Path forward for Canadian figure skating

puglover

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One of the things my kids loved about skating was that they progressed individually. They were able to take tests in dance, figures and free skate and if they passed their level then they moved on. They grew frustrated in dance because they felt they spent most of the year preparing for the recital and they did the same things over and over as rarely was everyone there. I felt they learned more self directed learning. The coach was only with them 15 minutes out of 45 and the rest they had to use constructively on their own.
 

Former Lurve Goddess

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539
One of the things my kids loved about skating was that they progressed individually. They were able to take tests in dance, figures and free skate and if they passed their level then they moved on. They grew frustrated in dance because they felt they spent most of the year preparing for the recital and they did the same things over and over as rarely was everyone there. I felt they learned more self directed learning. The coach was only with them 15 minutes out of 45 and the rest they had to use constructively on their own.
Those 15 minute sessions were why my parents refused to sign me up for figure skating lessons. They thought the classes were a lot money for so little time. I'm glad I was able to take lessons as adult to make up for that.
 

Seerek

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On the women's side, yes. The men not so much. And to be fair, lots of kids like my nephew do gymnastics for a bit as a building block for the extreme sports they really want to pursue.

The men may have a resurgence in the Paris cycle with Will Emard and Felix Dolci (not sure about qualifying a full team, though).

The women could be going through a generational transition with Ava Stewart.
 

riverzz

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It’s even more discouraging at the sectional level. Skate Ontario has approximately 16 employees including Executive Director plus 3 other Directors plus 3 Managers ….. so almost half of the employees are freaking Directors and Managers???????? Only in the public sector could this happen. It’s disgusting and the Board should resign. This taxpayer money should at the very least be going to skaters not administrative egos. Absolutely no overshoot accountability.
 

screech

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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.
I know that me and my sister got into figure skating as toddlers because my mother skated when she was younger. I think a lot of parents who skated put their kids in canskate at least. But then whatever happens from there is (hopefully) up to the child.

One of the things my kids loved about skating was that they progressed individually. They were able to take tests in dance, figures and free skate and if they passed their level then they moved on.
I hated team sports in high school because I was so used to being on my own - my results were my own results. Nobody else could take credit, and if mistakes were made they were my own

Those 15 minute sessions were why my parents refused to sign me up for figure skating lessons. They thought the classes were a lot money for so little time. I'm glad I was able to take lessons as adult to make up for that.
You could also get a coach like mine, whose previous lesson would run a few minutes over, but she'd leave mine at the correct end time. So I'd pay for a 15 minute lesson, but in actuality end up with 10 minutes. Frustrated the hell out of me.
 

Mont

Active Member
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Isn’t Canada doing better in gymnastics though nowadays?
Fun fact. My friend who is a coach told me that W Thompson who was Skate Canada's CEO was on the board of gymnastics as a volunteer for 4 years and chair for a year and was instrumental in helping that organization restructure along with the CEO in the right direction and the dividends are starting to pay off.
 

Sylvia

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Paging @William (again)! He last posted in this April 2021 thread in GSD:
 

Aaron MB Fan

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The men may have a resurgence in the Paris cycle with Will Emard and Felix Dolci (not sure about qualifying a full team, though).

The women could be going through a generational transition with Ava Stewart.
We are finally having a resurgence post Kyle Shewfelt days. Emard finished a Canadian record high 8th place in the AA at Worlds, and he was the back up entry due to Dolci being injured. He also made multiple event finals. Dolci is a Junior YOG Olympic medalist and Junior World Champion. They are both young and have tons of potential. Hopefully with their leadership we can finally secure a men’s team qualification spot for 2024.
 

William

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We are finally having a resurgence post Kyle Shewfelt days. Emard finished a Canadian record high 8th place in the AA at Worlds, and he was the back up entry due to Dolci being injured. He also made multiple event finals. Dolci is a Junior YOG Olympic medalist and Junior World Champion. They are both young and have tons of potential. Hopefully with their leadership we can finally secure a men’s team qualification spot for 2024.
I think GymCan is making some very good moves forward. As a friend of mine always says, the road to success is always under construction so there are always things to improve but some strong fundamentals are in place for doing well. The key for sports orgs is always resources to help and not hinder coaches and athletes. They make it happen. You help them make it happen. William T
 

William

Member
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I think GymCan is making some very good moves forward. As a friend of mine always says, the road to success is always under construction so there are always things to improve but some strong fundamentals are in place for doing well. The key for sports orgs is always resources to help and not hinder coaches and athletes. They make it happen. You help them make it happen. William T
I might add that far too often, sport orgs get distracted from their main reason for being and spend time and resources doing things that detract from the primary objectives. Things like politics, personal agendas of administrators, becoming really good at something that really isn't important or advancing your main focus all suck the life out of NSOs. The world is competitive. You cannot afford to fall behind as catching up is very, very difficult. Can be done but its hard.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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It’s even more discouraging at the sectional level. Skate Ontario has approximately 16 employees including Executive Director plus 3 other Directors plus 3 Managers ….. so almost half of the employees are freaking Directors and Managers???????? Only in the public sector could this happen. It’s disgusting and the Board should resign. This taxpayer money should at the very least be going to skaters not administrative egos. Absolutely no overshoot accountability.

Skate Canada isn't in the public sector. It's a non-governmental sport organization.

And while I agree with you about the number of directors and managers in this organization being a bit much, having worked in the public sector and in the private sector, I saw way worse misguided spending and waste in the private sector.
 

WanderlustTO

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Skate Canada isn't in the public sector. It's a non-governmental sport organization.

And while I agree with you about the number of directors and managers in this organization being a bit much, having worked in the public sector and in the private sector, I saw way worse misguided spending and waste in the private sector.
I agree with you on this one. I have problems with Skate Canada (and the Ontario arm)...and their internal structure can be improved, the "HR map" isn't what's driving the problems.
 

Candleonwater

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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)
My daughter is a figure skating coach and recently left Canada. She felt there was an extreme lack of support from SC and the programs she was experiencing just lacked any potential for growth. Then there's the push for skaters to all work on synchro and dance. Not all skaters have an interest in those. Thankfully my daughter's career is thriving in the states, as is her bank account.
 

Mont

Active Member
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111
My daughter is a figure skating coach and recently left Canada. She felt there was an extreme lack of support from SC and the programs she was experiencing just lacked any potential for growth. Then there's the push for skaters to all work on synchro and dance. Not all skaters have an interest in those. Thankfully my daughter's career is thriving in the states, as is her bank account.
I'm happy for her but that's really concerning at many levels. The lack of support and growth is a huge problem. And I'm all for synchro and dance, they are fantastic disciplines but Canada has a long history in men, women and pairs as well and there is no reason with the number of skaters those disciplines shouldn't be getting equal attention. I fear this will be a dark period until some fundamental changes are made.
 

Candleonwater

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Equal attention, maybe, but "forcing" skaters to do dance and synchro is wrong, plain and simple. Kind of like the quote, "a jack of all trades is a master of none".

What I witnessed over the last couple of years (prior to COVID) at various clubs in Ontario says all it needs to about the lack of forward movement in the Canadian skating world. It is a sad state of affairs.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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I think GymCan is making some very good moves forward. As a friend of mine always says, the road to success is always under construction so there are always things to improve but some strong fundamentals are in place for doing well. The key for sports orgs is always resources to help and not hinder coaches and athletes. They make it happen. You help them make it happen. William T

But not all is well at GymCan either. https://globalnews.ca/news/8717066/canada-gymnastics-abuse-letter/
 

clairecloutier

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Equal attention, maybe, but "forcing" skaters to do dance and synchro is wrong, plain and simple. Kind of like the quote, "a jack of all trades is a master of none".

What I witnessed over the last couple of years (prior to COVID) at various clubs in Ontario says all it needs to about the lack of forward movement in the Canadian skating world. It is a sad state of affairs.


Can you elaborate? Are Canadian skaters actually required to do synchro or dance (solo dance?)? Or is it just strongly encouraged?
 

honey

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Can you elaborate? Are Canadian skaters actually required to do synchro or dance (solo dance?)? Or is it just strongly encouraged?
Not sure about today, but in my day doing your dance tests was basically required at my club. I don’t think I skated with anyone who didn’t do dance. It wasn’t our focus, but we had specific dance sessions several times a week and a dance coach. No one forced us to do synchro though. I don’t really see pushing the dance tests as a necessarily bad thing. But perhaps this is not what the original poster meant.
 

shutterbug

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Can you elaborate? Are Canadian skaters actually required to do synchro or dance (solo dance?)? Or is it just strongly encouraged?
Our typical 2 hour sessions are broken down into ½ hour dance, ½ hour skills (MITF) and 1 hour freeskate. Individual coaches decide if dance is required for their skaters, but I don’t recall anyone not doing dance. Synchro is also not required, however if you skate at a club that has synchro teams you will be very actively recruited to join.
 

Bouffantrex

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The president of Skate Canada resides in Switzerland? How odd. I suppose it is easy to be out of touch when you live on the other side of the world.
 

DE93

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The president of Skate Canada resides in Switzerland? How odd. I suppose it is easy to be out of touch when you live on the other side of the world.
She hasn't been the president for almost a year (as of the upcoming AGM, I believe). The current president is Karen Butcher, who was the president of Skate Ontario for 2 years before that.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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@clairecloutier solo dance is really rare in Canada. There are regional/local events that might have it as a category but there's no national event or qualifiers for that like there is in the US. Sadly, because Skate Canada could retain more skaters and for longer if skaters had the opportunity to compete in solo dance.
 

kwanfan1818

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They at least used to have solo dance at BC Summerskate. I remember one really beautiful ice dancer who grew too tall, and she was just wonderful to watch at solo dance.
 

mackiecat

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Can you elaborate? Are Canadian skaters actually required to do synchro or dance (solo dance?)? Or is it just strongly encouraged?
Not at all! There may be a club that is strong in synchronized and does but this will be few and far behind. Solo dance is dead here. Lots of clubs don’t even have dedicated dance time. It is pretty common for a competition skater to only have passed the first 6 dances.
In order to compete in singles you only need to pass star 5 free skate to compete juv or pre novice then gold free skate test to go Novice and above. Nothing else
 

Sonata

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I recently discovered solo dance on YouTube. It’s wonderful to watch. I could see this as a money maker for clubs as competitions would give adult learners something to strive for, especially if they don’t want to pound their knees with jumps. Master’s competitions have taken off due to baby boomers retiring. It’s too bad it’s not popular in Canada.

I’m no skater, but I had gotten the impression that the focus on dance at lower levels was to build a solid foundation in skating skills. But reading the comments make me wonder if this is true.
 

overedge

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I recently discovered solo dance on YouTube. It’s wonderful to watch. I could see this as a money maker for clubs as competitions would give adult learners something to strive for, especially if they don’t want to pound their knees with jumps. Master’s competitions have taken off due to baby boomers retiring. It’s too bad it’s not popular in Canada.

Adult skating in Canada is in a very sad state. A few years ago SC cancelled adult nationals because "it cost too much". As far as anyone can tell, there is no one at SC head office responsible for supporting adult skating. SC loves to promote "skating for life" but adult skating wasn't even mentioned in the most recent strategic plan.

Some sections, like Alberta and Ontario, recognize the value and opportunity of adult skating, and encourage their clubs and competitions to incorporate adult programming. But other sections seem to have taken the message from the national level that adult skating isn't important, and have done very little or nothing to develop or support it.
 

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