2021/2022 Canadian Men: News and Updates

Colonel Green

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Going into the Olympic year, the biggest question for Canada's men's singles skaters is clinching the second Olympic berth at the 2021 Nebelhorn Trophy. Whoever gets that assignment will be under a lot of pressure to deliver.

The only man who doesn't have to worry about that is, of course, Keegan Messing, who is coming off a great season where he earned his second Grand Prix medal and a best-ever finish at the World Championships. After a really rough 2019/20 season, everything seems to be going his way for the time being. Can he finally claim the Canadian title that a lot of people keep forgetting he has never actually won?

Nam Nguyen and Roman Sadovsky are the top of most people's lists for the Nebelhorn berth. Both had decent Challenge outings last season, but only Sadovsky put out anything good at the World Team Trophy. But the good news for Roman is that both of his short program from last season were solid, which is a big plus for him since that has been a longtime weakness.

Stephen Gogolev has been MIA for a while due to growth and injury, so here's hoping for better times for him in the year ahead. Corey Circelli made a pretty solid showing at last Challenge as a singles skater, now that his junior dance days are firmly behind him; we'll see if he can keep adding the tech to be competitive, because he certainly has the artistic chops.
 

dramagrrl

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I don't think I would say that Keegan "doesn't have to worry" just yet. Yes, he will be given a LOT of leeway based on his success at Worlds this year, but if he has a not-so-great GP season and then is third by more than a bit at Canadians, I can see SC making a different decision. I don't think this will happen and I definitely do not wish it upon him, but Keegan has never been known for consistency and has had weak showings at Canadians in the past (hence never managing to win the title).
 

Lemonade20

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I hope Roman can pull out a win and grab that second spot. He's a beautiful skater to watch. Nam is also good, but they have a tough road ahead. They need a little grit like Elvis.
 

tony

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I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s neither Nguyen nor Sadovsky at Nebelhorn. We can get into lack of competition time and all of that, but they both blew it in the LP at an otherwise cheesefest competition- and it’s par for the course with Roman, unfortunately. Not so typical for Nguyen.

I don’t know what Gogolev’s current status is but he has to be in big consideration if he’s healthy. Circelli had a lot of people talking after Challenge- he could improve in the summer. Phan has endless potential, etc.

As much as I enjoy the quality of Sadovsky’s skating, he’s just wayyyyy too unpredictable, even if he nails everything in the summer, to send to get the spot IMO.
 

Colonel Green

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I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s neither Nguyen nor Sadovsky at Nebelhorn. We can get into lack of competition time and all of that, but they both blew it in the LP at an otherwise cheesefest competition- and it’s par for the course with Roman, unfortunately. Not so typical for Nguyen.

I don’t know what Gogolev’s current status is but he has to be in big consideration if he’s healthy. Circelli had a lot of people talking after Challenge- he could improve in the summer. Phan has endless potential, etc.

As much as I enjoy the quality of Sadovsky’s skating, he’s just wayyyyy too unpredictable, even if he nails everything in the summer, to send to get the spot IMO.
Circelli does not have the competitive experience to be given an assignment like this. Phan is even less consistent than Sadovsky, so likewise with him, unless Nam and Roman look bad in training I wouldn't send Joseph over them. Gogolev, maybe.
 

Sylvia

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Roman has started posting his stories today on Skate Ontario's Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO0cWiZL8G8/

He again confirmed he will keep his FS to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" (choreo. by Mark Pillay, music arranged by Maxime Rodriguez) and is "not sure yet" about his SP music.

ETA - "My first spin after about a month of no spinning 😂 hits different 😵‍": https://www.instagram.com/p/CO3N3faHJPA/

Conrad Orzel (replying to a question via his Instagram story) said he is keeping his SP to "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen; choreo. by Jeffrey Buttle.

Matthew Markell has a new FS to "Per Te " performed by Josh Groban; choreographed by Markell
Clip shared by Markell on April 2: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNK2cuDlO1j/
 
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Lil Sarah

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I really enjoy both Nam & Roman, I hope they both skate to the best of their abilities this season. It's hard because they have both had consistently issues in the past, so it will probably come down to who is having the better season and BoW from WTT to Nats
 

Colonel Green

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I really enjoy both Nam & Roman, I hope they both skate to the best of their abilities this season. It's hard because they have both had consistently issues in the past, so it will probably come down to who is having the better season and BoW from WTT to Nats
Skate Canada has a preference for nationals results unless there are really big intervening considerations (the especially high stakes for a lone men's berth being one). In a situation where Keegan continued to skate like he did last season but then finished third at nationals, I think they would probably invoke BOW, but between Nam and Roman they'll likely take whoever finishes higher at nationals.
 

Seerek

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Roman got 220+ at WTT - would a score like that be good enough to earn a berth at Nebelhorn?
 

alj5

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Roman got 220+ at WTT - would a score like that be good enough to earn a berth at Nebelhorn?

I think a score of 220ish would probably qualify. USA & RUS will probably take 1&2.
Adam Siao-Him-Fa, Brendan Kerry, Si-Hyeong Lee, Paul Fentz, and Vladimir Litvintsev all can score 220.

Plus Roman needs to get past Nam Nguyen (also capable of scoring >220) first.
 

Colonel Green

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Roman got 220+ at WTT - would a score like that be good enough to earn a berth at Nebelhorn?
Roman’s WTT score would have been borderline to qualify in 2017 (which was with one more element), so it’d probably be enough now, though that’d be cutting it much closer than the fed would prefer.
 

screech

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I think there's about a 2% (or less) chance that they will send anyone to Nebelhorn other than Nam or Roman.
The only other person I could see them sending is Stephen, however with no senior experience, and being a wild card himself, I'm expecting it to come down to Nam vs Roman as well.
 

Colonel Green

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Looking ahead, I will be interested to see what Skate Canada does with the national team this year. Last season for both singles disciplines they just did the national podiums; here there wasn't a nationals, and at least in men's, using the Challenge podiums would omit Keegan, which obviously isn't going to happen.

Everybody knows the top three guys will be there, the question is whether they want to add anybody else.
 

Lemonade20

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Looking ahead, I will be interested to see what Skate Canada does with the national team this year. Last season for both singles disciplines they just did the national podiums; here there wasn't a nationals, and at least in men's, using the Challenge podiums would omit Keegan, which obviously isn't going to happen.

Everybody knows the top three guys will be there, the question is whether they want to add anybody else.
I'm surprised at how little we have heard about Stephen.
 

Colonel Green

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Team Raf doesn't have an especially active social media presence, and Stephen doesn't either (except for mountain-biking), so I'm not surprised we haven't heard much about him. Typically we only learn what's going on with him when he shows up at a competition.
 

Sylvia

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Wesley Chiu, 16, coached & choreographed by Keegan Murphy, looks ready for the senior level this season based on his performances at the BC/YK Victoria Day virtual competition this past Saturday. He debuted his SP to GOVARDO's cover of "Vincent" (Gilles/Poirier's FD version), landing 3F, 3A, 3Lz+3T, and scored 74.02: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy-ZM9Hf_CI (ETA that both of his videos have been uploaded by the Connaught SC's YT channel)

His FS program to Samson & Delilah by Saint-Saëns/"I Belong to You" by Muse was his Junior free program music from this past season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7-rgj15wOA
He scored 223.11 total and 149.09 in his FS, landing a clean 4T, two 3A and two 3S (opening 4S became a triple so his final 3Lz with nice flow out didn't count): https://www.skatinginbc.com/sites/default/files/results/vdiv21seniormenfp2dro.pdf
Side note: Kevin Reynolds and Mitchell Gordon were on the Senior FP technical panels as technical specialists.
 
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Sylvia

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Excerpts:
I landed my first triple axel when I was 15 years old. But then lost it the week after. Then I landed a couple more times the following weeks. and then I lost it for an entire year. I changed my focus to quad salchow. I landed my first one when I was 16 but getting it consistent in a program took some work. Eventually the axel came back to me when I was about 16.5 years old. Those 2 jumps were MAJOR milestones in my career. Considering where the sport is going these days, it’s really tough to be competitive without them. Not impossible, but tough. I don’t have any crazy wisdom about how to learn jumps faster, unfortunately time is a major factor. I just did my best to work at it and stay patient, and slowly I was progressing.
Possibly the most frightening part about growth is injury. Every athlete’s worst nightmare, yet we’re so familiar with it that we’re almost desensitized to it. Going through a growth spurt makes you more prone for injury. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Pain is a warning sign from your body. Listen to it. I’ve had all kinds of injuries. Achilles’ tendonitis, hip flexor strains, sprained ankles, back pain, knee pain, neck pain, a torn labrum, etc. etc. All of which were warning signs and telling me what I should be doing. Whether that be increasing body strength, getting rid of muscle imbalances, working on flexibility, going for more massages, doing proper warmups, changing technique, or changing training habits.
 

screech

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I landed my first triple axel when I was 15 years old. But then lost it the week after. Then I landed a couple more times the following weeks. and then I lost it for an entire year. I changed my focus to quad salchow. I landed my first one when I was 16 but getting it consistent in a program took some work. Eventually the axel came back to me when I was about 16.5 years old. Those 2 jumps were MAJOR milestones in my career. Considering where the sport is going these days, it’s really tough to be competitive without them. Not impossible, but tough. I don’t have any crazy wisdom about how to learn jumps faster, unfortunately time is a major factor. I just did my best to work at it and stay patient, and slowly I was progressing
I hate to say it, but he's been landing those 2 jumps for 5 years now, and they're still the most difficult jumps he includes in his programs (though IIRC he has tried the toe before). I hope we see some more progress from him in including more difficult jump elements.

Actually none of our Canadian men are really showing they can do multiple quad styles. Nam used to do both salchow and toe, but no longer, and Keegan used to go for the lutz sometimes, but there's almost a sense of complacency when it comes to upping the technical difficulty.
 

RoseRed

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I hate to say it, but he's been landing those 2 jumps for 5 years now, and they're still the most difficult jumps he includes in his programs (though IIRC he has tried the toe before). I hope we see some more progress from him in including more difficult jump elements.

Actually none of our Canadian men are really showing they can do multiple quad styles. Nam used to do both salchow and toe, but no longer, and Keegan used to go for the lutz sometimes, but there's almost a sense of complacency when it comes to upping the technical difficulty.
So by none, you mean Roman, Nam and Keegan? Because they aren't the only Canadian men. Conrad has both the 4T and 4S in competition, for example (and has attempted more difficulty). We don't know what Stephen will have now that he's grown, but he was doing 4S, 4T and 4Lz in competition in the past, and more in practice.

I don't really know why you'd think complacency was the problem. We know guys like Conrad and Jo train the harder quads. I'm pretty sure Conrad was going for a 3-4 quad FS with 4Lz, 4S and 4T at Challenge (it didn't go well, but you surely can't call that complacent - maybe overly ambitious). Joseph tried to add the 4S at Challenge (and has tried it before I think). Keegan tried to make the 4Lz work, etc. It's not like these guys don't want to win - pretty sure they'd be putting in those jumps if they were working.
 
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skatingguy

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I don't think complacency is the problem - inconsistency is the problem. If they landed the jumps they can do consistently in competition they would be able to add additional content, but it's never happened.
 

Colonel Green

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I don't think complacency is the problem - inconsistency is the problem. If they landed the jumps they can do consistently in competition they would be able to add additional content, but it's never happened.
In Keegan's case I think attempting the 4Lz was (apart from the family tragedy in 2019-20, which is its own separate matter) actually the biggest problem for him competitively. Because even when he didn't actually go for it (which was most of the time), his program was choreographed to make it an option, meaning he opened with a 3Lz and then had that second backloaded 4T that almost never worked.

Once he stopped doing that and put both quad toes upfront, his free skate saw immediate improvement in consistency. This past (shortened) season he landed all four quad attempts in his free skate.
 

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