Canada will have its eyes peeled on Friday when the nation’s best senior skaters compete at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, ON for the Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. Stakes will be high as the skaters vie for a spot on the Canadian teams for the 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships held in London, ON in March.
And there will be no shortage of excitement with youngsters competing against star power with the likes of Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir along with two-time reigning World Champion Patrick Chan competing for national supremacy.
Chan will garner a lot of the attention on the men’s side this weekend. The 22-year-old from Ottawa, ON has established one of the greatest resumes in Canadian figure skating history and will be aiming for his sixth consecutive national title to inch closer to Brian Orser’s record of eight straight. Expect Kevin Reynolds (Coquitlam, BC) and Jeremy Tan (Vancouver, BC), who finished second and third place respectively in 2012, to challenge once again for a podium finish. The wild card will be 2006 Olympian and three-time national champion Emanuel Sandhu (Toronto, ON) who is making his long-awaited return to the event after a layoff to pursue off-ice opportunities.
This event has the opportunity to be as wide open as any with no skater being able to take a stranglehold on the division since Olympic bronze medallist Joannie Rochette (Montreal, QC) dominated in the mid-2000’s on her way to six straight national titles. 2012 national champion Amélie Lacoste (Montreal, QC) is back and is looking to defend her title against new challengers after two-time national champion and seven-time medallist Cynthia Phaneuf (Contrecoeur, QC) retired last year. Look for her biggest competition to come from Marystown, N.L. native Kaetlyn Osmond who won her first Grand Prix event this season. The recently turned 17-year-old will be poised to improve on her 2012 bronze medal finish.
Meagan Duhamel from Lively, ON, and Eric Radford, from Balmertown, ON, ran away with the pairs title in 2012 scoring nearly 19 points more than the next closest competitors. The duo has had a good season capturing two silver medals at Grand Prix events and a recent fourth finish place at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia. Look for them to get pushed by the teams of 2011 national champions Kirsten Moore-Towers (St. Catharines, ON ) and Dylan Moscovitch (Toronto, ON) and two-time national bronze medallists Paige Lawrence (Kennedy, SK) and Rudi Swiegers (Kipling, SK).
The ice dancing competition will have one of the world’s best teams in 2010 Olympic gold medallists and 2012 national champions Virtue and Moir, both from London, ON, looking to start a new streak after their reign of consecutive national titles from 2008 to 2010 was halted due to an injury to Virtue in 2011. The reigning world champions have two gold medals to their name this season and are coming off a silver medal finish at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia. Canada’s second ranked team of Kaitlyn Weaver (Toronto, ON) and Andrew Poje (Waterloo, ON) are missing the Canadian Championships after Weaver suffered an ankle injury in December that required surgery. Expect the team of Piper Gillis (Toronto, ON) and Paul Poirier (Unionville, ON) to contend and place in the top-three.