Gilles & Poirier claim bronze medal, Canada adds two more top-eight finishes on final day in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Consider it mission accomplished for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

Arriving in Sweden with their sights clearly set on a podium finish at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the reigning Canadian ice dance champions delivered when it mattered most Saturday, and now they’ll return to Canada with bronze medals draped around their necks.

Gilles and Poirier performed a spellbinding free dance to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, scoring a personal best 130.98 score for a 214.35 total, also a personal best, to claim their first world championships medal.

Starting the day less than two points off the podium, Gilles and Poirier’s riveting skate lifted them into third spot, less than half a point behind silver medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. (214.71). Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (FSR) won gold with 221.17.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with what we did today,” said Gilles. “Having a crazy season, like everyone else…but I’m so proud that we pushed through. We didn’t let the uncertainty of everything get in the way. We just love to perform and skate, and I think that came out on the ice today.”

“I’m sort of at a loss for words,” added Poirier. “It’s been a very long time for us, this is our eighth world championships together, and being able to accomplish this just feels like a nice relief.”

“I’m sure once we’ve had time to process it as well, and be home with the rest of our team, as well as our family and friends, I think it will feel that much more real. What we’ve been able to accomplish today is the product of so many people’s effort, and we want to be able to celebrate that with them.”

Making their first international start since the fall of 2019, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Montreal, Que. scored 119.01 in their free dance to place eighth with a 196.88 total.

Marjorie Lajoie (Boucherville, Que.) and Zachary Lagha (Saint-Hubert, Que.), the 2019 world junior champions, had an impressive senior world championships debut, finishing 14th at 180.71.

In the men’s competition, Keegan Messing racked up 176.75 points in his free program to finish sixth with a 270.26 total, a new personal best. The showing was Messing’s best in three appearances at the world championships and guaranteed Canada two men’s spots for next year’s Olympic Winter Games.

Messing was the lone member of the Canadian team with an international competition this season, dedicating his bronze medal at Skate America to his Canadian teammates in October.

As his free program ended Saturday, he pointed to his teammates in the stands, pumped his fist in the air several times and placed his hand over his heart. As he waited in the kiss and cry for his marks, Messing looked into the camera and spoke to his best friend and teammate, Nam Nguyen, back in Canada.

“We did it together. We did it. Love you, buddy,” he said.

“I feel absolutely incredible,” added Messing minutes later. “To be able to go out there and to put that kind of program out. I said before coming here that Nam and I were going to do this together, and together we did it. He was there with me, backstage, on the ice, and gave me the strength to push through this program. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Nathan Chen of the United States, in third spot after the short program, scored 222.03 in a flawless free program that featured five quads to win his third straight men’s world title with 320.88.

For Fournier Beaudry and Sørensen, it was a triumphant return to the international stage. Not only did the pandemic wipe out this past season, but they missed the entire 2020 campaign as Sørensen recovered from knee surgery.

“We just wanted to dance and give some hope to everybody,” said Fournier Beaudry. “We’re so proud to be here representing Canada.”

“We’re just really grateful and so happy to be part of this amazing team,” added Sørensen.

Team Canada left Sweden with a medal and three other top-eight showings. Earlier in the week, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro placed sixth in the pair event.

Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud were 12th in pair, while 2020 Canadian women’s bronze medallist Madeline Schizas placed 13th in her world championships debut. Emily Bausback, the 2020 Canadian women’s champion, missed qualifying for the women’s free program by less than two points.

To see final results, please visit the ISU website.

Canadian ice dance teams open strong, Madeline Schizas caps off impressive debut at ISU World Figure Skating Championships

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Canadian ice dance champions Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier arrived in Sweden targeting a podium finish at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

That goal is well within reach.

Stepping onto international ice for the first time in over a year, the duo from Toronto, Ont. performed an elegant rhythm dance to earn 83.37 points, putting them in fourth place and less than two points out of the bronze medal position.

Fellow Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Montreal, Que. also find themselves inside the top 10, sitting seventh at 77.87. Marjorie Lajoie (Boucherville, Que.) and Zachary Lagha (Saint-Hubert, Que.), making their world championships debut, scored 72.00 and are 14th.

Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (FSR) lead with 88.15, followed by Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue at 86.05.

Skating to a medley from Mack and Mabel, Gilles and Poirier showed they are in prime position for a run at a medal despite not competing internationally all season due to the pandemic.

“We were absolutely thrilled,” said Gilles. “I think we are just so completely confident in our training and our ability. We got to enjoy performing again, which is why we skate.”

No fans are permitted inside Ericsson Globe this week for figure skating’s crown jewel event, but Poirier admitted they were so focused they didn’t notice the lack of atmosphere inside the building.

“I didn’t even really notice that it was empty,” he said. “That was really one of those programs where we kind of went on blinders mode and just kind of lived the performance. I didn’t really notice anything that was happening outside of that.”

Later Friday, Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., capped off an impressive debut at the world championships. Unlike her breathtaking short program, the 18-year-old fought through a challenging free skate, earning 117.01 to place 13th in the women’s event with 185.78. The 2020 Canadian bronze medallist more than held her own against the world’s top skaters and says the week was a crucial learning experience for the future.

“I learned a lot this week about competing at a championship, which is obviously something I’ve never done,” said Schizas. “I think I had really high expectations for myself coming into this, especially after the short program, knowing I wanted to be in the top 10.”

It has been a long road back to the international skating scene for Fournier Beaudry and Sørensen, the 2019 Canadian bronze medallists who missed the 2020 season as Sørensen recovered from knee surgery. The pandemic wiped out their competitive season this year, although they did compete at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge virtual event in January, where they finished second to Gilles and Poirier.

Following their rhythm dance Friday, you could sense a bit of sentimentality in their voices after Fournier Beaudry and Sørensen performed their Bonnie and Clyde routine, a program they have a deep emotional connection to, for the final time.

“We are so happy, so excited, so extremely grateful,” said a relieved Sørensen. “We feel really good during the event, I wake up every day like ‘can’t believe it, we’re here.’”

“It was a heartfelt goodbye to the program, now that it is the last time. Just going out and celebrating all the hard work we’ve put into it and celebrating, most of all, that we’re here today, and hopefully sharing a little bit of hope with the skating community.”

“We felt great,” added Fournier Beaudry. “We put so much love into this program, we love being Bonnie and Clyde and doing those characters.”

Lajoie and Lagha, the 2019 junior world champions, were pleased with their debut and are looking forward to their free dance Saturday.

“It was a great experience for the short dance, so I’m pretty happy with what we did,” said Lajoie.

The tandem is not putting any unnecessary pressure on themselves as they compete at the world championships for the first time.

“I think the only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves,” added Lagha. “It’s our first year and it’s such a different game (at the senior level). So, no, we don’t have that pressure.”

The competition concludes Saturday, with Keegan Messing, currently in fifth spot, skating his men’s free program at 9:14 am EDT. The free dance follows, with Lajoie and Lagha taking the ice at 1:00 pm EDT. Fournier Beaudry and Sørensen skate at 2:16 pm followed by Gilles and Poirier at 2:46 pm.

For full results, please visit the ISU website.

Photo credit: ISU

Moore-Towers, Marinaro bounce back to match best career finish at ISU World Figure Skating Championships

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – For Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, what a difference a day makes.

Less than 24 hours after a shaky short program to open the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the two-time Canadian pair champions bounced back with an exceptional free program Thursday, scoring 131.84 for a 195.29 total, vaulting them from 10th into sixth.

The result matched their previous best at the world championships, set in 2018. Moore-Towers and Marinaro have finished inside the top eight in all four trips to the world championships.

“We definitely skated for ourselves today,” said Moore-Towers. “We were excited to show that program and I think that was something that was lacking (Wednesday). I think it showed in our skating.”

“We’re definitely proud of the skate today, considering the circumstances,” added Marinaro. “A very short season, a lot to take away, a lot of lessons learned over the past two months that we can carry into next season.”

Minutes before Moore-Towers and Marinaro took the ice, Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud laid down a solid free skate of their own, earning 116.83 to place 12th at 176.24.

“We were really excited and looking forward to this competition,” said Walsh. “Not only another worlds, but just a competition this season.”

“This season, in different countries, a lot of things were different,” reasoned Michaud. “For us in Canada, we didn’t get any competitions due to the pandemic, so we’re very, very grateful to be here.”

Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, representing the Figure Skating Federation of Russia (FSR), captured pair gold.

Earlier Thursday, Keegan Messing, the lone Canadian entry in the men’s competition, scored 93.51 in his short program and is in fifth place heading into Saturday’s free program.

Messing, who holds American and Canadian citizenship, is the only Team Canada member to compete internationally this past season, winning bronze at Skate America in October.

Making his third appearance at the world championships, Messing, who finished eighth in 2018 and 15th in 2019, said he was happy with his performance and is trying to keep his emotions in check this week.

“I’m trying to go out there and skate for family, skate for team camaraderie, so I can put the best performance out and try to keep some of those nerves to a minimum,” said Messing. “And just hope that it’s enough.”

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan scored 106.98 to set the early pace in the men’s event.

The women’s short program kicked off the world championships Wednesday morning and Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., making her world championship debut, skated with ice in her veins, scoring 68.77. Schizas, who celebrated her 18th birthday last month, is in ninth spot leading into Friday’s free program.

“This is my second senior international ever, so it was so cool to compete with the highest ranked competitors in the world,” said Schizas. “It’s just so incredible to be here competing against the best in the world and I was really proud that I put out a good performance today.”

Emily Bausback from New Westminster, B.C., the 2020 Canadian women’s champion also making her first appearance at the world championships, finished 27th and missed qualifying for the free program by just three spots.

“This has been a really great experience for me,” said Bausback. “I was super excited for the training leading up to the world championships, my very first one. It’s an incredible experience. It’s everything I imagined.”

The ice dance competition gets underway Friday morning, with three teams representing Canada. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha will skate their rhythm dance at 8:47 am EDT, followed by Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen at 9:07 am and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier at 10:22 am.

The women’s free program will follow Friday afternoon, with Schizas scheduled to skate at 3:35 pm EDT.

Photo Credit: ISU

Gilles, Poirier ready to seize the moment in Stockholm

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier feel this is their time.

The reigning Canadian ice dance champions head into this week’s ISU World Figure Skating Championships ready to make a run at the podium, 17 months after celebrating their first ISU Grand Prix title at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna, B.C.

A few months later, after seven podium finishes in eight years at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, Gilles and Poirier left nationals with gold medals draped around their necks for the first time.

Now, after a challenging 14-month hiatus from the international scene caused by the pandemic – including the cancellation of the 2020 world championships in Montreal – Gilles and Poirier can’t wait to press play and resume the next chapter of their story.

“I think right now, we kind of feel we’ve earned that spot to be the number one (Canadian) team,” Gilles told reporters shortly before leaving for Stockholm. “To be honest, it doesn’t feel much different. It does help knowing we’re going in as national champions. I think we’re more proud and more confident having that title.

“At this point, Paul and I know what we need to do. I think we just need to expect the unexpected and do our job.”

“We’re so excited after almost 14 months of not competing to finally get back out there,” added Poirier. “We’ve been very clear throughout all of last season and this season that our goal is to be on the world podium. We’ve done all the training required to do that.”

Gilles and Poirier, one of three Canadian ice dance teams at these world championships, have assumed a leadership role for the national team. With several Team Canada skaters making their worlds debut, including women’s competitors Madeline Schizas and Emily Bausback, the pair tandem of Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud as well as fellow ice dancers Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, Gilles and Poirier are excited to help guide their younger teammates through this first world championships experience.

“It’s an absolute honour to be even considered the leaders,” said Gilles. “I feel like even at events the past couple of years, we started to feel like we are moving into that leadership role a little bit. You know your journey and how you’ve got to this point, and it’s really cool to see the young ones come in and begin their journey and figure out their way.”

Gilles and Poirier know the importance of mentors. They came up during an unforgettable era in Canadian ice dancing, led by the legendary tandem of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and three-time Canadian champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

The reigning Canadian champions have taken the torch and are grateful for the paths their predecessors blazed for them.

“I think it’s hard to know how exactly your career trajectory would have been different should some or other people not have been there, but I think in the end, I don’t think we would change the way that we approach our skating, the way that we approach our selection of our music, the way that we present ourselves, the artistic choices that we make,” said Poirier. “I think those are so quintessentially us.”

“We had some great role models,” added Gilles. “We’ve learned a lot from those guys (Virtue and Moir, Weaver and Andrew Poje). They’ve really been leaders for so long, it’s been nice to watch them and figure out how they’ve dealt with it and managed. Every athlete has their own journey. They were a part of ours.

“Now it’s our time.”

The 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships get underway Wednesday, March 24. For start orders and results, please visit the ISU website.





Messing leaving chainsaws, car batteries behind as he embraces Team Canada reunion at World Figure Skating Championships

Keegan Messing’s definition of “reining it in a bit” is probably quite different than that of the average person.

As the skating world gets set to gather in Stockholm for the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Messing, the charismatic Alaskan who holds Canadian and American citizenship, will proudly represent Canada as the lone entry in the men’s competition, which gets underway Thursday at the Ericsson Globe.

Messing, the life loving, cowboy hat-wearing three-time Canadian men’s medallist, has put his abundance of spare time to good use over the past year, hiking, climbing and just taking in all Mother Nature has to offer.

In recent months, as is his annual tradition, Messing has turned his attention to building and maintaining his backyard rink to help him get through the frigid Alaska winters. This winter, he has doubled the rink in size and, because his backyard has a downgrade slope, Messing built up one end with ice to create an even plane. He also added a few ramps for an extra adrenaline kick.

With the world championships on deck, those ramp jumps will have to wait.

“I was going for a full backyard Crashed Ice course,” said Messing with a laugh. “I just wanted to get the course built. I built some pretty sweet features out there, then I got named to worlds, and it was like ‘well, it looks like I am not going to be able to do any of these features yet.’”

“I am putting some of my wild side on the low burner and keeping myself reined in a little bit. It’s a little bit difficult for me to do.”

Reining it in will likely be the norm for Messing in the coming months, as he and his wife, Lane, are expecting their first child in July.

Like the rest of the world, Messing has had to deal with restrictions over the past year. While the lockdown lasted only a couple of months in Alaska, Messing was hesitant to return to his local gym when his community reopened.

So, he did what he does best. He improvised with, as he calls them, “random odds and ends devices.”

As part of his workout routine, he hauled a pair of 36-pound car batteries from under car hoods to use as weights while doing squats. When he needed a heavier weight for an exercise, he grabbed a chainsaw.

Yes, a chainsaw.

Not your typical home gym, perhaps, but more than enough for Messing to break a sweat.

That training will be put to good use this week when Messing reunites with his Canadian teammates for figure skating’s crown jewel event.

Five months ago at Skate America, an emotional Messing dedicated his bronze medal to his teammates who had their Grand Prix season wiped out due to the pandemic. The gesture was so real, so genuine, so heartfelt.

So Canadian.

“Skating for the team at Skate America, it was one of the best things I feel like I could have done,” reasoned Messing. “I took the ice and, even re-watching the video, I can see right before I took my pose, I can see it in my face on when I thought of the team and I was like ‘this is for you guys.’”

“I really feel for the Canadian team. I really feel for last year’s worlds team, and especially them. They had worlds taken from them, they had Skate Canada (international) taken from them and then they had nationals taken away from them, so it’s like they have been the real MVPs of this fight. I am just really honored I can compete side by side with them.”

Messing is ready for quite the reunion this week in Sweden.

“I haven’t seen the team in over a year,” he said. “Going out to worlds and seeing the team, I’m ecstatic to do it. I can’t wait to go there, see them, catch up and, in reality, skate for them. Skate to make them proud.

“I’m there with them and that, like we can do this. Like, really, we can do this.”

Click here for news, results and start orders from the ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Canadian pair champions Moore-Towers, Marinaro hoping for a chance at redemption in Sweden

Given the circumstances, Michael Marinaro could be forgiven for the faux pas.

On a conference call with reporters prior to departing for this week’s ISU World Figure Skating championships in Sweden, Marinaro and partner Kirsten Moore-Towers, the two-time Canadian pair champions, discussed preparations as the tandem gets ready to step onto international ice for the first time in more than a year.

“This is the biggest positive of the past 12 years, so we’re just hoping to take advantage of that,” said Marinaro.

“12 months…past 12 months,” Moore-Towers corrected her partner with a laugh.

It hasn’t been a dozen years. It just feels that way.

One year ago, Moore-Towers and Marinaro were coming off two silver medal performances on the ISU Grand Prix circuit and a bronze at the Four Continents Championships to go along with their second straight Canadian crown in Mississauga, Ont.

Enjoying their most successful season together, the team seemed poised for a run at the podium with the 2020 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, on home soil in Montreal, on the horizon.

Just a few days before the start of the championships, reality hit as the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the championships as leagues and events around the world went dark.

Nothing hasn’t been the same since.

“The momentum we built last year was immense and we were really on a great path,” admits Moore-Towers. “(The worlds cancellation) was a big bummer with a lot of bummers to follow. We thought that was going to be the biggest one and we’d have a couple of weeks of the pandemic, and boy, were we wrong. Life’s a little different now, our perspective’s a little different now.”

Their perspective is understandable, and not just as it relates to skating.

On March 31, nine days after the world championships were scheduled to end in Montreal, Marinaro’s grandmother, Charlotte Jones, passed away without warning after a COVID-19 outbreak spread through a long-term care facility in their hometown of Sarnia. The family loss hit Marinaro hard and a few months later, Moore-Towers suffered a rib injury that kept them off the ice for several weeks.

Now, finally, opportunity knocks once again, and they aren’t letting the moment pass them by.

Unlike many of their competitors they’ll see in Sweden, Moore-Towers and Marinaro haven’t skated internationally this year. But the Canadian champions see it as a chance to make up for some lost time and, perhaps, gain a little redemption.

“There’s adversity, it’s been a difficult road to get here, but some of the most difficult events that we’ve had have turned out to be the most successful,” reasons Moore-Towers. “We’ve thrived on adversity before, and I believe we have the ability to do it again.

“I hope it’s another mark in our story.”

“I’m just excited to get out there on the competition ice again,” adds Marinaro. “Throughout the season, it’s been difficult training without having those clear goals and events to get ready for.

“Before the pandemic, skating had become a little bit of a job for us, and a little bit monotonous. Now, having that layoff has rekindled the love for the sport and the joy of the sport.”

With their competition season being grounded by the pandemic, Moore-Towers admits it has been hard to stay focused, adding the uncertainty has taken its toll, both emotionally and physically.

“There’s a lot to be said for how much mental preparation, never mind physical, but how much mental preparation goes into each event,” she reasons. “It’s extremely difficult to continue to mentally prepare yourself when things continue to get cancelled.

“We are hoping the world heals and we can have audiences back next season.”

Now, with the past year in their rear-view mirror, Moore Towers and Marinaro, in this most uncertain of seasons, have their sights on the road ahead.

That road ends at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm this week.

If they don’t have medals draped around their necks on their return flight to Canada, so be it. Overcoming adversity isn’t defined in glitter.

“If we are proud of our two performances, it will be a success,” says Marinaro matter-of-factly.

“We are ready to lay it down in Sweden.”

Madeline Schizas looking forward to international debut at ISU World Figure Skating Championships

If Madeline Schizas is feeling starstruck as she prepares to step under the bright lights of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships for the first time, she hides it well.

Set to make her debut on the biggest stage in skating next week – in the midst of a global pandemic, no less – the 18-year-old from Oakville, Ont. can’t wait to dip her foot into the sport’s international waters for the first time.

Given the events of the past year, Schizas’s journey to Stockholm has been far from conventional, but she can’t contain her enthusiasm as she gets ready to proudly represent Canada when the ladies short program kicks off the competition Wednesday.

“I think everyone follows their own path, and this was just mine,” said the 2020 Canadian women’s bronze medallist on a conference call before departing for Sweden. “I think that I’m going into this event with a lot of confidence, even without having a lot of international experience. It’s really special to me that I’m getting to compete at Worlds, and I’m excited for the experience.”

It should be an experience unlike any other, on every level.

For most of team Canada, comprised of eight entries and 13 skaters, these world championships will be their first taste of international competition in well over a year. Only Keegan Messing, who holds dual citizenship and lives in Alaska while representing Canada internationally, competed on the ISU Grand Prix circuit this past season, earning bronze at Skate America in October.

Two months ago, Schizas, along with most of her teammates competing in Sweden, were able to get a taste of competition at Skate Canada Challenge, a virtual event where athletes had their performances recorded at their training rinks several weeks before being judged in real time during the event.

Schizas claimed her second straight senior women’s gold medal at Challenge and is hoping to ride that wave of momentum into Sweden.

“My training’s going really well, I feel really well prepared for this event, despite all the crazy things happening right now,” Schizas adds. “My coaches think that I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in in my entire career.”

Schizas and reigning Canadian women’s champion Emily Bausback will represent Canada in the women’s competition at the world championships.

After the first wave of the pandemic subsided and the Ontario lockdown ended late last spring, Schizas returned to train at Milton Skating Club, her home club, from June through December.

As Ontario entered another lockdown phase just after Christmas, her home club shut its doors temporarily. With limited training options due to lockdown restrictions, Schizas, and coaches Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt, went in search of ice time. They found temporary training refuge at rinks in Hamilton and Richmond Hill before Schizas returned to Milton shortly after Ontario’s latest stay-at-home order was lifted in February.

As she prepared for the world championships, Schizas admitted she was happy to have returned to a sense of normal.

Whatever normal is these days.

“For me, it was about getting back on a schedule, and knowing when I was going to skate, knowing where I was going to skate, and knowing when I was going to go to the gym,” she says.

And now, Schizas’s dream of representing Canada at the world championships has arrived. She is trying to erase all the background noise from the past year and isn’t putting too much pressure on herself. These world championships will determine how many spots Canada earns for next year’s Olympic Winter Games, but Schizas isn’t concerning herself on what-ifs.

“For me, a successful world championship would be skating personal best programs, which is something I really think I can do,” she adds. “That will get us however many spots we get (for the Olympics). That part is not in my hands, and that is what I’m trying to remind myself. I know I can skate consistent programs, and that is what I’m focused on.”

Schizas is doing her best to make sure the moment doesn’t get too big for her. She isn’t sure of what to expect from these world championships, but she knows she isn’t the only one facing that uncertainty.

“I’ve spoken with a lot of skaters who have competed at Worlds before, and the thing that they’ve all told me is this year is going to be different for everybody,” she says.

The women’s short program in Sweden is set to kick off Wednesday, March 24. For the full schedule and list of entries, please click here. 

Canadians en route to Sweden for 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send eight entries, for a total of 13 skaters, to the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The event is set to take place March 22-28, 2021, in Stockholm, Sweden. Canada will have two entries in women, one entry in men, two entries in pair and three entries in ice dance.

Keegan Messing, 29, Girdwood, Alaska, USA, will be the only Canadian entry in the men’s category.  This will be his third time competing at this event, having finished 15th in 2019. This season, Messing won bronze at 2020 Skate America. The three-time Canadian medallist is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Ak, USA.

Madeline Schizas, 18, Oakville, Ont., will be the first of two Canadian women competing at the event. This will be her first time competing at this event. Schizas claimed the gold medal at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge event in January. She is coached by Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt in Milton, Ont.

Emily Bausback, 18, Vancouver, B.C., will be the second Canadian entry in the women’s category. This will be her first time competing at this event. The 2020 Canadian champion is coached by Joanne McLeod and Neil Wilson in Burnaby, B.C.

Kirsten Moore-Towers, 28, St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro, 29, Sarnia, Ont., will be the first of two Canadian entries in pair. This will be their fourth time competing at the world championships, having finished 7th in 2019. The 2020 Canadian champions are coached by Bruno Marcotte, Alison Purkiss and Brian Shales in Oakville, Ont.

Evelyn Walsh, 19, London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud, 24, Trenton, Ont., will be the second Canadian entry in pair. This event will mark their second time competing on the world championship stage, having placed 12th back in 2019. The 2020 national silver medallists are coached by Alison Purkiss, Andrew Evans and Paul Macintosh in Brantford, Ont.

Piper Gilles, 29, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 29, Unionville, Ont., will be the first of three of Canadian entries in ice dance. This will be their eighth time competing at this event, having finished in the top ten the past five consecutive seasons. The 2020 Canadian champions are coached by Carol Lane, Juris Razgulajevs and Jon Lane in Scarborough, Ont.

Laurence Fournier Beaudry, 28, Montreal, Que., and Nikolaj Sørensen, 32, Montreal, Que., will be the second Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their second time competing at this event, having finished 10th in 2019. The 2021 Skate Canada Challenge silver medallists are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Josée Piché, Samuel Chouinard, Emilie Josset and Benjamin Brisebois.

Marjorie Lajoie, 20, Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha, 21, Saint-Hubert, Que., will be the third entry in ice dance. This will be their first time competing at this event. The 2019 World Junior champions are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis and Josée Piché in Montreal, Que.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, and Dr. Shae Zukiwsky, Senior Director, Performance Excellence, will be the team leaders at the event. Physiotherapist Paige Larson of North Vancouver, B.C., and Dr. Ghislaine Robert of Seattle, WA., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Leanna Caron, Skate Canada President, will also be attending.

For results and full entries, please visit or



Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Keegan Messing 29 Girdwood, Ak, USA Ice Palace FSC Ralph Burghart
Women Madeline Schizas 18 Oakville, Ont. Milton SC Nancy Lemaire/Derek Schmidt
Women Emily Bausback 18 Vancouver, B.C. Champs International Skating Centre of BC Joanne McLeod/Neil Wilson
Pair Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro 28/29 St. Catharines, Ont./Sarnia, Ont. Skate Oakville/Skate Oakville Bruno Marcotte/Alison Purkiss/Brian Shales
Pair Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud 19/24 London, Ont./Trenton, Ont. London SC/Trenton SC Alison Purkiss/Andrew Evans/Paul Macintosh
Ice Dance Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier 29/29 Toronto, Ont./Unionville, Ont. Ice Dance Elite/Scarboro FSC Carol Lane/Juris Razgulajevs/Jon Lane
Ice Dance Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Sørensen 28/32 Montreal, Que. /Montreal, Que. Town of Mount Royal FSC/Town of Mount Royal FSC Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon/Romain Haguenauer/ Josée Piché/Samuel Chouinard/Emilie Josset/Benjamin Brisebois
Ice Dance Marjorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha 20/21 Boucherville, Que. / Saint-Hubert, Que. CPA Boucherville/CPA Saint-Lambert Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon/Romain Haguenauer/Pascal Denis/ Josée Piché

Save the Date: 2021 Skate Canada Ice Summit

Dear members and registrants,

Skate Canada is pleased to announce that the annual Skate Canada Ice Summit is back and will be held in a virtual format! Mark your calendars and get ready to take part in educational and engaging workshops and sessions with leading experts, including our 2021 Ice Summit keynote speaker, Henry Burris.

Kicking off on May 15, 2021, Skate Canada will host pre-conference webinars that lead into the May 28-29 conference. The 2021 Ice Summit package offers a broad spectrum of informative and interactive workshops and sessions and will give the Canadian skating community the opportunity to learn more about programming, safe sport, and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect this year:

  • May 15 – Skate Canada’s pre-conference webinars begin, including a skating seminar hosted by Olympic and World Champion, Meagan Duhamel.
  • May 28-29 – the official 2021 Ice Summit begins. Join sessions hosted by world-class sport professionals, conference keynote speaker, Henry Burris, and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association on May 29. Members will be able to participate remotely as the AGM and voting will be available via live stream.

Registration for this interactive and engaging virtual conference will open on April 1, 2021. Visit our website for more information.

Calgary to host 2022 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: The Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships are heading back to Calgary, Alta., in 2022. The Championships will take place from February 24-27, 2022, at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.

“We are very excited to be returning to Calgary for the Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships in 2022. Calgary is known for its successful sporting events and we are more than confident that this event will be nothing but that,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “With the severe level of disruption to the 2020-2021 competitive season, we are very much looking forward to Canada’s best synchronized skating teams stepping onto the ice in Calgary in 2022, showcasing their dedication and hard work for all to see.”

The 2022 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships will bring approximately 40 teams and over 800 skaters from across the country to Calgary. The city most recently hosted this event in 2020.

“Calgary is excited to welcome back the Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championship and its accompanying $2.8 million in projected economic impact,” said Jeff Daniels, Executive Director, Sport, Culture & Major Events at Tourism Calgary. “This will mark the fourth time Calgary has been selected to host the championship in the past nine years and we are thrilled to once again have Canada’s best synchronized skating teams compete at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.”

Teams will compete for national titles in senior, junior, novice, intermediate and open categories. The top two senior teams will represent Canada at the 2022 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships in Hamilton, Ontario.