Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier skate in dance holdGreg Kolz/Skate Canada
Greg Kolz/Skate Canada

What to watch in figure skating, speed skating, curling and women’s hockey in 2022-23

It’s time to welcome back Team Canada’s stars of the indoor ice – the figure skaters, the speed skaters, the curlers, and the hockey players.  

Yes, the 2022-23 winter sports season is upon us. Many athletes who competed at Beijing 2022 are ready to show their stuff against the world once again. But not everyone is back, as the summer off-season saw its share of notable retirement news.

To help set you up with what to watch in the coming months, here’s a sport-by-sport breakdown of figure skating, short track and long track speed skating, curling, and women’s hockey — including when and where you can catch your favourite Canadian athletes in action at home.

Figure Skating

Keegan Messing smiles after his free skate program
Canada’s Keegan Messing reacts at the end of his free program in the men’s figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Thursday, February 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Competitions in Canada

  • ISU Grand Prix: Skate Canada International – October 28-30 – Mississauga, ON
  • Canadian Tire National Skating Championships – January 9-15 – Oshawa, ON

World Championships

  • ISU World Figure Skating Championships – March 20-26 – Saitama, Japan

RELATED: 2022-23 ISU Figure Skating schedule and Canadian entries

Retirement Rundown

All three of Canada’s top pairs from last season are no longer competing. Three-time national champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro announced their retirement in early June after competing at their second Olympic Games together. About a month later, Vanessa James and Eric Radford followed with their own retirement announcement. They leave the sport as the reigning world bronze medallists.

In early August, Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud, who were three-time silver medallists at the national championships, announced they were ending their partnership. Walsh is headed to university while Michaud is searching for a new partner. Two-time Canadian men’s champion Nam Nguyen decided in May that he would no longer skate competitively.

Who to Watch

All three Canadian ice dance duos who competed in Beijing are back. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier decided to stick around for a chance to “really compete on our terms again” after two far-from-normal seasons filled with cancelled competitions and few to no fans in the arenas. Also hoping to make an impact internationally this season are Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Soerensen and Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha.

Keegan Messing is staying for another season in which he hopes to accomplish a few goals, including competing at his 20th national championships and landing a quad Lutz at age 30. He and fellow Olympian Roman Sadovsky will likely have a few young challengers for the national crown, including 17-year-olds Wesley Chiu and Stephen Gogolev who are stepping up to the senior Grand Prix circuit this season.

Madeline Schizas is well rested after heading into the summer exhausted from the longest season of her life that was highlighted by her brilliant Olympic debut in the team event. Gabrielle Daleman, who helped Canada win team event gold at PyeongChang 2018, has endured a few injuries and illness over the last number of months but she aims to be back on competitive ice this fall.

An up-and-coming pair looking to make their mark are Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar. They won bronze at the world junior championships in April. And if you’re wondering about the McIntosh name, yes, Brooke is the older sister of swimming star Summer McIntosh

At the opposite end of the age spectrum are 39-year-old Deanna Stellato-Dudek and 30-year-old Maxime Deschamps. Stellato-Dudek was a world junior silver medallist in singles back in 2000 while representing the United States. She retired just a couple of years later due to injury, but in 2016 decided to resume her skating career in pairs. She and Deschamps have only been competing together for a couple of years and now have the opportunity to show what they’re capable of on the international stage.

Short Track Speed Skating

Steven Dubois waves Canadian flag
Team Canada short track speed skater Steven Dubois celebrates winning silver in the men’s 1500m event during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday, February 09, 2022. Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/COC

Competitions in Canada

  • Canadian Short Track Championships – October 14-16 – Quebec City, QC
  • ISU World Cup – October 28-30 – Montreal, QC

World Championships

  • ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – March 10-12 – Seoul, South Korea

RELATED: 2022-23 ISU Short Track World Cup schedule and results

Retirement Rundown

Only one member of the Beijing 2022 team has retired – the legendary Charles Hamelin. After winning gold in the 5000m relay for his sixth career Olympic medal, the 38-year-old skated a final lap of honour at the world championships in Montreal in April. In his last race ever, he won bronze in the 5000m relay for his 38th career medal at the worlds. After four years with the national team, Camille de Serres-Rainville also announced her retirement.

Who to Watch

Kim Boutin returns as the veteran leader of the women’s team. She finished second overall at the 2022 World Championships after winning silver medals in the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m as well as the 3000m relay with her Olympic teammates Florence Brunelle, Alyson Charles, Courtney Sarault and Danaé Blais. In need of a recharge after making her Olympic debut, Charles decided to take a little break from training and competing, but anticipates a return to the national team in January. Brunelle is dealing with some injuries that are keeping her out of the national championships this fall.

The men’s team will likely be led by Steven Dubois and Pascal Dion, who in recent years stepped up as the heirs apparent to Hamelin. Dubois won two individual medals in Beijing while Dion finished second overall at the world championships. With their Olympic relay gold medallist teammates Jordan Pierre-Gilles and Maxime Laoun, they provide a nice building block for the national team.

Who will make up the World Cup team will be determined at the Canadian Championships, which for the first time ever are being held in conjunction with the national long track championships at the newly opened Centre de glaces in Quebec City.

Long Track Speed Skating

Isabelle Weidemann skates
Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann skates during the women’s 5000m speed skating final at the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Competitions in Canada

  • Canadian Long Track Championships – October 13-16 – Quebec City, QC
  • ISU Four Continents Championships – December 2-4 – Quebec City, QC
  • ISU World Cup – December 9-11 – Calgary, AB
  • ISU World Cup – December 16-18 – Calgary, AB

World Championships

  • ISU World Speed Skating Championships – March 2-5 – Heerenveen, Netherlands

RELATED: 2022-23 ISU Long Track World Cup schedule and results

Who to Watch

All of the Olympic medallists currently on the national team are back for another season. That group includes Team Canada’s triple medallist and Closing Ceremony flag bearer at Beijing 2022, Isabelle Weidemann, as well as her gold medal-winning teammates in the team pursuit, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais. Like Weidemann, Blondin is a medal threat in multiple long distance events, particularly the mass start in which she finished second overall during last season’s World Cup circuit.

Olympic 1000m silver medallist Laurent Dubreuil heads into the season as the reigning overall World Cup champion of the 500m. He’s got some fresh motivation in the form of son Nathan, who was born in September and joins big sister Rose as Dubreuil’s chief cheerleader. You’ll also want to keep an eye on Ted-Jan Bloemen as well as some Olympians who have had world championship success in recent years, such as Graeme Fish, Connor Howe, Jordan Belchos, and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu.

The members of the World Cup team for long track will also be determined following the Canadian championships. The potential is there for more Quebec-based athletes to make a splash after having had a full season to train closer to home at the beautiful new Centre de glaces.

Curling

Brad Gushue throws a stone from the hack
Canada’s Brad Gushue, throws a rock, during the men’s curling match against Switzerland, at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Competitions in Canada

  • Grand Slam of Curling: Tour Challenge – October 18-23 – Grande Prairie, AB
  • Pan Continental Curling Championships — October 31-November 6 — Calgary, AB
  • Grand Slam of Curling: Masters – December 6-11 – Oakville, ON
  • Grand Slam of Curling: Canadian Open – January 10-15 – Camrose, AB 
  • Tournament of Hearts (women’s national championship) – February 17-26 – Kamloops, BC
  • Brier (men’s national championship) – March 3-12 – London, ON
  • Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship – March 21-26 – Sudbury, ON
  • World Men’s Curling Championship – April 1-9 – Ottawa, ON
  • Grand Slam of Curling: Players’ Championship – April 11-16 – Toronto, ON
  • Grand Slam of Curling: Champions Cup – May 2-7 – Regina, SK

World Championships

  • World Women’s Curling Championship – March 18-26 – Sandviken, Sweden
  • World Men’s Curling Championship – April 1-9 – Ottawa, ON
  • World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship – April 22-29 – Gangneung, South Korea

Roundup of Changeups

There were a lot of off-season shakeups among Canadian teams who all have the same goal: to be Team Canada at the next Olympic Winter Games. TSN has a comprehensive look at all the switcheroos, but here is a quick review of some of the changes involving Olympians.

Olympic bronze medallists Team Gushue said goodbye to Brett Gallant. He’s moved to Alberta to form a fresh quartet with Brendan Bottcher, Marc Kennedy, and Ben Hebert. The second slot on Team Gushue is being filled by E.J. Harnden, who won gold at Sochi 2014 with Team Jacobs but who have now all gone their separate ways. Team Gushue won the opening leg of the Grand Slam of Curling over Thanksgiving weekend.

Jennifer Jones is now skipping a younger team, joining the foursome that Mackenzie Zacharias skipped to gold at the 2020 World Junior Championships. They won the first notable event of the season, the PointsBet Invitational, in late September.

Two members of Jones’ team in Beijing – Kaitlyn Lawes and Jocelyn Peterman – are sticking together. Lawes is now skipping the team that welcomes Selena Njegovan and Kristin MacCuish, who previously played with Tracy Fleury. Dawn McEwen has retired.

Fleury, whose team were runners-up at the Canadian Trials for Beijing 2022, has joined Team Homan as the skip. Rachel Homan will continue to throw the fourth stones. The spot opened after Joanne Courtney decided to take a break from competitive curling 

A few players have decided to focus on mixed doubles. Lisa Weagle has paired with John Epping, John Morris is teaming with Shannon Birchard, and Laura Walker gave up skipping a four-person team to play mixed doubles exclusively with Kirk Muyres.

It will be a most interesting season to see which new crews gel quickly and how they fare against the squads that didn’t change things up, such as Team Einarson who have won the last three national titles at the Tournament of Hearts.

Ice Hockey

Team Canada grin and yell as they wear their gold medals on the ice
Team Canada pose with their gold medals in women’s hockey during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on February 17, 2022. Photo by Mark Blinch/COC

Team Canada has won gold at the last three major global tournaments in women’s hockey: the 2021 IIHF World Championship, the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and the 2022 IIHF World Championship.

In preparation for the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship — which will be hosted in Canada but the dates and location are still to be announced — Team Canada will resume its Rivalry Series with the United States. The first two games will take place in Kelowna, B.C. (November 15) and Kamloops, B.C. (November 17) before shifting to Seattle, Washington for a game on November 20. More dates and locations will be announced in the coming months.