Novice ice dancers keeping it close going into tomorrow’s free dance

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – In novice dance Victoria Oliver and George Waddell hope for a podium finish. At first blush, Waddell is a Charlie White lookalike –same hair but taller – and he slips across the ice with his head up, looking quite aristocratic. He and his partner have been together for two years. Waddell took over dancing with Oliver, who had danced with Waddell’s twin brother, Charles, who left dance for other pursuits.

After two pattern dances, the Paso Doble and Westminster Waltz, however, they are in 6th place. It seems that this year, it’s crowded at the top. Never has the competition been so stiff in novice dance.

At the top of the heap is Marjorie Lajoie, 14,  and Zachary Lagha, 15, who have already been skating together four years. They chalked up their biggest scores in the second dance, the Westminster Waltz, but truthfully, Lagha likes the Paso Doble better. “It’s a man’s dance,” he said. They finished in a tie with Gina Cipriano and Bradley Keeping Myra, (representing Nova Scotia) in the Paso.

Last year, they were pre-novice champions. This, their first year at the novice level, they were hoping for a top-five finish. The free dance is still to come on Tuesday.

The team that actually won the Paso Doble are their training mates: Alicia Fabbri, at age 11, the youngest woman in the competition, and her partner, Claudio Pietrantonio, 17.

They have been skating together for only eight months. Because of the difference in their ages, it’s difficult to find the right free dance for them, but they will opt for rock and roll. “It comes really natural to her,” says Mylene Girard, who also works with the team.

Fabbri, looking years beyond her age, and her partner easily won the Paso with 28.80, more than two points better than the second-placed team. Lajoie and Lagha won the Westminster waltz with 31.72, about three points ahead of Sabrina Bedard and Zoe Duval-Yergeau, another Quebec team.

With the scores combined, Lajoie and Lagha are still ahead by 1.62 points over Bedard and Duval-Yergeau. Fabbri and Pietrantonio are in third place, out of second by only three-hundreds of a point.

The top six teams are separated by only 3.55 points.

The coaching team of two of the top three teams is LMK International, headed by veteran coach Julien Lalonde, who toils with technique along with Valerie Allard. Former ice dancer Mylene Girard is part of the team, focusing on choreography.
Lalonde said his aim is to get skaters to the Junior Grand Prix events and beyond. Currently they have teams all the way up to senior.

Lalonde said it took him a year to convince Lagha that he had the perfect partner in his club, and after they had a tryout, Lagha was “hooked” and joined the club. “It was magic from day one,” Lalonde said.

In novice women, Justine Brasseur easily leads with 43.05 points, while Alicia Pineault is second with 40.65 and Rachel Pettitt is third with 37.00.



OTTAWA, ON:  Canada’s top-ranked figure skaters are set to take the ice for the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The event runs from January 19 to January 25, 2015, at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario. The competition will begin with the novice ice dance on Monday, January 19 and the senior events begin on Friday, January 23.

As declared by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, 2015 marks the Year of Sport in Canada. The Canadian Tire National Skating Championships are one of the first events to help kick off this memorable year.

“Canada is a world leader in creating champion skaters. The investment of our partners, like Canadian Tire in amateur sport, allows us to showcase our world class athletes’ hard work, passion, and commitment to the sport,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “Canadian Tire and Skate Canada are excited to crown our senior, junior, and novice national champions in Kingston for the first time in the city’s history.”

“From the playground to the podium, the Canadian Tire Corporation understands the power of sport and its ability to inspire greatness,” said Kim Saunders, Associate Vice President, Canadian Tire. “We have celebrated skating for over 90 years and are proud to support the athletes, coaches, families and friends for their hard-work, support and commitment to skating in Canada.”

Canadian Tire, in partnership with Skate Canada, will host a special Family Skate on Saturday, January 17 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (ET), at Springer Market Square at Kingston City Hall to celebrate the upcoming championships. Olympians Elvis Stojko and Paige Lawrence will both be in attendance, as well as Mayor Bryan Paterson. The celebration is open to the public and will feature public skating, ticket giveaways and autograph sessions.

Approximately 250 skaters in the men’s, women’s, pair and ice dance disciplines at the senior, junior, and novice levels, will compete for the title of Canadian champion. Athletes will vie for spots on Skate Canada’s National Team and the Canadian teams that will compete at the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the 2015 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the 2015 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Leading the way in the pair category are Olympic silver medallists (team), two-time world bronze medallists, and most recently, the 2014 ISU Grand Prix Final gold medallists, Meagan Duhamel, 29, Lively, Ontario, and Eric Radford, 29, Balmertown, Ontario.

National team members Kirsten Moore-Towers, 22, St. Catharines, Ontario and Michael Marinaro, 23, Sarnia, Ontario, will be competing at their first Canadian Tire National Skating Championships together.

Newly formed pair team Lubov Ilyushechkina, 23, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 30, Toronto, Ontario, will also be making their first Canadian Tire National Skating Championships debut together.

This year’s ISU Junior Grand Prix Final champions and 2014 Canadian junior pair silver medallists Julianne Séguin, 18, Longueuil, Quebec, and Charlie Bilodeau, 21, Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, will compete in the senior pair category for the first time.

World silver medallists, 2014 Olympians, and 2014 ISU Grand Prix Final gold medallists, Kaitlyn Weaver, 25, Waterloo, Ontario, and Andrew Poje, 27, Waterloo, Ontario, lead the Canadian entries in ice dance.

Olympians and 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships bronze medallists Alexandra Paul, 23, Midhurst, Ontario, Mitchell Islam, 24, Barrie, Ontario, and national team members and 2014 ISU Grand Prix finalists, Piper Gilles, 23, Toronto, Ontario, and Paul Poirier, 23, Unionville, Ontario, return to the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships to battle for podium positions.

The men’s discipline will feature 2014 Olympic silver medallist (team) and three-time Canadian silver medallist Kevin Reynolds, 24, Coquitlam, British Colombia, as well as 2014 Olympian and Canadian Tire National Skating Championships bronze medallist Liam Firus, 22, North Vancouver, British Colombia, and 2014 world junior champion and national team member Nam Nguyen, 16, Toronto, Ontario.

In the ladies competition, 2014 Olympian and two-time Canadian silver medallist Gabrielle Daleman, 17, Newmarket, Ontario, and 2013 Canadian bronze medallist Alaine Chartrand, 18, Prescott, Ontario, will headline the field.

For full entries and the event start orders please click here.

Tickets are available and can be purchased online at, by phone at 1.855.985.5000 or in person at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.

Media who have not already applied for accreditation are asked to contact Emma Bowie, Communications Manager. She will be the onsite media contact at the event and can be reached at 613.914.2607 or at [email protected].

Skate Canada steps into “Year Of Sport” spotlight at Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

With 2015 proclaimed as the Year of Sport in Canada, by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Skate Canada is proud to celebrate and promote the role that sport plays coast-to-coast-to-coast.

As a leader on the Canadian sports landscape, Skate Canada encourages all Canadians to celebrate sport in their cities and towns by attending or volunteering at a national or sectional competition.   To bring awareness to the benefits of sport and leading a healthy, active lifestyle, Skate Canada will unveil a series of special edition photos featuring national team athletes leading up to the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, taking place January 19 – 25 in Kingston, Ont.

The Year of Sport, a proactive Canada-wide initiative with an overarching theme of “Canada: A Leading Sport Nation”, encourages Canadians to participate in and seek the benefits of sport while showcasing key moments in the nation’s sporting history.

Three-time defending Canadian pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, also two-time world bronze medallists, 2014 Olympic silver medallist (team) and reigning ISU Grand Prix Final champions, say the social and life skills learned through sport helped boost them up to the top step of the podium.

“Sport has the ability to change and touch people’s lives”, states Duhamel. “Sport is a great passion in Canada.  You can be part of that passion, whether you are a volunteer, a coach or an athlete. I think it is so important for kids to learn the life skills taught through sports, whether it is individual or team sports.”

“I feel sport provides such a great base for a healthy life in all facets,” adds Radford.  “You can stay physically and mentally healthy while making new friends and meeting new people. You learn to deal with success, you learn to deal with failure, and can apply it to every situation you will go through in your life.”

Synchronized skating is another discipline that Canadians enjoy as both a pastime and as a competitive sport. The 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, to be staged April 10-11 in Hamilton, Ont., is one of more than 60 international competitions Canada will host in 2015.

Paige Lawrence named Athlete Ambassador for the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston

OTTAWA, ON: Four-time Canadian pair medallist and 2014 Olympian Paige Lawrence, 22, of Kipling, Saskatchewan will act at the Athlete Ambassador for the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston, Ontario. The event takes place from January 19-25 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.

“We are delighted to have Paige act as our Athlete Ambassador in Kingston and help us kick-off the first skating event in Canada’s 2015 Year of Sport. This is the most important competition on Canadian skaters’ calendars as they are all striving to represent Canada at the international level. Having Paige join us to represent the competing athletes allows the skaters to stay focused on the ice,” said Dan Thompson, CEO, Skate Canada. “Paige has competed at this event nine times at the junior and senior level and certainly knows what it takes to compete at the national championships and to make it onto the podium.”

As the Athlete Ambassador, Lawrence will be handling speaking engagements, media interviews, making appearances on behalf of the competing athletes, and making time for fans.

“Kingston holds a special place in my heart, as this is where I won my first grand prix medal at the 2010 Skate Canada International.  I am so thrilled to be coming back to Kingston as the Athlete Ambassador for the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and to share in the remarkable memories that are sure to be made,” said Lawrence. “I am honoured to represent the amazing athletes who gather here from across the country, as they compete to achieve their individual goals, and I look forward to cheering everyone on with all the enthusiasm in my heart.”

Lawrence and her partner Rudi Swiegers are four-time Canadian bronze medallists (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). In 2010 they won their first international medal, a bronze at Skate Canada International in Kingston. That same season they also won the bronze medal at the 2011 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

Lawrence and Swiegers qualified to compete for Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and placed 14th. They then went on to place 12th at the 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan.

After finishing the 2013-2014 season Lawrence and Swiegers went in separate directions.  Lawrence has been keeping herself busy by attending the University of Calgary and hopes to enter the Kinesiology Mind Sciences program in the fall.


Tickets still remain and can be purchased online at, by phone at 1.855.985.5000 or in person at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.


The event will feature approximately 250 skaters in the men’s, women’s, pair and ice dance disciplines, competing in three levels: senior, junior and novice.

Athletes qualified for the championships threw their sectional events and then move onto Skate Canada Challenge the national qualifying event, which saw 18 men’s, 18 women, 12 pair teams and 15 ice dance teams move onto the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

Athletes will vie for spots on the Skate Canada National Team and the Canadian teams that will compete at the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the 2015 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the 2015 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.