Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman wins bronze at ISU Junior Grand Prix

GDANSK, Poland – Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., lost a hair clip in the middle of her performance but still won the the bronze medal in women’s competition on Friday at the fourth stop on the ISU Junior Grand figure skating circuit.

Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia took the gold with 179.96 points for her second victory this season.  Angela Wang of the U.S., was second at 152.36 and Daleman, fifth after Thursday’s short program, climbed to third scoring 148.29.

‘’I had to skate with the hair clip in my hand the rest of the routine,’’ said Daleman, 15.  ‘’My coach yelled at me to hang on to it and keep going.So it was in my hands for my footwork, the Axel and the last spin so I was a little distracted. Still it was a good skate.  I’m happy with it.’’

Last season, Daleman had a breakthrough year placing second at the senior national championships and took sixth spot at the world juniors.

‘’I’ve changed my programs for this season,’’ she said.  ‘’It’s a lot more difficult and I’m still working on it a lot.  I have a triple Lutz triple toe planned but we changed it today to a triple-double because I was so nervous about it.  I hope to have it ready for my next meet.’’

It was also an eventful day for Julianne Delaurier of Kelowna, B.C., who climbed from 12th to ninth overall in her international debut.  She developed a nose bleed after a spin early in her program.

“I lost my focus when the nose-bleed started but I was able to forget about even though it was a little gushy,’’ said Delaurier.  ‘’I never thought about stopping the program.  When I landed some jumps afterwards I kind of forgot about it.  It’s actually not the first time it’s happened.’’

In the short dance Friday, Brianna Delmaestro of Port Moody, B.C., and Timothy Lum of Burnaby, B.C., are fourth only 0.8 points out of third and and just over a point from second spot.  Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal are seventh.

In Thursday’s men’s short program, Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C., ranked 23rd.

The free dance and men’s free skate are on Saturday.  There is no pairs event at this stop.

Louis Daignault

Gilles and Poirier building their strength on the ice

One thing is perfectly clear: ice dancing is a dangerous, taxing sport.

The statement may have seemed absurd at one time, but no more, not with a judging system that asks so much of the ballroom breed. In the span of a few short years, Tessa Virtue has suffered from chronic Eexertional compartment syndrome in her legs; Kaitlyn Weaver broke a bone near an ankle joint while colliding at a high rate of speed into the boards during training last season, and now yet another Canadian ice dancing team has hit an untimely snag.

About four months ago, Paul Poirier was training a twizzle sequence with partner Piper Gilles when he “caught a little bit of air” and landed on his right foot – sideways.

That fleeting miscue had long-term aftershocks. Poirier suffered a fracture dislocation in his right ankle, requiring the ubiquitous Torontonian, Dr. Bob Brock, to insert four plates and 15 screws into the skater’s limb. Dr. Johnny Lau performed surgery on Weaver last season.

Ask Poirier nicely, and he’ll show you the x-ray on his smart phone, complete with a series of little bar-like structures wending their way up his bone, and then an alarmingly big screw at the ankle, anchoring it all. Poirier expects that only one of those screws will come out in future. Unless those screws pester him while he skates, they will be with him for life, a reminder of the perils of ice dancing. For now, he has a long, nasty scar that runs from his ankle to below his right knee.

“So far it’s been really good,” Poirier said, with not a shred of negativity or with a “woe is me” mien. “My body has reacted to it as well as possible.”

It’s not exactly optimum to have to overcome such a serious injury during Olympic season, when skaters usually want to push themselves as much as they can. “I think the hardest thing has been not doing too much,” Poirier said. “It’s more beneficial to do a little bit less now. What’s important for us is nationals.”

Their two Grand Prix events are, fortunately for them, late in the series: Cup of Russia and NHK Trophy.

Poirier says he’s been healing on a best-case scenario pace – ahead of schedule. Two weeks after surgery, he was back at the gym. “I’m not worried about my strength or my cardio in any sort of way,” he said. “My skills are pretty good for the most part.” They can’t do two-hour long sessions. They must train efficiently, and make the most of their time on ice. But they’ve come a long way. When Poirier first went back onto the ice, he could skate for only five minutes at a time.

“Every day, my ankle is getting stronger,” he said. “I can feel it.”

Piper has had to learn to skate without Poirier and keep a positive outlook. “So many emotions went through my mind when it first happened,” she said. “But we just have to look at it in a positive way, more than a negative way. The more negative it is, the more you just drown yourself and you don’t want to come into the rink.”

With Poirier off the ice, Gilles worked on lots of Finnstep patterns, lots of footwork, lots of twizzles.

Poirier wore a cast from his ankle to just below his knee for six weeks, and as soon as he got out of it, the twosome started to go through their programs off the ice, on the floor, every day.

“Because we couldn’t worry about the skating and we weren’t doing lifts and things like that, it really gave us a lot of time to work on character development, on the details and the expressions,” Poirier said. “We normally work on those things, but for a while, it was all we could do.”

Fortunately, they had choreographed their free dance in April, before the injury. “We were able to skate the program before the accident, so we were able to keep visualizing it in our head.”

And what visualization! They are skating to the soundtrack from the movie Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, a 2012 comedy-drama that traces the relationship that Hitchcock had with his wife and the lead actress of Psycho.

Strangely enough, Gilles and Poirier had pictured themselves skating to something dramatic this year, something they hadn’t done before, something meant to show a different side of themselves. (Mary Poppins was the vehicle last year.) They kept on stumbling over scores written by Danny Elfman. When coach

Carol Lane returned from the junior world championships last season, she told them she had seen the movie on the plane, and urged her pupils to listen to the soundtrack. Strangely enough, they found it was written by Elfman.

“It was so weird,” Gilles said. The program came together very quickly, unlike their free skate last year.

Their short dance was choreographed after the accident. Poirier watched it come together from the bleachers. “It was really quite a big group effort to get the program together and once he was able to do off-ice, he learned it on the floor,” Gilles said.

For their short dance, they use music from Caro Emerald, a Dutch jazz singer whose music has hit the top of the charts in the United Kingdom. The program is very “ballroomy,” Poirier says.

The style, said Gilles, suits their outgoing, bubbly personalities. It’s difficult, too. Most of it is done in closed dance hold, which is tricky to do, especially if you dance close together and quickly.

Because of the injury, they’ve had to work backwards this season: mastering the character, and then the technique. Perhaps they will find that it’s the way to go in the future. “We might find that this process works better for us,” Poirier said. “It’s really going to be a year of discovery. I think we’re going to come out of this stronger.”

Beverley Smith

Canadian Skaters Continue on ISU Junior Grand Prix Circuit in Poland

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have seven skaters for a total of five entries at the fourth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Gdansk, Poland, from September 18-21, 2013. Canada will be represented in three disciplines, men’s, ladies, and ice dance.

Nam Nguyen, 15, Burnaby, B.C., will be the Canadian entry in men’s. This is Nguyen’s second assignment of the season, having placed fourth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Mexico earlier this month. In two ISU Junior Grand Prix assignments last season, he placed third in Turkey, and ninth in France. He also competed at the 2013 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, placing 12th, and the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships, placing sixth. Nguyen is coached by Brian Orser at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

The 2013 Canadian silver medalist Gabrielle Daleman, 15, Newmarket, Ont., will be one of two Canadian entries in ladies. Last season, she competed at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events, placing fifth and sixth in Chemnitz, Germany, and Linz, Austria, respectively. She also represented Canada at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, placing sixth. Daleman is coached by Andrei Berezintsev and Inga Zusev and trains at the Richmond Training Centre in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Julianne Delaurier, 15, Kelowna, B.C., will be making her international debut, representing Canada in the ladies category. Delaurier is the 2013 Canadian bronze medalist in the novice category. She is coached by Karen Mongrain and Jason Mongrain at the Kelowna Figure Skating Club.

Melinda Meng, 14, Montreal, Que., and Andrew Meng, 16, Montreal, Que., are one of two teams representing Canada in ice dance. The brother-sister tandem placed sixth at their Junior Grand Prix assignment last season in Croatia. They also placed sixth at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships in the junior category. The Mengs are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon at CPA Gadbois in Montreal.

Brianna Delmaestro, 17, Port Moody, B.C., and Timothy Lum, 18, Burnaby, B.C., are the second entry in ice dance for Canada. This is their first international assignment, having teamed up in the off-season. They are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe at Burnaby FSC.

Bev Viger of Abbotsford, B.C., is the team leader and Dr. Ed Pilat of Winnipeg, Man., will be the Canadian team doctor. Reaghan Fawcett of Aurora, Ont., and Jean Senft of West Vancouver, B.C., are the Canadian officials at the event.

Silver and bronze for Canadian ice dancers at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

SALT LAKE CITY – Ice dance teams Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., and Nicole Orford of Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams of Okotoks, Alta., earned silver and bronze medals on Saturday to conclude the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.

Two-time world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., won the gold medal with 183.69 points. Weaver and Poje followed at 161.99 and Orford and Williams were third at 137.60.

Weaver and Poje`s season was shortened in 2012-13 when Weaver broke her ankle. However they came back a few weeks later to place an impressive fifth at the world championships. Weaver had successful surgery this past summer on her foot to remove a plate and five screws used to repair the ankle.

‘’This competition was a test for my foot and it felt great,’’ said Weaver. ‘’We’ve never competed this early in the season so it’s nice to get these programs out there. Now we have five weeks before our next competition to clean up the programs.’’

‘’Last year we had some bumps in the road,’’ added Poje. ‘’Those challenges have actually made us a stronger team., It showed us what we are capable of.’’

Orford and Williams are only in their second season at the senior level but they’ll take a stab at trying to gain an Olympic spot.

‘’We are very happy with this kind of start to the season,’’ said Williams. ‘’The performance level was there. We stayed engaged with the judges and ourselves. We know we are going to have to push harder against a very deep field if we want to earn that chance to wear the Canadian uniform.’’

In women’s singles, Courtney Hicks led an American medal sweep with 171.88 points. Amélie Lacoste of Delson, Que., ranked fourth in both the short program and Saturday’s long program for fifth overall at 147.88.

Lacoste introduced her new routine which she will use in her bid to land a spot on the Olympic team. It is choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne.

‘’It’s a good start to the season,’’ said Lacoste, 24, the 2012 Canadian champion. ‘’I lost my focus at the end of my program and that hurt my standing. But this is a program I love and right now I need to gain more confidence on my jumps.’’

On Friday, Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto successfully defended their pairs title.

Louis Daignault

Bent and MacKeen seventh at ISU Junior Grand Prix

KOSICE, Slovakia – Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., posted a seventh place finish in ice dancing on Sunday to conclude the the third stop on the Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The Canadian couple won the gold medal two weeks ago at the season opener and were fifth at the world junior championships last season. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned this weekend.

‘’We felt we did well in the short dance (on Saturday) and the result threw us off a bit,’’ said Bent, 16, three years younger than her partner. ‘’It may have affected our confidence for the free dance. All we can do is review our performances and make the necessary corrections to get back on track.’’

Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov of Russia finished ahead of two American couples for the gold medal.

Lauren Collins of Minesing, Ont., and Danny Seymour of Port Elgin, Ont., were 12th in their international debut.

‘’It was a good experience and I thought we skated well,’’ said Collins, 17, in her fifth season with Seymour, 19. ‘’We had a rough warm-up but in the end we attained our objectives in the competition.’’

In men’s competition, Leslie Ip of Markham, Ont., finished 10th in his international debut. Keiji Tanaka of Japan won the gold medal.

‘’I was pretty nervous going into this and I was pleased with how I calmed myself down in the competition,’’ said Ip, 18. ‘’That showed in the second half of my program today. To get a top-10 is very satisfying. I didn’t know what to expect.’’

Canada’s best result here was a sixth place finish for Tara Hancherow of Tisdale, Sask., and Wesley Killing of Woodstock, Ont., in pairs on Saturday.

Louis Daignault

Canadian pair sixth at ISU Junior Grand Prix

KOSICE, Slovakia – Tara Hancherow of Tisdale, Sask., and Wesley Killing of Woodstock, Ont., placed sixth in their pairs debut on Saturday at the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Hancherow and Killing were competing for the first time together after joining forces this summer.   A concussion to Hancherow, who skated singles the last two seasons, derailed their preparations for the event.

“We just started training together so we are happy with how it turned out,” said Hancherow, 17.  “We weren’t sure what to expect so its make feel good to know we can be competitive at an international competition like this.  We weren’t totally sure what to expect.”

Maria Vigalova and Egor Zakroev led a Russian medal sweep.

In women’s singles, Karen Chen of the U.S. won the gold medal, Alexandra Proklova of Russia was second and Riona Kato of Japan third.

Marianne Rioux Ouellet of Montreal was 14th and Roxanne Cournoyer of Sorel-Tracy, Que., 20th.

In ice dancing after the short dance, Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., are sixth and Lauren Collins of Minesing, Ont., and Danny Seymour of Port Elgin, Ont., are 11th.

Competition ends Sunday with the free dance and men’s free skate.  Leslie Ip of Markham, Ont., was 11th after Friday’s men’s short program.

Louis Daignault

Moore-Towers and Moscovitch win gold at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

SALT LAKE CITY – Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto successfully defended their pairs title on Friday at the U.S., International Figure Skating Classic.

Moore-Towers and Moscovitch totalled 201.30 points for the gold with Caydee Denney and John Coughlin of the U.S. second at 188.47 and their compatriots Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea third at 167.27.

“We made it exciting with some trouble on our last lift but Dylan showed great strength to pull us through,” said Moore-Towers, fourth with her partner last season at the world championships.  “It’s only the second time we had performed this program and our performance tonight bodes well for the rest of the season.”

Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., were fifth at 155.00.

In men’s singles, Max Aaron led a U.S. medal sweep.  Andrei Rogozine of Richmond Hill, Ont., was seventh.

In ice dancing, Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., are first after the short dance with Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., second and Nicole Orford and Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams of Okotoks, Alta., third.

In women’s singles, the U.S. holds the top-three spots with Amélie Lacoste of Delson, Que., fourth.

The free dance and women’s singles final are on Saturday.

Charming, Classy, Challenging: Virtue & Moir’s 2013-2014 Programs

With their risky, torrid, highly dramatic “Carmen” relegated to the shelf, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have turned to classy elegance for their Olympic programs.

For the first time, their free dance to music by Russian composers, was unveiled at a training camp last week in Mississauga, Ont.  – in front of only judges and technical specialists – and it couldn’t be more different to last year’s endeavours, which earned them a silver medal at the world championships in London, Ont.

People have already seen their charming short dance to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong at a Quebec summer competition last month.

For a long time, the music of Alexander Glazunov’s “The Seasons” ballet had played in the memory of coach/choreographer Marina Zoueva and she knew that it just seemed right for an Olympic program for the reigning champions. The music hadn’t been used in a competitive figure skating program before, she said, and it was unique, by a composer that helped lead ballet artists in Russia in the contemporary direction, yet was still tied to the Russian romantic period.

It’s different from “Carmen” in every way. The “Carmen” routine was made to show dramatic conflict between man and woman with contemporary dance movement. This year, the movement of the Glazunov piece strives for harmony between man and woman in a more classical way, especially in a Russian classical way.

“I really wanted to show huge contrast between last year’s choreography and how Tessa and Scott are able to show different type of character,” Zoueva said. “It’s a huge contrast, like north and south.”

Zoueva attended the university of art in Russia and ballet movement is always in her mind’s eye. “I feel it is a really Russian classical program, even though I made it in North America for North American skaters,” she said. “But it is my thanks to Russia. I do have to do something for my country in which I was born. I really truly believe it is Tessa and Scott who are the best to perform that.”

In a way, the creation of “Carmen” was easy, compared to Glazunov’s work. “Carmen” already came tied to a story. This year, Virtue and Moir’s free dance is “one total creation” and a story Zoueva created with the skaters. On top of that, they created movement to match the music, while still making it look like an ice dance program, with a beautiful waltz. It took longer to put together the free dance because the music was specially arranged for them.

Zoueva slipped the music on directly after the world championships, but found that something was missing in Glazunov’s ballet. Therefore she added a piano concerto from another Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (“Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor”) to add an exclamation mark to the end of the routine. Zoueva says the composers work very well together for timing and character. The composers are from the same era. She picked the Scriabin music because it had a proud flavour, perfect for a finale.

Moir calls it their “storm part.” It depicts external chaos, with the twosome trying to figure out a way though it all.  “For Tessa and I, it’s kind of our story,” Moir said. “It’s the story of partnership and all the ups and downs we’ve been through, both on and off the ice. It’s a neat program for us personally, because the last section is meant to be skated in Sochi. It’s the parade to our finale.”

They won’t realize that last section until February, but it will be going through their minds all season when they skate it. It’s music that is very strong and triumphant.” The themes are also universal, Virtue said. “Everything that we’ve experienced in our journey in the 17 years, are what we’re drawing on in this program, but they are still universals, and hopefully the audience will connect with that. It’s seasons. It’s ups and downs.” They are much more involved intellectually in the story line than they were last year with “Carmen.”

And difficulties? Moir said the routine is very demanding, particularly the last minute. Before the finale music starts, they go into back-to-back rotational lifts, which add excitement and a wow factor that Moir hopes will set them apart.

“We go into that last minute pretty exhausted,” Virtue said. “But we like being ambitious and challenging ourselves.”

All of their lifts are new, of course.  Virtue and Moir discussed using their famed “Goose” lift, but binned the idea. “We don’t want to look like vintage Virtue and Moir,” he said. “We love the Goose and it’s a fan favourite, but we don’t want to turn on the TV and watch what we did four years ago, and turn it on again in 2014, and have people ask: ‘What have they done in the last four years?’” Besides, Virtue and Moir insist that lifts must add to the program and be part of it, rather than looking as if they are included for the sole purpose of gaining points.

As for the short dance, Zoueva calls the Fitzgerald/Armstrong a “classical duet,” using “Dream a Little Dream, “Muskrat Ramble” and “Dancing Cheek to Cheek.” Zoueva loved the music because of the variation of the voice and vocals and it calls for a light step, perfect for the Canadians. Moir said the short dance came to them first and they had already choreographed two minutes of it with Jean-Marc Genereux (a Canadian ballroom dancer, known as a judge and choreographer on the hit television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”) before they went on the Stars on Ice tour.

In the short dance, which must incorporate the Finnstep, Virtue and Moir use foxtrot and quickstep rhythms – and all their elements must reflect those styles. “It’s really go go go,” Virtue said. “The free dance is a bit of a marathon, and you have moments to collect yourself. But I find with the short dance, you have to stay on top of it or else it can get away from you, especially with music that’s quick. And you want to maintain that ballroom feel. It’s demanding.”

Zoeuva says the routine is difficult because the elements are so tightly woven, and calls for a lot of focus, with each element being worth so many points. “For me, the short dance is much more difficult,” she said. “Everything is really important.”

Beverley Smith

Canadians Head to Salt Lake City for U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will send six entries to the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, a senior international competition. The event runs from September 11-15, 2013, in Salt Lake City, UT. Canada will have entries in all four disciplines: men’s, ladies, pair, and ice dance.

Kirsten Moore-Towers, 21, St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch, 28, Toronto, Ont, are the first of two Canadian pair teams at this event. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch are defending pair champions at this event. Last season, the Canadian silver medalists also won silver at the NHK Trophy in Japan and the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, and placed fourth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.  The pair trains with Kris Wirtz and Kristy Wirtz at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club.

Paige Lawrence, 23, Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers, 25, Kipling, Sask., are the second entry in pair for Canada. Lawrence and Swiegers won silver at this event in 2012. The 2013 Canadian bronze medalists also placed fourth at Skate Canada International and the Cup of Russia, as well as sixth at the 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships last season. Lawrence and Swiegers train in Melville, Sask., and Virden, Man., and are coached by Patricia Hole and Lyndon Johnston.

Kaitlyn Weaver, 24, Waterloo, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 26, Waterloo, Ont., will lead the way for Canada in the ice dance category. Last season, Weaver and Poje placed fifth at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. They also won bronze at both of their assignments on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, Cup of China and Skate America. They are coached by Pasquale Camerlengo and Angelika Krylova in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Canadian bronze medalists Nicole Orford, 20, Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams, 22, Okotoks, Alta, will also represent Canada in ice dance. Last season, they placed eighth at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, and fourth at the NHK Trophy in Japan. They are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe at the B.C. Centre of Excellence.

Canadian bronze medallist Andrei Rogozine, 20, Richmond Hill, Ont, will represent Canada in men’s. The 2011 World Junior Champion placed 10th at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and 13th at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships last season. He is coached by Inga Zusev and Andrei Berezintsev and trains at the Richmond Hill Figure Skating Club.

Amélie Lacoste, 24, Delson, Que., is the sole entry in the ladies category for Canada. Lacoste earned a bronze medal at this event in 2012. She also placed eighth at Skate Canada International, sixth at the Cup of China, and ninth at the 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships last season. Lacoste is coached by Nathalie Martin, Sylvie Fullum, and Denis Beaudoin at CPA Saint-Léonard in Montreal, Que.

Petra Burka of Toronto, Ont., will be travelling with the team as team leader, and Agnes Makowski, also of Toronto, Ont., will be the team physiotherapist. Lynne Dey of Edmonton, Alta., and Nicole Leblanc-Richard of Dieppe, N.B., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Canadian Juniors Travel to Slovakia for Third Stop on ISU Junior Grand Prix

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send six entries to the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Kosice, Slovakia, from September 12-15, 2013. Canada will be represented in all four disciplines: ladies, men’s, pair, and ice dance.

Mackenzie Bent, 16, Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen, 19, Oshawa, Ont., are one of two Canadian entries in ice dance. Bent and MacKeen won gold at the first stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit this season in Riga, Latvia. Last season, they placed fifth at the 2013 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, and second at the Canadian championships, in the junior category. Bent and MacKeen train at Scarboro Ice Dance Elite with coaches Juris Razgulajevs and Carol Lane.

Lauren Collins, 17, Minesing, Ont., and Danny Seymour, 19, Port Elgin, Ont., will also represent Canada in ice dance. Last season, they placed 10th at the Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships in the junior category. Collins and Seymour are coached by David Islam and Kelly Johnson at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ont.

Roxanne Cournoyer, 16, Sorel-Tracy, Que., is one of two Canadian entries in the ladies division. This is her first international assignment. Cournoyer placed 10th at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. She is coached by Annie Barabé and Sophie Richard at CTC Contrecoeur.

Marianne Rioux Ouellet, 18, Montreal, Que., will also represent Canada in the ladies division in her first international assignment. Rioux Ouellet placed fifth as a junior at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. She is coached by Michele Godbout and Sonia Zapitosky at CPA Rosemont.

Leslie Ip, 18, Markham, Ont., is the Canadian entry in the men’s division. This is Ip’s first international assignment. Last season, he placed fourth as a junior at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. He is coached by Katerina Papafotiou at Thornhill FSC.

Tara Hancherow, 17, Tisdale, Sask., and Wesley Killing, 20, Woodstock, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in pair. This is Hancherow and Killing’s first season competing together. They are coached by Annie Barabé and Maximin Coïa at CTC Contrecoeur.

Louis Stong of Etobicoke, Ont., is the team leader at the event and physiotherapist Paige Larson of North Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian medical staff. Pam Chislett of Grand Prairie, Alta., and Jeff Lukasik of Calgary, Alta., are the Canadian officials at the event.

September preparation is key to a successful season

No doubt, there is a bit of a buzz in the air as officials sit in chilly rinks, clad in mittens and scarfs, watching Canada’s national team members go through their paces in early September at the high performance camp. Read more

Silver for Canadian ice dancers at ISU Junior Grand Prix

MEXICO CITY –  Ice dancers Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., won the silver medal on Saturday to conclude the second stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. took the gold with 136.45 points staving off a strong challenge from Edwards and Pang in second at 134.02.  Sofia Edmokimova and Egor Bazin of Russia were third at 112.78.

Edwards and Pang posted the best score in Saturday’s free dance earning a personal best 80.56 for their routine performed to music from Les Miserables.  It was their third career junior Grand Prix medal.

‘’We are excited about this performance,’’ said Pang, 18, a year older than his partner.  ‘’’We prepared and trained  hard for this event because it was important for us to get the season off to a good start.’’

The team of Katie Desveaux of Toronto and Dmitre Razgulajevs of Ajax, Ont., did not compete this week due to an error in the submission of documents. They will be reassigned to a later ISU Junior Grand Prix event.

In the women’s final, Polina Edmunds of the U.S. was the winner with Natatia Ogoreltseva of Russia second and Mariah Bell of the U.S. third.

Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., placed sixth and Sandrine Martin of Boucherville, Que., was ninth.

Séguin was again battling stomach problems and dizziness throughout the day.

‘’I really wanted to compete today and there was no question of withdrawing,’’ she said.  ‘’It didn’t go the way I wanted but I gave it everything I had.’’

Martin, 15, made her international debut.

‘’I was just happy to be here and represent Canada,’’ she said.  ‘’It was an amazing experience.’’

On Friday, Nam Nguyen of Toronto was fourth in men’s singles.

Louis Daignault