Pride Profile: “I believe the world is changing but I know there is still more work to be done”

June is Pride Month and an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the LGBTQI2S+ community. Skate Canada has done and is continuing to do substantive work in relation to LGBTQI2S+ inclusion but we know there remains critical inclusion work to be done moving forward.

To support an inclusive environment this Pride Month we are sharing personal stories from our skating community. Below is the story of two-time world champion Eric Radford.

When I first watched figure skating on TV, I was instantly enamoured. It seemed as though the skaters could fly and as a kid, I was obsessed with planes and being able to fly. At that moment, I had no idea that skating would bring so many incredible experiences into my life, but also many challenges.

Being the only male figure skater in a small northern community where hockey was the most popular sport was not easy. There was a lot of name calling and bullying. I couldn’t understand why the other kids hated me so much because I liked this amazing sport. As I got older, and I started to have more success, the bullying never completely disappeared, but it diminished.

When I was 17, after a lot of internal struggle, I finally accepted that I was gay. My closest friends at the time were my training mates and when I came out to them, they were nothing but supportive and positive. Their acceptance and support of who I was, made a profound impact on me and was the catalyst for the self-acceptance and freedom I began to feel.

Fast forward 13 years and the opportunity to show the world my true self was presented. When I decided to come out publicly, it conjured up the same fear and anxiety I had when I came out to my friends and family. What if this changed everything? What if it affected my chances at success? Again, I was lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family supporting me, but the biggest and best surprise was the messages and support I received from people I didn’t even know.

Young athletes wrote me about their struggles and related that sharing my story had helped them. This made any fear and anxiety I did have totally worth it. I received so much support from around the world and from within the skating community.

A special moment for me was at the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, where at the end of the long program, there were pride flags waving in the stands. I believe the world is changing but I know there is still more work to be done for the LGBTQI2S+ community and for LGBTQI2S+ athletes. I would love a future where an athlete’s sexuality is no longer news and that they simply feel free and comfortable to share details about their life that they otherwise would want to hide. As athletes in figure skating and other sports continue to share their stories about being their authentic selves, let us take a moment and appreciate how far the LGBTQI2S+ community in sport has come.

Happy and safe Pride everyone!

Skate Canada thanks to Eric Radford for sharing his story and bringing awareness to the skating community. If you are a member of the LGBTQI2S+ skating community and are interested in sharing your personal story please send us an email at [email protected].

2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada cancelled

OTTAWA, ON: With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Skate Canada has cancelled the 2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada. The event was scheduled to take place from August 25-28, 2021, at Meadows Arena in Edmonton, AB.

For the past 18 months, Skate Canada has closely monitored the provincial and federal health authorities’ position on the global health crisis and is committed to the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and spectators. Like last season, due to the federal quarantine guidelines for all travellers and social distancing requirements in effect at this time, Skate Canada regretfully made the decision to cancel the event.

“It’s a difficult decision to cancel the 2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada for the second consecutive year,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “We know brighter days for our skating community are ahead and look forward to a prosperous season for our athletes.”

“While we are disappointed that we will not welcome the world’s top junior skaters to Edmonton this summer, we remain optimistic that there will be competitive opportunities for our NextGen athletes in the near future,” said André Bourgeois, NextGen Director, Skate Canada.

Skate Canada, in partnership with the local organizing committee, Skate Canada Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, looked forward to hosting the Junior Grand Prix event in Edmonton, AB. We thank you all for your efforts and commitment as we prepared to deliver a memorable event.


June is National Indigenous History Month and an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the Indigenous community. Skate Canada has done and is continuing to do substantive work in equity, diversity and inclusion but we know there remains critical inclusion work to be done moving forward.

To support an inclusive environment this National Indigenous History Month we are sharing personal stories from our skating community. Below is the story of Clifford A. Mushquash, a member of Pays Plat First Nation in Ontario.


When I started out in skating, I didn’t connect very deeply with my Ojibway identity. I was raised in a bi-racial family in Sioux Lookout but I did not have the deep cultural understanding growing up as I do now. Language and traditional teachings weren’t passed along in my family.

The importance of understanding one’s identity and history wasn’t discussed in my formative years as it is now—especially in the skating community. I became a member of the Canadian Figure Skating Association in 1991, when my parents enrolled me in a Learn to Skate program offered by the Sioux Lookout Figure Skating Club. My ice show debut was as a yellow chickadee performing the Bird Dance—yes, the Bird Dance! I have the fond memories of learning to skate and participating at Ice Shows. Now, my involvement in skating is as an assessor/official.

As I grew up, I began to connect with my identity and truly understand my people’s history.  Finding my identity and learning my culture wasn’t something that happened overnight. It took many years of listening to and learning from Elders and knowledge keepers before I really understood my Indigenous self. It was through academic study and engaging in difficult conversations that I came to understand what colonization is, and how my family and I have been impacted by it.

Today, I am a proud First Nations person, but acknowledge I have more to learn in order to live mino-bimaadiziwin (live the good life). I’m a trained social worker (with a BA Sociology and Honours Bachelor of Social Work from Lakehead University) and am currently completing a Master’s of Public Health, with a specialization in Indigenous and Northern Health. I work as an administrative assistant for the Indigenous Language Instructor’s Program at the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. This program trains and qualifies fluent Ojibway, OjiCree, and Cree speakers as Indigenous Language Instructors. This program is aimed towards language revitalization by using Indigenous teaching and learning methodologies. My work and education place me face-to-face with culture and the realities of Indigenous people in Canada. It can be emotionally tiring to do this kind of work but knowing that I am learning while I’m helping brings me fulfilment and energy to continue.

We are at a moment as a country and a sport where we are holding a mirror up to ourselves and taking a real close look at what we need to do so that our sport and society can be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive for everyone. To me, it means I can bring my learning and lived experiences to skating and have it appreciated and embraced.  It brings me joy when other officials and volunteers approach me with questions about Indigenous culture or Canada’s colonial history because they genuinely want to deepen their understanding so we can do better together. Skate Canada has a great opportunity to be a leader in how anti-racist and anti-colonial education and action can be done well. Officials and volunteers in the sport can take learnings from equity, diversity, and inclusion education in the skating community and bring it into the other areas of their lives. The organization has set a precedent for other sporting organizations and has offered collaboration, which is the beauty of this work. It makes me hopeful going forward.

Together, we can be champions of this cause.


Skate Canada thanks Clifford A. Mushquash for sharing his story and bringing awareness to the skating community. 

 Skate Canada is pleased to announce an Indigenous Stories in Figure Skating Initiative and invites you to share your story. This initiative to collect the stories of Indigenous peoples in figure skating in Canada is informed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “Sport and Reconciliation” Calls to Action (#87-91). We aim to create space for stories of Indigenous peoples in figure skating. Your stories will provide a better understanding of the lived experiences of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples within the sport of figure skating in Canada. Your stories will also support efforts by Skate Canada to increase visibility of Indigenous peoples in figure skating. 

 Thank you for considering participation in this initiative. Click here to learn more.


Pierrefonds to host 2021 Autumn Classic International

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada has announced that it will host the 2021 Autumn Classic International in Pierrefonds, Quebec. The seventh edition of this event will take place September 16-18, 2021 at the Sportplexe Pierrefonds.

The senior international figure skating competition has previously been a stop on the International Skating Union’s (ISU) Challenger Series in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2020, the Autumn Classic International event was cancelled due to the pandemic. This season, the ISU has included this event as part of the 2021-2022 Challenger Series.

“Skate Canada is thrilled to be heading back to Pierrefonds and to Sportplexe Pierrefonds for the 2021 Autumn Classic International,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “This event always attracts top-tier athletes, and we are excited to be bringing them back to a such an amiable city.”

Pierrefonds, located on the northwestern part of the Island of Montreal, has been a longtime partner of figure skating, hosting Skate Canada’s Autumn Classic International previously in 2016 and 2017, as well as Skate Canada Challenge in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

“As host to Skate Canada and ISU events, Montréal is truly committed to figure skating and we are once again delighted to be holding the Autumn Classic International in Montréal. The city is no stranger to major ice skating events as it welcomed numerous competitions, has an international skating history and is an undeniable hub for athletes, coaches and fans from Canada and around the world,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “Our organization looks forward to working closely with local sporting partners to ensure that all participants enjoy a safe and memorable stay in the best island getaway in the country!”

Due to the current provincial restrictions and guidelines, there are no planned ticket sales for the 2021 Autumn Classic International. To receive up to date information on our event season please join our mailing list.

2021 Annual Ice Summit Recap

Dear members and registrants,

What a fantastic way to end a difficult season. The 2021 Skate Canada Ice Summit was a huge success, and Skate Canada would like to thank all those who attended, presented, helped facilitate and coordinate this epic event.

This was the first year that the Ice Summit was held in a virtual fashion and allowed community leaders from across the country to meet online for an exciting, interactive conference. As we continue to inspire all Canadians to embrace the joy of skating, this year’s Ice Summit theme of Change Connecting Community seemed fitting, as our skating family from coast to coast to coast came together for two weeks in an interactive and engaging virtual environment.

The best news is that all the remarkable content from the conference is still available on the virtual platform until June 30, 2021, including the virtual Exhibit Hall. If you have registered for the event but couldn’t make a few sessions, you have full access to revisit these important and educational topics. If you haven’t registered but are intrigued, you can still do so by June 30.

Conference Highlights

  • An interactive, engaging virtual environment featuring comprehensive education and discussion with leading experts.
  • Honouring members of our skating community who have played an integral role during the pandemic.
  • Pre-Conference Virtual Skating Seminar hosted by World and Olympic Champion Meagan Duhamel. Sessions ranged from healthy cooking, skating techniques and more.
  • Pre-Conference sessions including a Leadership Development Session with keynote speaker Henry Burris.
  • Virtual Exhibit Hall that featured booths with a wide variety of programming content and more!
  • Educational workshops to help our clubs and skating schools provide a safe, inclusive, and diverse environment.
  • Safe Sport plenary session and four workshops, including body positive guidelines, bullying, injury prevention, and sexual abuse.
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion plenary session and four workshops, including the basics of equity, diversity and inclusions, how to be an ally, and next steps in EDI and anti-racism.

Thank you, and see you next year.

Skate Canada awarded the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2024 in Montréal

OTTAWA, ON: The International Skating Union (ISU) has provisionally awarded the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2024 to Skate Canada, who will host the event in Montréal, Quebec. This premier sporting event will be held at the Centre Bell from March 18-24, 2024.

Montréal was slated to host the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2020, but the event was cancelled just prior to the start of the Championships due to the pandemic.

“Just over a year ago, the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2020 in Montréal were cancelled due to the pandemic just prior to the start of this world-class event, and now Skate Canada is thrilled to announce that we will be able to rewrite that history in 2024,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montréal. We hope to inspire not only Canadians but people around the world to embrace the joy of skating.”

“After recently being named President of Skate Canada, I am thrilled that we will welcome the world to Montréal for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2024,” said Skate Canada President Karen Butcher. “This is an exciting time for all of us at Skate Canada, and we feel we have a little unfinished business to take care of at Centre Bell. We look forward to the opportunity to host this prestigious event.”

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships® is an annual event that moves around the globe, attracting more than 300 million television viewers worldwide and showcasing more than 200 world-class athletes from 50 countries in four disciplines: men, women, pair and ice dance.

“Montréal, a city with ice sports in its very DNA, is thrilled to be hosting the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships,” said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal. “This much anticipated major event had been awaited since 2020, so its comeback into the city’s 2024 programming is wonderful news. The championship will greatly contribute to the visibility of our city, while bringing significant economic benefits as part of our economic recovery plan. The participation of numerous international athletes will provide an invaluable showcase for the metropolis, and while stars will shine on the ice, so too will the eyes of the multitude of figure skating fans who will watch them perform.”

Skate Canada has a long and proud history of hosting ISU events, having previously held the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 10 times. In addition, each year Canada hosts Skate Canada International, one of the stops on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.

“Tourism Montréal is excited and proud to be a Skate Canada partner and looks forward to hosting the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2024 in Montréal,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of  Tourism Montréal. “After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, having the chance to welcome back this world-class event is testimony to the tradition of excellence in Montréal, Canada’s top sports city, and is sure to make our beautiful city shine as a top destination in North America. We can’t wait to welcome the figure skating community to a secure, friendly and exciting environment.”

The 2024 world championships will mark Canada’s 11th time hosting, and the second time for Montréal. The city also hosted the 1932 edition of the Championships, the first time the event was held in Canada. In 2020, the event was scheduled to take place in Montréal, Quebec, but was cancelled due to the global health crisis. Canada last hosted the event in London, Ontario, in 2013.

“We are very happy with this news, which will spotlight Montréal and the Centre Bell at an International level, by welcoming world excellence in figure skating,” said France Margaret Bélanger, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Groupe CH. “Our teams are very proud to present this prestigious event and, true to their habits, they will do their utmost to make the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2024 unique and memorable.”

Previous Canadian host cities:
● 1932 Montreal ● 1960 Vancouver ● 1972 Calgary ● 1978 Ottawa ● 1984 Ottawa
● 1990 Halifax ● 1996 Edmonton ● 2001 Vancouver ● 2006 Calgary ● 2013 London
● 2020 Montreal (cancelled)

Join our exclusive mailing list to receive event and ticket information for the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.




Skate Canada Statement on National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month. This month honours the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and recognizes the strength of present-day Indigenous communities. We invite you to make time this month to learn about the histories, knowledge systems, and lived realities of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. The Indigenous residential school system is part of these lived realities. As we mourn the children whose lives were taken, we commit to learn about the impacts of the residential school system, past and present. At Skate Canada, we acknowledge there is much work to be done, as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations and Findings. We encourage Skate Canada members to listen, learn, and engage as a first step to build the respectful relationships necessary to move toward healing and reconciliation.

Recommended Resources on Indigenous Residential Schools System

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation – National Student Memorial Register

Indian Horse (Story of Richard Wagamese. Includes book, film, survivor Stories, education materials)

The Secret Path (multi-media project including album by Gord Downie, film, and graphic novel with Jack Lemire)

Government of Canada, Description of Visual

Eight Ways to Make Skating More Inclusive to the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community

June is Pride Month and an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Skate Canada has done and is continuing to do substantive work in relation to 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion but we know there remains critical inclusion work to be done moving forward in relation to race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, religion, class, size, and ability, and their intersections.

As part of that work, Skate Canada would like to share the following ways to make skating more inclusive to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We would like to thank Dr. William Bridel for putting this information together for us and for the continued work he has done to educate and provide guidance as we strive to achieve an inclusive environment for all.

  1. Listen to 2SLGBTQIA+ members and persons in your community with empathy, respect, and compassion. Their stories are valid and important sources of information and knowledge!
  2. Educate yourself, educate others. There are many excellent resources available that provide general and sport-specific information on 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion that are available through Skate Canada’s website at As one specific example, encourage coaches and volunteers to participate in a Canadian Women & Sport Leading the Way webinar or book a workshop for your club, region, or Section (
  3. Think critically about your own ideas about gender, gender identity, and gender expression: are some of your taken-for-granted ideas about femininity and masculinity impacting people in your life? For example, as an official, are you familiar with the revised costume rules in the sport? How will you be supportive of choices that skaters, coaches, and/or their parents/guardians make?
  4. Don’t make assumptions about people’s identities or people’s relationships and never “out” anyone; someone’s story about their gender identity or sexuality is their own to share, unless they have given you explicit permission to speak about them to others.
  5. Commit to using inclusive language and images. For example, honour people’s chosen pronouns and names. When creating documents use, for example, “they” instead of “he/she” and “skaters” instead of gender-specific terms. You can use words such as “folks” or “everyone” in place of “Ladies and Gentlemen” and groups should never be addressed as “guys”. If you need to ask for information about athletes’ parents, use the term Parent/Guardian and provide space for two or more names to be listed; avoid using the terms mother and father as families come in all shapes and sizes!
  6. Display 2SLGBTQIA+ symbols such as the Canadian Women & Sport “I Support Positive Space in Sport” poster ( or Skate Canada Pride stickers on a club bulletin board, a website, the window of a skating office or coach’s room, or on your person (e.g., coffee mug, water bottle, skate bag). Why not participate in local Pride parades as a club or Section? Representation matters!
  7. Address dressing room/locker room requests and questions. Best practice guidelines are available for sport from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport ( Skating-specific recommendations are in development and will be made available on Skate Canada’s website when finalized.
  8. Collaborate with other organizations in your community to offer learning opportunities to your members (e.g., PFLAG, Pride organizations, anti-bullying organizations, schools, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s #OneTeam Program, You Can Play, etc.)

In general, work to create inclusive space before you know you need to. Be willing to be brave: challenge others when they say something 2SLGBTQIA+ phobic or you read it on social media. Seek to create spaces that are safe. Everyone benefits when sport is welcoming, inclusive, and people are allowed to be themselves in their pursuit of personal excellence.

Prepared for Skate Canada by Dr. William Bridel (Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary)