This week, the top teams in Canada will head to Saint John, New Brunswick for the 2019 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships. Medals will be awarded at the novice, junior and senior levels, with the novice and junior events taking place on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the senior events later in the week.
The senior roster consists of eight teams and the top spot of the podium will likely be a battle between Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier and Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje.
Though Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier were disappointed with their results in the Fall season, they capped 2018 with a decisive 31 point win at Golden Spin of Zagreb. Though the were alternates for the Grand Prix Final, the team did earn the top spot in the final ISU Challenger Series results. Both of Gilles & Poirier’s programs are high quality, but it’s their free dance to Govardo’s cover of “Vincent (Starry Starry Night” by Don McLean that has been well received by both judges and fans alike.
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje debuted their programs at Autumn Classic in September, which was their only competition of the season. Instead, Weaver & Poje skated both as part of the eight week Thank You Canada Tour. Though they may not have received as much technical feedback from officials as Gilles & Poirier, they do have the benefit of upping their performance level as part of the tour.
Carolane Soucisse & Shane Firus were fourth at last year’s Nationals and won the silver medal at the 2018 Four Continents Championships. Their results this season have been lower than expected and the team is returning to their popular free dance from last year, which is set to music by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. This change could help propel the team onto their first national podium.
Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen represented Sorensen’s home country of Denmark for the past five seasons and decided in early 2018 to switch countries and skate under the Canadian flag. The team has finished as high as 11th at the World Championships and 7th at the European Championships, but their rank in Canada is still undetermined. Fournier Beaudry & Sorensen posted a score of 192.03 at November’s Skate Canada Challenge and are podium contenders in Saint John.
At the junior level, Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha are poised to win their third consecutive national title, while the remainder of the podium and the second spot for the World Junior Championships is up for grabs. At the end of last season, many of Canada’s junior teams split and new partnerships were formed.
The top three teams at Challenge were all new, including Alicia Fabbri & Paul Ayer, who took the top spot. Yuka Orihara & Lee Royer and Irina Galiyanova & Grayson Lochhead finished second and third, respectively.
IDC has put together a Canadian Nationals Hub that includes the event schedule, which kicks off at 8 am (local time) on Monday, January 14, with the novice pattern dances.