As 2015 comes to a close, here is the first of a three-part look back at the year that was in Canadian skating:
As the calendar flipped to the New Year, Canada’s best skaters converged in Kingston, Ont. for the 101st edition of the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.
In what turned out to be a week of firsts, there were some new faces crowned senior national champions. Gabrielle Daleman claimed her first senior women’s crown, edging out Alaine Chartrand for gold. Nam Nguyen also took home his first senior men’s national title, while Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won their first ice dance championship.
There were some familiar champions, as Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won gold for the fourth consecutive year, extending a perfect run that would continue into the 2015-16 season.
In the junior competition, Selena Zhao (women’s), Nicolas Nadeau (men’s), Brianna Delmaestro / Timothy Lum (ice dance) and Mary Orr / Phelan Simpson (pair) claimed junior national titles.
Sadness swept throughout the K-Rock Centre and across Canada on Saturday, January 24, during the senior free programs, when news broke that legendary Canadian figure skater Toller Cranston, a six-time Canadian champion, had passed away in Mexico at age 65.
In February, it was double gold for Canada at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships as Weaver and Poje took home ice dance gold before Duhamel and Radford won the pair title in the final tuneup before the world championships. Gabrielle Daleman had the best international showing of her career, finishing seventh.
The pair tandem of Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau left Tallinn, Estonia with a silver medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
In late March, the skating world turned its attention to Shanghai for the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Four-time Canadian pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford capped off their perfect season by claiming their first world championship, while Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje secured ice dance bronze. Canadian men’s champion Nam Nguyen was fifth, while Gabrielle Daleman placed 21st.
Closing out the season, Canada ended up fourth at the World Team Trophy in Tokyo.
Hall of Fame Coach Sheldon Galbraith passed away April 14 and the following week the Skate Canada family suffered another tremendous loss with the sudden passing of Chief Operating Officer Bethany Tory.
In May, Canada returned home with 16 medals from the ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Finally, on June 12th, three-time Canadian medallist and fan favourite Jeremy Ten, who placed second to Nguyen at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships at the start of the year, announced his retirement from competitive skating.
Coming up tomorrow: Recapping the synchronized skating season