Despite stiff competition, it seems to me that the 2009 HomeSense Skate Canada could very well result in the best placements for Canadian skaters at any of the Grand Prix events with all four disciplines featuring Canadian world medallists from the last two years.
The most anticipated event will no doubt be the men’s which will signal the return to competition of Canadian two-time champion and reigning world silver medallist, Patrick Chan, who has spent the last couple of months healing from a tear to his left calf muscle.
This appearance at Skate Canada is particularly important for Chan who otherwise would not have the opportunity to face any international competition until the Olympic Games if he chooses to not compete at the ISU Four Continents Championships late in January. With only one event, he will not have enough points to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
His biggest threat here should come from the NHK Trophy bronze medallist Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic. Brezina is the 2009 ISU junior world silver medallist and was a huge surprise at his first Grand Prix where he established new personal bests in the short, free and overall scores.
In the women’s event, Akiko Suzuki of Japan, the star of this season’s Cup of China with personal best short, free and overall scores and her first Grand Prix gold medal, will be one to watch.
Canada’s Joannie Rochette, the 2009 world silver medallist, has a bronze already this season from the Cup of China and will be facing Suzuki again in one of the more interesting re-matches of the season.
Rochette is the definite front-runner at Skate Canada, like she was in China, but will have to dominate in both the short and the free in order to secure the top spot and a berth at the Grand Prix Final. Laura Lepisto, the 2009 European champion from Finland, will also be on hand in Kitchener, Ont., and looking to improve on her fifth place finish at her first Grand Prix in Japan.
Ice dance will give skating fans the chance to enjoy Canada’s two-time national champions and two-time world medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as they continue their journey towards the Olympic Games. It would be extraordinary to not have them come out on top and win all three segments given the quality of their skating and their material this year.
The Italian ice dance team of Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali are the 2009 European silver medallists and took the bronze at the Grand Prix in China and had they not withdrawn from the event would have been Virtue and Moir’s competition. Expect Americans Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, the 2008 ISU world junior champions, and Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, the 2007 ISU world junior bronze medallists to try and make a run for the podium.
It’s fitting that at the end of the Grand Prix series, three of the heaviest hitters in pairs skating, who competed in the first Grand Prix event, will be going head to head again.
Canada’s two-time champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison took the silver medal there ahead of the defending two-time world champions from Germany, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, who faltered and took the bronze. The eventual Trophee Eric Bompard winners were Russians Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov, who posted personal bests in both the free and the overall scores.
Men: Patrick Chan CAN
Women: Joannie Rochette CAN
Ice dance: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir CAN
Pairs: Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison CAN
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?