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2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund: APPLY

Planning, Flexibility and Responsibility

by Paul Dore

A few months ago, I received a package from Skate Canada Archivist Emery Leger. Inside was a stack of speeches my father David Dore made in the 1980s and 1990s. My father was the Director General of Skate Canada and then Vice-President of the International Skating Union (ISU). He was first known as a great public speaker during his time at Skate Canada, who was able to clearly communicate his direction of the sport in this country. Through strong leadership, my father had a vision of what could be accomplished. There was a common thread throughout these speeches; he continually outlined three elements he felt were essential to being a successful leader: planning, flexibility and responsibility.

In order to achieve success, it was crucial for my father to have a clear path forward. During his time at Skate Canada and the International Skating Union, he was always prepared and always planning – most of the time years in advance. While planning was important, he also stressed the need to be flexible. Times change, and as we all know, the sport of figure skating can evolve rapidly. A plan must be in place, but the ability to adapt, change and adjust that plan was key to success. Finally, a leader must take responsibility for their actions. People involved with the sport did not always agree with my father and he respected and welcomed other’s opinions, but a leader must not be afraid to make unpopular decisions. They might be unpopular in the moment, but together with planning and flexibility, a strong leader must have one eye on what is best in both the long and short term.

I think these elements of leadership were part of the motivation to establish the David Dore Mentorship Fund. Skate Canada is dedicated to recognizing positive leaders who exemplify these same leadership traits at the community, club, section and national level. The Mentorship Fund enables a Skate Canada member, coach, official or administrator to further enhance their leadership skills by attending the Skate Canada Ice Summit for a unique educational and networking experience.

Last year, I had the privilege of being involved in the selection of the first two recipients of the David Dore Mentorship Fund. Megan Foster is from Brandon, Manitoba, is a coach and Regional Sport Development Officer for Sport Manitoba. Amanda Gryniewski is from Mississauga, Ontario and an official with Skate Ontario.

“I was fortunate to shadow Debra Armstrong during the Ice Summit,” Megan said. “It was really neat to see such a strong leader in action during a presentation and within an hour have everyone on the same page and on the same goal.”

As a judge, Amanda enjoyed being mentored by officials with international experience: “During the workshops, I got to present with [International Judge] Sally Rehorick, which was amazing. It was about what officials are doing when they’re not holding a clipboard. Sally gave me the opportunity to speak and I talked about own experiences as a judge and leadership among young people, which I think is very important to our sport.”

On the last day of the 2017 Ice Summit, I was able to meet Megan and Amanda. The excitement over their experiences during their time in Ottawa was palpable. “After spending time with Debra at the Ice Summit,” Megan commented, “it’s almost a little overwhelming to think of how to apply what I’ve learned and what would have the most impact to my community.”

Amanda was already thinking of how to capitalize on her time at the Ice Summit: “I went to one of the workshops taught by a referee and I learned a lot about the rules that I didn’t know even as a skater. I also went to some of the coaching seminars and I got to learn from this different perspective. I hope that when I go back to my club, I can inspire some of the younger kids to get involved with judging as well.”

Megan and Amanda both exemplify planning, flexibility and leadership. After learning about their experiences, perhaps you are a future recipient of the David Dore Mentorship Fund? If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply today to attend the 2018 Ice Summit in Calgary, Alberta.

Returning to that stack of speeches, my father always reminded himself and those he was speaking to of these principles:

“Let not the dream of every young skater remain only as a dream. Savour the friendships and memories – ours is a sport unique in comradeship and moments of greatness. Allow that our involvement always be motivated by positive intents and cooperative action. Let us have pride in our young athletes and recognize the support of volunteers, parents, coaches and administrators. Last but not least, let us not forget that this sport involves to a great extent the young people of this nation, their mental and physical development and well-being, as well as their aspirations and goals.”

To hear more from Amanda and Megan, watch this video where they go into more details about their experience at the 2017 Ice Summit.

If you are one of those leaders, find out more information and apply today through the link below.

2018 David Dore Mentorship Fund: https://info.skatecanada.ca/index.php/en-ca/procedures/246-david-dore-mentorship-fund-information-application.html

2017 Breaking the Ice: Olympic Edition

Recognizing devoted supporters & celebrating our skaters!

By Paul Dore

Last year, Pj Kwong and I had the privilege to host the first Breaking the Ice event during the National Team High Performance Camp. The question presented to us: what kind of event can we create to show Skate Canada’s appreciation to donors, celebrate the athletes and have some fun? The answer we came up with was the very first live late night talk show all about figure skating.

When asked to help re-create the magic again, Pj and I jumped at the chance.

Being an Olympic year, we wanted to build the show around the athletes that have given us those memories that only exist every four years. The theme of the show was looking at the past to understand the possibilities of the future.

As hosts, Pj and I bring a unique perspective. We’re both former skaters and coaches and so understand the sport from the inside. As everyone knows, Pj has been covering figure skating at the CBC and through her own blog, podcast and YouTube Channel for years. The skaters all know and trust her to represent them in a respectful way. I have worked behind-the-scenes in television, including directing for the Olympic Broadcasting Service in Sochi.

We all watch Skate Canada athletes compete on the world stage. Our goal with Breaking the Ice was to show off the personalities of these skaters, to connect them in a deeper way with their fans and those in the live audience who have given their generous support.

And what a roaster of guests! For each skater, we had a short interview segment and got down to the fun stuff.

Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch talked to us about training for an Olympic season and who inspired them in their skating. We then showed Lubov and Dylan photographs of throws in mid-air and they would have to guess what kind of throw. Sure, a bit of a trick question, but they got all three right!

Next up was Nexxice Captain Courtney McNaughton and Nam Nguyen. Both shared stories of their skating pasts and went head-to-head in a game we called ‘Tweet This’ – we’ll leave what it was about to your imagination.

We had the privilege to have together on stage Debi Wilkes and Petra Burka. They both won their Olympic medals at the 1964 Games. Debi and Petra – and the audience – had a great time sharing and hearing humorous stories about their time in Innsbruck all those years ago.

One of our favourite guests from last year’s show was Gabrielle Daleman. In an emotional interview, she told us about the incredible support she receives from her family. This year, she didn’t disappoint and talked about what it felt like to stand on the World podium in Helsinki.

Last up was World Champion Jeffrey Buttle. Who doesn’t love Jeff? He charmed the crowd with his stories as an athlete and talked about his work as a choreographer. We showed him photographs where he had to tell us what he was thinking. We guessed at our own captions and to provide a hint, most of them involved Jeff needing to get a new hairstylist.

Pj and I put together a final eight minute video celebrating Canadian Olympic medalists of the past and looking towards Pyeongchang in 2018. We were happy to have Olympic alumni such as Donald Jackson, Tracy Wilson, Brian Orser and Elvis Stojko in the audience and believe in the importance of recognizing the individuals that have been a part of the history of our sport.

With my involvement in the David Dore Leadership Fund, I’ve been able to see first hand the impact of the Skate Canada Fund. Yes, we had fun with the athletes. The real joy that Breaking the Ice brought to Pj and I was the smiling faces of the donors who made up our audience. We hoped to create a special evening where we put on display the appreciation of their support, while encouraging them to continue with their involvement. After all, the Skate Canada Fund is successful because of their generous and giving spirit.

To explore the Skate Canada Fund and it’s various funding pillars, please visit: Skate Canada Fund

Skate Canada Fund donors recognized at “Breaking The Ice” evening

TORONTO, Ont. – It was an evening to say “thank you.”

On Thursday, September 1st, 2016, Skate Canada Fund donors and guests attended Breaking The Ice, an exclusive event with Canada’s national team kicking off the 2016-17 skating season. Held in conjunction with the Skate Canada High Performance Camp, the event was an opportunity for select donors to meet and mingle with the nation’s premier skaters.

“ ‘Breaking The Ice’ was a tremendous success, with our generous donors getting the unique opportunity to interact with members of our national team,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada’s Chief Executive Officer.

“The evening was about recognizing our donors for their contribution to the Skate Canada Fund, and our way of thanking each and every one of them. Every donation represents a commitment to the future of skating in Canada, and Skate Canada is extremely appreciative of their generosity.”

The night kicked off with a special reception where donors and guests met national team members, posed for photos and discussed the upcoming season.

The evening continued with “As the Blade Turns”, an entertaining talk show where national team athletes interacted with skating commentator and journalist P.J. Kwong and Paul Dore, the son of former Canadian and international skating pioneer David Dore.

The David Dore Mentorship Fund is one of the five pillars of the Skate Canada Fund. A silent auction was also held to benefit the Skate To Win Athlete Fund.

 

Three impressive exhibits, honouring David Dore (Builder), Joe Geisler (Builder) and Liz Manley (Athlete), were also on display at the event.

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In its short tenure, donors have contributed more than $22,000 to the Skate Canada Fund.

Skate Canada would like to thank the Canadian Olympic Committee, along with the evening’s silent auction donors: Hillberg & Berk; Flat Rock Winery; Golf Ontario; PJ Kwong; Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants; Artistry; and Bloomex.

Remembering David Dore

A childhood battle with polio brought David Dore to the rink.

A love for figure skating kept him there for the next 63 years.

Mr. Dore – competitive skater, official, volunteer and world-renowned figure skating visionary –  passed away April 8th in Ottawa at the age of 75.

Confined to a wheelchair at 12 as he struggled with polio, Dore was advised to take up skating as a form of therapy as he learned to walk again.

Three days after he began, Dore was out of the wheelchair and on his feet – and he never looked back.

Eventually, Dore would become a respected official, judging in seven world championships and the 1984 Olympic Winter Games, and named the youngest President of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, now known as Skate Canada.  In 2002, Dore was elected 1st Vice President of the International Skating Union (ISU), becoming the first Canadian to serve in that role.

Dore has been bestowed with several honours, including Member of the Olympic Order, Honoured Member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, recipient of three Governor General Awards and induction into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

The timeless impact David Dore had on skating will never be forgotten.

In recent weeks, Skate Canada launched the David Dore Mentorship Fund, to honour his vision and lifelong love of figure skating. In his own words, Paul Dore, David Dore’s son, pays an emotional tribute to his father:

Usually, the Skate Canada Hall of Fame ceremony occurs during the National Skating Championships. In 2008, when my father was inducted, he requested that the ceremony happen during the Skate ACGM. Close to his heart is the nuts and bolts of operating a successful organization, from grassroots programs all the way to the elite level. My father wanted to not only celebrate his Hall of Fame achievement with his family and peers, but also shine a light on the people at all levels that make an organization like Skate Canada work.

During my own career, I’ve always had a secret weapon. As I moved into management positions, I routinely called and continue to call my father asking for his thoughts. Much of his influence has been absorbed by watching him work and the many successes throughout his career, but also, bearing witness to how he treats people with respect and appreciation. He knows that in order to host a competition like the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships, it is the contribution of many individuals working collectively that creates a successful event, including thousands of volunteers. I have had a front row seat to see how people are inspired by his commitment and in turn, feel as though they have a personal and meaningful contribution to the overall event.

When my father retired from Skate Canada in 2002, I remember a story told by a colleague about when he started working at the organization. They sat in the stands at the 1993 Canadian Championships. Kurt Browning was on the comeback trail and about to reveal his legendary Casablanca program. Elvis Stojko was the challenger and right behind Browning in the world standings. Copps Coliseum was packed with almost 20,000 people and the warm-up was a chaotic scream-fest of the crowd cheering at every jump Browning and Stojko landed. The colleague remembered the obvious excitement coming from my father, because perhaps his favourite moment during an event, after all that goes into organizing a National or World Championship, is being in the audience as a spectator who has a profound love of the sport. This is also evident in the fact that he has always been actively involved with the development of the sport of figure skating, especially around creating programs for athletes such as the Skate Canada Athlete’s Trust and the International Skating Union’s Youth Seminars.

As a national medalist, world and Olympic judge, Skate Canada President, Skate Canada Director General and the Vice President of the International Skating Union, my father has direct experience at all the levels that make our sport work. The David Dore Fund is about helping those at the club level gain valuable experience with professionals at the national office and encourage them to bring this knowledge back to their local skaters, coaches, boards and communities. As a coach myself, I understand how important this kind of experience is to the people that volunteer their time to build successful skating clubs. When my father laced up his first pair of skates, the sport became his life’s work. The David Dore Fund aims to provide support for clubs so they can in turn create environments where people of all ages can discover the sport of figure skating.

To honour of Mr. David Dore, please consider a donation to the David Dore Mentorship Fund.