Why are there no Senior B competitions in North America?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by DORISPULASKI, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Lord knows, there are enough summer competitions here and there. Is the problem getting the sponsoring clubs/federations/etc to agree on one site?

    What are the bars to getting one?

    I'd particularly like to see an ISU sanctioned summer competitions here in dance and pairs. It is not necessary for an event to have more than one discipline represented. NRW Dance is sanctioned.

    New Senior teams need to get a qualifying score these days to compete at either 4CC's, Europeans, and/or Worlds (ISU Comm 1640).

    But more importantly, every year the rule changes in dance seem to be extensive enough that its become necessary to get ISU judges' input prior to the Grand Prix. That became clear in the surprises in the way the Golden Waltz segments were judged this year. Whatever CD is chosen for the Pattern Dance part of the SD next year, there will be similar issues.

    It's twice as expensive (obviously) for pairs & dancers to make it to Europe to attend a Senior B than for singles.

    It's not like there aren't enough teams from enough countries who train in North America to make the event international, particularly in dance. A quick skim of the ISU biographies yields this list of teams who train in NA, at least part of the time:

    Australia
    O'Brien and Merriman train in Vancouver for the "high season"

    Azerbaijan
    Feigin and Krasniak, at Arctic Edge

    Denmark
    Good & Sorensen train part time in the USA (Cromwell with Matthew Gates)

    Georgia
    Allison Reed and Otar Japaridze (Mount Laurel with Platov)

    Great Britain
    Kerrs train in Princeton, NJ, with Platov
    Coomes & Buckland train in NJ with Platov

    Italy
    Faiella & Scali at Aston with Linichuk
    Pajardi & Caruso at Lake Placid (if they are still together)

    Japan
    Reed & Reed (back in Hackensack with Galit Chait)

    Lithuania
    Tobias and Stagniunas) ) Canton with Shpilband
    Aronow and Pirogov (not sure if they are still together) Canton with Shpilband

    Mexico
    Bruhns & Lavrik trained at Crowell with Matthew Gates

    Russia
    Khokhlova & Andreev at Canton, MI, with Shpilband
    Pushkash & Guerreiro at Astin, PA, with Linichuk

    Switzerland
    Krail & Peter at Astin with Linichuk

    Ukraine
    Heekin-Canedy & Shakalov train at Stamford in USA with Dubova
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  2. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Probably because there are basically two countries in North America with the means and organizations to host international competitions and both of them alreadty host A level competitions.
  3. taz'smum

    taz'smum Active Member

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    France hosts both A and B level international competitions, it is possible to hold both!
  4. geoskate

    geoskate Well-Known Member

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    Another Ukranian team training in North America is Terra Findlay/Dmitry Dun, who train somewhere in Ontario. You're right, it should be very easy to get a good range of international participants.

    I think that must be it, and just getting one of the federations to take the lead in doing this. The fact that the Canadian federation, in particular, only sends participants to one Senior B (Nebelhorn) suggests that they don't attach much importance to the role that Senior B competitions play, so I wouldn't expect the lead to come from Skate Canada.

    My understanding is that the organizing committee of a Senior B event does not pay for travel costs, etc. for participants, so the event wouldn't even be that expensive. The organizers would have to pay for the travel costs of the judges.
  5. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    So the sticking point then may well be who is going to pay for the judges?

    Is it OK to charge participants an entry fee, as with an ordinary club competition? That could be used to pay for the judge's expenses.

    Or the audience could be charged 10$ a day. Not that there ever is much of an audience for either a summer competition or a Senior B event.

    At Liberty, they only charge for the program.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  6. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    This may sound to you like a stupid question [so sorry :) ] but what exactly is a B competition [what's the difference between A and B comp?], and are any held in Asia?
  7. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

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    The minimum score rule is a newly-formed purpose for Senior B competitions and neither the US or Canada has a new team or skater in a discipline that they need competitors for Worlds or 4CC. If such a situation arises they can use their host pick for the skater/team. However, if either USFS or Skate Canada felt they needed a Senior B competition for their skaters, I'm sure they'd find a way to facilitate such a competition. The only reason I can think of is if they had a team with a skater from another country who can't be released until after their "A" competition time.
  8. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    The term 'Senior B' is used for competitions in Europe like Nebelhorn, Finlandia, Coupe de Nice, Ice Challenge, Golden Spin of Zagreb, etc. None are held in Asia at this time. (The 6 Senior Grand Prix competitions are understood to be 'Senior A' but the term isn't actually used).

    ETA: The annual Lake Placid Ice Dance and Indy Challenge Pairs competitions in August are probably the closest things to Senior Bs in the U.S. right now since they draw a good number of Canadian teams as well as a few from other countries, plus a few international officials are invited to be on technical panels and/or judge.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
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  9. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! It does seem unfair to me that they're only held in Europe - but maybe nobody else wants them????
  10. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    Edited to add--Sylvia beat me to the response, but here is my attempt at a definition:

    A 'B' competition is any ISU competition open to all federations that is not part of the Grand Prix Series or one of the Championship events (Europeans, Four Continents, Worlds). Typically the competitors in these events are not among the top ten in the world in their discipline, but sometimes a Worlds-medal contender will participate in a B competition in the fall in order to get ready for the A competitions. (For example, Savchenko & Szolkowy in pairs and Davis & White in ice dance competed at the Nebelhorn Trophy in 2009. So did Stephane Lambiel, but he needed to compete there to obtain an Olympics berth for Switzerland.) At present, all of the B competitions are held in Europe, so the question about hosting a B competition outside of Europe applies just as much to Japan, Korea, China, and Australia as it does to Canada and the U.S.
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  11. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Yes, but Lake Placid does not allow you to get a qualifying score, because it is not sanctioned by the ISU. And the judging there never seems to be entirely in line with international judging.

    I assume the judges, while qualified by ISU standards?, are all North American judges?

    So that's two weaknesses of assuming LPIDC fills the need. Not to mention that it is not centrally located and that Placid is one of those "can't get there from here" type of places, plus hotel rooms are relatively pricey, since it's a vacation destination in summer and fall (winter too, for that matter).

    It is not the federation that has a need for the competition, it's the skaters.
    :)

    I suspect that skaters and coaches are going to have to get together to drive any effort to get one of the summer competitions sanctioned by the ISU.

    If a team goes to Nationals and finishes, say 3rd or 4th in dance (like say, Navarro and Bommentre or Steigler and Magerovsky in their first year) they could qualify for 4CC's or even Worlds or Olympics, in the old days. Now they can't go anywhere without first finding and attending an ISU sanctioned senior competition and getting above a minimum score.

    Additionally, the opportunity for summer input on levels is key.

    BTW, the Japan Open is a sanctioned senior competition in singles, and there is a competition in New Zealand that is sanctioned for all 4 disciplines.

    Check out the list of sanctioned competitions in ISU Comm 1612

    http://isu.sportcentric.net/db//files/serve.php?id=1880

    There is also a dance competition in Czech Republic, for that matter.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  12. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    The New Zealand competition (the Southern Skate International) was cancelled this year, and the Japan Open is invitational (and they typically invite high level skaters), so there really was no option outside of Europe for senior skaters in any discipline hoping to compete in a B competition this summer or fall.
  13. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Which only makes it of more interest to skaters who train in North America to have an option to compete in North America.

    BTW, the Japan Open does fix any problems for skaters the Japanese federation regards as promising.
  14. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    From ISU Communication No. 1629, the criteria for a Senior B competition to be eligible to provide ISU World Standings points:
    ETA: Just checked online and Nailya ZHIGANSHINA / Alexander GAZSI seem to have received ISU World Standings points for their 2nd place finish at NRW Trophy-Ice Dance (225 points) even though this result is not listed in their ISU bio: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00009177.htm
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  15. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member

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    I've wondered this for a while. Senior-age skaters need opportunities to break into the international scene, especially in pairs and dance where partnerships are often re-forming, and where it takes time to develop as a team.

    Perhaps USFS and Skate Canada don't perceive a problem because they are focusing on their top competitors, but I'd like to see a Senior B opportunity here in N.A. for lower-ranked skaters who still have the commitment and interest to push themselves onward in the sport after missing the junior age "time window".
  16. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem with having Liberty as a "B" competition is the venue itself. It is basically an ice rink, with bench seating, not an arena.

    Lake Placid and Broadmoor do have arena seating, but as previously mentioned, Lake Placid is hard to get to and Broadmoor (in Colorado) would require additional travel for the skaters/teams who train on the east coast and European judges/techs. And both Lake Placid and Broadmoor are at altitude.

    Apparently ISU judges seem to require the most posh hotel arrangements, and that is an expense for the host federation.
  17. Blair

    Blair New Member

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    I remember reading once that there aren't any senior B events in NA because there's little or no need for them. NA has always had a strong culture of self-organizing club competitions, of which some are fairly big events with many competitors. Having ISU B events would take away from the competition, and the money clubs make hosting these things.

    I suppose not getting an ISU ranking would be the only negative to how things are done now with club comps.

    Can someone confirm? I can't remember where I heard this.
  18. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Sounds like it would be relatively easy to start a similar competition in Detroit area alone for dance.

    Yes NRW dance is a qualifying competition. It's on the list.

    I agree with flowerpower that there really is a need in dance and pairs.

    So I started this thread in a hope that someone with the power to make it happen might think of doing it.

    euterpe, you really don't need arena seating for a Senior B competition (check out the seating at some of the arenas used for the other competitions.)

    Liberty seating in Rink 2 where the seniors actually compete, not so much, but the rink next door 1? 3? has a lot more seats and would do.
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  19. Squibble

    Squibble New Member

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    Can you give any examples of any current U.S. or Canadian pairs or dance couples who you believe have been unfairly denied the opportunity to break into the international scene? The USFSA and Skate Canada do, in fact, send quite a few of their lower-ranked seniors to Senior B's already.

    The USFSA sent a senior dance couple to Cup of Nice this season, and their overall score was 81.24.

    http://www.nice-baie-des-anges.fr/images/stories/docs-coupe/resultats2010/html/CAT006RS.HTM

    If that's the level of couples who do get sent to Senior B's, it's hard to the "need" to create additional competitions for those who don't.
  20. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Katharine ZEIGLER / Baxter BURBANK were sent to Nice as the dance representative via USFS' Collegiate international program (they were the highest placing, full-time college students that competed at the Lake Placid IDC in August 2010).

    Is the reason purely budgetary or something else, I wonder?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
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  21. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    It happens often in pairs & dance that a couple breaks up and a brand new couple forms. Often, because both are top performers by themselves, they debut at Nationals at 4th or higher.

    This year, off the top of my head, in the US, Marley & Brubaker, even if they finished high enough at Nationals to qualify for 4CC'S or Worlds, couldn't go this year.

    In past years, the following new teams won medals and would not have been able to go to Worlds or 4CC's without taking a trip to Europe first, wasting money they probably did not have since they were new teams (usually the 4th place couple gets a 4CC's berth since at least one of the top 3 won't go:

    Weaver & Poje
    Silverstein & Meara
    Steigler & Magerovski (debuted in 4th)
    Navarro & Bommentre (debuted in 4th)
    Gregory & Petukhov
    Semanick & Kravette
    Semanick & Gregory
    Blumberg & Siebert finished 3rd in their first year at US championships, if one is to believe wikipedia
    Rene Roca and James Yorke finished 4th in their debut year, and if there had been 4CC's then, couldn't have gone.


    Probably there are others; I just don't remember them.
  22. Squibble

    Squibble New Member

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    They can earn a qualifying score at the Bavarian Open (between Nationals and Four Continents) or Mont Blanc or the International Challenge Cup (both of which are between Four Continents and Worlds). I expect these three competitions to become increasingly successful at drawing high-quality entries because teams such as Marley & Brubaker, Bonheur & Canac, Mukhortova & Blanchard, Volosozhar & Trankov, and Khokhlova & Andreev will want the opportunity to gain a qualifying score to compete at ISU Championships.

    In your original post, you said:

    In 2010, a summer Senior B competition wouldn't have done Marley & Brubaker any good. They didn't even team up until August, and judging from the fact they haven't entered any Senior B's scheduled before Nationals, they probably don't feel they either need or are ready for one yet.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  23. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    This is true-but a summer competition with real ISU technical committee would have done a lot of good for teams just about to compete in the new short dance.

    And just because there might be a summer Senior B, it doesn't preclude having a winter Senior B in North American specifically aimed at teams that haven't yet had ISU qualifying scores but did really well at Regionals/Sectionals/Challenge.

    And next year's short dance will most likely have a different CD for the pattern dance. Similar prep will be desirable.

    When Pechalat and Bourzat got an unpleasant surprise at Nebelhorn, they were able to pick up 2 other Senior B's prior to debuting at Cup of China, and thus had their levels up to the best they could. Indeed, everyone is praising their devotion to their preparation. No North American team could have done something like that-3 trips to Europe would be very unfeasible.

    And then there's the matter of the Season's Bonus from the ISU-the Senior B points can determine what the skaters win there.

    Faiella & Scali arrived at CoC and got more surprises than just their wardrobe problems. D&W (who wouldn't have been able to take advantage of a Senior B, most likely, due to their SOI involvement and other projects also got an unpleasant surprise at NHK on their Golden Waltz levels.

    It would be nice for internationally active US (and Canadian and skaters from other countries training in the US) to be able to get early input without having to spring for a trip to Europe. Even if money is no object, the time and the jet lag are great for training either.
  24. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    Well I agree with this - and I'd say the same thing for Asia. If these competitions are going to have an impact on the season, then ALL skaters from ALL countries should have reasonable access to them. Otherwise, it seems like the ISU is putting the emphasis on European skaters and favoring them over skaters who are far away.
  25. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    There are three federations in North America, not two.

    I don't understand at all why none of them hold at least one competition, other than the summer ones.

    European skaters definitely wouldn't come because the costs are so high.

    But Northern American skaters probably would, the European skaters who train in North America probably would (way cheaper for them than flying back to Europe) and correct me if I'm wrong but for some Asian countries NA is closer than Europe, no?
  26. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    Depends on where in NA - along the Pacific coast I think it's certainly cheaper [and maybe closer - it's about 11 hours flight], but further inland or east coast, I think no. It's about the same [course, it depends on exactly where in Europe too].
  27. hockeyplayer2

    hockeyplayer2 Member

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    From what I have read, Pajardi/Caruso and Aronow/Pirogov no longer together-tho' I may be wrong. I believe Stephano Caruso is skating w/Tanja Kolbe (tho' don't know where they train), and Aronow is skating w/Donohue (may be in Canton?)
    It would be wonderful to expose more SR teams (specifically Pairs and Dance) to competition for the experience. I wonder if federations would allow teams to go if they were willing to pay their own way? If competitions were held in NA, wouldn't be too costly for most teams-probably about the cost of Lake Placid or Liberty, I would think.
  28. geoskate

    geoskate Well-Known Member

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    (Sylvia was asking what Skate Canada's reason was for not using Senior B's other than Nebelhorn).

    I hope it's budgetary. If it's a strategy decision, then I don't think it's very wise. For one thing, many top-level Canadian skaters would benefit from additional international competitive experience, as I think is demonstrated by the performances of about half the Canadian skaters on the Grand Prix circuit this year. Those skaters simply didn't skate up to their capabilities, and some of that is probably due to lack of competitive experience IMO. Secondly, there are a reasonable number of Canadian skaters who aren't yet up to the levels required for the Grand Prix circuit but are still quite good. Some of them never will be at the Grand Prix level, but some of them just need time and some incentive to perservere until they reach that level. I think Senior B assignments can help provide that short-term incentive.

    If it is a budgetary reason, Senior B's in North America would definitely help.
  29. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    The minimum qualifying score is insane. If a team beats a team who has met the qualification at their nationals, that new team (or skater) should be able to go.
  30. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with everything you've said.

    And I certainly hope that Skate Canada just doesn't have enough money to send skaters to more events.

    Although it seems really weird. Out of all the federations out there, you'd imagine they'd be able to afford it...
  31. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Yes, I would think they could afford it myself.

    And it isn't like clubs don't hold competitions.

    Both LPIDC and Liberty are huge, especially Liberty.

    If the Czech Fed can hold an ISU sanctioned Senior B, I don't see why the Canadian or the American Fed can't.

    And, in fact, I think there should be 2 in each region (one in summer and one after regionals/sectionals).

    At the very, very least, I'd like to see a dance comp in Detroit and one in PA/Del area. Maybe one at Broadmoor.

    In Canada, one in Quebec, one in Ontario and one in BC.
  32. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, their only other senior B was Finlandia, which had been on their agenda all along, so it wasn't a reaction to Nebelhorn. French Masters is a national event and required for all French skaters, mostly for getting input from the Federation.

    P/B are based in Moscow now, so it's not exactly a short hop to some European events. They, and Zhulin, were simply smart about the preparation and realized that with the changes this season, more feedback would do them good, and planned accordingly. North American skaters may find it difficult to do two senior Bs in Europe, but they have summer competitions and can certainly make the trip for one event, as D/W did last year.

    In hindsight I think D/W would have been better served by doing less shows and spending more time on preparing for the season, but at least they were assigned to the first GP and got their feedback early.

    That having been said, I think senior Bs in NA and Asia would be a good idea.
  33. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    The article I read about them said 3 competitions...but perhaps the 3rd was French Masters, in which case, it wasn't a Senior B.
  34. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

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    Don't know why you think SC would be so rich. They are the only NGB to actually buy the TV rights from the ISU so we can get to see some skating on TV in Cda. CTV didn't want anything to do with it and CBC can't afford it (being 70 million in debt). I'm guessing that SC buys air time from CBC and then rounds up the advertising themselves. Debbie Wilkes has done an incredible job of getting, and maintaining, sponsorship from various companies, and then there's income from membership of course, but I seriously doubt SC is rolling in money at all.
  35. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Yes, and USFSA got involved with its rather ill starred venture with MLB and icenetwork.

    Nonetheless, I strongly suspect they have more money than the Czechs.

    And how much money would be involved.

    Let's take a competition like Indy Pairs-it's already true that both Canadian and American pairs compete there, plus a number of international pairs that train in the US. It's in a nice central location for the continent.

    How much would it cost to make this an ISU Senior B vs. just a club competition?

    And who would have to pony up?
  36. Dragonlady

    Dragonlady Well-Known Member

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    I would much rather restore the North American Challenges for Novice and Junior skaters than I would see the money spent on Senior B events. I think that the Canadian development program in particular has suffered from the loss of these events, especially with the Ladies.

    It was said that the NAC's were axed because of money issues. I'd even contribute to bringing them back. One only has to look at the list of past winners to see their value.
  37. Capella

    Capella Guest

    Skate Canada didn't even use all its spots at JGP events! What a waste! Sounds like Slipchuk et al are more interested in "stars" than those off the potential-Olympic-medalists short list.

    I would love to see LPIDC become a Senior B event. Obviously skaters from the U.S. and Canada have competed over the years, and sometimes non-NA teams do, too, if they train in NA (or are North American and compete for another country).

    I've never been to Oberstdorf. Is it easier to get there than to Lake Placid? When Skate America was there last year, Team Yu-Na drove from Canada. And the location certainly didn't seem to hurt the number of Korean fans and media who made the trip. If the Bs are located in smaller, Alpine-y areas, chances are you are not going to be able to just take a shuttle from the airport and be at the arena in 5 minutes.
  38. Dragonlady

    Dragonlady Well-Known Member

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    The Korean fans came by bus from New York, and left right after the women finished. Lake Placid is not easy to get to.
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  39. rhumba

    rhumba New Member

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    Most European countries are accessible by trains. Going to LP is quite difficult if you do not have a car.
  40. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    You could always just borrow one while you are in town. :lol: