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Olympian Liam Firus Retires from Competitive Competition

OTTAWA, ON: Olympian and national medallist Liam Firus, 25, North Vancouver, B.C., has retired from competitive skating. Firus has been an active member of the Canadian figure skating team since 2009 and has competed internationally for Canada 24 times as a junior and senior competitor.

“I’m so fortunate to have been able to grow up in this generation of skating, surrounded by so much talent and passion for the sport. I want to say thank you to every person, my family and mother especially, who gave their support that allowed me to live my dream. I would not have had any of my successes if it weren’t for all of my amazing coaches along the way,” said Firus. “Thank you to Lorna Bauer who spotted me in hockey skates and turned me into the skater and person I am today. She never let me put my personal values aside to exceed in the sport, something I’m so grateful for. Thank you to Christy Krall and everyone in Colorado Springs who gave me the push I needed to fulfill my dream and qualify for the Olympic games.”

Firus continued, “Thank you to my Montreal Family: Bruno Marcotte, Ian Connolly, Julie Marcotte Nicholas Young, Patrick Magee and my younger brother Shane who believed in me at every moment and most importantly helped me find my passion and love for the sport again. Lastly, a sincere thank you to all the volunteers and fans who make our experience as skaters so memorable and special.”

“Skating over the years has provided me with so many amazing lessons. I was fortunate enough to experience some unforgettable highs, but along the way came some very difficult lows. Though when those difficult times came, I never let the thought of failure get in the way of improving and pursuing my goals. If there’s anything I want to share with the sport’s future generation, it’s to not base your happiness and fulfillment on your successes. Always embrace and celebrate your successes, but stay focused on proving yourself in training each day, enjoying the process of getting better and committing yourself to moving forward in any way, both on and off the ice. Figure skating has an amazing ability to knock you down right when you think you’re getting going, just don’t let it stop you from enjoying the sport we all love so much,” concluded Firus.

Firus won the Canadian junior title in 2010 and would go on to medal at the senior national championships three times, winning bronze in 2014 and 2015 and silver in 2016. He represented Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, placing 28th. Internationally, he won multiple Junior Grand Prix medals and two bronze medals on the ISU Challenger Series in 2017 at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and Warsaw Cup.

“Liam’s natural skating ability and artistry combined with his technical skills left an impression with fans around the world. His positive energy and outgoing personality have made him a favourite among his teammates and he will be missed on our Canadian team,” said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada wishes Liam the best of luck with his future endeavors and thanks him for his contributions to skating worldwide.”

Firus has already begun his career post-skating and is currently working at Northbay Capital Partners, a boutique merchant bank based in Vancouver that provides services in many areas to both private and public companies. He plans to stay involved in skating through his new venture, Skate Global, with his training mate and friend Elladj Baldé. They hope to inspire Canada’s youth through a platform providing assistance and mentoring to athletes and coaches across the country. Of course, he won’t be far from the sport as he cheers on his younger brother Shane and partner Carolane Soucisse as they hope to fulfill their dream of representing Canada in the Olympic Winter Games.

Two medals for Canada at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

SALT LAKE CITY – Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., won the gold medal Friday in pairs at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver, B.C. added a bronze in men’s competition.

The Canadians won the short program Thursday and held on to first with the second best free skate to finish with 188.76 points. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the U.S. were second at 186.08 and their compatriots Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson third at 181.40.

‘’We’re feeling pretty good about our free skate today but we definitely have room for improvement,’’ said Moore-Towers. ‘’We’re taking steps forward little by little and trying to get our season off to a good start.’’

The couple missed the first half of last season due to injury.

‘’It’s definitely just start right now,’’ added Marinaro. ‘’We want to keep building towards our first Grand Prix assignment in six weeks.’’

Sydney Kolodziej of Montreal and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., were seventh.

Nathan Chen led the U.S. to a 1-2 finish in men’s competition with 275.04 followed by Max Aaron at 261.56. Firus earned 248.29. Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., was 11th.

‘’I wasn’t expecting too much coming into this event,’’ said Firus, who landed a quad jump and a triple Axel. “I just wanted to stay in the present and do the best I could do. There was no worry about a score of placement.’’

In women’s competition after the short program, Alicia Pineault of Varennes, Que., is sixth and Michelle Long of Newmarket, Ont., ninth.

After the short dance, Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver are seventh.

The free dance and women’s free skate are on Saturday.

Full results: 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

Skaters from around the world headed to Mississauga, Ontario, for 2016 Skate Canada International

OTTAWA, ON: Canada’s top figure skaters are headed to Mississauga, Ont., this week to compete against some of world’s best at the 2016 Skate Canada International. The event takes place October 28-30, 2016, at the Hershey Centre. Canada will have 11 entries (three entries per discipline in men, pairs and ice dance, and two entries in ladies) for a total of 17 skaters.

Skate Canada International is the second of six competitions on the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit, which qualifies skaters for the ISU Grand Prix Final, taking place December 8-11 in Marseille, France.

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., is the first of three Canadian entries in men’s. This will be his eighth time competing at this event, having previously won the gold medal five times and the silver medal once. Chan won silver at his first event this season, the Finlandia Trophy. The eight-time Canadian champion is coached by Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns and trains in Canton, MI, USA.

Canadian silver medallist Liam Firus, 24, North Vancouver, B.C., is the second Canadian entry in men’s. He placed 11th at this event in 2014 and 10th in 2012. This season, Firus placed fifth at his first event, the Nebelhorn Trophy. Firus is coached by Bruno Marcotte in Sainte-Julie, Que.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kevin Reynolds, 26, Coquitlam, B.C., rounds out the Canadian entries in the men’s discipline. Reynolds previously competed at this event in 2010 and placed fourth. This season, Reynolds won the silver medal at his first event, the Ondrej Nepela Trophy. He is coached by Joanne McLeod in Burnaby, B.C.

Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand, 20, Prescott, Ont., is the first of two Canadian entries in the ladies’ category. Chartrand previously competed at this event in 2014 and placed seventh. She began this season winning the silver medal at the 2016 Autumn Classic International. Chartrand is coached by Michelle Leigh and Brian Orser.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld./Edmonton, Alta., will be the second Canadian entry in the ladies’ discipline. Osmond won this event in 2012 and placed 11th at this event last season. This season, she won the gold medal at her first event, the Finlandia Trophy. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallist is coached by Ravi Walia and trains in Edmonton, Alta.

Two-time World Champions and Olympic silver medallists (team) Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 31, Balmertown, Ont., lead the Canadian pair entries. This will be their seventh time competing at this event, having won gold in 2014 and 2015 and medalled five years consecutively. Duhamel and Radford won their first event this season, the Finlandia Trophy. The five-time consecutive Canadian champions are coached by Richard Gauthier, Bruno Marcotte, and Sylvie Fullum in Saint-Léonard, Que.

Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 32, Toronto, Ont., are the second Canadian pair entry, and will be competing at this event for the first time. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallists won the silver medal at their first event this season, the Nebelhorn Trophy. Ilyushechkina and Moscovitch are coached by Lee Barkell, Bryce Davison and Tracy Wilson in Toronto, Ont.

Brittany Jones, 20, Toronto, Ont., and Joshua Reagan, 26, Toronto, Ont., will be the third Canadian entry in pair. Jones and Reagan placed seventh at this event in 2014. This season, they won the gold medal at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Jones and Reagan are coached by Bryce Davison in Hamilton, Ont.

Olympic and World champions Tessa Virtue, 27, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 29, Ilderton, Ont., are the first of three Canadian entries in ice dance. They have previously competed at this event six times, winning the gold medal on five occasions and the silver medal once. Virtue and Moir returned to international competition at the 2016 Autumn Classic International where they won the gold medal. They are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal, Que.

Canadian silver medallists Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont., will be the second Canadian entry in ice dance. They have previously competed at this event twice, winning the silver medal in 2014 and placing fourth in 2012. Gilles and Poirier won the bronze medal at their first event this season, the Nebelhorn Trophy. They are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs in Scarborough, Ont.

Alexandra Paul, 25, Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam, 26, Barrie, Ont., are the third Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their fourth time competing at this event, having placed sixth in 2015, fifth in 2013 and fourth in 2010. This season, Paul and Islam won the bronze medal at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. They train in Montreal, Que., with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.

Carolyn Allwright of Kitchener, Ont., and Manon Perron of Boucherville, Que., will be the Canadian team leaders at the event. Dr. Julia Alleyne of Toronto, Ont., and physiotherapist Agnes Makowski of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Karen Howard of Regina, Sask., Sylvain Guibord of Brossard, Que., Lynne Dey of Edmonton, Alta., and Andrea Derby of Windsor, Ont., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Practices will be streamed live on the Skate Canada Dailymotion page.

For results and full entries please visit www.skatecanada.ca or www.isu.org.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 SKATE CANADA INTERNATIONAL

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Patrick Chan 25 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Marina Zoueva / Oleg Epstein / Johnny Johns
Men Liam Firus 24 North Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver SC Bruno Marcotte
Men Kevin Reynolds 26 Coquitlam, B.C. Vancouver SC Joanne McLeod
Ladies Alaine Chartrand 20 Prescott, Ont. Nepean Skating Club Michelle Leigh/ Brian Orser
Ladies Kaetlyn Osmond 20 Marystown, Nfld. & Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Pairs Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford 30/31 Lively, Ont. / Balmertown, Ont. CPA Saint-Léonard / CPA Saint-Léonard Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte / Sylvie Fullum
Pairs Lubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch 24/32 Moscow, Russia / Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club / Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Bryce Davison / Tracy Wilson
Pairs Brittany Jones / Joshua Reagan 20/26 Toronto, Ont. / Toronto, Ont. Hamilton SC / Hamilton SC Bryce Davison
Ice Dance Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir 27/29 London, Ont. / Ilderton, Ont. Ilderton SC / Ilderton SC Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon
Ice Dance Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier 24/24 Toronto, Ont. / Unionville, Ont. Scarboro FSC / Scarboro FSC Carol Lane / Juris Razgulajevs
Ice Dance Alexandra Paul / Mitchell Islam 25/26 Midhurst, Ont. / Barrie, Ont. Barrie SC / Barrie SC Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer

Canadian skaters in Germany for Nebelhorn Trophy

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send four entries, for a total of six skaters to Oberstdorf, Germany, for the Nebelhorn Trophy, the third stop on the 2016-2017 ISU Challenger Series. Canada will have one entry in each discipline (men’s, ladies, pair and ice dance) at the event which takes place September 22-24, 2016.

Canadian silver medallist Liam Firus, 24, North Vancouver, B.C., is the Canadian entry in men’s. In 2014, he placed ninth at this event. Last season, the representative of Vancouver SC won the Triglav Trophy, placed seventh at the Finlandia Trophy, eighth at the Golden Spin of Zagreb, and 13th at the ISU Four Continents Championships. Firus is coached by Bruno Marcotte in Sainte-Julie, Que.

Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in ladies and will be competing at this event for the first time. Last season, she placed fifth at Skate Canada International, sixth at Trophée Éric Bompard, ninth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and won silver at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Daleman is coached by Lee Barkell and Brian Orser at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 31, Toronto, Ont., are the Canadian pair entry, and will also be competing at this event for the first time. Last season, they placed seventh at the Cup of China, fifth at the NHK Trophy, fifth at the ISU Four Continents Championships and seventh at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The two-time Canadian medallists are coached by Lee Barkell, Bryce Davison and Tracy Wilson at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

Canadian silver medallists Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their first time competing at this event. Last season, they won bronze at Skate America, silver at Trophée Éric Bompard, placed fifth at the ISU Four Continents Championships and eighth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The representatives of Scarboro FSC are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs.

Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk will be travelling with the Canadian team as team leader and Shirley Kushner of Westmount, Que., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Reaghan Fawcett-Fortin of Aurora, Ont., and Leslie Keen of Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

For results and full entries please visit 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 NEBELHORN TROPHY

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Liam Firus 24 North Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver SC Bruno Marcotte
Ladies Gabrielle Daleman 18 Newmarket, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Brian Orser
Pair Lubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch 24/31 Moscow, Russia / Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club / Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Bryce Davison / Tracy Wilson
Ice Dance Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier 24/24 Toronto, Ont. / Unionville, Ont. Scarboro FSC / Scarboro FSC Carol Lane / Juris Razgulajevs

Skate Canada Announces 2016-2017 National Team

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 National Team. The team is comprised of 28 senior members, which includes five men, five women, four pair teams and five ice dance teams.

To be named to the National Team a skater must finish in the top five in senior singles, pair and ice dance disciplines at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, or be added at the discretion of the Skate Canada. These skaters may be considered to represent Canada at international competitions.

Their appointment to the national team is effective from June 1, 2016 through to April 30, 2017. Skate Canada also announced the three teams that will make up the Skate Canada Synchronized Skating National Team.

MEN
Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont.
Liam Firus, 23, North Vancouver, B.C.
Kevin Reynolds, 25, Coquitlam, B.C.
Nam Nguyen, 18, Toronto, Ont.
Nicolas Nadeau, 18, Boisbriand, Que.

WOMEN
Alaine Chartrand, 20, Prescott, Ont.
Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont.
Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld. & Sherwood Park, Alta.
Véronik Mallet, 22, Sept-Iles, Que.
Michelle Long, 24, Newmarket, Ont.

PAIR
Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont. & Eric Radford, 31, Balmertown, Ont.
Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que. & Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que.
Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia & Dylan Moscovitch, 31, Toronto, Ont.
Kirsten Moore-Towers, 24, St. Catharines, Ont. & Michael Marinaro, 24, Sarnia, Ont.

ICE DANCE
Kaitlyn Weaver, 27, Waterloo, Ont. & Andrew Poje, 29, Waterloo, Ont.
Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont. & Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont.
Élisabeth Paradis, 23, Loretteville, Que. & François-Xavier Ouellette, 23, Laval, Que.
Alexandra Paul, 24, Midhurst, Ont. & Mitchell Islam, 26, Barrie, Ont.
Tessa Virtue, 27, London, Ont. & Scott Moir, 28, Ilderton, Ont.

SYNCHRONIZED SKATING
Les Suprêmes, of CPA Saint-Léonard
NEXXICE, of the Burlington Skating Centre
Meraki, of the Leaside Skating Club

Liam Firus, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau withdraw from 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: Canadian skaters Liam Firus, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau have withdrawn from the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The event is scheduled to take place form March 28 – April 3, 2016 in Boston, MA, USA.

In the men’s category Liam Firus, 23, North Vancouver, B.C., has withdrawn. “Making this decision was extremely difficult. However, I feel that withdrawing from the World Championships is vital for our team,” said Firus.

Nam Nguyen, 17, Toronto, Ont., will replace Firus on the Canadian Team. “My teammates Patrick Chan and Nam Nguyen are among the top men in the world. I have full faith in their abilities. This decision is about performance and giving our country the best opportunity to obtain three spots for the World Championships next year,” explained Firus. “I am extremely proud of the strides I’ve made this year; skating truly is a passion of mine. I look forward to coming back even stronger next season to help Canada obtain the three spots needed for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.”

Skate Canada’s High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk added, “I have a lot of respect for Liam and his decision on Worlds.  We have confidence in Liam being a strong part of our team leading to 2018.”

In pairs Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., sustained a minor injury in training earlier this year causing the withdrawl of her and partner Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que. “Due to injury last month, which is not fully healed, Charlie and I had to make a heartbreaking decision to not participate at Worlds. We missed a lot of practices and during competition we want to give our best for our satisfaction and for the people around us. We are unfortunately not ready for this event. We will take the time to heal and work to come back stronger for the future. We want to thank everyone for their support,” explained Séguin.

Séguin and Bilodeau will be replaced by Kirsten Moore-Towers, 23, St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro, 24, Sarnia, Ont.

“Julianne and Charlie have had a great season this year and it is unfortunate they won’t be able to compete at Worlds. Full recovery for Julianne is the priority and they will return stronger for next season,” said Slipchuk.

Weaver and Poje win bronze at ISU Four Continents

TAIPEI CITY – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal Friday in ice dancing at the ISU Four Continents Championships while Patrick Chan of Toronto stands fifth after the men’s short program.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje

In ice dancing, the Americans finished 1-2. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani took the gold with 181.62 points and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the world championship silver medallists, followed at 174.64.

Weaver and Poje, the defending champions, followed at 173.85.

“We didn’t have our strongest skate,” said Weaver. “We fought through, we didn’t let it discourage us. Most days things come together for us but some days it doesn’t. Today was one of those. We’re still happy to go home with a bronze medal and we know we are capable of being the best.”

Poje says the result just fires them up even more for the next month’s world championships in Boston.

“We are going to use this as a learning experience,” he said. “We are going to make sure we get out the little stumbles and bumps out of the program. We plan to go into Boston full of confidence and full of energy.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were fifth and Elisabeth Paradis of Loretteville, Que., and François-Xavier Ouellette of Laval, Que.,were sixth.

In the men’s short program, Boyang Jin of China stands first at 98.45 with Shoma Uno of Japan second at 92.99 and Han Yan of China third at 89.57. Takahito Mura of Japan is fourth at 89.08 followed by Chan at 86.22, a season’s best in international competition.

‘’I haven’t felt comfortable in training all week,’’ said Chan, who sat out last season. ‘’Considering that, I’m really happy with the skate, staying on feet, playing it smart and not making major mistakes. Staying in the final group for the free skate was also important.’’

Chan, a three-time world champion, says he is following his game plan.

‘’This season I want to take my time, be methodical. So far every competition it has been getting better,’’ he said.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver is 14th and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., 20th.

Competition continues Saturday with the free skates in pairs and women’s competition.

Full results: ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Canadian team en route to 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Chinese Taipei

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will send 12 entries, for a total of 18 skaters, to the 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei. The event takes place from February 16-21, 2016, at the Taipei Arena. The Canadian team will have three entries per category in men’s, ladies, pair and ice dance.

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., is the first of three Canadian entries in men’s. This season, Chan won gold at Skate Canada International and placed fifth in the short program at Trophée Éric Bompard to earn a berth at the ISU Grand Prix Final, where he placed fourth. The representative of the Granite Club has previously competed at this event twice, winning it on both occasions (2009 and 2012). He is coached by Kathy Johnson and trains at the Detroit Skating Club.

Canadian silver medallist Liam Firus, 23, North Vancouver, B.C., is the second Canadian entry in men’s. Last year, he placed 15th at this event. This season, the representative of Vancouver SC placed seventh at the Finlandia Trophy and eighth at the Golden Spin of Zagreb. Firus is coached by Christy Krall and Damon Allen in Colorado Springs, CO, USA.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kevin Reynolds, 25, Coquitlam, B.C., is the final Canadian entry in the men’s discipline. Also representing Vancouver SC, Reynolds has previously competed at this event four times, winning bronze in 2010 and gold in 2013. This season, Reynolds returned to competition after a year off to win the bronze medal at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. He is coached by Joanne McLeod at the Champs International Skating Centre in Burnaby, B.C.

Newly-crowned Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand, 19, Prescott, Ont., is one of three Canadian entries in the ladies category. She placed 10th at this event last year and seventh in 2014. This season, she placed fourth at the Nebelhorn Trophy and 12th at Skate America, and sixth at the Rostelecom Cup. The representative of the Nepean Skating Club is coached by Michelle Leigh and Brian Orser.

The second Canadian entry in ladies is two-time Canadian champion and Olympic silver medallist (team) Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld./Edmonton, Alta. She previously competed at this event in 2013, placing seventh. This season, she won gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy, placed 11th at Skate Canada International and placed sixth at the NHK Trophy. She is coached by Ravi Walia and represents the Ice Palace Figure Skating Club.

Véronik Mallet, 21, Sept-Îles, Que., is the final Canadian entry in the ladies division. This will be her third time competing at this event, having placed 13th in 2014 and 14th in 2015. Earlier this season, the representative of CPA Sept-Îles placed ninth at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, 10th at Skate Canada International and fourth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Mallet is coached by Annie Barabé at CTC Varennes.

In pair, world champions and Olympic silver medallists (team) Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 31, Balmertown, Ont., lead off the Canadian entries. The representatives of CPA Saint-Léonard have previously competed at this event four times winning gold last year and in 2013. This season, they won gold at Skate Canada International and at the NHK Trophy, and won silver at the ISU Grand Prix Final, as well as their fifth consecutive Canadian title. Duhamel and Radford are coached by Richard Gauthier, Bruno Marcotte, and Sylvie Fullum.

Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 31, Toronto, Ont., are the second Canadian pair entry at the competition. Last year, they placed sixth at this event. Earlier this season, the representatives of the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club placed fourth at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy, seventh at the Cup of China and fifth at the NHK Trophy. The two time Canadian medallists are coached by Lee Barkell, Bryce Davison and Tracy Wilson.

Vanessa Grenier, 23, Johnville, Que., and Maxime Deschamps, 24, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., will also represent Canada in pair. Grenier and Deschamps will be competing at this event for the first time. This season, the representatives of CPA Sherbrooke and CPAR Vaudreuil placed fourth at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, seventh at Skate Canada International and eighth at the Cup of China. Most recently, they placed fifth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. They are coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte at CPA Saint-Léonard.

Two time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver, 26, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 28, Waterloo, Ont., are the first of three Canadian entries in ice dance. They are the 2015 and 2010 champions of this competition and will be competing at this event for the seventh time. This season, the representatives of Sault FSC and Kitchener-Waterloo SC have won gold at all of their events: Finlandia Trophy, Skate Canada International, Rostelecom Cup and the ISU Grand Prix Final. Most recently, they won their second consecutive Canadian championship. Weaver and Poje are coached by Angelika Krylova, Pasquale Camerlengo and Shae-Lynn Bourne in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Canadian silver medallists Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont., will be the second Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their fourth time competing at this event, at which they won the silver medal in 2014. This season, they have medalled at all of their competitions: gold at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy, bronze at Skate America and silver in the short program at Trophée Éric Bompard. The representatives of Scarboro FSC also won their second consecutive Canadian silver medal. Gilles and Poirier are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs at Ice Dance Elite in Scarborough, Ont.

Canadian bronze medallists Élisabeth Paradis, 23, Loretteville, Que., and François-Xavier Ouellette, 23, Laval, Que., are the third Canadian ice dance entry. This will be their first time competing at this event. Earlier this season, they won bronze at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and placed eighth at Skate Canada International. The representatives of CPA Loretteville and CPA Les Lames D’Argent De Laval Inc., are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.

Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk will be onsite with the Canadian team. Carolyn Allwright of Kitchener, Ont., and Bev Viger of Abbotsford, B.C., will be the Canadian team leaders at this event. Dr. Lee Schofield of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian team doctor and Josiane Roberge of Sillery Que., will be the team physiotherapist.

Canadian officials at the event are Sally Rehorick of Vancouver, B.C., Nicole Leblanc-Richard of Dieppe, N.B., Cynthia Benson of Quispamsis, N.B., and Leslie Keen of Vancouver, B.C.

For results and full entries please visit www.isu.org.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 ISU FOUR CONTINENTS FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Patrick Chan 25 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Kathy Johnson
Mens Liam Firus 23 North Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver SC Christy Krall / Damon Allen
Mens Kevin Reynolds 25 Coquitlam, B.C. Vancouver SC Joanne McLeod
Ladies Alaine Chartrand 19 Prescott, Ont. Nepean Skating Club Michelle Leigh / Brian Orser
Ladies Kaetlyn Osmond 20 Marystown, Nfld. & Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Ladies Véronik Mallet 21 Sept- Îles, Que. CPA Sept-Îles Annie Barabé / Maximin Coïa
Pair Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford 30/31 Lively, Ont. / Balmertown, Ont. CPA Saint-Léonard / CPA Saint-Léonard Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte / Sylvie Fullum
Pair Lubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch 24/31 Moscow, Russia / Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club / Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Bryce Davison / Tracy Wilson
Pair Vanessa Grenier / Maxime Deschamps 23/24 Johnville, Que. / Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que. CPA Sherbrooke / CPAR Vaudreuil Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte
Ice Dance Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje 26/28 Toronto, Ont. / Waterloo, Ont. Sault FSC / Kitchener-Waterloo SC Angelika Krylova / Pasquale Camerlengo / Shae-Lynn Bourne
Ice Dance Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier 24/24 Toronto, Ont. / Unionville, Ont. Scarboro FSC / Scarboro FSC Carol Lane / Juris Razgulajevs
Ice Dance Élisabeth Paradis / François-Xavier Ouellette 23/23 Loretteville, Que. / Laval, Que. CPA Loretteville / CPA Les Lames d’Argent de Laval Inc. Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer

Meet the Senior Men

NAM NGUYEN

Long before stealing the show at the 2011 Canadian junior championships in Victoria, B.C. – where a podium shot gained international attention–

Nam Nguyen

2011 Canadian junior championships

Nam Nguyen was on a fast-track to stardom. During the figure skating gala at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, men’s gold medallist Evan Lysacek introduced the then-11-year-old, who went on to dazzle the capacity crowd at Pacific Coliseum.

Nam Nguyen

2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver

Nam stormed on to the international stage in 2014, winning the world junior crown in Sofia, Bulgaria, before claiming his first senior national title at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston, Ont. last January.

In Japan, Nam and reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu – who both train under Brian Orser at Toronto’s Cricket Club – are known as the “Cricket Brothers.”

FUN FACT: Nam claims to be able to put 21 marshmallows in his mouth at once.

PATRICK CHAN

Guess who’s back? The three-time world champion (2011, 2012, 2013) returned to the competitive scene after a one year hiatus, winning gold at Skate Canada Challenge in October. In the summer of 2015, Patrick launched his own ice wine named, not surprisingly, “On Ice.” Looking to the future, the seven-time Canadian champion – who is fluent in English, French and Cantonese – plans to pursue a B.A. in Economics, Business and International Language.

FUN FACT: Chan is a car aficionado, and can often be found under the hood during the off-season.

LIAM FIRUS

Liam, an exquisite skater with powerful, fluid strides, represented Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Always a crowd favourite, Liam transitioned to figure skating after playing competitive hockey at a young age. Liam says he subscribes to GQ Magazine, and the dapper two-time Canadian senior men’s bronze medallist is always keeping up with fashion trends. Skating is in his family – Liam’s brother, Shane, is a national-level ice dancer.

FUN FACT: Liam says he is “obsessed with the stock market”, and looks forward to working in the investment world once his skating career is over.

ROMAN SADOVSKY

Widely regarded as one of Canada’s brightest young skating prospects, Roman originally took up skating in the hopes of playing hockey, before coaches suggested he give figure skating a go. Not a bad decision. Sadovsky, who trains under two-time Canadian women’s champion Tracey Wainman, captured his second ISU Junior Grand Prix gold medal earlier this year in Bratislava, Slovakia. The youngster also earned his way on to the national team this season, thanks to a fourth-place showing at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and looks poised to make his mark when he makes the jump to the senior level.

FUN FACT: Roman is terrified of bugs.

KEEGAN MESSING

A first-year member of the national team, Keegan, who holds dual U.S and Canadian citizenship, competed for the U.S. previously. An energetic, crowd-pleasing showman and avid outdoorsman, Keegan can usually be found sporting his trademark boonie hat when away from the rink.

FUN FACT: Among his many talents, Keegan walks on stilts in local carnivals during the off-season.

Olympian Profile: Liam Firus

Liam Firus knew it was going to be a dogfight, the showdown for the men’s Olympic spot at the national championships. “But that’s when I skate my best,” says the 21-year-old from North Vancouver.

The young man with the quiet grace has had a shorter season than most as he recovered from a groin injury that had bothered him the previous season. For weeks, he suffered painful injections, did physiotherapy, and centred his life around rehabilitation. He didn’t start jumping again until July. He didn’t start introducing triples back into his training until the middle of August, and it wasn’t until the beginning of September that he started doing full programs. He had only five months to go to the Olympic Games.

He was taken aback when he finished second in the short program at the national championships – ahead of Kevin Reynolds – even though he fell on a triple Axel. Firus held his hands on his head in anguish when he left the ice.

Could he possibly see himself winning the bronze medal when he started his difficult season? Well, yes, Firus said. “I thought, ‘You know what? You’re going to be on the Olympic team,’” Firus said not so long ago. “It’s going to be tough. Nothing is going to be easy. This is my goal. I told myself I was going to be here. And I was.”

He’s not the type to be boastful. He’s mannered, quietly confident, respectful, shows up to train every day. He started out as a hockey-player-turned skater, learning the ropes from Lorna Bauer in Vancouver. And last summer, to position himself for that Olympic spot, Firus left to train with Christy Krall in Colorado Springs.

“There are no hard feelings,” he said. “She [Lorna] is still part of my team. But Christy runs things now. If I ever need advice, I go to Lorna. But I am now officially at Colorado Springs.”

“It’s a change,” he added. “I miss my old life, my social life. I don’t really have a social life any more, although one of my best friends in Colorado is Max Aaron. We are good buds.”

Alas, Aaron didn’t make the U.S. Olympic team, as Firus triumphed in Canada. The vibes were working, just not quite enough. Just before the long program, Firus called Aaron, who was in Boston at the U.S. championships. “He told me to go out there and be amazing,” Firus said. “He’s a jumper. He knows how to be amazing to the crowd. He’s fun to watch. He’s what people want to see. He brings excitement to the sport.”

Firus is grateful to have an array of top skaters to train with: Jason Brown, Joshua Farris, Agnes Zawadski, Brandon Mroz. “It’s nice to see that when you have an off day, everyone else has them too. Even the best ones,” Firus said.

But he hasn’t forgotten home. He was born and raised in Vancouver. He’s been happy to live there. “I have the best friends there, and I truly feel that they’ve kept me grounded,” Firus said. “They’ve given me support. In high school, being a male figure skater, it isn’t the easiest thing, but they were unbelievable.”

One of Firus’ best friends, Luke, was also a track competitor in elementary school. They’d run neck in neck in 100, 400, 800 metre events. “We had a rivalry, but we were best friends,” Firus said. “He made me the competitor that I am. I owe that to him.”

“It was the hardest thing to leave home, because they made me who I am,” Firus said. “But now I’m so focused on skating.”

His father, Trevor, is an accountant. His mother, Lois Sullivan, is a real estate agent. Firus’s grandfather was the figure skating fan. “My family supports me so much,” Firus said. “Mom has really made this possible for me. I owe it all to my mom.”

When it came time to make a decision to leave Vancouver, Firus’s mother let him leave to see what he could be. “She just said: ‘You’ve got to get there. Just do it. You have all our support.’” Firus said.  Coach Lorna – who he regards as a second mother – told him “You do what you need to do to get to the Olympics.”

“And that’s exactly what I did,” Firus said. “It’s been an awesome year.”

Not surprisingly, Firus lists as two of his idols the consummate artistic skater, Stephane Lambiel – and his younger brother, Shane Firus.  “I’m not joking,” Firus said. Shane was the bronze medalist in junior dance last season, but is currently looking for a new partner.

“I think Shane is absolutely amazing,” Firus said. “I was on the ice with him when I went back to Vancouver after Skate Canada Challenge and he was doing just simple stroking. He’s been off the ice for a while, but he was there…and I was in awe. He’s absolutely amazing.”

“I look up to him. It’s his edges, his presence, even off the ice. Shane really makes me grounded. He makes me laugh. On the way to the long program [in Ottawa], he picked me up and he drove here. We are very close. He’s one of my best friends. He’s truly amazing on and off the ice.”

Another Firus? He’ll bear watching. Never underestimate them.

Want to read more about the figure skaters who will compete at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi? Pick up Beverley Smith’s new book SKATING TO SOCHI! The book profiles the top 40 athletes/teams with full-colour photos! Order online: Amazon.com, Lulu.com (ebook) or iTunes (ebook).

Beverley Smith

Liam Firus finding his way along the road to Sochi

Liam Firus, a 21-year-old Vancouverite with an enviable slip across the ice, can see an opportunity: one of those three Olympic spots that Canada has earned for men.

He wants to seize that opportunity. The trouble is, Firus has had more bumps on the road to Sochi than most.

Last year, Firus had the skate of a lifetime in the short program at the Canadian championships when he landed his first triple Axel in competition and finished third in a stacked field. He surprised himself, because he had been battling a groin injury in the weeks leading up to the event. The skate of a lifetime doesn’t usually happen after such impediments. And it was a painful injury, too. He had endured six tortuous injections of a sugar solution into his injury, meant to inflame the site, bring blood to a bloodless area and help the healing.

He and coach Lorna Bauer had considered withdrawing from the Canadian championships, but only the Sunday before the event, they decided to go. And because Firus really wasn’t trained, the long program slipped out of his control and he dipped to fifth overall. It was still his best finish at the senior national level.

His problems weren’t over, by any means, when he went home. He immediately set to work with choreographer Mark Pillay to design two new programs for the Olympic season and then he didn’t set foot on an ice surface for months.

He got six more injections, a week apart. He went to physiotherapy three to four times a week. His life revolved around rehabilitation. He didn’t get back onto the ice again until June. “It was tough,” he said. With the Olympics coming, he wanted to train like a fiend, but he knew that wasn’t smart. “I knew that if my groin was bothering me while I was training for the Olympics, I don’t think I would have a shot,” he said. “It was just so painful and so mentally hard, too.”

So restrain himself, he did. He didn’t start jumping again until late July, and that didn’t mean full-out triple Axels. It meant doing doubles, half a year before the Sochi Olympics. By the middle of August, he slowly introduced triples back into the mix. By the beginning of September, he was finally doing full programs. With five months to the Olympics, his training finally began in earnest.

He decided to step things up, by leaving Vancouver to train full time in Colorado Springs with Christy Krall, Damon Allen and Eric Shultz, coaches he’d visited sporadically for four or five years. It meant leaving his first and only coach, Lorna Bauer, behind.

Bauer has been a mentor, a force, a “second mom” in Firus’ life. She brought him from being a hockey player to a figure skater with a lovely glide over the ice. Never mind that in the early days, Firus insisted on taking figure skating lessons with hockey skates on. Grudgingly, he adopted the toe picks, with predictable results. Bauer was a coach who came to the table with interesting skills: a kinesiology degree, a high school teacher’s certificate, a skating career at the hands of Hall of Fame coach, Linda Brauckmann, and high qualifications as a pianist with music theory to boot. And she’s the sister to Susan Humphreys, the 1997 Canadian champion.

It was Bauer who insisted Firus focus on skating skills so much that she has turned a hockey player into a skater with a beautiful glide over the ice. “I’ve skated with her since I was nine years old,” Firus said. “I really believe it came from my coach, Lorna. She made me work on my skating skills and how I push the right way. ” Even now, Firus’ first session of the day involves basic skating skills and body movement, rather than jumping. It’s all about line and speed and edges.

Firus knew he needed to train with the best in the world (Max Aaron, Josh Ferris, Agnes Zawadski, Brandon Mroz, first man to land a quad Lutz)  and be motivated by the heady atmosphere in order to contend for the Olympic team. In Colorado, his jumps have become more consistent. And Bauer let him fly. “She just said, do whatever I need to do to succeed and be happy with this sport,” he said.  She will always remain close to Firus. She accompanied him to his first international competition of the year at Coupe de Nice in late October. He treated Coupe de Nice as it if was a summer competition – a couple of months late.

Firus has had to use his time efficiently to get where he is. He’s not had time to pursue quads. He did one triple Axel in the long program in France, then added a second one for Challenge in Regina, an event in which he finished second to Andrei Rogozine. “I haven’t had as much time as everybody else,” he said. “When everybody else was competing at a summer competition, I was just starting to run my programs. Every day has been a grind. I think I’ve caught up to training and I’ve got just a little bit more to go to get ready for nationals, just polishing up everything.”

Firus comes to the table with two new programs that he loves. The short program is to the romantic French classical piece Fascination. “Every time I do it, it’s so much fun to do,” he said. “I’ve been really trying to be a character in it and bring out a personality.”

The long program is ambitious and totally different: The Bolt by Dmitri Shostakovich. “It’s quite extreme, very intense,” Firus said. “It’s very powerful intense music and it’s great.”

The Bolt? Doesn’t that ring a bell? It was Brian Orser’s music when he earned the silver medal at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Even though Orser skated the music four years before Firus was born, the Vancouver skater knows all about it, how it was a shot across the bow in the famous Battle of the Brians. He’s hoping for an Olympic effort, too at the Canadian championships. He knows it will be a tough fight.

Beverley Smith