In this inaugural episode of the new Skate Canada Alumni podcast, Debbi chats with three-time Canadian Pair champion, Craig Buntin.
Buntin is a three-time Canadian Pair Champion, first finding success with partner Valérie Marcoux. Together they won three Canadian pair titles from 2004-2006 and competed at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Click here to go to PODCAST
Brian Pockar – Skate Canada Hall of Fame Inductee (Athlete)
Selected into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2012, the induction celebration was held in his hometown of Calgary during Skate Canada’s Ice Summit on May 26, 2018
Three-time Canadian men’s champion Brian Pockar is inducted posthumously into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the athlete category.
The native of Calgary, Alta., who passed away in 1992 at the age of 32, had six consecutive podium finishes at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships beginning in 1977, including three straight wins from 1978 to 1980.
He won bronze at the 1982 World Figure Skating Championships and placed 12th at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.
Pockar also had a pair of podium finishes at Skate Canada International, claiming bronze in 1978 and silver in 1980. He was presented with an Alberta Achievement Award on five occasions, and was bestowed with the Government of Canada Sports Excellence Award in 1982.
Following his career, Pockar went on to become a respected figure skating commentator and analyst with CTV Sports.
Olympian Liam Firus Retires from Competitive Competition
Olympian and national medallist Liam Firus, 25, North Vancouver, B.C., has retired from competitive skating. Firus has been an active member of the Canadian figure skating team since 2009 and has competed internationally for Canada 24 times as a junior and senior competitor.
“I’m so fortunate to have been able to grow up in this generation of skating, surrounded by so much talent and passion for the sport. I want to say thank you to every person, my family and mother especially, who gave their support that allowed me to live my dream. I would not have had any of my successes if it weren’t for all of my amazing coaches along the way,” said Firus. “Thank you to Lorna Bauer who spotted me in hockey skates and turned me into the skater and person I am today. She never let me put my personal values aside to exceed in the sport, something I’m so grateful for. Thank you to Christy Krall and everyone in Colorado Springs who gave me the push I needed to fulfill my dream and qualify for the Olympic games.”
Firus continued, “Thank you to my Montreal Family: Bruno Marcotte, Ian Connolly, Julie Marcotte Nicholas Young, Patrick Magee and my younger brother Shane who believed in me at every moment and most importantly helped me find my passion and love for the sport again. Lastly, a sincere thank you to all the volunteers and fans who make our experience as skaters so memorable and special.”
“Skating over the years has provided me with so many amazing lessons. I was fortunate enough to experience some unforgettable highs, but along the way came some very difficult lows. Though when those difficult times came, I never let the thought of failure get in the way of improving and pursuing my goals. If there’s anything I want to share with the sport’s future generation, it’s to not base your happiness and fulfillment on your successes. Always embrace and celebrate your successes, but stay focused on proving yourself in training each day, enjoying the process of getting better and committing yourself to moving forward in any way, both on and off the ice. Figure skating has an amazing ability to knock you down right when you think you’re getting going, just don’t let it stop you from enjoying the sport we all love so much,” concluded Firus.
Firus won the Canadian junior title in 2010 and would go on to medal at the senior national championships three times, winning bronze in 2014 and 2015 and silver in 2016. He represented Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, placing 28th. Internationally, he won multiple Junior Grand Prix medals and two bronze medals on the ISU Challenger Series in 2017 at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and Warsaw Cup.
“Liam’s natural skating ability and artistry combined with his technical skills left an impression with fans around the world. His positive energy and outgoing personality have made him a favourite among his teammates and he will be missed on our Canadian team,” said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada wishes Liam the best of luck with his future endeavors and thanks him for his contributions to skating worldwide.”
Firus has already begun his career post-skating and is currently working at Northbay Capital Partners, a boutique merchant bank based in Vancouver that provides services in many areas to both private and public companies. He plans to stay involved in skating through his new venture, Skate Global, with his training mate and friend Elladj Baldé. They hope to inspire Canada’s youth through a platform providing assistance and mentoring to athletes and coaches across the country. Of course, he won’t be far from the sport as he cheers on his younger brother Shane and partner Carolane Soucisse as they hope to fulfill their dream of representing Canada in the Olympic Winter Games.
Jan. 14-20: 2019 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Saint John, NB. Alumni Event Package details to be announced in August. Stay tuned!
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