Patrick Chan to train, open skating school in Vancouver
3-time world champion excited about new business venture
A change of scenery and a promising new business venture have lured Patrick Chan to Vancouver.
The three-time world figure skating champion and his coach Kathy Johnson are building an arena in nearby Richmond, B.C., which will house their own skating school. They believe it will provide one of the world's best training environments for skaters.
"We can start from scratch and do everything we've always wanted to do in an elite training centre," Chan said. "It was a great opportunity that just worked out really, really well."
Chan, who returned to competition this past season after an 18-month hiatus, is moving from his training base in Detroit to live in Vancouver. He'll continue to be coached by Johnson, and for now, will train in Burnaby, B.C., alongside national team members such as Kevin Reynolds.
I'm 25, so I have to start looking at: what I want to do after my competitive career. ... Where do I want to live?- Figure skater Patrick Chan on moving his training from Detroit to Vancouver
With just over two years to go to what will be his third, and most likely last, Winter Olympics, the Toronto skater said he had to start thinking about his future.
"I'm 25, so I have to start looking at: what I want to do after my competitive career, beyond shows, beyond "Stars on Ice?" Where do I want to live? Where do I want to buy my first house?" Chan said.
Johnson is also a modern dance teacher who trained at the prestigious Juilliard School. Chan is considered among the best all-around skaters on the planet.
"How I can incorporate skating in what I do and what she does, her theory of movement ..." Chan said from Kelowna, where he's appearing in a "Stars on Ice" show. "Combining both of those I think we can create one of the best programs ever for a figure skater.
"I've had so many years of experience watching and understanding how coaching works in figure skating, and I think there's a lack of theory in figure skating. That's a great opportunity for Kathy and I to break ground and start something totally different. I think Kathy and I can create something special."
Chan said the facility, scheduled to be completed by 2018, will feature two figure skating-specific rinks, plus other features such as state of the art video analysis technology.
Hinted at change
Chan stepped away from competing after settling for a second-place finish at the Sochi Olympics. He had some solid results in his comeback season, but was fifth at the world championships in March in Boston, and hinted that changes might be coming.
He was less than thrilled with his situation in Detroit, where he has no other men's singles skaters to train with.
"Detroit is great, but I wanted to come back to Canada," Chan added. "Eight years that I haven't been training in Canada, I've been training in the U.S. for so long, I don't even know what it's going to be like. It's going to be a whole new experience, which will be a good thing, mix it up a little bit, because things get a little stale."
The avid outdoorsman has always been a fan of Vancouver and B.C.'s west coast. From Vancouver, Chan said, he can go mountain biking on the North Shore, ski at Whistler or surf in Tofino.
"I've always wanted to be in Vancouver, just never had the opportunity to," Chan said. "It's a bit scary to think about moving there, but Vancouver is going to be a great place for training and my competitive career, and it's also going to be a huge step forward in my career outside of skating."
In the eight years since he moved to the U.S. to train, he's lived in Florida, Colorado Springs, and Detroit.