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Led by Patrick Chan’s gold, Canadians fill their Cup of China with medals

BEIJING – Three-time world champion Patrick Chan won the gold medal in comeback fashion in men’s singles on Saturday to highlight a four-medal day for Canadians at the Cup of China figure skating competition, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

Chan, third after a shaky short program, roared to the title in his free skate with 279.72 points overcoming a 13-point deficit on Boyang Jin of China, second at 278.54. Sergei Voronov of Russia was third at 243.76.

‘’The program felt very methodical,’’ said Chan, also the Skate Canada International winner three weeks ago. ‘’I didn’t give it more energy than it needed. I told myself to relax and not try and rush through the program.’’

Chan made sure to keep an even keel during the skate.

‘’Even the fall during the quad Salchow I made sure I didn’t panic and just continued to do the program as I did at home and forget about the mistake.’’

In women’s competition, Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., took the silver with 196.00. Elena Radionova of Russia was the winner at 205.90 and her compatriot Elizaveta Tuktamysheva third at 192.57.

‘’I started the program really strong,’’ said Osmond. ‘’Then I did two mistakes that were really uncharacteristic for me. That’s something I just have to work on leading into the next big competitions. I need to keep my focus a little bit longer even if the program is going really well.’’

In ice dancing, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., were the silver medallists with 181.54. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S., took gold at 185.13. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia were third at 177.41.

‘’This season is all about building,’’ said Weaver. ‘’There are many new things for us. We are learning from the beginning and that takes time and it’s not always an instantaneous result. Everything can get better even though we didn’t make any major mistakes.’’

In pairs, Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto added a bronze behind two Chinese teams with 191.54. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang took the gold at 203.76 and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin were second at 197.96.

The sixth stop on the circuit is next weekend in Sapporo, Japan.

Full results: ISU GP Audi Cup of China 2016

Canadian skaters en route to ISU Grand Prix Cup of China

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send five entries, for a total of eight skaters, to the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, the Cup of China. The event takes place from November 18-20, 2016, at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China. Canada will have one entry per discipline in men, ladies and pairs and two entries in ice dance.

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in the men’s discipline. This will be his first time competing at this event. This season, Chan won the silver medal at his first event, the Finlandia Trophy, followed by the gold medal at Skate Canada International. The eight-time Canadian champion is coached by Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns and trains in Canton, MI, USA.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld./Edmonton, Alta., will be the Canadian entry in the ladies’ category. This will also be her first time competing at this event. This season, she won the Finlandia Trophy, and won the silver medal at Skate Canada International. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallist is coached by Ravi Walia and trains in Edmonton, Alta.

Lubov Ilyushechkina, 25, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 32, Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian pairs entry. Last season, the duo placed seventh at this event. Earlier this season, Ilyusechkina and Moscovitch won the silver medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy and the bronze medal at Skate Canada International. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallists are coached by Lee Barkell, Bryce Davison and Tracy Wilson in Toronto, Ont.

Two-time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver, 27, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 29, Waterloo, Ont., are the first of two Canadian entries in ice dance. This will be their fourth time competing at this event, having won the bronze medal in 2012 and placed sixth in both 2008 and 2009. This season, Weaver and Poje won the bronze medal at their first ISU Grand Prix assignment, the Rostelecom Cup. The two-time consecutive Canadian champions are coached by Nikolai Morozov and train in Hackensack, NJ, USA.

Alexandra Paul, 25, Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam, 26, Barrie, Ont., are the second Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their second time competing at this event, having placed fifth in 2014. This season, they won the bronze medal at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and placed eighth at Skate Canada International. Paul and Islam train in Montreal, Que., with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will travel with the team as team leader. Dr. Cole Beavis of Saskatoon, Sask., and physiotherapist Karen Seymour of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian medial staff onsite. Jeff Lukasik of Calgary, Alta., and Karen Butcher of Greely, Ont., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

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

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 CUP OF CHINA

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Patrick Chan 25 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Marina Zoueva / Oleg Epstein / Johnny Johns
Ladies Kaetlyn Osmond 20 Marystown, Nfld. & Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Pairs Lubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch 25/32 Moscow, Russia / Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club / Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Bryce Davison / Tracy Wilson
Ice Dance Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje 27/29 Toronto, Ont. / Waterloo, Ont. Sault FSC / Kitchener-Waterloo SC Nikolai Morozov
Ice Dance Alexandra Paul / Mitchell Islam 25/26 Midhurst, Ont. / Barrie, Ont. Barrie SC / Barrie SC Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer

Canadians spin more gold at Skate Canada International

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Patrick Chan of Toronto and ice dancers Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., won gold medals on Saturday evening to conclude Skate Canada International.

In men’s competition, Chan posted the second best free skate but hung on to top spot with 266.95 points. He edged Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan who won the free skate to climb from fourth to second at 263.06.

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., landed three of his four quad jumps and took the bronze medal at 245.06. It is his first Grand Prix medal in his career.

Chan entered his highly anticipated free skate which was scheduled to include three quad jumps. He landed one, fell on the quad Salchow, which he was attempting for the first time in competition, and tripled the last one. Still he got strong scores from the judges for his artistic performance.

‘’It was a bit rough,’’ admitted Chan, a three-time world champion. ‘’I had a great opening but anytime you put in a new quad it feels different. The additional pressure of having it tired me out and you could see I faded as the program went along.

‘’Still it’s a great start to the season and I feel it’s a well deserved win.’’

Reynolds was at his first Grand Prix since 2012.

‘’It’s great to be on the podium in my first Grand Prix in many years,’’ he said. ‘’And to do it in such a high pressure environment with skaters like Patrick and Yuzuru makes feel really confident going forward.’’

Liam Firus of North Vancouver was ninth.

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir ranked second in the free dance and held on to first with 189.06. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., took silver at 188.24 while Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were third at 182.57.

‘’It was mixed emotions out there for us,’’ said Moir. ‘’It wasn’t kind of the moment we really wanted but the fans really helped us through that one. At the end we were proud of it.’’

Virtue said they rejigged the program after the Autumn Classic event in Montreal earlier this month. The couple are back in action this season for the first time since the 2014 Olympic Games.

“We’ve made some great strides with this free dance,’’ she said. ‘’Both technically and emotionally we went back to the drawing board and really got back to the intention of each movement and we made a lot of improvements.’’

Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., were eighth.

Canada ends the competition with seven medals. Earlier Saturday, Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., won the pairs event with Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto third. Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. won silver in women’s competition.

Full results: 2016 Skate Canada International

Canadians blast out of the gates at Skate Canada International

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as well as Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are all in first place after their respective short programs Friday at Skate Canada International.

Duhamel and Radford earned 78.39 points with China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang of China in second at 69.43. Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are third at 67.53.

The two-time world champions were most excited about landing their new throw triple Axel.

‘’Landing the throw triple Axel is a huge confidence boost,’’ said Radford. ‘’We had to prove to ourselves that we were capable of doing it. It’s a nice reassuring feeling and we know we can do it even better.’’

The pair paid tribute to the Hershey Centre venue. They executed their first clean short program on the same ice in 2011.

‘’We’ve had some of the most amazing memories in our career here,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’It’s a special rink, we love it. The crowd was unbelievable right from the second we stepped on the ice for the warm-up.’’

Brittany Jones and Joshua Reagan of Toronto are seventh.

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir are in first place after the short dance. They almost equalled their personal best score with 77.23 just off the 77.72 they skated in their comeback a couple of weeks ago at the Autumn Classic in Montreal.

‘’This is the start of our journey towards the 2018 Olympics,’’ said Moir, from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’We were really thrilled with our skate. We left some points on the table level wise which we’ll look to improve. For the end of October we are very pleased.’’

Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. are second at 76.21 and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto third at 72.12. Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., are eighth.

In the men’s short, Chan compiled 90.56 points to stand first. Takahito Mura of Japan is second at 81.24 and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam. B.C., stands third at 80.57 ahead of Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Liam Firus of North Vancouver is 10th.

‘’I was committed to staying tight in the air and saving the landings,’’ said Chan. ‘’Landing that quad triple gave me a ton of energy going into the triple Axel. The rest of the program I was really pleased with, especially the footwork.’’

In the women’s short program, Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., set a personal best 74.33 to stand in second place. Only world champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia beat the Canadian earning 76.24. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia is third at 66.69.

‘’It was a long time coming to finally do a short program like that,’’ said Osmond, whose previous best was set in 2013. ‘’It feels so good to finally get a personal best again and skate great again. I’ve been working towards it for so many years.’’

Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., is sixth but still in the medal hunt at 62.15. Only six points separate seventh from third.

All four free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: 2016 Skate Canada International

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 continue on ISU Challenger Series at Finlandia Trophy

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send three entries, for a total of four skaters to the 21st annual Finlandia Trophy, the sixth event on the 2016 ISU Challenger Series. The competition runs from October 6-10, 2016, at the Espoo Metro Arena in Espoo, Finland. Canada will have one entry per discipline in men’s, ladies and pair.

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., is the Canadian entry in men’s. This will be his first time competing at this event. Last season, Chan won gold at Skate Canada International, placed fifth at Trophée Éric Bompard, and fourth at the ISU Grand Prix Final. He also won gold at the ISU Four Continents Championships and placed fifth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The eight-time Canadian champion is coached by Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns and trains in Canton, MI, USA.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld./Edmonton, Alta., will be the Canadian entry in the ladies discipline. Last season, she won gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy, placed 11th at Skate Canada International, sixth at the NHK Trophy and sixth at the ISU Four Continents championships. 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., will be the Canadian pair entry at the event. Last season on the ISU Challenger Series they won gold at the Autumn Classic International. Duhamel and Radford also won gold at Skate Canada International and the NHK Trophy, won silver at the ISU Grand Prix Final, and won gold at the world championships. The five-time consecutive Canadian champions are coached by Richard Gauthier, Bruno Marcotte, and Sylvie Fullum.

Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk will travel with the team as Canadian team leader. Physiotherapist Sylvia Ciurysek of Berwyn, Alta., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Cynthia Benson of Quispamsis, N.B., and Nicole Leblanc-Richard of Dieppe, N.B., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

For results and full entries please visit the official event website.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 21st FINLANDIA TROPHY

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Patrick Chan 25 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Marina Zoueva / Oleg Epstein / Johnny Johns
Ladies Kaetlyn Osmond 20 Marystown, Nfld. & Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Pair Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford 30/31 Lively, Ont. / Balmertown, Ont. CPA Saint-Léonard / CPA Saint-Léonard Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte / Sylvie Fullum

Patrick Chan Announces Coaching Team

OTTAWA, ON: Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., will be working with a new coaching team this season. Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns will make up Chan’s coaching team. He will train in Canton, Michigan at the Arctic Edge Arena.

“I am excited to be working with Marina, Oleg and Johnny. They each bring so much to the table and have such a rich history of coaching world and Olympic competitors in all the disciplines. I am looking forward to the season ahead and my first event the Finlandia Trophy in just a couple weeks,” said Patrick Chan.

In August, Chan and his previous coach Kathy Johnson ended their skater-coach partnership after four years working together.

Chan’s first grand prix of the season will be Skate Canada International and it will also be his first event on Canadian soil this season. The event takes place from October 27-30, 2016 in Mississauga at the Hershey Centre.

 

2016 Skate Canada International Single Event Tickets On Sale Friday

TORONTO, ON: Single event tickets for the 2016 Skate Canada International will go on sale this Friday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. (ET). The event will take place from October 27-30, 2016 in Mississauga, Ontario at Hershey Centre.

TICKETS
Single tickets range from $35-$60, plus applicable surcharges. A full list of event sessions with pricing and start times can be found on the event page. NEW! Family two-packs or four-packs, that include pre-paid food vouchers are now available! Please see the 2016 Skate Canada International event page for more details.

Tickets for the Thursday practices will be free to attend with tickets available at the Hershey Centre box office, first come first serve, up to capacity.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca, by phone at 1-855-985-5000 or in person at the Hershey Centre box office.

WHO TO WATCH
The line-up in Mississauga features Canadian favourites including two-time world pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, three-time world champion Patrick Chan, and Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand. Fans will also get to witness the homecoming of Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir; they will make their return to competition after taking a two-year hiatus.

They will be joined by various current and former world champions including Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia, and Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy.

EVENT INFO
Skate Canada International is the second competition on the annual ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The other events take place in the United States (Skate America), Russia (Rostelecom Cup), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), China (Cup of China) and Japan (NHK Trophy). The top six from each discipline (men’s, ladies, pair and ice dance) qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final to be held in Marseille, France from December 8-11, 2016.

Journey of Friendship: Eric Radford composes free program music for friend and fellow world champion Patrick Chan

The music, aptly titled “A Journey”, was as sudden as it was uplifting for Patrick Chan, a spellbinding piece of wonder composed by one world champion for another.

Barely a month has passed since friends and national team stablemates Patrick Chan and Eric Radford returned from a casual night out in St. John’s, Newfoundland, during the Skate Canada Ice Summit. Radford, a polished musician and the two-time defending world pair champion with Meagan Duhamel, sat down at a piano in the hotel lobby and, without warning, began playing.

A photo posted by Eric Radford (@ericradford85) on

The moments that followed turned out to be awakening of sorts for Chan, the three-time world champion who had been searching, without luck, for the perfect free program music.

Until then.

“I immediately tuned in to what he was playing,” says Chan. “I couldn’t believe how beautiful the piece was, and I asked if he wrote it. He said yes, it was his.”

“I told him to keep playing. I was like ‘Oh my God.’ It was exactly what I was looking for. Complete strangers were coming over to listen to him play. It was amazing.”

“Right there I asked him if he could send me a couple of pieces to possibly consider for a program.”

Within days, Chan says, Radford sent five pieces of music for Chan to listen to. Unable to contain his excitement, he forwarded the pieces to coach Kathy Johnson, refusing to tell her who had composed the music. He just wanted Johnson to listen.

She did and, like Chan, fell in love with the music.

“Kathy loved it. We went from there and we’ve kind of built it to where we are now. It’s been amazing.

“It’s almost choreographed itself.”

Not that it needs to, since Chan is once again teamed up with world-renowned choreographer David Wilson, one of the best in the business.

“It’s challenging after such a short off-season to get back in the rink, try to focus and get creative,” says Chan. “I find this process can sometimes be challenging, so to work with David, who very nurturing as an individual, makes it fun and creative. He is just amazing to work with.”

Chan will perform the program at Skate Canada International, his first ISU Grand Prix assignment of the year. Duhamel and Radford will also defend their titles at the event in Mississauga, Ont. this October.

Previously, Radford had composed “Tribute” in honour of his longtime coach Paul Wirtz, who passed away in 2006.  Duhamel and Radford skated to the music for their short program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics season.

When working on the final product for Chan, Radford went back in the studio and merged two pieces of music together – one strings-based and the other solely piano.

“When I originally watched Patrick skate to the music (on video), what made me smile most was how David captured the more intricate things,” says Radford. “David’s originality as a choreographer, and Patrick’s skating ability, make them the ultimate team.”

“Our friendship has really blossomed over the past couple of years, especially since the Sochi Olympics,” says Radford of his bond with Chan.

“When I found out Patrick was going to skate to my music, it was like winning a world championship of my own. I hope he is able to find a calmness, something special, within the music.”

It is a season like no other for Chan, who goes in search of a ninth Canadian – and fourth world – title. Returning to competition last season after a year hiatus, Chan is determined not to put any added pressure on himself as a new season dawns.  The goal, as always, will be to finish atop the podium, but Chan isn’t going to focus as much on the results as he his on his growth as a skater, a performer and a person.

“For me, it’s all about the process and growing as an individual, when it comes to movement,” he adds. “This program, and Eric’s piece, is making me grow as a skater, to express in different ways that nobody will ever understand. It’s very much for personal gain, a selfish gain, which is good.

“I don’t think I’ve given myself enough years to do that. I think I’ve spent a lot of years trying to please everyone that’s watching.”

For Chan, there is something different about this season.

It’s about the music and the journey, not necessarily where, or even if, he finishes on the podium.

“This is just another season to me,” Chan admits. “When the music plays and I’m on the ice by myself, that’s when the magic happens. I don’t want to make a big deal.

“It’s just another competition that I’m going to give my best and hopefully affect people’s lives in a positive way.”

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

Patrick Chan Relocating to Train in Vancouver

OTTAWA, ON: Three-time world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., has announced that he will relocate to Vancouver, B.C., this summer. Chan will continue to be coached by Kathy Johnson at the Champs International Skating Centre located in Burnaby, B.C.

Johnson has been Chan’s head coach since 2012. They will both make the move from Detroit to Vancouver in July.

“I am excited to come home and train full-time in Canada in the lead up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Vancouver holds a special place in my heart and I am looking forward to calling the city home,” said Chan. “I am thankful for the years I spent at the Detroit Skating Club and all the support they provided me. The decision to change environments was a collaborate decision with my team and after reflecting on the past season we decided to make the move to Vancouver. Everyone from Skate Canada and Skate Canada BC/YK have been very supportive, and Kathy and I know Vancouver will be a great environment for us.”

Champs International Skating Centre is under the direction of coach Joanne McLeod. The facility is also home to the Skate Canada BC/YK Section office. The centre supports many top skaters and coaches from Canada and around the world.

PHOTO: © ISU

Patrick Chan fifth at world championships

BOSTON – Patrick Chan of Toronto struggled in his free skate Friday to finish fifth overall in men’s competition at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Javier Fernandez of Spain successfully defended his world title earning a whopping 314.93 points. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, first after the short program, took the silver at 295.17 and Boyang Jin of China was third at 270.99.

Chan, who sat out all of last season, was just four points from the podium despite the eighth best long program of the night for 266.75. He was third after the short. Early in his free skate he hit the boards on a combination jump.

‘’That completely changed the momentum of the program,’’ said Chan, a three-time world champion who sat out last season. ‘’There is really nothing to be upset about. As much as we all want to win, it’s great to be here and feel that pressure.’’

In the pairs short program, reigning world champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in second place with 78.18. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China lead at 80.85. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia are third at 77.13.

“We’re very happy,” said Duhamel. “We had been getting frustrated with our short this season and we decided today enough is enough. We were determined and focused.”

Radford said he was convinced they were ready.

“We finally found that focus that we had last season,’’ he said. ‘’It’s the comfort zone that we haven’t been able to achieve most of this season.’’

There were two more strong Canadian performances. Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are eighth at 68.17 and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are 10th at 66.06.

‘’Our biggest goal for today was to keep that consistency with our energy and our attack,’’ said Moscovitch. ‘’It felt really nice tonight; easy and fun.’’

All three Canadian pairs produced personal best scores.

“I’m thrilled we put out such a strong performance,’’ said Moore-Towers. ‘’It was our personal best by a lot.’’

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

Full results: ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016