OTTAWA, ON: Olympic figure skater and Kelowna native Craig Buntin, 34, will return to his hometown to act as the Athlete Ambassador for the 2014 Skate Canada International. The prestigious international competition will take place at Prospera Place from October 30 – November 2, 2014.

Buntin will make a stop in Kelowna this weekend leading up to the event. He will be available for media interviews on Friday, September 19 and will attend the Kelowna Rockets home opener on Saturday, September 20. Buntin has special ties to the team; he was the original ‘Rocky’ the Kelowna Rockets mascot.

“Hosting Skate Canada International is a huge milestone for figure skating in Kelowna and I am both honoured and proud to be a part of it. The last time it was held in the Okanagan, I was a teenager with big dreams and watching the event was an early step in what would become an unbelievable journey. It will be inspiring to see that same spark in the eyes of Kelowna’s next generation of athletes as the best skaters in the world take to the ice in October,” said Buntin.

Buntin is a three-time Canadian Pair Champion, first finding success with partner Valérie Marcoux. Together they won three Canadian pair titles from 2004-2006 and competed at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.  In 2007 he teamed up with Meagan Duhamel.  At their first world championships in 2008 they placed 6th and landed on the podium three times at the national championships.

Since retiring from skating in 2010 Buntin has completed an MBA at McGill University and worked as an entrepreneur. His most recent project is VeriSkate, a software app that is used to analyze the movements of figure skaters: how high they jump or throw, the distance the move travels, the speed at which it travels, the flow, the ice coverage.

Over the course of the four-day event Buntin will step into the role of athlete ambassador, handling speaking engagements, media interviews, making appearances on behalf of the competing athletes, and making time for his fans.

TICKETS

Tickets are on sale now! The single event ticket prices range from $15-$60, plus applicable surcharges. Children under 12 are free on Thursday for practice sessions. Tickets may be purchased online at www.selectyourtickets.com, by phone at 250.762.5050 or in person at the Prospera Place Box Office.

WHO TO WATCH

Headlining the field in Kelowna are four members of the Canadian 2014 Olympic silver medal team: Kevin Reynolds; Meagan Duhamel; Eric Radford; and Kirsten Moore-Towers.

Joining them will be Canada’s reigning world silver medalists in ice dance, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, along with a number of world-class skaters including Spain’s Javier Fernandez, USA’s Ashley Wagner, Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka and many other Olympic and world competitors.

EVENT INFO

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 (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.

At the conclusion of all the 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 11-13, 2014.