Canadian Pair Team of Moore-Towers and Moscovitch end skating partnership

OTTAWA, ON:  After reaching the pinnacle of their career with an Olympic silver medal, the pair team of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch has decided to go in different directions.  Moore-Towers, 21, of St. Catharines, Ont. and Moscovitch, 29, of Toronto, Ont. teamed up in 2009, and competed at their first Canadian championship together in 2010, earning a 5th place finish.

They went on to become Canadian champions in 2011, and have won the national silver medal the last two years.  On the international stage, they won multiple medals on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit, and qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final three times.  In 2013 and 2014 they finished just off the medal podium at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, with fourth-place finishes both years. This past February, they were on the silver-medal winning team in the inaugural figure skating team event at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.  They also turned in tremendous performances in their individual event, finishing the highest of the three Canadian teams with a fifth-place finish. The pair has trained under coaches Kristy Wirtz and Kris Wirtz at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club for the last five years.

“I’m so proud of what Dylan and I achieved in our five years together, and I do want to thank him for everything we accomplished. We are just at different points in our lives right now,” said Kirsten Moore-Towers.  “I feel that there is an opportunity for me to keep skating for at least one, maybe two, more Olympic cycles, so I want to pursue those options. My plan is to look for the partner who will share in that dream.”

“It was such an honour to represent Canada on the world and Olympic stage. Being a part of the silver-medal winning team in Sochi is the most memorable moment of my career to this point. And I’m glad that Kirsten and I accomplished that together. I wish her the best of luck going forward,” said Dylan Moscovitch. “My future includes embracing new opportunities within the sport that I love, finding a new partner and competing in the 2014-2015 season, and expanding my horizons for life after skating.

He added, “I also want to thank Kris and Kristy Wirtz for their continued support, expertise and love for over a decade.”

Winnipeg to host Skate Canada’s 2015 Annual Convention and General Meeting and National Coaches’ Conference

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada announced today that Winnipeg, Manitoba, will be the host city for its 2015 Annual Convention and General Meeting (ACGM), in conjunction with the 2015 National Coaches’ Conference (NCC). The events will run from May 27-30, 2015 at The Fort Garry Hotel.

Winnipeg last hosted the event in 2005 and the Saturday program in 2015 will include the association’s 102nd AGM.

“We are excited to bring together our diverse skating family in Winnipeg for our National Coaches’ Conference and Annual Convention and General Meeting,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “The city has so much to offer our delegates and members. We know that in addition to the conference activities, they can look forward to a wonderful experience and a warm welcome in Manitoba. We are particularly looking forward to celebrating the first year of the introduction of our new CanSkate program and reporting on the progress of our 2014-2018 strategic plan”

“We’re thrilled that Skate Canada has chosen Winnipeg. With 450 delegates coming to the city, this conference will boost the economy with an estimated delegate spend of close to $500,000 on hotels, restaurants, shopping, attractions and more,” said Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg.”

“This is great news for the city and local industry partners as we get an opportunity to showcase all our city has to offer as a meeting destination to delegates from across the country. So much has changed in 10 years with all the new developments, so we’re excited to welcome the Skate Canada family once again,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, senior vice president, Tourism Winnipeg.

The figure skating delegates and coaches in Winnipeg will celebrate the 2014-2015 season’s competitive and corporate successes and outline goals and directions for coming years.

Elizabeth Manley enters Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

OTTAWA, ON: In a press conference today Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2014. Canadian figure skater Elizabeth Manley was included in the class of eight. The other inductees include, Horst Bulau, Sarah Burke, Pierre Harvey, Geraldine Heaney, Gareth Rees, Tim Frick and Kathy Shields.

“The Class of 2014 is truly an inspiring group of Canadian sports heroes,” said Colin MacDonald, Chair of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Board of Governors.  “We are proud to be able to share the stories of their achievements so that we can inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in all aspects of life.  Our new Honoured Members and a number of sports heroes from across Canada who have been previously inducted will be at the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Celebrations presented by Canadian Tire event in Toronto on October 22 to celebrate as the Class of 2014 are officially inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.”

Manley is a world class figure skater with an exemplary list of accomplishments in her career. Her 50 national and international achievements include being a two-time U.S. Open Figure Skating Champion, three-time Canadian Figure Skating Champion, the 1988 World Figure Skating Silver Medallist, the 1988 Olympic Winter Free Skating Champion, and ultimately the 1988 Olympic Winter Figure Skating Silver Medallist. Elizabeth is credited as being the first Canadian female to successfully land a triple-double combination jump in competition. She also received the Order of Canada in 1988.

With all of Manley’s athletic success, Canadians were not aware that she battled severe depression. Instead of hiding her personal challenge, Manley made her depression public in hopes that it could help others. Her inspiring inner strength in dealing with mental illness, and her tireless efforts in support of mental health, Manley won a gold medal in life and is a role model for all of Canada to be proud of.

Skate Canada congratulates Elizabeth Manley on this well-deserved honour. The inductions will officially take place in Toronto on October 22, 2014 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the former Maple Leaf Gardens.

About Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is an international award-winning facility with over 40,000 square feet of inspiring experiences. Located at Canada Olympic Park (COP), site of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame features 12 galleries, more than 50 hands-on interactive experiences and a collection of more than 95,000 artefacts. Our mission is to share the stories of the achievements of our Honoured Members so that we can inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in all aspects of life;

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Names Class of 2014

TORONTO – Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame today announced the Class of 2014. The Athletes who were announced and recognized with Canada’s highest sporting honour are ski jumping champion, Horst Bulau, pioneer of the superpipe event, Sarah Burke, dual sport champion, Pierre Harvey, women’s hockey pioneer, Geraldine Heaney, figure skating superstar, Elizabeth Manley and Canada’s gift to rugby, Gareth Rees. The Builders who were announced as inductees are wheelchair basketball pioneer, Tim Frick and renowned basketball coach, Kathy Shields.

The Class of 2014 inductees present were Horst Bulau, Geraldine Heaney, Elizabeth Manley, Gareth Rees, Tim Frick and Sarah Burke’s father, Gordon Burke. In attendance to announce the Class of 2014 were Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Members: Michelle Cameron-Coulter, Dr. Bruce Kidd, Kerrin Lee-Gartner, Marnie McBean and Pat Stapleton.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame was pleased to announce Michael Medline, President, Canadian Tire Corporation, as the Honourary Chair of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Celebrations presented by Canadian Tire. The celebrations will be returning to Toronto on October 22, 2014 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the former Maple Leaf Gardens. “We are a proud partner of Canadian Tire and thrilled to have Michael Medline as our Honourary Chair working toward the biggest celebration of sport in Canada,” said Mario Siciliano, President and CEO of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“The Class of 2014 is truly an inspiring group of Canadian sports heroes,” said Colin MacDonald, Chair of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Board of Governors.  “We are proud to be able to share the stories of their achievements so that we can inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in all aspects of life.  Our new Honoured Members and a number of sports heroes from across Canada who have been previously inducted will be at the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Celebrations presented by Canadian Tire event in Toronto on October 22 to celebrate as the Class of 2014 are officially inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.”

TIM FRICK

As Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team from 1990 to 2009, Tim developed Team Canada into one of the most dominant teams in the history of all Canadian amateur sports. He led Team Canada to an incredible decade-long undefeated streak in major international competition, including an unprecedented three consecutive Paralympic gold medals (1992, 1996, 2000), four consecutive Wheelchair Basketball World Championship titles (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006), and bronze medals at the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship (1990) and Paralympics (2004).

Early in his career, Tim coached Rick Hansen during his Man in Motion World Tour. Rick Hansen said, “Tim Frick was my friend, my coach, and my Difference Maker. Tim challenged me to be the best I could be, to find excellence through hard work and purpose. Tim helped me become the “Man in Motion”.”

Tim has a natural ability to bring out the very best in people. He inspires, motivates and encourages through his coaching style and believes in preparation of the athlete, not beating the opponent. Throughout his career, Tim has been a champion for the development of opportunities for sport and physical activity for persons with disabilities.

KATHY SHIELDS

Kathy Shields has had an incredible career as both an athlete and a coach, spanning over three decades. Her coaching involvement includes Assistant Coach with the University of Victoria Vikettes (1977-1978), Head Coach with the University of Victoria Vikes (1979-2001), Assistant Coach with Team Canada (1981-1994) and Head Coach for the Senior Women’s National Team (1992-1995). Kathy led the University of Victoria Vikettes/Vikes to 8 CIAU/CIS National titles and had a record of 320 wins and only 50 losses. She has been awarded the Canada West Coach of the Year nine times and has won the CIAU/CIS Coach of the Year.

Kathy has contributed to the landscape of Canadian women’s basketball where fourteen of her athletes have gone on to represent Canada internationally. Additionally, an unimaginable eight of her former athletes and assistant coaches have become head coaches of university teams. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, Shields uses her skills shaped over her many years of coaching to counsel others going through breast cancer treatment.

HORST BULAU

Considered Canada’s greatest ski jumper of all time, Horst Bulau enjoyed an outstanding ski jumping career from 1978 until his retirement in 1992. He won a World Junior Men’s Ski Jumping Championship in 1979 and represented Canada in the 70m, 90m and 120m ski jumping events in four Olympic Winter Games: Lake Placid, 1980; Sarajevo, 1984; Calgary, 1988 and; Albertville, 1992. At the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, Horst placed 7th, the best finish ever by a Canadian ski jumper in the 120m event. Between 1978 and 1988, Horst competed in 129 events on the World Cup ski jumping circuit, including 13 World Cup wins with 26 podium finishes and was consistently ranked 2nd or 3rd in the world during most of his career.

Horst raised the profile of ski jumping in Canada through his love of the sport, the love of his country, and the drive to be the best that he could be. No ski jumper has even come close to achieving his success. Horst has chosen to remain in Canada and volunteers in his community and inspires others with the love of sport.

PIERRE HARVEY

Pierre Harvey is one of the few Canadian athletes who ever competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Pierre represented Canada as an Olympian in 1984 at the Sarajevo Olympic Winter Games in cross-country skiing and at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games in cycling, and again at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games.   Pierre made history in 1987 when he became the first Canadian to ever win an international cross-country event; a 30 km freestyle World Cup race at Falun, Sweden. He went on to win another three medals in World Cup competition in 1987 and 1988 before retiring in 1989. In total, Pierre competed in 50 Cross-Country Ski World Cup events and would stand atop the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships podium an amazing 35 times, including 22 Gold, 8 Silver, and 5 Bronze. A product of the Canada Games system, Pierre Harvey was a dual-sport athlete who has become an icon for both Canadian Cross-Country skiers and cyclists.

GARETH REES

Gareth Rees is known around the world for his outstanding rugby skills. At 19 years of age, he was the youngest person ever to be named to an All World Rugby XV. Gareth is also the only man to have represented his country, starting in every game, in four Consecutive Rugby World Cups – 1987, 1991, 1995, and 1999. Gareth is also the first man in the world to Captain his country in two Rugby World Cups, 1995 and 1999 and was captain of the Canadian National team 25 times in his 14 years with the team. He won scoring titles in France, Wales and England where he played professionally for a decade and Gareth is still ranked in the top 10 all-time point scorers in the Rugby World Cup. Since his retirement, Gareth has been a passionate advocate, introducing rugby to beginners of all ages across Canada and around the world.

GERALDINE HEANEY

In 1980, at the age of 13, Geraldine Heaney started playing hockey with the Toronto Aeros. This began a long and successful career playing in a then male-dominated game, and ultimately developing women’s hockey into the forefront of Canadian sport culture.

Geraldine won seven gold medals at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001), the only woman to have ever accomplished this, won a silver medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. More than a decade after her retirement, Geraldine remains the highest scoring defenceman in the history of Canada’s National Women’s Team. Geraldine takes her responsibility as a role model for young girls very seriously and continues to advance the women’s game.

ELIZABETH MANLEY

Elizabeth Manley is a world class figure skater with an exemplary list of accomplishments in her career. Her 50 national and international achievements include being a two-time U.S. Open Figure Skating Champion, three-time Canadian Figure Skating Champion, the 1988 World Figure Skating Silver Medallist, the 1988 Olympic Winter Figure Skating Freestyle Champion, and ultimately the 1988 Olympic Winter Figure Skating Silver Medallist. Elizabeth is credited as being the first Canadian female to successfully land a triple-double combination jump in competition. She also received the Order of Canada in 1988.

With all of Elizabeth’s athletic success, Canadians were not aware that she battled severe depression. Instead of hiding her personal challenge, Elizabeth made her depression public in hopes that it could help others. Her inspiring inner strength in dealing with mental illness, and her tireless efforts in support of mental health, Elizabeth won a gold medal in life and is a role model for all of Canada to be proud of.

SARAH BURKE

Sarah Burke was a rising star in the world of Freestyle Skiing. In competition, she was the FIS Freestyle World Ski Champion – Half-pipe in 2005, a four-time gold medallist at the Winter X Games, a gold medallist at the Nippon Open Slopestyle in 2007 and the 2007 gold medallist at the WSI, Whistler Pipe. Sarah was the first woman to land a 720, 900 & 1080 degree rotation in competition.

Sarah started in her sport when there were no women competitors and she could only compete with men. With her strength, personality and belief that all girls should have an equal chance, she attracted and often trained a generation of female competitors. Sarah’s passion and perseverance has been recognized as having been instrumental in the recent inclusion of her sport at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, but she was unable to compete due to her untimely death. She died in January 2012 at the age of 29 after succumbing to injuries suffered while training. Sarah was, and will remain a great role model for youth across Canada and above all, will be remembered for her warmth, her smile and her love of life.

About Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is an international award-winning facility with over 40,000 square feet of inspiring experiences. Located at Canada Olympic Park (COP), site of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame features 12 galleries, more than 50 hands-on interactive experiences and a collection of more than 95,000 artefacts. Our mission is to share the stories of the achievements of our Honoured Members so that we can inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in all aspects of life; Inspiring Canadians -in sport and life. Please visit www.sportshall.ca to learn more about our education programs, facility rentals and corporate retreats.

*Please note that the official name is Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, not the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

MEDIA CONTACT

Marnie Krell
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
P: 403.776.1086 | C: 403.437.0939 | [email protected]

2014 Skate Canada International all-event tickets on sale Friday

OTTAWA, ON: Tickets for the 2014 Skate Canada International will go on sale this Friday, April 25 at 10:00 a.m. (PT). This year’s event takes place in Kelowna, B.C., at Prospera Place from October 31 – November 2, 2014.

All-event tickets cost $135-$185, plus applicable surcharges and can be purchased online at www.selectyourtickets.com, by phone at 250.762.5050 or in person at the Prospera Place Box Office.

“This event will feature many of our top Canadian athletes in head-to-head competition with the best international skaters in men’s, ladies, pair and ice dance,” said Mark Halliday, Chief Marketing Officer, Skate Canada. “Fans will have the opportunity to see current Olympic and world medalists, as well as many young athletes who will be challenging for the podium four years from now at the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018.”

The list of competitors for the event will be announced in late June, when all six of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating® event assignments are determined.  Skate Canada International is the second competition in the annual series. The other events take place in the United States (Skate America), China (Cup of China), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), Russia (Rostelecom Cup) and Japan (NHK Trophy).

Skaters are awarded points based on their placements in the series’ events. The top-six men and ladies and the top-six pair and ice dance teams qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final® to be held in Barcelona, Spain from December 11-14, 2014.

The story of an official, the unsung heroes of figure skating

The officials of figure skating are a diverse bunch, often misunderstood, often underestimated, sometimes undervalued.

They are the glue that holds the sport together, but they sit seemingly silently in their seats, judging what they see, figuring it all out, pushing all the buttons, letting their fingers do the talking. What would a figure skating competition be without them?

They are the sport’s guidebooks. They know all the rules. They impart them, offer a helpful hand to developing skaters through monitoring, and they share in the moments of a rockin’ good skate.

They are unpaid volunteers. They give up all of their holiday time to offer up their services, even sitting on committees to further the sport. Some, like Olympic judge Karen Howard, a teacher in Regina, Saskatchewan, says she doesn’t mind not being paid to judge. But she goes further. She has an agreement with her local school board to give up 10 per cent of her salary to allow her an extra 20 days a year to use for judging days. She’s missed some crucial basketball games, played by her daughters. It helps to have a supportive family.

It’s a price they are willing to pay. Judge Andre-Marc Allain won’t call it a sacrifice. A marketing/communications director for a department of the federal government, Allain looks at his judging career as an investment in pursuing a passion.

There is a common theme that keeps recurring with skating officials: volunteerism is a motivator. When Allain wrapped up his skating career in Moncton, N.B., at 16, he felt a sense of duty to give back to the community. And he had a mentor, Geraldine Leger, who had been the first triple-gold test judge from New Brunswick, who saw the potential in him to judge. Now he’s been doing it for 26 years.

Howard came from Melville, population 5,000, where volunteerism is a way of life. “Having good role models who were always out at our test days and judging, that really hooked me,” she said.

Howard, too, began work to become a judge at 16, the youngest you can be. She had already started to do the preparatory work before the magic birthday. Sometimes, she missed the odd school day to do some trial judging. Her parents were always supportive.
It’s not easy to become a judge, particularly in Canada. And it takes time, as candidates gradually advance, taking clinics and workshops and seminars along the way. It took Howard 18 years before she got her first international assignment. It took Allain about 15.

Howard has now been judging for 32 years, 14 of them internationally. Although she has never judged a world championship, she was on the Olympic panel for the women’s event in Sochi. It’s important, along the way, she said, to “develop a thick outer skin,” to judge with confidence and conviction.

By the end of last season, Canada had 1,640 accredited officials, when you take into account all the judges from pairs, singles and ice dancing and synchronized skating and the technical controllers and specialists. And don’t ever forget the data specialists, says Norm Proft, the former officials program manager for Skate Canada. They take all the numbers from the officials and run the software that does the ultimate calculation.

“If you’re going to talk about the unsung heroes of the skating world, you’re talking about data specialists,” Proft said. Why? If skater No. 1 takes to the ice at 8 a.m., the data specialist is at the rink at 5:30 a.m., setting up equipment. If the last skater finishes at 9 p.m, the data specialist will be there for another hour, finishing up.

“The majority of the work they perform occurs in the back room where you can’t even see the ice,” Proft said. “If the data specialists have done a great job, nobody knows that they’re there.” It takes a special kind of personality to do the job well, he added: they are sticklers for detail and accuracy and they have an abiding knowledge of rules and process.

What many people don’t realize is that the skating sections across the country create the judges from the ground up. Skate Canada benefits from the enormous work done by the sections to bring judges through the rudimentary levels. Skate Canada may do five competitions, such as Challenge, the Canadian championships, Skate Canada International, synchronized skating championships in a season: a section might do that many competitions in a month.

And judges at these lower levels are needed. While Skate Canada has about 2,500 competitive skaters, there are 27,000 recreational skaters, doing competitions, too. “As an official, it’s an honour to be part of that child’s moment,” said Proft, who is an accredited technical controller and specialist. “As an official, you want the focus to stay on the child. If you do your job right, the kid can compete, get a hug from their coach, get a hug from their parent, they look at the results and then they go to Dairy Queen.”

This season for the first time, the International Skating Union administered the test for international and ISU judges, all to make the level of judging more consistent. In other years, federations would test and accredit their own judges and then recommend them to the ISU. Now countries recommend judges to the ISU to take a three-day clinic in Frankfurt, Germany. “It’s intense,” Howard says. There is trial judging, a written exam, too and element identification.

However, Skate Canada rigorously tests its judges even before they go for ISU testing. “We like to say we have the best officials in the world,” Proft says. “As part of their education, a great deal of attention is paid to ethics. We’re proud of the level of ethics as demonstrated by our officials – not to say that other countries don’t.” Some countries have a much more rigorous examination process than others, and perhaps more resources.

Howard says the Canadian test is perhaps even tougher than the ones given at the Frankfurt seminar. She took over the writing of that Canadian exam, and feels it’s better that officials are well prepared for the ISU test. “I call it a challenging exam,” Howard said. “It makes you think.”

Allain who is a certified international judge and technical controller and specialist in various disciplines, including ice dancing, would love to judge at an Olympics, like Howard, but “I get the same level of fulfillment and excitement when I do regional and club events,” he said.

And Howard? She returned home from Sochi to judge the Canadian adult championships in Regina. Suddenly, she was judging women who were her age or older. “To see the joy and passion that they had in their performances and their skating, I thought what a great way to tie this amazing year together,” she said.

*** Officials are an integral part of our sport; their dedication to the success of our athletes is evident through the countless hours they spend each year servicing our competitions and test days. Take this opportunity to thank an official!

If you are interested in becoming an official contact your section office to get started!

Beverley Smith

International figure skating event gets provincial support

KELOWNA ─ Premier Christy Clark today has announced $100,000 in support of Skate Canada International which will bring international competitors and visitors to Kelowna this fall.

“Skate Canada International will bring the world’s best skaters and our future Olympians to Kelowna for an event that will attract thousands of visitors,” said Premier Clark. “I know that Kelowna residents and businesses will welcome them with open arms.”

Skate Canada International will be held at Prospera Place in Kelowna Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2014. Nearly 20,000 spectators are expected to attend the event, which also will generate economic returns for the region. The 2013 Skate Canada International in Saint John, N.B. generated economic spinoffs estimated at $4 million.

“We know that Kelowna will warmly welcome the athletes, officials, coaches, volunteers and visitors to this beautiful part of our country,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “With such an impressive calibre of Canadian and international competitors at the 2014 Skate Canada International, we know that the next generation of B.C. skaters will be inspired by having this event in their community. We would like to thank the B.C. government for the financial commitment to this event and for its ongoing support to growing sport in the province.”

Funding is being provided through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

Skate Canada International is the second competition in the annual ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating® series. The other events take place in the United States, China, France, Russia and Japan. Skaters are awarded points based on their placements in the series’ events. The top-six men and ladies and the top-six pair and ice dance teams qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December 2014.

Quick Facts:

  • This is the first time Kelowna has hosted Skate Canada International. The last time the event was held in B.C. was in 2006 in Victoria.
  • Approximately 60 of the world’s best figure skaters from 13 to 15 different countries will participate in Skate Canada International in four disciplines: Men’s, Ladies, Pairs and Ice Dance. Close to 200 volunteers will assist with the event.
  • The television audience for Skate Canada International in both 2012 and 2013 totalled nearly 2 million viewers in Canada and over 25 million worldwide.

Media Contacts:

Sam Oliphant
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 952-7252

Jennifer Cador
Communications
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250 356-0979

Barb MacDonald
Director Corporate Communications
Skate Canada
613 747-1007 x 2507
613 894-1769 (mobile)
[email protected]anada.ca

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

Judges & referees – day two of our officials coverage

We are continuing our coverage of the various roles officials play in figure skating. Yesterday we featured the data specialist and the evaluator in our celebration of Officials Day in Canada (happening tomorrow), today we look at the judge and the referee!

JUDGE

Definition: A judge is a volunteer who has been trained to judge competitions. Judges assign both program component (PC’s) marks and grades of execution (GOE’s). PC’s look at the components (skating skills, transitions/linking footwork and movement, performance/execution, choreography/composition, interpretation of the music) of an entire program. GOE’s are assigned to specific elements in a program and rate the quality of execution of every element.

TESTIMONIAL

Nathalie Delisle: For me, skating is a passion. I have been skater, trainer and now judge for over 10 years and I love it! I was looking to do something to stay close to my sport and the skaters.  It was also very important for me to stay involved in the development of my sport, as well as for the skaters.  My role as judge helps me see and understand various levels of skating.  It is a wonderful experience to communicate what I’m learning with athletes and coaches to help improve the athletes’ skating skills and be the best they can be. I have built some strong relationships with coaches, skaters and many other people in the skating community.

REFEREE

Definition: A referee at a competition is an experienced judge who has received further training to conduct a competitive event and monitor the performance of the panel of judges.

TESTIMONIAL

Cynthia Alepin: Encouraged by my mother (who has been a judge and volunteer for the past 45 years), the Quebec Section, and countless talented mentors, I began judging as a skater and have enjoyed my many experiences as a Skate Canada official for the past 35 years.

I am grateful to Skate Canada for entrusting me with a referee role at the 2014 Canadian Synchronized Skating Championships in Burnaby, B.C. It was my great privilege to sit on a panel with my peers and to evaluate and enjoy the performances of the 41 teams of talented skaters from all across Canada. These national championships included world class teams, personal best performances and a standard which has reached new heights.

My duties as referee gave me the opportunity to liaise more closely with the devoted volunteers, the Local Organizing Committee, the team of tech and data specialists and the Skate Canada staff whose time, skill and efforts behind the scenes were invaluable to the preparation and delivery of this national event.

Thank you to all those who dedicated themselves to the success of this event, in support of the wonderful discipline of synchronized skating. It was truly an honor to share this experience and I look forward to next year with great anticipation when Canada welcomes teams from all over the world at the 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships in Hamilton, Ontario.

Tomorrow is Officials Day in Canada! Skate Canada will be celebrating by continuing to provide more information on the importance of the roles of officials in figure skating!

Skate Canada Celebrating Officials Day in Canada

This Wednesday, April 16, the country will be celebrating Officials Day in Canada! Our sport depends on officials, from club test days all the way to high caliber events like the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and the Olympic Games.

At Skate Canada all of our officials are volunteers. These selfless people give up a tremendous amount of time to be trained, and continue to dedicate more time applying their skills at competitions. This week we are honoured to be highlighting the different types of officials you can find on a figure skating panel as well as providing some profiles and testimonials from our officials in the field.

To get you ready for our week of officials education check out this video of Skate Canada’s Chief Sport Officer, Patricia Chafe, who sat down with CTV Ottawa Morning in January at the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships to discuss how the judging panel comes together!

First up are the data specialists and the evaluators!

DATA SPECIALIST

Definition: A data specialist is a volunteer who has been trained and certified to calculate the results of skating competitions either manually or using computer software. They ensure the judges have the correct materials needed for competition, as well as ensuring the judging panel computers run properly. Data Specialists are usually behind the scenes at a competition, however the Results System Manager (RSM), who is also a data specialist, spends many long hours rink-side ensuring the results are processing correctly through the computer during the competition.

PROFILE

Krista Sellers is a dedicated volunteer to the sport of figure skating and has been an active volunteer for over 15 years. She became a Level III Data Specialist in 2007. Krista possesses all of the necessary skills to be a successful data specialist. She is organized, professional and dedicated. During events, Krista always has a smile on face and is willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Krista has also spent time fulfilling the role of RSM at various events for Skate Canada. She is a very versatile volunteer and is also a member of the Officials Assignment and Promotion Committee for Skate Canada.

EVALUATOR

Definition: An evaluator is a volunteer who has been trained and certified to evaluate tests in the STARSkate program. You will see evaluators at local test days evaluating freeskate, skating skills, ice dance, and interpretive tests.

TESTIMONIAL

Donna Bierko: I decided to become a judge and evaluator because of my own curiosity of how the marks for skaters are obtained. I was approached by a family friend who suggested that I go for some training and then decide whether I wanted to pursue my involvement with skating as an official. More than 20 years later, I am still involved as an evaluator and judge. I truly enjoy working with the skaters and coaches to see the skaters develop through our system. While there have been times that I can get frustrated with my own judging, my experiences as an evaluator have been very positive and rewarding.

I was raised by parents who instilled in me the importance of volunteering and giving back to those who give to you. Giving back to skating as a volunteer is just one of the reasons why I am an evaluator. The main reason is that I know that at the end of the day, I have made a difference in the life of a skater. When I see the smile on the skater’s face after passing a test or when I see our champions on television at the various skating events, I am reminded of the importance of my small contribution in their skating career — a contribution I would never give up.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we highlight the judge and referee roles!

Chan, Virtue, Moir win Ontario Sports Awards

OTTAWA, ON: Last night in a ceremony in Toronto, Ont., Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were honoured by the Ontario Government for their success in sport.

Each year the province recognizes athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and sponsors for their outstanding performances in both national and international arenas.

Patrick Chan, 23, Toronto, Ont., won the Male Athlete of the Year Award. This award is presented annually by the Province of Ontario to Ontario’s premiere amateur male athlete who has achieved extraordinary success competing provincially, nationally or internationally, as part of a team or individually. In 2013 Patrick Chan, won his third world title and followed that win up with two silver medals at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Tessa Virtue, 24, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 26, Ilderton, Ont., won the Team of the Year Award. This award is presented to an outstanding amateur sports team in which two or more people competed simultaneously as a single entity. Virtue and Moir won their sixth Canadian title and went on to capture two silver medals at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Gabrielle Daleman, 16, Newmarket, Ont., was also honoured at the gala. Daleman was a nominee in the Female Athlete of the Year Award. The award was won by judo athlete Jessica Klimkait.

Skate Canada volunteer William (Bill) Boland was presented with the Syl Apps Volunteer Achievement Award. This award recognizes volunteers, nominated by Provincial Sport Organizations who have made an outstanding contribution to the establishment and/or ongoing development of groups, clubs, facilities, projects and/or special programs in the Province of Ontario.

Skate Ontario sponsor JB Video Productions was presented with a Corporate Sport Citation. This award is presented to corporations that have been a leader in supporting sport through sustained corporate involvement over several years

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Skate Canada volunteer earns experience of a lifetime

When Shanti Suppiah found out the Canadian Olympic Committee had selected her to be a volunteer at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, she could hardly contain her excitement.

“I had to close my office door and kind of compose myself,” admitted Suppiah, “and then there was a bit of jumping up and down.”

Up until that moment, her dreams of volunteering at the 2014 Olympic Games were slowly fading. “I hadn’t heard after about six or seven weeks and I thought they picked their team and I wasn’t on it.”

It would’ve been hard to leave someone of her calibre off the list, though. The devoted volunteer has donated her time to many Skate Canada events over the past few years, including the 2012 and 2013 Skate Canada Internationals, 2013 and 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, and the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Suppiah’s role in communications and media relations at Skate Canada events has included press conference operations, assisting in the press mixed zone and television interviews, and general media centre procedures – and in doing so, her volunteer experience has allowed her to rub shoulders with some of the top figure skaters in Canada and the world.

In Sochi, she helped with the Canadian Olympic Committee’s digital media team. “My responsibilities included leading and cultivating content for live blogs from Canada Olympic House and Olympic venues,” said Suppiah “as well as updating the Canadian Olympic Committee’s website.” The live blogs allowed her to get a feel for Canadians’ emotions back home, while experiencing the events first-hand in Sochi.

Having experienced so many incredible events in Sochi, it wasn’t easy to single out the top moment, but she was able to pick out some highlights (in no particular order) that came to mind when asked.

The first outstanding event was the opening ceremonies “Seeing the lighting of the Olympic torch,” Suppiah said, “Canada House was located beside the (Fisht) stadium and I got a great view of the torch being lit and the phenomenal firework show that followed.”

Also among Suppiah’s highlights were the two gold medal hockey games “I was live blogging both the men’s and women’s gold medal hockey games from Canada House” she said. “Cheering on Canada’s hockey teams with diehard Canadian fans, and celebrating their gold medal wins is an experience I will never forget!”

Of particular note, she listed Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s free dance as a moment she will cherish, “I was in the audience at the Iceberg Palace on the night of Tessa and Scott’s free dance. Their performance was beautiful and very moving; it was a privilege to witness.”

In the end, Suppiah left the Games with many memories, and without a single regret: “Volunteering at the Olympics was an amazing experience; I had the time of my life in Sochi and made some great friends along the way.”

When asked if she would do it again, her response time matched the answer itself: “In a heartbeat.”

This week, Skate Canada is celebrating National Volunteer Week! Suppiah and thousands of devoted skating volunteers dedicate their time and effort to enhancing the sport with their contributions to the various levels of skating. We would like to sincerely thank each of our volunteers for helping Canadians experience the joy of skating!

Canada wins silver medal at ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships

COURMAYEUR, Italy – Nexxice from the Burlington (Ont.) Skating Club won the silver medal for Canada for the third straight year on Saturday at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships.

Marigold Ice Unity from Finland took the gold with 223.45 points, Nexxice moved from third after the short program to second with 220.88 and Rockettes from Finland dropped a spot for the bronze at 220.66.

“It feels great to get the silver, it’s always a great accomplishment to win a medal at the international level,” said Nexxice co-captain Lee Chandler, the first male to win a medal at the world championships with a senior team in Canada.

Nexxice, which performed to music from West Side Story, equalled Marigold earning level four marks for their eight technical elements and delighted the sellout crowd.

“We increased the intensity of our performance from the short program,” said Chandler. “The crowd really enjoyed our take on the gang’s routine in the story.”

Also on the Nexxice squad were Shannon Aikman-Jones, Maria Albanese, Ellicia Beaudoin, Kelly Britten, Courtney Broadhurst, Anna Cappuccitti, Carla Coveart, Samantha Defino, Yu Hanamoto, Victoria Kwan, Katia Leininger, Kristen Loritz, Bethany Rees, Renee Richardson, Victoria Smith, Kiersten Tietz, Jillian Tyler, Emily Van Den Akker and Julia Uhlitzsch.

Les Suprêmes from St-Léonard, Que., gained two spots in the standings for sixth place.

The Suprêmes skaters were Élodie Acheron, Audrey Bédard, Karyane Bélisle, Lydia Bergeron, Jessica Bernardo, Lou-Ann Bezeau-Tremblay, Josyane Cholette, Sara Irma Corona, Alexandra DelVecchio, Laurie Desilets, Maria-Victoria Langon, Sarah Leblond, Sophie-Anne Lemay, Clémence Lea Marduel, Agathe Sigrid Merlier, An Kim Nguyen, Chloé Perrin, Geneviève Rougeau, Marina Rousseau and Claudia Sforzin.

Louis Daignault