Canadian skating fans will have their eyes fixated on Halifax, Nova Scotia; where over 70 skaters in 12 disciplines will skate for their countries’s national championships. Canada can boast of two of the top spots in the International Skating Union (ISU) rankings, and all signs point to their wins, barring injury or mistakes. But there are still skaters with bright futures ahead of them.
Here’s our picks!
Analysis – ‘Return of the King’ should be the title of this weekend’s festivities. Patrick Chan is back from a year long layoff. He looks fresh and revised. His win at Skate Canada and a 4th place finish at the Grand Prix Final puts him in decent shape to regain his title. However, there are a couple of skaters in his way. One is current Canadian champ, Nan Nguyen, who is currently ranked 11th in the World, but didn’t fare well on the Grand Prix circuit this season (5th, Skate Canada; 7th, Moscow). Elladj Balde was supposed to shine this season, but stumbled (11th at Cup of China and NHK). Kevin Reynolds makes a return after an injury-filled 2014-15.
Skaters to Watch – Canada has two juniors making their senior debut this weekend. Nicolas Nadeau is the reigning Canadian Juniors champion and has a 2nd place finish at JGP Croatia Cup this season. Roman Sadovsky won at JGP Bratislava and finished 3rd at JGP Copernicus Stars. Keegan Messing is another skater to watch out for, as he formerly skated for the United States.
Smooth’s Picks –
- Patrick Chan
- Nan Nguyen
- Nicolas Nadeau
Analysis – ‘Uncertainty’ can be said about the ladies division going into this weekend. To be specific, “Who can take it to the next level?” For current champion Gabby Daleman, she showed her graceful style to take the tiara last season. But in international competition, she struggled (5th, Skate Canada; 6th SP, Trophee Bompard). 2nd place winner Alaine Chartrand worked hard to keep up with Gabby this season, but has also struggled internationally (12th, Skate America; 6th, Moscow). Kaetlyn Osmond showed some promise after returning to the ice from injury. She had very success this fall (11th, Skate Canada; 6th NHK), but still has some work to do. Veronik Mallet has a window of opportunity for success this weekend, but will need to do better than her Grand Prix showing this fall (10th, Skate Canada).
Skaters to Watch – With Juliane Seguin skating pairs this season, Canada has some other skaters who could break the ice. Roxanne Rheault finished 4th last season, but has limited international participation this past fall. Kim DeGuise Léveillée, Larkyn Austman & Selena Zhao all make their senior debuts this weekend. All have some international experience on the Junior Grand Prix circuit.
Smooth’s Picks –
- Gabby Daleman
- Alaine Chartrand
- Kaetlyn Osmond
Analysis – Number one in the world and the reigning world champions, Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford have a challenge on their hands. They lost the Grand Prix Final due to a stumble in the short program. This weekend will be a test to how they’ll do in Boston for worlds. Should they miraculously stumble, there are three teams to watch. Julianne Séguin & Charlie Bilodeau had a great Grand Prix season, finishing 3rd at Skate America and the short program at Trophee Bompard to qualify for the final, where they finished a surprising 4th. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro are in their second year as a team and made important strides, coming in 3rd at Skate Canada and 7th in Moscow. Lubov Ilyushechkina & Dylan Moscovitch are also in their 2nd year, but haven’t quite the fall season they expected (7th, Cup of China; 5th, NHK).
Skaters to Watch – Vanessa Grenier & Maxime Deschamps is a team to look out for this weekend. They’re the former Canadian junior champions and are still viable, despite a disappointing Grand Prix season (7th, Skate Canada; 8th, Cup of China). Other teams entered this weekend are Brittany Jones & Josh Reagan, Hayleigh Bell & Rudi Swiegers and Shalena Rau & Sebastian Arcieri (in their senior debut).
Smooth’s Picks –
- Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford
- Julianne Séguin & Charlie Bilodeau
- Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro
Analysis – Two of the top 10 teams in the world will be skating this weekend. Number #1 ranked Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje are on a two year winning streak, not having lost in competition since early 2014. They’re the clear favorites in Halifax. Close on their heels are Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, who had a strong Grand Prix season, despite missing the Final. Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam are just outside the ISU’s top 10 in 11th place. They performed in only one contest, Skate Canada finishing 6th. Elisabeth Paradis & François-Xavier Ouellette will be competing in their 4th Canadian Nationals, with their highest placement in 5th.
Skaters to Watch – Brianna Delmaestro & Timothy Lum will compete in their 1st Canadian Nationals as seniors. Last year, they took the juniors title in ice dance. Lauren Collins & Shane Firus will also see their first senior competition. They’ve only competed in two international competitions. Carolane Soucisse & Simon Tanguay finished in 9th last year at Nationals. Other teams to watch are Andréanne Poulin & Marc-André Servant and Nicole Orford & Asher Hill.
Smooth’s Picks –
- Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
- Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier
- Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam