2021 Skate Canada Cup Announcement

The 2020-21 season has been impacted by the global pandemic which has required Skate Canada to revisit the format of all competitions to ensure that the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers remain our utmost priority. With that, Skate Canada is pleased to announce the 2021 Skate Canada Cup.

As the stand-alone event referred to in our communication of September 10, the Skate Canada Cup will replace the pre-novice and novice competitions at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge. The event will be held virtually allowing pre-novice and novice skaters from across the country to participate in a safe manner from their home sections. The format of the event will follow that of the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge. Sections will film competing skaters’ programs and will submit the videos to Skate Canada to be streamed in the traditional competition format with live remote judging. The deadline for video submissions is March 31, 2021.

The event date will be announced in the New Year and will be available to watch through Skate Canada’s Dailymotion streaming service.
“The addition of the pre-novice and novice competition will allow these athletes the chance to continue their development and goals for the season,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “We have made significant changes to our season this year and thank all those who have helped make it possible to keep our athletes on the ice competing in a safe manner.”

Circumstances around the country and the ability for sections to participate in this event are fluid. As such, Skate Canada will determine if this event will continue as planned, or if modifications or cancellation may be required, by February 1, 2021.

Media Accreditation: 2021 Skate Canada Challenge

OTTAWA, ON: The media accreditation application for the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge is now open. Due to the global pandemic, Skate Canada Challenge will be a virtual event  and we look forward to hosting media in a virtual setting for this year’s event. The event will take place January 8-10 and January 15-17, 2021.

All media must apply for virtual media accreditation through Skate Canada’s online form. The deadline to apply for accreditation is January 6, 2020.

Accreditation will be granted to professional media personnel only. Freelance media must provide a letter from the editor of the media outlet they are representing during the time of application. All applications are evaluated on an event-by-event basis and are subject to Skate Canada’s media accreditation guidelines.

The 2021 Skate Canada Challenge will be available to watch on Skate Canada’s Dailymotion page in real time and all event updates will be posted on the event page.

Vancouver to host 2021 Skate Canada International

Ottawa, ON: Skate Canada announced today that Vancouver, British Columbia, will host the 47th Skate Canada International. The event will take place at the arena at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre from October 29 – 31, 2021.

“Skate Canada is thrilled to welcome some of the best skaters from around the world to Vancouver for the 2021 Skate Canada international. We are looking forward the 2021-22 season and creating memorable moments for all skating fans,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “We are thrilled to be working with the city of Vancouver and Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre again next year to create an event all participants will enjoy.”  

“Sport Hosting Vancouver is proud to continue our relationship with Skate Canada with the hosting the 2021 Skate Canada International,” said Michelle Collens, Senior Manager, Sport Hosting Vancouver. “Our combined hosting history will allow us to creatively reimagine the event experience and ensure the confidence to deliver live events once again. We look forward to welcoming both participants and spectators back to British Columbia when it is safe to do so.”

Skate Canada International is the second competition in the annual International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figuring Skating series. The other events take place in the United States (Skate America), China (Cup of China), Japan (NHK Trophy), Russia (Rostelecom Cup) and France (Internationaux de France).

Each skater/team can be assigned a maximum of two events. Skaters are awarded points based on their placements at their events. The top six from each discipline (men, women, pair and ice dance) qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

The inaugural Skate Canada International was first held in 1973 in Calgary and the event was added to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 1995, the year the series began. Vancouver has been a longtime partner of figure skating, hosting world renowned events such as the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 2001 and 1960 and the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. This is their second time hosting Skate Canada International, they previously hosted in 1978.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

On June 2, 2020 Skate Canada released a statement on anti-racism. This statement expressed our commitment to anti-racism and to leading by example within the sport community. Over the last months we have taken time to start educating ourselves and lay the foundation to listen to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) voices and to be able to bring positive change to our sport.

We have a responsibility to take decisive action to acknowledge and address systemic racism and to create a safe and welcoming environment for all individuals to embrace the joy of skating. We know that we need to do more to accomplish that vision and are actively working to make Skate Canada as diverse and inclusive as possible.

To further improve equity, diversity and inclusion in our sport, Skate Canada is taking the following actions:

  1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group: Skate Canada has created an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, comprised of members of the skating community and experts in EDI. The EDI working group follows a social justice model and engages in ongoing self-education, develops educational plans, creates and/or sources resource materials for our community, identifies areas for change, and develops strategies for diverse voices to be heard in skating. The EDI working group was enacted by the Skate Canada Board of Directors per its bylaws and makes its recommendations to the organization via the President, Board of Directors, and CEO.

The EDI working group has been meeting weekly since July. Members include: Elladj Baldé (Skate Canada Digital Host, President of the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (FSDIA), and Skate Global Founder) Emma Bowie (Skate Canada staff – Director, Safe Sport and Strategic Communications), Patrick Chan (Three-time Olympic medallist and Skate Canada coach), Tina Chen (Distinguished professor, University of Manitoba and Skate Canada coach), Patty Klein (Skate Canada board member and official), Paul Poirier (Olympian and current National Team member), Eric Radford (Three-time Olympic medallist and Skate Canada board member), Khorana Séa-Alphonse (Skate Canada staff – NextGen Coordinator), Kaitlyn Weaver (Three-time world medallist and Olympian), and Dr. Shae Zukiwsky (Skate Canada staff – Senior Director, Performance Excellence).

  1. Education: Review and recommend educational training and resources for our community to establish and nurture an inclusive environment. The first priority is education on anti-racism, including education on Black and Indigenous inclusion in sport. The educational process has already begun with the board of directors and senior management and will be available to the greater community later this Fall.
  1. Community Outreach: Recognizing the need to have open conversations about race, to listen to BIPOC voices, and to engage our community, a Talking About Race in Skating Panel is being organized for later this Fall. The virtual panel will feature BIPOC voices in skating discussing why talking about race will make our skating community stronger. It will be available for all community members to watch. In addition, a series of open dialogue virtual chats will also be produced to inspire our members to engage in transformational self-education and dialogue.
  1. Policy & Terminology: A new equity, diversity and inclusion policy and strategy is being developed to help ensure that individuals of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities feel welcome in Skate Canada programs and events. An active review of terminology in our sport is underway, with a focus on decolonizing of the terminology.
  1. Marketing & Communications: A campaign titled Talking About Race is being developed. This campaign will highlight BIPOC individuals in our community having conversations about race, with the goal to generate further dialogue in our community. In addition, clear and visible statements about diversity and inclusion will be incorporated on our corporate website and marketing materials.

Skate Canada recognizes that the actions above are just the beginning. We are committed to anti-racism and promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion as ongoing processes. We look forward to working with all members of our community and to broadening membership in Skate Canada programs so that together we make Skate Canada a leader for positive change in sport, with the goal that truly everyone can embrace the joy of skating.

Keegan Messing captures bronze medal at Skate America

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Basking in the glow of his bronze medal performance Saturday at Skate America, Keegan Messing had a message for his Team Canada teammates.

This one’s for you.

The charismatic Messing, who holds dual Canadian and American citizenship and proudly represents Canada on the international stage, capped off an impressive showing at the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season, earning 174.02 in his free program for an overall score of 266.42.

Skating on home soil, two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. cruised to the gold medal with a 299.15 total. American Vincent Zhou took the silver at 275.10.

“I am absolutely stoked to come here, put those performances out there and leave with a medal,” said Messing. “I’m on top of the world right now.”

“It’s been a tough time for everyone, but I’m really proud of him,” added Ralph Burghart, Messing’s coach. “It’s exhilarating. I’m happy we were able to put together a training regimen that got him ready for this week.

“The great thing about Keegan is he loves competing. It’s one of the many qualities I love about him. He’s an all-in guy, and today he left it all out there.”

With the 2020-21 figure skating season clouded in uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Messing is the only Team Canada member with an ISU Grand Prix assignment this season. Skate Canada International, scheduled to be held next week, was cancelled earlier this month.

Sitting in the kiss and cry waiting for his marks after Friday’s short program, Messing showed his Canadian pride, turning his back to the camera and pointing to the “Canada” emblem stitched across his team jacket. He repeated the gesture Saturday following his free program.

In this strangest of seasons, Messing wants to remind his teammates, Skate Canada and fans north of the border who he is skating for.

“Just before I took my starting position today, I said to myself ‘this is for you guys,’” said Messing. “It was for my teammates who have to stay home. Today, I had something to fight for. I was skating for my team.

“This is a shared medal. With my team, with all of Canada. The Canadian fans have been so incredible to me. I am so proud to have that flag on my back and to win an international medal for Canada.”

No fans were permitted into Orleans Arena for Skate America, and while Messing says event officials went out of their way to keep athletes safe in Las Vegas, he admits it was almost surreal competing in an empty arena.

“It was odd, but it’s funny, you get out on the ice and the switch gets flipped, and you’re in competition mode,” Messing said. “I usually feed off their energy. Not hearing that applause was something I’m not used to. They piped in the crowd applause after the program, but there was no one there. There was no emotion.

“It makes you want the real thing again.”

Full Results: 2020 Skate America

Canadian Keegan Messing in third spot after short program at Skate America

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Canadian Keegan Messing holds down third spot after Friday’s short program at Skate America, the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season.

Skating to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect for the second straight year, the 28-year-old Messing, who trains in Edmonton, Alb., scored 92.40 to put himself in medal contention heading into the Saturday’s free program.

Two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the United States leads after posting a stunning 111.17. Fellow American Vincent Zhou is in second spot at 99.36.

“It was really exciting to perform again, but my legs were a little shaky in the second half of the program,” Messing admitted. “I’m really happy with the way I skated. It felt so great to get back out there.”

Messing, a three-time national medallist, is the only Canadian competing at Skate America. He finished fourth at this event a year ago.

Skating competitively for the first time since February, Messing left some points on the table with a couple of mistakes Friday. He put a hand down on his quad toe, triple toe combination and had a slight trip – or an “oops”, as he called it – on his step sequence. He landed his triple Axel and triple Lutz cleanly to stay within striking distance of Zhou.

“I have to admit, the nerves affected me a little bit, but I think that can be expected,” he said. “Getting to perform again, that’s what we live for. I missed having those butterflies.”

Skate America, which is being held without fans in attendance at the Orleans Arena, is the first stop of the condensed Grand Prix circuit. Skate Canada International, which was scheduled to be held next week in Ottawa, Ont., was recently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Internationaux de France, slated to be held next month, was also cancelled, leaving stops in China, Russia and Japan to round out the Grand Prix schedule.

No Canadians are scheduled to compete internationally after this week.

“With Skate Canada getting cancelled, my heart broke for all my teammates,” he added. “I am representing all of them here. This one went out to Nam (Nguyen) and all of Team Canada. This week is for you.”

Skate America wraps up with the free programs Saturday. Click here for full results.

Skate Canada 2020-21 Skating Season Update

Skate Canada continues to monitor the global pandemic and the shifting requirements across the country. The health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators remain our utmost priority. With that, Skate Canada has made the decision to move two key events back this season.

“The global pandemic has put forth challenges for us all, and our priority is to support the development and goals of our skaters in a safe manner,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “We have altered the format of the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge which will now take place virtually.   We are also moving the dates of both 2021 Skate Canada Challenge and the 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships back to allow more time for skaters to prepare.”

The remote 2021 Skate Canada Challenge competition will take place from January 11 – 17, 2021 and will allow Canadian skaters to participate from their home regions virtually with live officiating providing each with an opportunity to qualify for the 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The date for submitting video submissions for the junior and senior disciplines will be announced shortly.

The 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships are still scheduled to take place in person in Vancouver, B.C., at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. However, the event will now take place on February 8 – 14, 2021. The number of competitors has been reduced to accommodate safety protocols. Only junior and senior categories will compete, and each discipline will only have two flights of skaters. More details surrounding that event will be available later this year.

Cancelled: 2021 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to deliver uncertainty surrounding skating events and activities around the country.  As a direct result, Skate Canada has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships which was scheduled to take place at the Palais Des Sports Léopold-Drolet in Sherbrooke, Que., from February 19-21, 2021.

“Like many other sport organizations, the global pandemic has placed significant challenges on our business and in particular the operation of national events,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “After consulting with the synchronized skating community, it was clear that our teams have not had or will have the opportunity to train at a level that would be safe to compete on the national stage in February.”

Due to these exceptional circumstances the 2021 Skate Canada Synchronized National Team will be comprised of those teams that finished in the top three in the senior discipline at the 2020 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships.

Skate Canada will continue to work with the synchronized skating community to provide other avenues this season to support development and performance opportunities. As part of those initiatives,

Skate Canada is pleased to announce its collaboration with OneTeamMVMT to bring virtual learnings to our Canadian synchronized skating community.

Virtual Off-Ice for Synchro is a five-week virtual program, starting on October 24, 2020, for synchronized skating teams to keep their goals in focus. The program offers three series of classes to choose from: Skating Skills & Technique, Performance & Expression, and Flexibility & Field Moves. Skate Canada will cover the cost for synchronized skating teams who participated at any 2020 Skate Canada Regional Synchronized Skating Championship at the Novice, Junior, Senior, Intermediate and Open levels to join one of the virtual series of classes that are offered. To learn more visit OneTeamMVMT and click on the Skate Canada team registration button.

Any new synchronized skating teams that have been formed this season, please reach out to your Section for further information.

In addition to this OneTeamMVMT collaboration, Skate Canada will provide further information about synchronized skating opportunities in the near future.

One Canadian skater headed to Las Vegas for 2020 Skate America

OTTAWA, ON: One Canadian skater is en route to Las Vegas, USA, for the 2020 Skate America, taking place Thursday, October 22 to Saturday, October 24. This will be the first event of the figure skating Grand Prix Series. Keegan Messing will be the only skater participating at the event, while Stephen Gogolev was scheduled to compete but had to withdraw due to injury.

Keegan Messing, 28, Girdwood, Alaska, USA., is the 2020 Canadian bronze medallist and competed at this event last season, finishing fourth. At his second Grand Prix assignment last season, Cup of China, Messing also finished fourth. He is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, AK.

With the recent cancelling of the second stop on the Grand Prix Series, 2020 Skate Canada International, which was set to take place in Ottawa, Ont., from October 30-31, Skate America will be the only competition featuring a Canadian skater this season.

For more information, please visit www.isu.org.

Canadian Entry at Skate America – Las Vegas, USA

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Keegan Messing 28 Girdwood, Alaska, USA Ice Palace FSC Ralph Burghart

Moore-Towers, Marinaro find perspective, hope during trying times

As the most uncertain of skating seasons dawns over the horizon, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro have found a silver lining in these challenging times.

Now back on the ice tuning up for a season that has more questions than answers due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the two-time Canadian pair champions are staying optimistic and looking forward to picking up where they left off when the 2019-20 season was abruptly halted in March.

“We’ve been back on the ice for a while now, and we’re getting ready as best we can,” says Moore-Towers from their training base in Oakville, Ont.

“We’ve always known what our goals are, and we know we are capable of achieving them. The time away really gives you a chance to think and evaluate how you can improve. It’s easy to remember why we’re here and why we are doing this.”

“Right now, we are not exactly sure which events we are training for, but eventually that opportunity is going to come, and we want to be ready for it,” adds Marinaro.

Coming off a 2019-20 season in which they captured their second straight national title and added a pair of silver medals on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, the tandem is preparing for a new season as they normally would.

Right now, uncertainty is the new normal.

“Regardless of the state everything is in, we have to believe we will compete somewhere,” says Moore-Towers.

“That is the mindset we take into training each day, so when that happens, we will be prepared. We only have a couple of years left in our career, so we want to spend our time doing what we enjoy doing.”

“With all the uncertainty, we are just looking at taking a couple of steps forward each day,” adds Marinaro. “We’re just trying to grow together and improve. This time away just reinforced that we have to enjoy the process here and reconfirms that we love what we do.”

Even during these trying times for our world, Moore-Towers and Marinaro prefer to look at the glass as half-full.

After all, sometimes perspective, as painful as it may be, is a gift.

It has been almost seven months, just after the quarantine started in March, since Marinaro put in a FaceTime call to his grandmother, Charlotte Jones, an avid skating fan and one of his biggest supporters. On the call, Marinaro noticed his grandmother was having some difficulty breathing, but he didn’t give it more than a passing thought.

It would be his last conversation with her.

The following day, Charlotte Jones was taken to hospital and, one day later, on March 31st, she passed away from complications of COVID-19.

Just like that, she was gone.

“It was unexpected, and a huge loss for our family,” says Marinaro. “It really did put things in perspective. Sports took a back seat. This whole situation over the past few months is so much bigger than sport.”

“It was a loss for Mike, and I agree, it really did put everything in perspective,” adds Moore-Towers. “You realize what is truly important in life.”

“It was a low time not only for Mike, but for a lot of people, but it’s been nice to see people sharing their gifts and talents around the world. I saw a lot of positivity with people coming together in a way I hadn’t seen before.”

When the quarantine was first implemented, Moore-Towers and Marinaro, like many others, figured the hiatus would be short-term, perhaps only a few weeks. As time went on, both knew they had to find things to do with their surplus of spare time.

“I did a lot of teaching,” says Moore-Towers, adding she was grateful that Skate Oakville conduced virtual sessions to keep skaters active, both mentally and physically. “I was joking I was excited for quarantine to end, so I could be less busy. It gave me the gift of understanding where my passions lie and what I’m good at.”

Marinaro took advantage of the time off to get outdoors and spend some time with Mother Nature.

“After being locked up in an arena for the past 25 years, I had a chance to get outside during the quarantine and do a lot of camping and outdoor activities that I don’t normally get an opportunity to do,” he says.

Marinaro also took up Frisbee golf.

“I’m still not very good yet, but I’m trying to get better,” he adds with a laugh.

Along with their newfound perspective comes the reality that they are likely heading into the twilight of their competitive careers. Moore-Towers and Marinaro feel there is still some unfinished business to take care of and they don’t want the moment to pass them by.

And in these dark times, they’ve found a beacon of light.

“We’ve always had a clear, concise idea of who we are as athletes and as a team,” says Moore-Towers. “When that is stripped away, you start to think of these other things that will determine who you are as an athlete to complement who you are as a human being.

“We’ve been working on this our whole lives. But suddenly, everything you’ve been working for is unclear. This time has given both of us the opportunity to be well-rounded individuals and understand what we want to do when this is all over.”

But for now, that can wait.

Cancelled: 2020 Skate Canada International

In consultation with the City of Ottawa and the Government of Ontario, Skate Canada has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Skate Canada International. The event was scheduled to take place from October 30-31, 2020 in Ottawa, Ont., at TD Arena. We are incredibly thankful for the effort and support provided by the International Skating Union (ISU), the Skate Ontario Section and all our partners over the past months and are saddened that the hosting of Skate Canada International is no longer viable.

Skate Canada has closely monitored the federal, provincial and municipal health authorities position on COVID-19. Given the evolution of the health crisis and our prudence for the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers, the appropriate course of action was to cancel the event.

“This year is unlike any year before and we’ve seen significant challenges on the operation of competitive events due to the global pandemic. As a result of the continuous shift in requirements across the country and the recent 28-day shut down in Ontario’s hot spots, which includes Ottawa, it became clear that it would not be possible to host this event,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “The inaugural Skate Canada International was first held in 1973 in Calgary and since we’ve hosted 46 incredible events across the country. We look forward to continuing the legacy of Skate Canada International in 2021.”

More information about the 2020-2021 Canadian figure skating event season to come.

2021 Skate Canada Challenge format change

Skate Canada has closely monitored the municipal, provincial and federal health authorities position on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is committed to the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators. With the growing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, Skate Canada has decided to cancel the in-person 2021 Skate Canada Challenge competition scheduled to take place at the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre in Edmonton, Alberta from November 23-29, 2020. We are truly grateful for the effort and support of the AB/NWT/NU Section over the past months and deeply regret that we have felt it necessary to make this decision.

Skate Canada is in the process of determining how the competition is best staged to allow skaters to participate from their home regions providing each with an opportunity to qualify for the 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. More information on the new competition format will be available in the coming weeks. The competition will now run from December 2-6, 2020 to allow additional time for planning an altered format. “The global pandemic has put forth challenges for us all, and our priority is to support the development and goals of our skaters in a safe manner,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada.

More information about the 2020-2021 Canadian figure skating event season to come.