Large Canadian Contingent Travels to France for Trophée Eric Bompard

OTTAWA, ON:  Skate Canada will send six entries, for a total of ten skaters, to the 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit. The event will run from November 15-17, 2013, in Paris, France. Canada will have one entry each in men’s and ladies, and two entries each in pair and ice dance.

Three-time and reigning World Champion Patrick Chan, 22, Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in men’s. Chan, who represents the Granite Club, has won this event three times previously (2007, 2008, 2011) and placed fifth in 2006. In his first ISU Grand Prix assignment this season, he won gold at Skate Canada International. Chan is coached by Kathy Johnson and trains at the Detroit Skating Club.

In ladies, Amélie Lacoste, 24, Delson, Que., is the sole Canadian entry. Representing CPA du Roussillon, she is the 2012 Canadian Champion. This season, she placed fifth at the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, and fifth at Skate Canada International. Lacoste is coached by Christy Krall in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

World bronze medalists and two-time defending Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel, 27, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 28, Balmertown, Ont., are the first of two Canadian entries in pair. This will be their third time competing at this event, having won bronze in 2011 and silver in 2012. The representatives of Walden FSC and CPA Saint-Léonard won bronze at their first ISU Grand Prix assignment this season, Skate Canada International. They are coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte at CPA Saint-Léonard.

Natasha Purich, 18, Sherwood Park, Alta., and Mervin Tran, 23, Regina, Sask., will also represent Canada in pair. Earlier this season, the duo representing Ice Palace FSC and CPA Saint-Léonard placed sixth in their first international assignment together, at Nebelhorn Trophy. The pair train out of CPA Saint-Léonard and are coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte.

Tessa Virtue, 24, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 26, Ilderton, Ont., will be Canada’s first entry in ice dance. Representing Ilderton SC, the 2010 Olympic Champions have previously competed at this event three times, winning gold in 2009 and 2011, and placing fourth in 2006. This will be their third event this season, having won gold at both Finlandia Trophy and Skate Canada International. Virtue and Moir are coached by Marina Zoueva, Johnny Johns, and Oleg Epstein at Artic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Michigan.

Canadian bronze medalists Nicole Orford, 21, Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams, 22, Okotoks, Alta, will also represent Canada in ice dance. This will be their first ISU Grand Prix assignment of the season. The dance duo representing Inlet SC and Calalta Community FSC won bronze at the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic earlier this season. They are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe at the B.C. Centre of Excellence.

Skate Canada Director High Performance, Mike Slipchuk, will be the Canadian team leader and Dr. John Philpott of Toronto, Ont., and physiotherapist Mike McMurray of Oak Bluff, Man., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Jodi Abbott of Edmonton, Alta, and Karen Howard of Regina, Sask., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Duhamel and Radford battle through fires for the perfect season

Canada’s world bronze pair medalists, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, had every intention of setting the world on fire this season on the road to the Olympics. They had no intention of doing it literally.

Condo fires are following in their wake. Hopefully, these things don’t come in threes. Not only did their coach Richard Gauthier escape from a fire that gutted his condo late last summer, but Duhamel’s short program costume burned up in a house belonging to their dress designer, Marie Codeiro, in Montreal. This, only a couple of weeks before Skate Canada in Saint John, N.B. They skated in beautiful costumes at the event, and that in itself was a miracle.

Gauthier was entertaining a friend on a Sunday afternoon after the major summer competition in Quebec in August, when something just didn’t seem right. “What’s that noise?” he asked. When he walked onto his deck, he saw that it had caught fire.

He escaped before the condo burned to a crisp and the roof fell in. All 10 units in the building suffered fire damage. He’s currently living elsewhere until repairs are done, and he’s only just discovered that he may not get back into his home until March, well after the Olympics. For the moment, he’s a nomad, moving from place to place.

About three weeks ago, Duhamel and Radford headed to the home of Madame Codeiro for a costume fitting, but when they got close, they found the road blocked by fire trucks. “How are we going to get to Mme. Codeiro’s?” they thought. On foot, they walked past a truck and saw a woman sitting inside, her head swathed in bandages. It was their costume designer.

Mme. Codeiro had just stuck her head in the dryer, only to discover it was on fire, and the flames leapt onto her head. Duhamel’s pink short program dress was in her home. The designer had also started working on their new long program costumes, because Duhamel hadn’t been happy with the cartoonish one she’d worn for the team training camp in Mississauga in early September.

“I’m so sorry,” Mme. Codeiro told them. “I can’t do your costumes.”

“Your health is more important than the costume,” they told her.

But Mme. Codeiro was safely relocated to another abode, got her hands on a new sewing machine and with the speed of light, stitched up all necessary costumes, pink froth for the short and royal purple for the haunting Alice in Wonderland free skate. Duhamel and Radford got them only a couple of days before they left for Saint John. They did a local competition in Quebec two weeks before Skate Canada, and had to wear something else.

The time was too tight to do any adjustments on costumes for Skate Canada, but after getting feedback that Duhamel’s dress was a bit too stiff and wide – fine for a dancer, not for a pair skater – the dress has been altered for their next competition, Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris. They’ll be ready for this one, all things having calmed down.

Indeed, the preparation for Skate Canada was a bit of a scramble. Duhamel injured a shoulder about three weeks before the Grand Prix event, so they had to alter the entry into a difficult Axel lasso lift. That lift came back to haunt them in the free skate, when they had to abort it and Duhamel slid (safely) down Radford’s back. That miscue alone cost them about eight points. They lost the gold medal by 3.30.

Although the audience in Saint John gave them a standing ovation, other errors that weren’t readily apparent in the Alice in Wonderland routine proved costly. Even Eurosport announcers enthused over the routine, commenting on a “beautiful combination spin” (for which they received only a level one).

They felt they’d made a breakthrough by getting a level three for their triple twist in the short.

In the free, officials gave it only a level two. A death spiral got a level two. A final combination spin got a level two. Radford slightly under-rotated a triple Lutz, landing it on two feet.

Gauthier checked with the technical specialists after the event. Though there were some positives, this was a wakeup call to ensure that every move is clear. “The nice thing was that those specialists are the ones that are going to be at the Games,” Gauthier said. “We know what their standards are.”

“It’s kind of good at this time of year to learn that you have to be careful with some of these rotations on spins, or death spirals,” he said.

The two Olympic pair specialists are Troy Goldstein, a Los Angeles lawyer who used to skate pairs with his sister Dawn, also now a lawyer. They were part of the U.S. team from 1987 to 1994. He also once played the role of Hercules on Disney on Ice’s Happily Ever After ice show.

The other is Peter Cain, a former Australian pair skater with sister Elizabeth Cain. Together, they won the 1976 world junior bronze medal and were four-time Australian champions. They made it to the 1980 Olympics, coached by John Nicks and in the same stable as the iconic U.S. pair Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner.

Still, Duhamel and Radford are intent on making their own history with routines that are spellbinding, memorable and Olympic.

Beverley Smith

Kaetlyn Osmond withdrawn from figure skating’s Grand Prix in Russia

OTTAWA, ON:  Although she is back training, Kaetlyn Osmond, 17, Sherwood Park, Alta., has withdrawn from her second ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series assignment.  She had been scheduled to compete at the Rostelecom Cup which takes place November 21-24, 2013, in Moscow, Russia.

In October, the native of Marystown, Nfld., withdrew from Skate Canada International after the short program with a hamstring injury, and then missed several weeks of training.  “It was a difficult decision, but Kaetlyn and her coach felt it was important to get back to a full training regimen to be prepared for the next events in the season,” said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s Director, High Performance.

Osmond is the reigning Canadian women’s champion, who represents the Ice Palace Figure Skating Club.

Single event tickets for the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships on Sale November 14

OTTAWA, ON: Single event tickets for the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa, Ont., will go on sale Thursday, November 14 at 10:00 (ET). The 100th anniversary of the event will take place from January 9-15, 2014 at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Senior competition prices range from $10-$60, plus applicable surcharges. Junior/novice competition tickets range from $5-$30 (general admission), plus applicable surcharges.


  • Children 12 and under can attend practices on Thursday, January 9 for free and get 50 percent off tickets to the Saturday, January 11 sessions.
  • Fans attending both Friday, January 10 and/or both Saturday, January 11 sessions receive 25% off the regular priced tickets (must be purchased at the same time and for the same day).
  • The junior and novice Sunday, January 12 practices are $5 for everyone.
  • Children 12 and under receive 50 percent off general admission from January 13-15.

The event will host approximately 250 of Canada’s best figure skaters in senior, junior and novice as they vie for spots on the national team, international assignments and will act as the final step in the 2014 Olympic qualification process. At the conclusion of the senior events, Skate Canada will nominate the 17 member Olympic figure skating team on Sunday, January 12 to the Canadian Olympic Committee for selection to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Fans can buy their tickets online at, by phone at 1.877.788.FANS (3267) or 613.599.FANS (3267), or in person at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

All-event ticket packages (senior & junior/novice) are also still available for purchase.

The schedule has been structured this year to have the senior events first, beginning with official practices on Thursday, January 9.  The junior and novice events will begin on Sunday, January 12 with their official practices taking place at the Bell Sensplex.


Six Canadian figure skating coaches win 2013 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards

OTTAWA, ON: Six Canadian figure skating coaches received the 2013 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award over the weekend. The awards were presented Friday, November 8th by the Coaching Association of Canada at the annual Sport Leadership Awards ceremony, during the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership conference in Calgary, Alta.

The Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards recognize coaches whose athletes excelled at world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at the Special Olympics World Games.

The following figure skating coaches received awards:

  • Janet Collins
    (Athletes: Team Canada – 2013 Special Olympics World Games)
  • Julie Dunlop
    (Athletes: Crystal Greig, Michael Sumner, Sara McKelvie, Darlene Jakubowski, Marc Theriault, Jonathan Edwards, Carlea Wilkie-Ellis, David Mullaly-Robertson, Timothy Goodacre, Alyssa Chapman, Meg Ohsada, Alexander Pang, Paul Jocys, Janie McGraw, Kennedy Zaytsoff, Brian Bell, Jessica Young)
  • Richard Gauthier
    (Athletes: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford)
  • Cathy Skinner
    (Athletes: Crystal Greig, Michael Sumner, Sara McKelvie, Darlene Jakubowski, Marc Theriault, Jonathan Edwards, Carlea Wilkie-Ellis, David Mullaly-Robertson, Timothy Goodacre, Alyssa Chapman, Meg Ohsada, Alexander Pang, Paul Jocys, Janie McGraw, Kennedy Zaytsoff, Brian Bell, Jessica Young)
  • Shelley Simonton-Barnett
    (Athletes: Nexxice – Senior)
  • Marina Zoueva
    (Athletes: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir)

Julie Dunlop and Cathy Skinner were present at the ceremony in Calgary on Friday where a total of 76 coaches were honoured. All of the coaches recognized had Canadian athletes or teams win gold, silver or bronze on the world stage.


Reynolds withdraws from figure skating’s Rostelecom Cup in Russia

OTTAWA, ON:  Continuing issues with breaking in skating boots will keep Kevin Reynolds, 23, Coquitlam, B.C., out of his second assignment on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Circuit. The event will run from November 22-24, 2013, in Moscow, Russia.

Skate Canada’s High Performance Director, Mike Slipchuk outlined the reason behind the decision. “It was a difficult decision, but Kevin and his coach Joanne McLeod felt that with the training time that he has missed because of being unable to resolve the issue with his boots, it was wiser to withdraw from the event. That will give Kevin plenty of training time leading into the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa in January.”

Reynolds is the two-time Canadian silver medalist, who represents the Vancouver SC.

Veteran David Youle still lacing up his skates

David Youle still remembers the first time he put on skates – “those double runner skates you strap on, they were awful.” It was 1930 and Youle was skating at a downtown Ottawa arena, when an older skater grabbed hold of him and helped him glide along. As he felt the air pass him by, he knew immediately “This is for me.”

Youle was enthralled with the sport and became a member at the famed Minto Skating Club, at the time run out of the Rideau Rink on Waller Street in Ottawa (later destroyed by fire in 1949). He has many fond memories of the club, including watching a young Barbara Ann Scott learning to skate and honing her skills on the Minto ice. Youle progressed through testing, earning his silver figures.

Under the encouragement of coaches, Youle was teamed up with Mae Simpson. Simpson and Youle were fortunate to learn from legendary coaches Otto Gold (Barbara Ann Scott’s first coach), and Gustave Lussi (coach of many champions including Dick Button, Donald Jackson, Barbara Ann Scott, and Dorothy Hamill). Simpson and Youle competed in junior pair, reaching the Canadian championships in 1941 and 1942. The pair skated well, but unfortunately never medalled at the event.

Shortly after the 1942 Canadian championships, amidst the war in Europe, Youle enlisted in the military. His skating career had effectively ended. Youle wasn’t the only skater to have made the career move, noting friends Dennis Ross and Pierre Leduc had done the same.

Following training, Youle became a member of the advanced flying unit. His abilities earned him a promotion to the role of flying instructor. Under this role, he was dispatched to the UK, where he would spend the next three years (1942-1945) training Canadian air force pilots. Although he wasn’t on the front lines, he met and trained many Canadians that would never return.

A gentle, caring individual, Youle suited his role as a flying instructor. “In retrospect, I wasn’t that anxious to kill anybody, or to be killed.” Following the Second World War, he continued with the military from 1950-1966 in regular service, moving around to various locations.

Towards the end of his regular service, Youle realized that he once again wanted to become involved and give back to the sport he loved. He became an official at the age of 40, a role he would continue for 25 years. Youle was a free skate, dance, and figures judge, judging up to seventh level figures. He was even given the ability to conduct single panel judging, due there being a small number of available judges in the Maritime Provinces. This was a highly trusted role, as he was the lone official at many of the events he judged.

In 1984, one of his later years as an official, Youle was recognized with the President’s Volunteer Award for the countless hours he contributed to the sport as an official. Youle often reflects on the relationships he made through his involvement in skating: “I met a lot of great kids, great parents, and great friends.” Although he is no longer involved as an official, he continues to skate recreationally.

Youle hasn’t skated yet this season due to a cold, but he’s glad to have “all of my joints still working” and plans to get back on the ice shortly to enjoy his life-long passion. He skates at the St. Margaret’s Bay arena, home to the St. Margaret’s Bay Skating Club in Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia. Youle is excited to get on the ice after his most recent award: “Just last year I was given a free pass at the age of 90, for being visibly the oldest skater out there.”

As for today, Youle will be attending what will likely be his fourth Remembrance Day ceremony of the year. As a veteran, he attends multiple Remembrance Day ceremonies each year, reminding us of the sacrifices made, which allow us to enjoy our beautiful country as we do today.

Lest we forget.

Impressive fifth for Gilles and Poirier at NHK Trophy

TOKYO – Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier brought the house down with a spectacular new long program to place fifth in their season debut on Sunday at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition.

World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal with 186.65 points well ahead of runners-up Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy with 160.06. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. were third at 157.58.

Poirier, a 2010 Olympian from Unionville, Ont., was out three months after sustaining a serious leg injury this past spring. His leg didn’t seem to be a factor as the couple delivered a clean program packed with original moves that received a huge ovation from the Japanese crowd.

At the end of the program Gilles produced a giant smile and slapped her hands for a job well-done.

“We were very solid and that was important for us heading into nationals,” said Poirier, who joined forces with Gilles in 2011. “Our training has been so limited over the last month. Starting in Japan was good for us because we always enjoy competing for us and they have a great crowd. We’re confident we are on our way to getting even better.”

Gilles said the couple had a slight fear of the unknown heading into the event.

“The last couple of weeks been a bit of a roller coaster for us,” said the Toronto resident.  “To lay down two solid programs was a bit emotional. It is something we will always remember.”

Gilles and Poirier were one of two entries at the competition. On Saturday, Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., were sixth in pairs.

Lawrence and Swiegers sixth at NHK Trophy

TOKYO – Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask.,  took sixth spot on Saturday in pairs at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won the gold medal with 236.49 points.  Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang of China were second at 182.18 and Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, also of China, were third at 171.32.

It was the second competition this season for Lawrence and Swiegers who are hoping to regain top form in time for the national championships in January after an injury earlier this year to Swiegers.

“It wasn’t perfect but we feel like it was a step forward and part of the process,” said Lawrence.  “We are going to take the positives and adjust our training accordingly.”

Swiegers said he was too tentative.

“I left a lot on table,” he said. “I’ve been skating better than what I showed today. Still we went out there and fought everything.  It is important for us to keep everything in perspective.  Our big goals are nationals and qualifying for the Olympics.”

In ice dancing, Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., stand fifth after the short dance. It was the couple’s first event this season.  Poirier was out three months after sustaining a serious leg injury this past spring.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., lead the field with 73.70 points.

The free dance is on Sunday.

Elladj Baldé finds his quad in Detroit

A lot has changed since Elladj Baldé was a young boy, hiding his skates in a closet so that his mother wouldn’t press him to go skating.

Now it appears that the 22-year-old skater, born in Russia ( he came to Canada when he was two), has become a contender for one of the three Canadian Olympic berths for men, judging by his bold display at Skate Canada in Saint John, N.B.

It’s been a long time coming. Baldé showed promise when he won the junior title in Canada in 2008, but disappointing results, and the loss of a year because of surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament kept his name in the rushes.

In Saint John, he finished seventh overall (sixth in the short), but it was clear that the gregarious skater had donned a new attitude – and he came armed with a quad, the magic word this year in men’s skating. There was to be no tippy-toeing with this big trick: he planned to do it in both the short and long programs.

Many would inch into it, trying it in one or the other.

And when he landed the first quad of his career in the short program at Saint John, he managed a double toe loop at the end of it, despite putting a hand down on the big jump. His first quad – and he’d made it part of a combination. “It’s a big plus for me,” he said.

What the crowd didn’t know was that Baldé accomplished the feat while skating on two different boots. He got new skates four weeks before the event, but every time he put them on, he fell on his triple Axel, a jump that had been solid for him. “I was freaking out,” he said. Short program, long, it didn’t matter.

He couldn’t land it. When he looked at his boot, he could see that the blade was not in the right spot; it made his body twist in the air. He was so frustrated that a few days before the event, he thought he couldn’t possibly compete that way.

He was ready to try anything. An experiment: skate with the new, stiff boot on the right foot, and use his old, broken-down soft-sided old boot for his left foot. He landed the triple Axel and he started kissing that old boot.

Baldé knows he’ll need new skates. He also skates with his knees taped up, because he has tendonitis in both.

Two things have launched Baldé on this high road he’s on. One of them? His deep disappointment about his effort at the 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, where he finished only 18th in his debut appearance at the event. He’d earned the trip by being fourth at the national championships.

“I knew I couldn’t waste any time,” Baldé said. “There were a lot of good things to take out of, but there were a lot of things to change.” When he returned, he changed everything.

The other?  Patrick Chan moving to his club in Detroit. Always friends, he and Chan became best buddies in Detroit. They train together. They hang together. Baldé goes to Chan’s apartment, Chan to Baldé’s. Their coaches work together. Baldé learns some of the off-ice dance training that Chan has learned from Johnson. Chan is training better than ever, with Baldé in the rink.

“I’ve learned so much from him, just being around him, like how to be a world champion,” Baldé said. “He does things that are similar to what a lot of other people do, but small things, like his eating habits, that makes a difference. He’s the best training partner you could ever have.”

While Baldé used to dine on fast food, Chan got him eating wild rice and quinoa. For three weeks, Baldé queried Chan: “So how many scoops of quinoa do you eat?”

Chan replied: “The one scoop of quinoa that I cook is enough for a week.”

Baldé: “Man, I’ve been eating one scoop of quinoa EVERY DAY. And it’s a little crunchy.”

Chan would watch him cook and noticed that Baldé wasn’t cooking it correctly, but he wouldn’t say anything “because it’s his way or the high way,” he said. Baldé mysteriously gained weight.

Finally Chan’s coach, Kathy Johnson intervened to tell Baldé that he wasn’t cooking his quinoa long enough. His quinoa became fluffy, Baldé enjoyed it more, and he lost six pounds, Chan said.

Since Four Continents, Baldé has changed the way he thinks about training. He has more sessions on the ice than ever. He does more off-ice work than ever. He’s paid more attention to the details of jump technique. He gets the right amount of sleep. His first thought was working on that quad, but all of his jumps have become more consistent, too, under the watchful eye of Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen, two coaches that bring an air of calmness to the rink.

Baldé landed a quad for the first time last year in practice, but never landed it again. Last May, he finally landed a quad again. And then again. And then again. And again. “It’s been going pretty well since,” Baldé said. “It’s still up and down because it’s not even been a year since I started doing them. You develop your confidence with it every time you go out.”

But most of all, Baldé finds hard work is the only answer. “There’s no other,” he said. “It’s nothing else. It’s one thing and it’s hard work and it’s believing and never giving up. That’s all it is. There is no magic trick. There’s no hoping for something to happen.”

As for Chan, he sees Baldé going through what he went through before the Vancouver Games, still feeling his way, trying on the big leagues. “Once I arrived in Detroit, I wanted to help Elladj a lot, because he has a big heart,” Chan said. “I really like him as a friend. He has so much potential.”

Beverley Smith

Canadians Continue on ISU Grand Prix Circuit in Japan

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will send four athletes to the fourth stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The 2013 NHK Trophy will take place from November 8-10, 2013, at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The event will feature all four disciplines, and Canada will have two entries: one in pair, and one in ice dance.

Paige Lawrence, 23, Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers, 26, Kipling, Sask., will represent Canada in the pair category. Lawrence and Swiegers previously competed at this event in 2009, placing seventh. This will be their second event of the season, having placed fifth at the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Representing Wawota FSC, they are the 2013 Canadian bronze medallists. Lawrence and Swiegers train in Melville, Sask., and Virden, Man., and are coached by Patricia Hole and Lyndon Johnston.

Canadian silver medallists Piper Gilles, 21, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 21, Unionville, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be the first event of the season for the duo representing Scarboro FSC. Last season on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, Gilles and Poirier placed fourth at Skate Canada International and sixth at Trophée Eric Bompard. They are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs at Ice Dance Elite in Scarborough, Ont.

Petra Burka of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian team leader at the event, and physiotherapist Siobhan Karam of Ottawa, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Jeff Lukasik of Calgary, Alta., and Sally Rehorick of Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Joannie Rochette named Athlete Ambassador for 100th anniversary 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: Olympic Bronze Medalist  and six-time Canadian Champion Joannie Rochette has been named the Athlete Ambassador for the upcoming 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa, Ontario. The event will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Championships at the Canadian Tire Centre from January 9-15, 2014.  The very first event was also held in Ottawa in 1914.

Rochette, from Île Dupas, Quebec, represented CPA Berthierville, and won the first of her six consecutive Canadian titles in 2005. She defended it every year through to her 2010 title.  Later that year, she won the bronze medal in ladies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver with an emotional performance in the short and free programs. The decorated skater competed in seven world championships, and won the silver medal at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles.

“I am so honoured to be the Athlete Ambassador for this year’s Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa. This will be such a special event, and I am proud to represent all the many amazing athletes over 100 years of champions,” said Rochette.  “I look forward to encouraging all of the skaters, and to be with them in Ottawa. I have competed there for the 2006 Canadian championships and I know that the fans are tremendous and will support all of the athletes and cheer them on to amazing performances.”

As the Athlete Ambassador, Rochette will participate in promotion, ceremonies, media interviews, receptions, autograph sessions and in-venue entertainment.

The announcement was made to over 65 young skaters at the Canadian Tire Centre for the flower retriever auditions and ceremony participants for the championships.

“It is wonderful to have one of our decorated Canadian champions and alumni member to serve as our Athlete Ambassador at these upcoming championships,” said Dan Thompson CEO, Skate Canada. “She continues to inspire young skaters in Canada to pursue their dreams, and is able to relate to the many emotions and experiences the athletes are going through as they compete to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. We are pleased to have Joannie stay involved with our sport and to be a special part of this event.”

All-event ticket packages for both the senior and junior/novice events are on sale online at, by phone at 1.877.788.FANS (3267) or 613.599.FANS (3267), or in person at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

Single event tickets will be on-sale on Thursday, November 14th.