Path forward for Canadian figure skating

Former Lurve Goddess

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Here is the high performance committee

HIGH PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE​

Darlene Joseph, Chair
Lee Barkell
Jennifer Beauchamp
Marie Bowness
Pascal Denis
Jeff Lukasik
Bruno Marcotte
Joanne McLeod
Ravi Walia
Cynthia Benson
So exactly one person of colour as far as I can tell - the awesome Ravi Walia (whose autograph I still treasure!). But Joanne McLeod :scream:
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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To give Skate Canada credit, their EDI Working Group looks excellent. However, it's my experience that until the makeup of the EDI folks and the senior management look similar, change tends only to be superficial.

ETA: perhaps Skate Canada needs to look at ways to make skating more financially accessible? They should consider partnering up with the low cost (and sometimes free) municipal learn to skate programs. And when these programs are more fun than CanSkate, perhaps adopt the municipal pedagogies?
 
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overedge

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ETA: perhaps Skate Canada needs to look at ways to make skating more financially accessible? They should consider partnering up with the low cost (and sometimes free) municipal learn to skate programs. And when these programs are more fun than CanSkate, perhaps adopt the municipal pedagogies?

IME Skate Canada doesn't want to do this because it "dilutes the brand". They also don't think that the instructors on municipal/civic programs are as qualified as SC CanSkate instructors. In some places this might be true, but it's not consistently true. Anyway, SC would sooner put the municipal programs out of business than collaborate with them.
 

Lemonade20

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IME Skate Canada doesn't want to do this because it "dilutes the brand". They also don't think that the instructors on municipal/civic programs are as qualified as SC CanSkate instructors. In some places this might be true, but it's not consistently true. Anyway, SC would sooner put the municipal programs out of business than collaborate with them.
What brand? Partnership would make sense and working together to set the standards could mean a bigger pool of future elite skaters.
 

kwanfan1818

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I could understand if their certification process was intense -- as in when I got a PMP (Project Management certification), I needed X years of industry experience, a $$$ formal course (5-day, all day), a $$ application fee, and to pass a substantial test that took months of study -- but it sounds more like getting Certified Scrum Master certification, ie, a $$$ two-day course plus the simplest test imaginable.

What is the financial deal for Skate Canada? Do they get government funding at all? If they do, it's too bad that they couldn't be mandated to share with other government sports programs, like programs at municipal, rather than private, rinks.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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IME Skate Canada doesn't want to do this because it "dilutes the brand". They also don't think that the instructors on municipal/civic programs are as qualified as SC CanSkate instructors. In some places this might be true, but it's not consistently true. Anyway, SC would sooner put the municipal programs out of business than collaborate with them.
Skate Canada doesn't really have a brand other than being "bland" and IMO therein lies one of their many problems.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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I could understand if their certification process was intense -- as in when I got a PMP (Project Management certification), I needed X years of industry experience, a $$$ formal course (5-day, all day), a $$ application fee, and to pass a substantial test that took months of study -- but it sounds more like getting Certified Scrum Master certification, ie, a $$$ two-day course plus the simplest test imaginable.

What is the financial deal for Skate Canada? Do they get government funding at all? If they do, it's too bad that they couldn't be mandated to share with other government sports programs, like programs at municipal, rather than private, rinks.
Skate Canada recently received $1.6 Million from Own the Podium and over $3 Million from Sport Canada.
 

overedge

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Skate Canada doesn't really have a brand other than being "bland" and IMO therein lies one of their many problems.

Agreed, but this is how they see themselves:

"leader in the delivery of impactful, best in class skating programs and continue our legacy of producing champions." and

"The Skate Canada brand is strong within the skating community in Canada and internationally as has been the
case for decades. Our brand position has been buoyed by the best-ever showing by a Canadian figure skating team in PyeongChang 2018.The brand continues to be linked with high performance athletes and for producing major sporting
events that include Skate Canada International and the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Skate Canada will continue to promote its brand through the high-quality delivery of our core programs including CanSkate, STAR and CanPower. Our high performance
athletes will remain a focal point of our marketing strategy both domestically and internationally."

(both from the 2018-2022 strategic plan)

That defensiveness around "best in class skating programs" and "core programs" is why they won't collaborate with municipal and civic programs.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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Agreed, but this is how they see themselves:

"leader in the delivery of impactful, best in class skating programs and continue our legacy of producing champions." and

"The Skate Canada brand is strong within the skating community in Canada and internationally as has been the
case for decades. Our brand position has been buoyed by the best-ever showing by a Canadian figure skating team in PyeongChang 2018.The brand continues to be linked with high performance athletes and for producing major sporting
events that include Skate Canada International and the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Skate Canada will continue to promote its brand through the high-quality delivery of our core programs including CanSkate, STAR and CanPower. Our high performance
athletes will remain a focal point of our marketing strategy both domestically and internationally."

(both from the 2018-2022 strategic plan)

That defensiveness around "best in class skating programs" and "core programs" is why they won't collaborate with municipal and civic programs.
Having dealt with similarly self-deluded orgs before, I will state that Skate Canada is 99.99% likely to continue on its downward path.
 

overedge

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Having dealt with similarly self-deluded orgs before, I will state that Skate Canada is 99.99% likely to continue on its downward path.

You know it.

For what it's worth, amid all the corporate-speak about "listening" and "consultation" in the strategic plan, there is a mention that one of the draft purpose/mission statements had "skating programs" as a secondary part, and the feedback was that "skating programs" should be listed first because it's the most important thing SC does 🤷‍♂️
 

Mont

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Figure skating has declined for a long time. Even Skate Canada has cut back a lot, making it impossible for the upcoming future generation of skaters to succeed. They need skating seminars, competitions, more leadership and Slipchuck is failing at it. We have so many talented coaches and it feels like they're all focused only on the elite skaters. SC needs to focus on the younger groups (as young as 8)
Agree but its not just Slipchuk. It's the board and CEO and senior management.
 

screech

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An issue is that many skaters are required to move away from their homes to receive high-level coaching. I know that the club I skated out of had coaches with high level certification, but they were not experienced with coaching elite skaters. If a skater was showing promise, they (in the 90s) moved to Barrie to train at Mariposa. Many trained in Ottawa or in Barrie in the summers - just to receive the coaching for a few weeks.
If a skater's family is unwilling or unable to have them move to a major training centre, that skater often does not reach the high levels or may quit.
I know that one of my summers training at Mariposa in the 90s, I took off-ice lift classes, just for fun. The coach recommended that I come back to Barrie after that year's Canadians to try out for pairs. I was 13 years old, lightweight, tiny, good at the lifts (off ice) and beginning to work on my triple jumps - I was the ideal candidate to do pairs, and I was very interested. My parents however were unwilling to have me move away from home, so I continued just singles skating at my home club and never really developed into a high level competitor.

All that to say that it would be wonderful if the smaller clubs would have elite level coaches. At least elite coaches regularly visiting these locations so that gifted skaters are allowed to prosper under the attention of someone who knows how to develop their skills. More than just 1 elite coach coming to town one weekend a year for a brief seminar.
 

Mont

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Zukiwsky was there too, wasn't he? Could have done without one of them.

There were 214 athletes and 85 coaches in the delegation. The total was 414 so they had 115 officials, delegates etc. There were 13 figure skaters and 10 coaches (3 with other country accreditations).

COC stats
I would love to understand how Zukiwsky even has a job. Since he's joined, the result have gone down. Given his title, clearly a big salary and cost to SC. What exactly has he contributed? It makes no sense. Just cause a friend of the ex president?
 

Mont

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I am very much a homer and I am not ashamed of it. I want Canadians to do well in the sports I like. I think it's great that Canada is doing well in, uhm, ski-cross or whatever....theoretically and logically, at least. And I don't want Canadian kids to be forced to compete in figure skating when they prefer to compete in monoblob. But Canadian success in figure skating brings me personal joy. And I like joy.

Technically, Canada may not leave Beijing empty handed. There is the team event. I suppose they literally left Beijing empty headed, but so did Teams ROC, USA and Japan.
Sorry, but if the best you can do is a team event medal, it's pretty much empty handed regardless....
 

livetoskate

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An issue is that many skaters are required to move away from their homes to receive high-level coaching. I know that the club I skated out of had coaches with high level certification, but they were not experienced with coaching elite skaters. If a skater was showing promise, they (in the 90s) moved to Barrie to train at Mariposa. Many trained in Ottawa or in Barrie in the summers - just to receive the coaching for a few weeks.
If a skater's family is unwilling or unable to have them move to a major training centre, that skater often does not reach the high levels or may quit.
I know that one of my summers training at Mariposa in the 90s, I took off-ice lift classes, just for fun. The coach recommended that I come back to Barrie after that year's Canadians to try out for pairs. I was 13 years old, lightweight, tiny, good at the lifts (off ice) and beginning to work on my triple jumps - I was the ideal candidate to do pairs, and I was very interested. My parents however were unwilling to have me move away from home, so I continued just singles skating at my home club and never really developed into a high level competitor.

All that to say that it would be wonderful if the smaller clubs would have elite level coaches. At least elite coaches regularly visiting these locations so that gifted skaters are allowed to prosper under the attention of someone who knows how to develop their skills. More than just 1 elite coach coming to town one weekend a year for a brief seminar.

Just one anecdote, but there was a top-level coach who moved to my area and coached for maybe a year before throwing in the towel and getting a regular corporate job. He was a former world medalist who was one of the best skating coaches I'd had. Unfortunately, in smaller cities, or most places in general, there aren't many kids who want to be competitive skaters and therefore, not enough income to support a top skating coach. The more serious young skaters already had coaches, and I heard that some of the coaches weren't too welcoming to someone who might take away their students.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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I would love to understand how Zukiwsky even has a job. Since he's joined, the result have gone down. Given his title, clearly a big salary and cost to SC. What exactly has he contributed? It makes no sense. Just cause a friend of the ex president?
I have no real clue about this but I wonder if the Peter Principle applies here? Zukiwsky definitely has created some amazing choreography for skaters and likely knows the IJS inside and out. Perhaps, he's just not suited to being a pencil-pusher? Or perhaps entrenched folks are preventing him from making any changes? I've certainly seen that happen over and over again.
 

Mont

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I have no real clue about this but I wonder if the Peter Principle applies here? Zukiwsky definitely has created some amazing choreography for skaters and likely knows the IJS inside and out. Perhaps, he's just not suited to being a pencil-pusher? Or perhaps entrenched folks are preventing him from making any changes? I've certainly seen that happen over and over again.
You may be right about not being suited to being a pencil pusher. Its very different from being a great choreographer etc.
 

Colonel Green

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I would love to understand how Zukiwsky even has a job. Since he's joined, the result have gone down. Given his title, clearly a big salary and cost to SC. What exactly has he contributed? It makes no sense. Just cause a friend of the ex president?
Because results are mostly unrelated to what any individual SC executive and it’d be silly to assess things that way?
 

Mont

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Because results are mostly unrelated to what any individual SC executive and it’d be silly to assess things that way?
That's just simply untrue and makes absolutely no sense in relation to the "Senior Director, Performance Excellence". Agree that a SC executive doesn't directly and immediately effect a result but they can provide the conditions to foster and allow for excellence in development that leads to results ie the tools and conditions that allow for athletes and coaches to achieve their highest levels. Seems to me a couple of prior leaders had pretty good success in that area, had great results during their tenure and left a legacy for a period of time after they left but if the subsequent executives don't do the right things, eventually you run out of road. So like every decent business, they should be assessed on this basis and it seems to me there is a good case that the current group have not been successful and are not performing well.
 

WanderlustTO

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I agree with some of the comments made in this thread about the systemic issues figure skating has in this country - which I think will probably only increase going forward.

At a basic level, to be an elite figure skater you really need to get into the sport at a fairly young age. But, as others have pointed out, 'figure skating' isn't really a sport that a lot of parents think about putting their kids in this day and age.

Parents like team sports. Soccer is big. Hockey is big...including for girls.

The decline of figure skating as a heavily watched sport doesn't help - because it means there are fewer opportunities for parents/kids to be energized/inspired by athletes they watch on tv.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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I agree with some of the comments made in this thread about the systemic issues figure skating has in this country - which I think will probably only increase going forward.

At a basic level, to be an elite figure skater you really need to get into the sport at a fairly young age. But, as others have pointed out, 'figure skating' isn't really a sport that a lot of parents think about putting their kids in this day and age.

Parents like team sports. Soccer is big. Hockey is big...including for girls.

The decline of figure skating as a heavily watched sport doesn't help - because it means there are fewer opportunities for parents/kids to be energized/inspired by athletes they watch on tv.
Skate Canada really needs to grabble with the fact that things have changed a lot since the 70s and 80s. When I was kid, most middle class girls usually did at least one of the "girlie" activities: ballet, figure skating, gymnastics. I hardly know any parents now who put their kids into those pursuits.
 

Lemonade20

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Skate Canada really needs to grabble with the fact that things have changed a lot since the 70s and 80s. When I was kid, most middle class girls usually did at least one of the "girlie" activities: ballet, figure skating, gymnastics. I hardly know any parents now who put their kids into those pursuits.
So true, dance is still popular, but I'm seeing very few girls go further in gymnastics and skating. Dance is an activity you can perform alone or as part of a team and there's the year end recital to look forward too. Not quite the same for skating & gymnastics (more competition, more travel).
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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So true, dance is still popular, but I'm seeing very few girls go further in gymnastics and skating. Dance is an activity you can perform alone or as part of a team and there's the year end recital to look forward too. Not quite the same for skating & gymnastics (more competition, more travel).
Dance is still very popular (especially hip hop and contemporary) but ballet not so much.
 

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