Skater, Olympian, Artist, Choreographer, Coach, Ambassador… Who is Shawn Sawyer?

So now that Shawn Sawyer has been chosen as the athlete ambassador for the 2013 Skate Canada International Grand Prix in Saint John, N.B., (appropriately enough, in his home province) what does it mean?

The 28-year-old artist (on and off the ice) is, according to dictionary’s best efforts, a diplomatic agent of the highest rank, a plenipotentiary (which sounds very important), an internuncio (it always sounds better in Italian), or an apostolic delegate, a chancellor at this important pre-Olympic contest.

Never mind that Sawyer has never been a Canadian champion, has never won an ISU Grand Prix event and didn’t make it to the Vancouver Olympics. He’s never really played the understudy, what with his incomparable flair:  the incredible stretch of his legs, his flexibility beyond compare, his chameleon-like nature to portray anything on ice, his spins, his spirals, his art.
That’s what Canadian icon, Toller Cranston, spotted when he chose Sawyer to portray himself as a young skater at his tribute show in 1997, when Sawyer was an unknown 12-year-old kid from Edmundston, N.B., a paper mill town.

‘‘“Toller wasn’t a part of my past, or my present or my future at the time,” Sawyer said. “He wasn’t part of anything, and didn’t talk much to me. But he was part of me. He got who I was and who I was going to become. He just knew. And I knew that he knew. He’s a kind of person that has had a huge impact on my life without having to be there, without having to hold my hand the entire time.”

During his skating career, Sawyer was novice and junior champion in Canada, sixth at a world junior championship, three times a bronze medalist at the Canadian championships, and at his final national championships, a spine-tingling second with an inspired free skate as the Mad Hatter to the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack. He once finished third in a short program at a Cup of Russia to Evgeny Plushenko and he earned a silver medal at the 2009 Skate America behind Evan Lysacek.

“The person that is most surprised about my career is myself,” Sawyer said. “I can’t believe I actually made it to the Olympics Games, and I can’t believe I have a spin named after me [it’s the one where he raises his leg up beside his head in a straight-line, full split position.].” He was always flexible, but he’s more flexible now than ever. He’s worked at it. “Let’s say I show up at an international championship with a Michelle Kwan spiral,” he said. “I can’t show up the next year and have a normal spiral. I have to move up to a Sasha Cohen spiral.” Few men do spirals.

Sawyer has made a career out of that incredible stretch, but now he’s making a career on Stars on Ice with his concepts. People have come to expect him to emerge from the curtains “with something a little bit out of the box,” he said, and the tour indulges his abilities. “Every year, they give me a blank piece of canvas,” he said. “They say they trust me, just don’t go too crazy.”
His signature pieces as an Olympic-eligible competitor were both David Wilson masterpieces of choreography and perfect for Sawyer: his complex Amadeus routine that he used for two seasons and then, Danny Elfman’s Alice In Wonderland.

Playing the Mad Hatter holds a special place in Sawyer’s heart and in Canadian championship folk lore. Sawyer had quit skating, having missed the Vancouver Olympics. “I didn’t want to have anything to do with skating,” he said. Then one day, he saw a photo of Johnny Depp in full costume as the Mad Hatter, red crazy hair and rings for eyes, quite off the wall, really.  The photo had an immediate impact. “Oh no, no, don’t see the movie. Don’t listen to the music,” Sawyer told himself.

The next day, he watched the movie and bought the CD. Then, he started to cut the music. He called up his coach, Annie Barabé and told her: “Guess what? I’m coming back!”

His Mad Hatter routine that he performed at the 2011 Canadian championships was one for the ages. He skated as if inspired.

“I have no words to describe it,” he said. “I don’t know where that came out of me.”

A standing ovation ensued. Strangely enough, Sawyer doesn’t remember skating it. He only remembers feeling as if he was going to faint five minutes before he went onto the ice. He could hardly walk.

That performance qualified him for the world championships, although he eventually gave up his spot after delays from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. He already had commitments with Stars on Ice, which started about the same time. But in retrospective, he ranks that performance ahead of his Olympic appearance. “It wasn’t about what I was going to get out of it,” he explained. “It was just me, pouring my heart out.”

He does this in other ways, too. Off the ice, he’s an artist, too. From his childhood, he’s always sketched. About five years ago, he discovered something important. He hadn’t really liked art class. “I thought I was painting with a broom,” he said. “It was really hard for me to do details.”
Then he began to see that details weren’t important. He was already steeped in exacting skating detail through the day. His art was to be different. Now he feels a balance in his life by tossing red wine and coffee onto canvases.

“They are my two favourite things in the world,” he said. “Obviously, they stain everything I own.” He’s amazed at the variety of colours he can produce out of those two media; he even extracted a peacock blue-green from a 30 cent bottle of wine he once bought in Paris. He paints mostly female heads, necks, crazy hair. Think Lady Gaga, with an extra explosion. He’s ready to do an art exhibition, if only he had time. Currently, Sawyer spends a lot of time on the road, touring, coaching and handing on the gifts of choreography that he’s learned from some of the best.

“I wouldn’t recommend that path I chose to get where I am right now,” he said. “But looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.  It’s all about perseverance and overcoming obstacles. Whatever you want to achieve in life, there are always obstacles.”

Beverley Smith

2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships Event Ticket Packages On Sale NOW!

OTTAWA, ON: Event ticket packages for the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships will go on sale Friday, October 4, 2013 at 10 a.m. (ET). The event will take place in Ottawa, Ont., the birthplace of the championships, at the Canadian Tire Centre from January 9-15, 2014.

This year Skate Canada will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the championships. Included in the 2014 event will be special centennial activates and celebrations taking place at various locations throughout the city.

The 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships will also act as the final step in the 2014 Olympic qualification process. At the conclusion of the senior events, Skate Canada will nominate the 17 member Olympic figure skating team to the Canadian Olympic Committee for selection to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Senior Championship Package
This package includes all senior practices, competition and the exhibition gala from January 9-12, 2014. This package costs $125-$185 plus applicable surcharges. Seating for this package is reserved.

Junior & Novice Championship Package
This package includes all novice and junior practices and competitions from January 12-15, 2014. This package costs $40 plus applicable surcharges. Seating for this package is general admission.

Both ticket packages must be purchased separately. Fans can buy their tickets online at, by phone at 1.877.788.FANS (3267) or 613.599.FANS (3267), or in person at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

Single event tickets will be available in November based on availability. Fans who order all-event tickets will also receive their tickets in the mail around that time.

Canadian Skaters Head to Czech Republic for Sixth Stop on ISU Junior Grand Prix Circuit

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will be sending 9 skaters to Ostrava, Czech Republic, from October 2-5, 2013, for the second last ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season. Canada will have a total of six entries: one each in men’s and pair, and two entries in both ladies and ice dance.

Mitchell Gordon, 17, Vancouver, B.C., is the entry in men’s for Canada. Last season, Gordon competed at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events, placing eighth in Linz, Austria, and 12th in Zagreb, Croatia. He also placed seventh at the Canadian championships, competing as a senior, and 16th at the 2013 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Gordon is coached by Eileen Murphy and Keegan Murphy at the Connaught Figure Skating Club in Richmond, B.C.

Julianne Séguin, 16, Longueuil, Que., will be one of the two Canadian entries in ladies. Séguin placed sixth at her first ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment this season in Mexico. Last season, she competed at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events, finishing tenth in Slovenia, and seventh in France. She also made her senior international debut at the ISU Four Continents Championships, finishing 11th. Julianne is coached by Josée Picard and Marc-André Craig at CPA Brossard.

Kelsey Wong, 15, Burnaby, B.C., will also represent Canada in ladies. This will be her first ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment. Wong placed fourth at the 2013 Canadian championships in the novice category. She is coached by Joanne McLeod and Neil Wilson at the BC Centre of Excellence.

Julianne Séguin will also represent Canada in pair, with partner Charlie Bilodeau, 20, Trois-Pistoles, Que. Séguin and Bilodeau placed fifth at their first ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment in Minsk, Belarus. They are coached by Josée Picard and Patrice Archetto in Chambly, Que.

Madeline Edwards, 17, Port Moody, B.C. and ZhaoKai Pang, 18, Burnaby, B.C., are the first of two teams representing Canada in ice dance. Edwards and Pang won silver at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Mexico earlier this season. Last year, they competed at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events, winning bronze in both France and Turkey. The 2013 Canadian junior champions also placed 12th at the 2013 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. They are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe at the BC Centre of Excellence.

Danielle Wu, 15, Burnaby, B.C., and Spencer Soo, 16, Burnaby, B.C., will also represent Canada in ice dance. This will be the first international assignment for Wu and Soo, the 2013 Canadian novice ice dance champions. They are also coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe at the BC Centre of Excellence.

Carolyn Allwright of Kitchener, Ont., will act as the team leader and Dr. Erika Persson of Edmonton, Alta., will be the Canadian team doctor. André-Marc Allain of Gatineau, Que., and Debbie Islam of Barrie, Ont., are the Canadian officials at the event.

For results and full entries please visit

Canadians win two bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy

OBERTSDORF, Germany – Jeremy Ten of Vancouver and ice dancers Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., won bronze medals on Saturday at the Nebelhorn Trophy senior figure skating competition.

In men’s competition, Nobunari Oda of Japan took the gold with 262.98 points, Jason Brown of the U.S. was second at 228.43 and Ten followed at 205.56. He ranked third in the short program Friday and fifth in the long.

‘’This is quite exciting,’’ said Ten, 24. ‘’I’ve worked really hard over the summer and it’s great to finally see it pay off this early in the season. Today I wasn’t at my best so I know there’s a lot of room to grow. In the whole program there was a lot tweaking involved to get all the combos in. I didn’t let anything go and fought through the mistakes at the beginning.’’

Ten was coming off a tough 2012-13 campaign which included an eighth place finish at the national championships. Now he throws his hat into the ring as a contender for one of those three available Olympic spots after achieving the qualifying score Saturday.

‘’This off-season, I just needed to have a reset and reevaluate where I was in my career,’’ he said. ‘’I changed my training venue for a month this summer and that really set me up for the year. I remembered the reasons I was skating and fell back in love with the sport.’’

In ice dancing, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. were the winners at 147.11, Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin of Russia were second at 142.14 and Paul and Islam, the leaders after Friday’s short program, followed at 141.99.

“It was a tough ending to a really great competition for us,” said Islam, who joined forces with Paul in 2009. “There were some technical issues today that hurt us Still it’s a building block for the rest of the season and we have lots of positives to take forward.”

The couple were anxious to unveil their new programs to the international skating world.

“This year we’ve been really working on our performance,” said Paul. “We also got all new lifts which are more impressive and should bring us better technical scores. Today we gained a lot of confidence knowing that with a few mistakes we can still pull through.”

In the team standings, Russia ranked first, the U.S. second and Canada third.

Louis Daignault

Determined Mallet shines in international debut

OBERTSDORF, Germany – Persistency has paid off for 19-year-old Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., as she placed fourth in women’s singles in in her international debut Friday at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition.

Elena Radionova of Russia won the gold medal with 188.21 points, Miki Ando of Japan was second at 162.86 and Ashley Cain of the U.S. third at 162.39.  Less than three points back from Cain was Mallet at 159.67.

‘’I`m very satisfied,’’ sad Mallet.  ‘’I didn’t come here with expectations because I had never competed against such a field.’’

Mallet needed to improve her triple Lutz and triple toe flip over the summer to gain an international assignment.

‘’This is the first year I have those two jumps in my program,’’ said Mallet.  ‘’I trained really hard to achieve those jumps, and now I understand them and can do them.’’

In pairs, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia finished ahead of three German couples to win the gold medal.

Natasha Purich of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Mervin Tran of Regina were sixth in their first competition together.  Tran,  born in the Saskatchewan capital, won a world championship bronze medal for Japan in 2012 with former partner Narumi Takahashi.

‘’We really came out here with a blank canvas and really wanted to show we can compete at the senior level,’’ said Tran.  ‘’Our big challenge this year is to show the unison that experience teams develop after many years.  We had a good start and really went for it today.’’

In Friday’s men’s short program, Jeremy Ten of Vancouver posted the third best score at 76.49.  Nobunari Oda of Japan leads at 87.34 and Jason Brown of the U.S. is second at 79.41.

In Thursday’s short dance, Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., topped the field with a personal best 59.06.

The free dance and men’s final are on Saturday.

Louis Daignault

Canadian pair fifth at ISU Junior Grand Prix stop

MINSK, Belarus – Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., placed fifth in pairs on Friday to conclude their first international assignment at the fifth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Kamilla Gainetdinova and Ivan Bich of Russia took the gold with 142.38 points, Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage of the U.S. were second at 131.66 and Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat of Russia were third at 130.46.

Séguin and Bilodeau were in the medal mix finishing three points behind third place at 127.42.

In women’s competition, Polina Edmunds of the U.S. was the winner at 165.77, Elizabet Turzybaeva of Kazakhstan second at 150.83 and Rika Hongo of Japan prevailed in a tight battle for the bronze at 144.97.

Both Canadians were in that fight for third with Madelyn Dunley of Campbellville, Ont., sixth at 141.78 and Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., seventh at 141.09.

In ice dancing after Friday’s short dance, Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Simon Tanguay of Montreal are sixth and Jessica Jiang and Tyler Miller of Abbotsford, B.C., are 12th.

In Thursday’s men’s short program, Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was 10th.

The men’s free skate and the free dance are on Saturday.

Louis Daignault

Mervin Tran dons the maple leaf with new partner Natasha Purich

It’s nothing new for a skater named Tran to navigate unexpected turns in his life and his career.

From September 25 to 28, Mervin Tran will find himself at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany with his new pair partner, Natasha Purich, a fiery redhead from Alberta who will compete in only her second senior competition. Nebelhorn will mark their first competition together and the start of a promising career.

The good news is that Tran, a world bronze pair medalist for Japan at the highest levels, is now skating for Canada. It’s where his heart is.

Tran is the son of a Cambodian mother and a Vietnamese father, who came to Canada as refugees, unable to speak English. Mervin was born in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Figure skating wasn’t at the top of the family plan. Obviously the Trans had cleverly clued into the fact that in Canada, boys play hockey, so young Tran took up hockey in Regina. When coaches told Tran he needed to learn how to skate first, and suggested he enrol in CanSkate, Tran took the road less travelled and became a singles skater.

He competed in singles until 2007, when he reluctantly became a pair skater. Tiny Japanese skater Narumi Takahashi had been tugging at the sleeve of Montreal pair coach, Richard Gauthier for a couple of years, asking for a pair partner from Canada (pair coaches and male pair skaters in Japan being as scarce as mittens on a Miami beach). As luck would have it, pair coach Bruno Marcotte was driving from Vancouver to Montreal for a new job working with pair coach Richard Gauthier, and remembered Tran along the way.

Tran wasn’t at all interested. He told his coach in no uncertain terms: “No.” He thought pair skating was a sport for competitors who couldn’t cut it as singles skaters. “I was close-minded,” Tran said. His coach, however, advised Tran not to knock it until he tried it. The Montreal coaches convinced him to come to the Quebec City at least for a good shopping experience. That worked.

In Montreal, Tran fell in love with the speed of pair skating. Once he tossed Takahashi into a throw, he was hooked. And after five years with Takahashi, skating for Japan, the twosome won a surprise bronze medal at the 2012 world championships in Nice, France. “It still feels like a dream,” Tran said. “It all happened really fast.”

Their success bred new dreams: What about the Olympics? At first Tran had no intention of getting his Japanese citizenship, required of an Olympic competitor, because it also meant he’d have to renounce his Canadian passport. Then Takahashi and Tran had helped Japan win a World Team Trophy – and the Japanese team had always had to depend only on its strong singles skaters. Now they had a world class pair. And there was to be a new team event at the Sochi Olympics.

Tran tweeted: “I will continue to think critically about my decision as I would very much like to go.” Japan had been supportive when things were tough. But another wrinkle in the plan: rules required that Tran would have to maintain residency in Japan for years to get citizenship, and considering that the pair trained in Canada, it seemed impossible. The president of the Japanese Olympic Committee said he would make a special request to the government to help Tran become part of the Olympic team.

Tran weighed how long it would take him to become a citizen of Canada again after the Olympics were over. “I do want to live the rest of my life in Canada,” he said. “I love this place.”

After looking into it for a while, Tran found the difficulties were insurmountable. Takahashi found a new Japanese partner in February of 2013 while recovering from shoulder and knee surgery and by March, Tran hooked up with a very Canadian Purich.

The breakup wasn’t easy for their fans, because Takahashi and Tran had developed a relationship over the years and “people won’t forget that soon,” he said. “But Natasha and I are starting something new. It’s only been six months. We haven’t been able to build that yet, but we’re hoping to go forward many, many years.”

Ironically enough, Tran will meet his old partner, Takahashi, at Nebelhorn with her new partner, Ryuchi Kihara, a junior-level skater who had been tenth at the 2011 world junior championships in singles. Takahashi and Kihara train in Detroit under Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen.

Purich has spent her career as a promising junior in both singles and pairs and she’s taking a big step into the big leagues. “It’s a whole new ballgame,” she admitted. “It’s exciting to be able to compete at this level with somebody who has been there. I got really lucky.”

Purich is only Tran’s second partner, but they knew each other. Purich was already skating in Montreal with Sebastien Arcieri, with whom she won the junior national silver medal last season. In women’s singles, she finished fourth at the junior level, missing a medal by only .14 points.

Purich has competed at the senior level only once before with pair partner Raymond Schultz, when they finished eighth at NHK Trophy during the 2011-2012 season.

At Nebelhorn, they will also meet the current world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia. There are 19 pairs at the event, 13 of them trying to qualify for Sochi. Canada has already qualified a maximum of three pair spots for Sochi, so Nebelhorn will be about experience for Purich and Tran. Takahashi and Kihara will need to qualify a spot for Japan at Nebelhorn.

“We want to show that we are a competitive team,” Tran said. “Our main goal is in the long run. We’d love to do the Olympics, but we are looking four to eight years down the road. We feel like we have nothing to lose. It’s going to be an exciting year.”

Beverley Smith

2013 Sports Day in Canada

Calling all skating clubs across Canada — it’s time to lace up your skates and get ready to show off our sport! On Saturday, November 30, 2013 communities across Canada will be participating in Sports Day in Canada.

Sports Day in Canada is a national celebration of sport, from grassroots to high-performance and is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the power of sport, build community and national spirit and facilitate healthy, active living.

Skate Canada wants to encourage you to get your club and community involved by hosting a Sports Day in Canada event. Your event could take place anytime from November 23-30 and could be a variety of different activities, including, a try-it day, registration, open house, gala, competition, meet-and-greet, or community-wide festival! The options are unlimited!

Together with the festivities that week on Friday, November 29, Sports Day in Canada will host a national jersey day. Show your love and support for skating by wearing your Skate Canada gear!

Sports Day in Canada, presented by ParticipACTION, CBC and True Sport will support your event through different activations:

  1. Register your event and enter the ‘Get Out and Play’ contest by October 15, 2013 for a chance to have your event featured on the Sports Day in Canada broadcast!
  2. Event manuals and promotional tools are available on the website:
  3. Register your event by September 27, 2013 and you will receive a FREE Event Celebration Kit with posters, t-shirts, banners and fun giveaways (while quantities last).

Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase our wonderful sport of skating to your community and encourage more Canadians to get out on the ice and skate for life!

Let’s ‘Get Out and Play’ this November for the love of sport!

Skate Canada Honours Monica Lockie with the Community NCCP Coach Developer Award

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada is excited to announce that Monica Lockie is a recipient of the Community NCCP Coach Developer Award, created by the Coaching Association of Canada and presented by Investors Group.

The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) created the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Coach Developer Awards to recognize outstanding individuals who go above and beyond to develop certified and trained NCCP coaches in their sport, their communities, and beyond.

“Monica has been an excellent ambassador for our sport and a champion of our learn to skate program, CanSkate. Her knowledge of the sport and her passion to drive information and ideas has been critical in the success of the development of CanSkate,” said Jeff Partrick, Skate Canada Director Coaching and Skating Programs.

“We have always appreciated and valued our coach developers who are out in the community inspiring coaches to be the best that they can be,” said Cyndie Flett, Vice-President of Research & Development at the CAC. “I am excited we have a tangible way to honour these dedicated individuals.”

Richard Irish, Vice President, Community Affairs and Marketing Support at Investors Group said: “Investors Group is committed to recognizing community leaders who motivate others to become active in their communities. We are honoured to have teamed up with the Coaching Association of Canada in celebrating these inspiring people.”

Lockie was presented with the award earlier this month in front of her peers at the Skate Canada Board Meeting.

About the Coaching Association of Canada
The Coaching Association of Canada unites stakeholders and partners in its commitment to raising the skills and stature of coaches, and ultimately expanding their reach and influence. Through its programs, the CAC empowers coaches with knowledge and skills, promotes ethics, fosters positive attitudes, builds competence, and increases the credibility and recognition of coaches.

ISU Junior Grand Prix Makes its Fifth Stop in Belarus

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send nine athletes for a total of six entries at the fifth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Minsk, Belarus from September 25-29, 2013. Canada will be represented in all four disciplines: ladies, men’s, pair and ice dance.

Canadian bronze medalist Alaine Chartrand, 17, Prescott, Ont., is one of two entries for Canada in the ladies division. Chartrand finished fourth at her first assignment on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit this season in Riga, Latvia. Last season, she competed at the ISU Junior Grand Prix events in Lake Placid and Zagreb, placing seventh and sixth respectively. She also placed eighth at the 2013 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. She is coached by Michelle Leigh and Leonid Birinberg, and trains at the Nepean Skating Club.

Madelyn Dunley, 16, Campbellville, Ont., will also represent Canada in ladies. This is her first international assignment. Dunley is the 2013 Canadian bronze medalist in the junior category. She is coached by Nancy McDonell-Lemaire at the Milton Skating Club.

Roman Sadovsky, 14, Vaughan, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in the men’s division. Sadovsky placed 14th at his first assignment on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit this season in Riga, Latvia. Last season, he won bronze at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid, USA, and placed 10th at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Bled, Slovenia. He is coached by Tracey Wainman and Gregor Filipowski at the YSRA Winter Club.

Julianne Séguin, 16, Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau, 20, Trois-Pistoles, Que., will be the sole Canadian entry in pair. This is their first international assignment, after pairing up over the summer. They are coached by Josée Picard and Patrice Archetto in Chambly, Que.

Ice dancers Carolane Soucisse, 18, Chateauguay, Que., and Simon Tanguay, 20, Montreal, Que., will be one of two entries for Canada in ice dance. This is Soucisse and Tanguay’s first assignment on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit. Last season, they placed ninth at the Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships in the junior category. They are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon at the Centre Sportif Gadbois.

Jessica Jiang, 16, Shan Dong, China, and Tyler Miller, 19, Abbotsford, B.C., are the second entry in ice dance. This is their first international assignment, after pairing up in March. The team trains at the B.C. Centre of Excellence with coaches Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe.

Jacqueline Wickett Warren of Ottawa, Ont., will be the team leader at the event and Dr. Ed Pilat of Winnipeg, Man., will be the Canadian medial staff onsite. Janice Hunter of West Vancouver, B.C., and Jacqueline Wickett Warren will be the Canadian officials at the event.

For results and full entries please visit

Canadian Skaters Travel to Germany for Nebelhorn Trophy

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will send six skaters, for a total of four entries to Nebelhorn Trophy, a senior international competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. The event is held from September 25-28, 2013, at the Eislaufzentrum Oberstdorf. Canada will be represented in all four disciplines: men’s, ladies, pair, and ice dance.

Jeremy Ten, 24, Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian entry in men’s. Ten placed eighth at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championship and seventh at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic last season. He is coached by Joanne McLeod and Neil Wilson at the BC Centre of Excellence.

Veronik Mallet, 19, Sept-Îles, Que., is the entry for Canada in the ladies category. This will be Mallet’s first international assignment. Last season, she placed fifth at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. She is coached by Annie Barabé and Sophie Richard at CTC Contrecoeur.

Natasha Purich, 18, Sherwood Park, Alta., and Mervin Tran, 23, Regina, Sask., are the Canadian entry in pair. Both skaters have competed internationally with previous partners, but this will be their first international assignment together, after joining in February 2013. The pair train out of CPA Saint-Léonard and are coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte.

Alexandra Paul, 22, Barrie, Ont., and Mitchell Islam, 23, Barrie, Ont., will represent Canada in the ice dance category. Last season, they placed fifth at this event and won silver at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Paul and Islam also placed fourth at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. They train at the Detroit Skating Club under coaches Pasquale Camerlengo, Angelika Krylova, and Massimo Scali.

Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk will be travelling with the Canadian team as team leader.

Canadian ice dancers fifth in Junior Grand Prix debut

GDANSK, Poland –  Brianna Delmaestro of Port Moody, B.C., and Timothy Lum of Burnaby, B.C., placed fifth in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude their international debut at the fourth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit.

The Canadian couple only joined forces this past April after skating with different partners last season.  Delmaestro is also a former singles skater.

“We had a pretty good skate, very solid,” said Lum, 18, a year older than his partner.  “The whole day today was just amazing.  We are still learning to skate together but we felt we made a lot of progress this week.”

Brother-sister combo Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal took eighth spot.

“It was a very good experience,” said Andrew Meng, 16, two years older than his sister.   “Even though I felt we could have skated better.  We had a couple of good elements including our twizzle and our combinations.  The technical side of our skating is what hurt us.”

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S., took the gold.

In men’s competition, Adian Pitkeev led Russia to a 1-2 finish.  Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C., posted the 12th best score in the free program to climb from 23rd to 16th overall.

“I was attacking more than the short program,” said Nguyen, 15, a two-time junior Grand Prix medallist.  “Still it wasn’t a great score.  I’m going to have to review what exactly happened this week when I get home.”

On Friday, Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., won the bronze medal in women’s singles.

Louis Daignault