormous event. He had attended many Olympic Games, and he had so much knowledge and experience. It was very important for me to listen to what he wanted to pass along.
My father would have been very excited to see the World Championships return to Canada. He always had an eye on the future and would have been thrilled to see how the Mentorship Fund recipients use their new-found knowledge and experience. I also know that my father would be extremely proud of Joshua, and would have wanted nothing more than to sit in those stands watching and cheering on the next generation – both on the ice and through the fund recipients – who continue to push the sport forward.
To learn more about the David Dore Mentorship Fund and the Program, watch this video of past recipients expressing their experience at previous Skate Canada Ice Summits. If you are one of those leaders, further information and the application can be found at the below link.