Team Canada’s top moments from the 2022-23 winter season: ice sports
We’ve arrived at the end of an incredible season for Team Canada’s stars of ice and snow.
Over the last six months, we have seen history happen before our eyes. We have watched wonderful world championship performances. We have been introduced to athletes ready to make their mark on the road to the next Olympic Winter Games at Milano Cortina 2026.
Here’s a look back at some of the most magical moments on ice from the 2022-23 season. You can check out Team Canada’s season highlights on snow here.
Figure Skating: Canadians have us hyped for home worlds
What a difference a year can make. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier put all their Olympic disappointment behind them to produce the most successful season of their careers. After a glorious Grand Prix Series that included three gold medals, including their first ever at the Grand Prix Final, they endured a setback when Gilles had to undergo an appendectomy. But after three months away from competition, they returned to win bronze at the ISU World Championships. Their performances left them full, happy, and grateful.
Canada’s ice dance prowess doesn’t end with them, though. Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen were also top five at the worlds to cap off their own breakout season. Those results ensured Canada will have three ice dance duos at the 2024 Worlds in Montreal. That is welcome news to the talent that had to stay home this year, most notably Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha who, throughout the season, showed they belong with the best.
Some of the most pleasant surprises of the season for Canada came in pairs. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps battled through a lengthy illness to finish one step off the world podium. Just two places behind them were Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud who only formed their partnership in early September. They made people take notice in just their third international competition together. It’s important that Canada held onto three pairs spots for 2024 Worlds because Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar also had some great moments (including a Grand Prix medal) in their first full senior season.
Keegan Messing could not have been given a better sendoff into retirement than he received at the world championships. The Japanese crowd in Saitama clapped constantly during his programs and rewarded him with several standing ovations. Of course, we’ll also fondly remember him winning his second national title while awaiting the imminent birth of his daughter and then winning his first ever ISU Championship medal at Four Continents.
Long Track Speed Skating: Excellence up and down the distances
The trio of Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais, and Isabelle Weidemann had a perfect World Cup season in the women’s team pursuit. They won the event at all three stops where it was included. At the ISU World Championships, it looked like their win streak had come to an end, but a disqualification of the Dutch team saw the Canadians awarded the world title.
Maltais and Blondin made some World Cup history in February when they became the first Canadian women to share a podium in the mass start. They won silver and bronze, respectively. It was Maltais’ first World Cup medal in an individual long track event since she made the switch from short track in 2018. Blondin ended the World Cup season ranked first overall in the women’s mass start. She then won her sixth career world championship medal in the event, taking the silver.
After missing a few early season World Cup stops to be home for the birth of his son, Ted-Jan Bloemen was back in form by the world championships where he won bronze in the 10,000m. At 36-years-old, the long distance specialist proved he can still compete with the best.
Sprint specialist Laurent Dubreuil topped the season’s World Cup standings in the men’s 500m. He had a good performance in trying to defend his world title in the distance, but was dethroned by American prodigy Jordan Stolz. Known to be a respectful opponent and a connoisseur of his sport, Dubreuil clearly appreciated the 18-year-old’s impressive effort and warmly applauded the man who took his title.
Also at the worlds, Canada won the gold medal in both team sprint events. Blondin was victorious in the women’s event with Brooklyn McDougall and Caroline Hiller while Dubreuil stood atop the podium with Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu and Christopher Fiola in the men’s event. Gélinas-Beaulieu also won a medal in the men’s team pursuit as he, Connor Howe, and Hayden Mayeur claimed the silver.
Short Track Speed Skating: Canada continues to be a powerhouse
With 37 medals won, the short track team produced one of Canada’s most successful World Cup seasons of the past decade. Once again, several members of the team distinguished themselves on the international scene.
Steven Dubois, coming off his breakout performance at Beijing 2022 where he won three medals, finished second in the 500m World Cup standings. He then picked up his first individual world championship medals when he won silver in the 1000m and bronze in the 500m.
Veteran Pascal Dion finished second in the 1000m standings before winning his second straight world championship medal in the 1500m, adding bronze to the silver he earned a year earlier.
Kim Boutin was ranked third overall in the 500m World Cup standings while Courtney Sarault was second overall in the 1000m and third overall in the 1500m. They both won two bronze medals at the world championships. Boutin was third in the 1500m while Sarault placed the same in the 1000m. The two skaters joined forces with Claudia Gagnon and Renee Marie Steenge for another bronze in the women’s 3000m relay.
The men’s 5000m relay only finished fourth at the worlds, but they had dominated the World Cup circuit, winning gold in three of the six races.
Just after the worlds, Boutin announced that she will take a bit of a break this fall and will miss the first few World Cups next season. She’ll use that time to continue her education and her community work on a resource for young mothers and their children who are in vulnerable situations.
Bobsleigh: Good quadrennial kickoff for Canadians
If there was one word to describe Cynthia Appiah over the course of the season it would be consistent. She won her first crystal globe as a pilot as she finished third overall in the women’s monobob standings after reaching the podium in five of eight races.
Appiah was the veteran of the World Cup circuit, but a few of her less experienced teammates also showed some sparks for future success. Bianca Ribi won the season opener for monobob in Whistler and posted a trio of top-five finishes in two-woman. Taylor Austin drove to his first ever World Cup podium when he and his four-man crew finished third in Whistler.
Skeleton: Rahneva returns to sliding success
Mirela Rahneva took a lot of life lessons from this season.
Though there were some lows, she also achieved great highs. She earned her first World Cup victory in almost four years. She earned Canada’s first world championship medal in skeleton since 2015. She finished third in the overall World Cup standings for women’s skeleton, earning her first crystal globe in four years. Even when she wasn’t on the podium, she was very close, finishing fourth in three straight World Cup races.
Luge: Mark made in new event
History was made back in December when Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless won bronze in Park City, Utah. It was Canada’s first ever World Cup podium in women’s doubles luge. It was also one of only three races that the duo competed in as they had made commitments to their education. But with women’s doubles luge being included at the next Olympic Games, you can’t help but be optimistic.
Curling: Veterans continue to get it done
For the second year in a row, Team Einarson came home from the World Women’s Curling Championship with a bronze medal. Kerri Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Harris had earned the honour of being Team Canada once again by winning their fourth straight national title at the Tournament of Hearts.
Though Team Gushue looked a little different this season, with E.J. Harnden replacing the departed Brett Gallant at second, the result at the Brier was the same for Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, and Geoff Walker: a second straight national title. Gushue became the first skip to ever win five Briers.
Jennifer Jones can still find things to win for the first time. This year, the decorated world and Olympic champion finally won her first mixed doubles national championship, taking the crown with husband Brent Laing.