Featuring Bruno Marcotte – Part 1
This month’s podcast, we welcome two celebrated Alumni (in a two-part interview). In the driver’s seat and host this month is Nic Young, a former national team member, and his guest, national, international and Olympic coach, Bruno Marcotte. With Nic having transitioned into coaching, the two chat about skating, their history and careers… and their competitive drive to motivate their athletes and in the process to advance the sport of figure skating.
A THIRTY-NINE YEAR JOURNEY OF VOLUNTEERING
By Bill Boland
The year was 1979 in a small town on Lake Erie shore where our 7-year-old daughter was about to compete in her first competition, a Precision event. They finished last.
The arena was jammed to the rafters. You couldn’t get to the concession stand and I said, “That was it, never again!”
A couple of weeks later it was another small southwestern Ontario town, but seemingly less crowded. The enthusiasm and passion of the crowd was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was hooked! The medal the London Skating Pre Novice Team won that day was to be the first of many for the teams Traci skated on or coached in Canada, Finland and the United States. But that is her story to tell.
My life soon took a different path but one that was just as rewarding.
Maureen and I were never the type of parents to leave our daughters at a music lesson venue or at the arena unsupervised. Watching practices and test days I soon became a familiar face at the arenas and was asked in 1980 to join the Board of Directors at the London Skating Club. My reply, “What did I know about figure skating?”
What they wanted was my business experience as a CEO but I soon realized the Club was not only a business to operate but just as importantly a place to volunteer for fundraising at bingos, selling chocolate bars, most of which I bought and ate, working on test days, competitions, and bargaining for ice time from the municipality.
I have never underestimated the impact and value of those first eight years. Many of the Club volunteers remain our friends today. The Club became a part of our life and was the grounding needed to respect and admire all Club volunteers for their efforts and dedication to improve, not for the betterment or advancement of their own child, but for the benefit of their community and our sport. There was no greater satisfaction at the Club level than attaining an increase in registration, along with negotiating sufficient ice for the various Club programs, and having money in the bank at the end of the year.
And so it began in 1988, my election to the Western Ontario Section Board with experiences and friendships cherished to this day which I could never have imagined back on that February day in 1979 in Port Stanley.
For the next ten years the duties from novice section board member and eventually in 1998 to Section Chair became not a project but a passion and involved many jobs and bigger challenges but, more importantly, the most rewarding and satisfying accomplishments. So many memories of athletes, coaches, officials and Club executives, far too numerous to even begin to explain how each one impacted my journey.
Yes, there were difficult times, decisions and disappointments. However, being part of an organization based on volunteerism that assists everyone in so many ways, be it financial, opportunities, educational training or just plain moral support for those skaters and officials to achieve success from the Club, Region, National, International and Olympics were more than worth my treasure of time given to the sport as a volunteer.
If I may be permitted? Three, of so many Section memoires in no particular order: Jennifer Robinson’s total dedication and effort in Brandon, Manitoba determined to skate her long program in spite of a severe fever and temperature that the doctor, from the hospital she had been taken to during the night, had to accompany her rink side for her event; the dramatic rise and success of Tessa and Scott from the young novice dance team attending their first international Dance event in Austria to becoming the most decorated figure skaters in Canadian Olympic history; and finally, the very successful National program conducted at the Section level known as the Club Consultation Program was to my mind a most efficient, knowledge-based and club-rewarding program that was not only informative but enjoyable to deliver.
Back in 1998 a Section Chair automatically became a member of the National Board of Directors as well as a member of the then Sections Committee. Then in 2001 I was first elected to the National Board of Directors serving in various capacities and on varying committees from finance, synchronized skating, and planning and eventually being appointed to the Executive Committee until my retirement from the Board.
These were times of relentless involvement focused and driven by a deep sense of fairness with a culture of, and the importance of, teamwork. I would be lying to tell you these days were all joyful. Some were very difficult indeed with tough decisions to be taken but it was in these times that, as a volunteer, I began to appreciate the support and capacity of a very hard working, dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate staff in Ottawa.
During these years we all enjoyed “A Golden Age of Figure Skating”. For myself personally? Two Canadian Championships, a World Synchronised Skating Championship, and the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships all in my home town of London, Ontario were the ultimate satisfaction in a long journey. In the words of the late David Dore, ISU Vice President, “The many capable volunteers, and the many persons from the Skate Canada office whose efforts all contributed to the complete success of the recent 2013 World Championships made it virtually impossible to find fault with this event, whose positive reach was far and wide throughout the world”.
Today, it’s not quite time to fully retire, as in the last couple of years since my official Board retirement, I have had the pleasure of serving with the chair, Ann Shaw, on the Hall of Fame Committee along with some absolutely wonderful volunteers who possess such a wealth of skating history and hall of fame induction knowledge.
In closing, whether you serve as a volunteer at your local Club, Region, Section, or on the National Board, I can attest that the rewards and memories to cherish forever far exceed the time and commitment required to serve this Association. So to one and all, my wish to you as volunteers, at whatever level, is that your journey be as fulfilling as mine has been, and when asked to serve further, just do it, for life is a voyage best travelled with friends and cherished memories.
My World Championships Experience… from the other side
by Annie Bellemare
I competed in my first Nationals in 1995. It was my first televised event and my first taste of the “big rink”. I still remember seeing Elvis Stojko and was so amazed to be skating in the same event. I also remember the rink… it was impressive!
Although I was able to participate in many more competitions throughout my career, I never ceased to be amazed at the feeling you get when you first step into the arena at the beginning of the week. I saw the rink fully decorated, the bus routes working, and the accreditation volunteers happy and eager to help me. Everything was in place, everything was ready for me to be able to perform to the best of my abilities. I also remember clearly my first and only World Championships in Vancouver in 2001… the big rink, the bright lights, the crisp ice, the clean boards, the number of seats. It was impressive to say the least, but little did I understand the amount of work and effort that went into planning this one-week event.
Lucky for me, I moved on from competing into working for Skate Canada. As a skater, I had no idea the amount of work needed to plan for such an event. I got to learn it all, and to live through all my favorite events again, but this time through a different lens.
My “training” started with smaller events, Skate Canada International, Divisions, Canadians, all eventually leading up to 2013 when Canada hosted the World Championships again, this time in London, Ontario.
After putting the bid together and actually winning the opportunity to host the event, the first stage for Skate Canada’s preparations was to come up with a logo and a colour scheme. Being in the Marketing department, this was one of my first tasks. As fans and skaters, we often see logos and either like them or hate them but we probably don’t realise the amount of time that goes into designing the whole story of the event in one small insignia. I remember spending countless hours in meetings with different stakeholders trying to come up with what the “logo” should portray … “it should move”, “it needs to be youthful”, “it should be hip”, “it should appeal to a large audience”, “it should reflect strength, power, grace”. There were a lot of opinions which made it difficult to pinpoint the true essence of what the logo should be, but we got there (after many, many attempts).
Once we knew what we wanted the logo to say, we had to decide on a colour! One favorite part of this process was actually driving to the agency one day to see the colour on their screen because on my screen it was one shade of purple, on my co-worker’s screen it was a different shade of purple (which is quite normal), but in that moment, it wasn’t the perfect purple! We needed a third party computer to break the tie. After many attempts, we eventually landed (pun intended) on a purple that was just right!
Although these seem like mundane tasks and perhaps a bit of overkill, I learned every detail is important in the creative process. That logo represents the event… the design and colour scheme will be on everything! It will determine the signage look and feel; it will be on all of the ads, on TV, on the rinkboards, on documents (official or not) and even on email signatures. A bad logo and a bad colour scheme can even impact the sale of merchandise which in turn effects revenue for the event.
Coming up with a logo was a difficult task, but one I truly enjoyed! It was a challenge to try and display what so many were looking for in one little icon and rewarding when we started to see it take life on some of our material. I was so proud to see how it was applied to the many aspects of the event!
I still remember a pre-event volunteer meeting where the Director of Events at the time (Jackie Stell-Buckingham) said something that I will never forget. She said that our job as a hosting committee and as volunteers was to make sure that skaters had the perfect environment to be their best… that we should take all their worries away and try to provide them with the best experience possible.
Those words stuck with me. I applied them to my main goal to design a logo that would do just that! I know that to the skaters it was probably just a logo, but for me, it was the beginning of a feeling, the beginning of what the event would be like, and what the rink would feel like… to create the perfect environment to allow competitors to perform to the best of their abilities and, in turn, to make it an amazing and unforgettable World event for skaters and fans alike.
Toller Cranston’s “Magic Planet” was produced for television in 1983 by award-winning Director David Acamba and showcased some of the most breathtaking costumes ever designed by the renowned designer Frances Dafoe, herself a former World Pair Champion with Norris Bowden.
Below features choreographer and Skate Canada Hall of Fame member Sarah Kawahara as the Sorceress.
Former figure skater and founder of the Champions On Ice Tour, Thomas (Tommy) James Collins passed away at his home in Edina, MN, surrounded by his family on September 1, 2019 of natural causes.
Tom was born in 1931 to Thomas and Martha Collins in the small Canadian mining town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Collins worked in a bakery and left school in 8th grade to work with his father in the local gold mines. Like most Canadian boys at the time, he learned to ice skate, play hockey and later turned to figure skating where he found his passion. Tommy’s dreams reached beyond Kirkland Lake after he won the Northern Ontario Novice Men’s Championship. In 1949 at the age 18, Collins joined Holiday On Ice as a chorus skater. In his second year with the tour he became the headliner and ultimately vice president and general manager. He also appeared as a skater on Broadway with Sonja Henie and later toured with her in South America.
While skating with Holiday On Ice he met his wife Jane (Janie), a 1956 Miss America contestant competing as Miss Georgia and fellow worldwide ice skating performer.
Tom Collins moved to the business side of Holiday On Ice in 1969 where he worked with tour owner and brother-in-law Morris Chalfen of Minneapolis. This was the beginning of what would later be known as Champions on Ice. Taking a break from the administrative side of the ice shows, Collins branched out into the music industry with Bill Graham promoting the careers of rock ‘n roll singers of the day like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Earth Wind & Fire. Within a few years, promoting evolved into a merchandising business supplying programs, T-shirts and memorabilia for touring entertainers. His first client: Neil Diamond, was soon followed by John Denver, Bob Dylan, the Moody Blues, Wayne Newton, Rick James, Joni Mitchell and Earth Wind & Fire.
By 1975 under Collins’ ownership, Champions On Ice, featured Olympic amateur and professional skaters who entertained audiences with their medal-winning solos rather than the vaudeville acts on skates of previous ice shows. Each year’s tour program read like a Who’s Who of ice skating. Tom put the skaters first. He did not want them to worry about anything other than their performances so the tour became known in the skating world as “the best of the best.”
By the early 90’s, interest in figure skating began skyrocketing. By 2002, the tour included shows in 93 cities. Collins was not only known for his generosity to his skaters but also to the U.S. Figure Skating Association making him the largest single donor in figure skating history. He sold his show to AEG, the sports and entertainment giant, in 2006. He oversaw the tour until 2008 when he announced his retirement.
The tour had become his extended family but his own family was an integral part of the tour. Sons Mike, Mark and Marty, along with Tom’s brothers Butch and Harris were involved with tour operations.
Collins was the only person to be inducted into all 3 Figure Skating Halls of Fame – U.S., Canadian and World. The U.S. Figure Skating headquarters in Colorado Springs was renamed the Tom Collins Building in recognition of his support of the sport in 1999.
Tom shared his charisma with every person he met and treated everyone as if they were his close personal friend. Perhaps his greatest attribute was the love he had for his family. He would do anything for his family particularly his three sons. His love for life and playful spirit always came out when he was with his grandchildren. He played grape toss in the pool, hide and seek, took them to the movies and ice cream, attended each of their sporting events, school activities, and other performances. Holidays were particularly special, always over the top and filled with love. He never missed a chance to tell his family how much he loved them.
He is survived by three sons, all of Edina: Michael (Angie Bartness), Mark (Monica Elicerio), & Martin (Alissa); six grandchildren Lauren, Dylan, Brady, Reese, Austin & Georgia; three nephews Tom, Bruce & Gary and their families; and long-time devoted companion Teri Tucker. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Janie; sister Martha (Marty) Chalfen, brothers Harris and Gerald (Butch).
Tom Collins is a member of the Skate Canada Hall of Fame since 2001 as a Builder.
This builder’s involvement in skating has spanned more than 50 years, from a Northern Ontario novice skating champion in the 1940’s, to his role as a visionary and promoter in the world of modern ice shows.
Joining Sonja Henie’s Hollywood Ice Revue in 1949, he moved over to Holiday on Ice in 1951, rising up through the ranks from skater to tour manager and then producer. Developing a skating tour to highlight the many talents of national and international skating stars, his ‘Tour of World Figure Skating Champions’ and ‘Champions on Ice’ provided a new concept in figure skating shows. With an emphasis on quality production and a high-level of skating talent, he launched the careers of hundreds of skating stars and promoted skating to millions of people.
Never forgetting who made these shows the success they were, his role as a benefactor has resulted in ongoing substantial financial contributions to the CFSA Athlete Trust.
TRIBUTE TO COACHES
The Selfless Role of a Figure Skating Coach: Acknowledging the People Who Inspire Skaters
by Barry Soper, National Ice Dance Competitor 1966-74 & Ice Dance Coach 1975-99
In the Alumni Blog of August 2019, we honoured the passing of an extremely talented figure skating coach and choreographer, Brian Power. I was moved from reading the many tributes about Brian that flowed from the “Dedication to Brian” by now retired Skate Canada International Judge Audrey (Downie) Williams, Brian’s former pair skating partner from 1950-55 (1950 Canadian Junior Pair Champions).
These passionate tributes stirred in me the memory of the skating coaches my partner Louise (Lind) Soper and myself were blessed to have as dedicated and inspiring professionals, and then to reflect on and celebrate the impactful role of coaches in the lives of figure skaters in Canada.
I have no doubt that many of you reading this can remember the coaches who poured their hearts and souls into guiding and encouraging you to pursue your skating gifts. My conclusion? How fortunate was I to have this dedicated person take their time with me! And what a significant role they played in the development of my eventual skating successes and the life lessons gained as a result!
While coaches vary in their level of expertise and commitment, of course, this tribute is dedicated to Canada’s vast array of coaches who dedicate themselves to giving all they have to encourage, instruct, and guide their often challenging proteges to discover their gifts and develop skills the skaters often wondered if they’d ever master. For those of you who have not only pursued your skating talents, but also coached, you know about the range of emotions, from exasperation to jubilation, during this very steep learning curve for your students, never mind the task of managing all the other distractions which can intrude into the skaters’ lives and impede their progress.
While searching for information and photos about Brian Power, it seemed providential that Louise and I attended a very recent skaters’ reunion organized and hosted by former competitive men’s skater Ron Unrau, 1978 Canadian Novice Men’s Champion, in early August this summer. At this very fun party, including watching Vancouver’s summer fireworks display from the home’s lofty perch, we got to reminisce with about 50 former skaters. Guests included the daughter (Kathryn) of not-long-ago (2015) deceased coach Carol Grant, one of Brian’s very good coaching friends and someone who helped facilitate Brian coaching at all three of North Vancouver’s private skating clubs: Capilano Winter Club, North Shore Winter Club, and Hollyburn Country Club.
This experience came after his coaching stint with fellow coaches Jack Boyle and Carol at Vancouver Skating Club.
While Brian went on to coach and choreograph many programs for BC skaters, the word soon got out about Brian’s capabilities. My own personal highlight from Brian’s repertoire was to Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ for BC’s Karel Latham, (1971 Canadian Junior Ladies Champion). I have no doubt that most of you can think back to special times in skating when you felt that the sport was being advanced by what had been created!Kathy’s memories of Brian’s influence also include his ‘off-ice’ prowess and creativity. To quote Kathy, “Having studied Dance in New York at Jacob’s Pillow and Martha Graham’s School of Contemporary Dance, Brian’s choreography always included that spark of brilliance no matter what level the skater. Floor classes at summer school were full and Brian’s relaxation technique is a lifelong practice for many.”
Circling back to the recent skating reunion, enclosed are some memorabilia from Kathy Grant’s collection featuring Brian, including the wonderful photo of him with pair skating partner Audrey (Downie) Williams. I’ve included that photo again (in case any of you missed it), and some of the coaches with whom Brian worked alongside. Another of his colleagues at North Shore Winter Club was Linda Brauckmann, who coached Karen Magnussen to her World Ladies Figure Skating Championship gold medal in 1973.
But I digress. My recollections are not only about competition.
Many skaters’ fondest memories are tied to the wonderful skating carnival productions that so many of us got to experience as we were learning how to figure skate. What a challenge it must have been for coaches to work together to produce these (often) memorable spectacles, yet what a treat it was for us skaters to express the fun side of skating! I would be remiss in not celebrating the coach who started me and Louise and our partnership, Capilano Winter Club’s Alex Fulton, as well as Robin & Heather Jones who guided us when entering the international scene. We’re forever grateful for their collective commitment!
Before closing this toast to Brian and to his fellow dedicated coaches – both those who have now passed on, but also those who today still ply their passion daily – I’d like to encourage us all to seize the opportunity to ‘lift up’ our coaches whenever the opportunity arises to celebrate their passion and commitment, past and present, for encouraging their skaters and for advancing our sport.
Three-time Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Retire from Competitive Skating
The worlds most decorated figure skaters, Tessa Virtue, 30, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 31, Ilderton, Ont., announced their retirement from competitive figure skating today. During their 22-year career they won five Olympic medals, three world championship titles and eight national titles.
Virtue and Moir have dominated the ice dance field during both their junior and senior careers. They are the first and only ice dance team to win every major junior and senior skating competition: junior world championships (2006), junior grand prix final (2006), four continents championships (2018, 2012, 2017), senior world championships (2010, 2012, 2017), senior grand prix final (2016) and Olympic Games (2010, 2018). They have won a total of 55 international medals during their 20-year partnership, with 33 of them being gold.
Tessa and Scott have had an extraordinary career as the most decorated figure skaters of all time. Skate Canada has been fortunate to be able to be part of their remarkable career. Their partnership has inspired fans around the world with their skating skills and their passionate performances.” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada thanks Tessa and Scott for their vast contribution to skating and wish them the very best with their future plans.”
Over their career they competed at three consecutive Olympic Winter Games (2010, 2014, 2018), winning a total five medals. Virtue and Moir made their Olympic debut in 2010 at the Vancouver Games, they won gold in ice dance, making history as the first North American team to win the title and the youngest ice dance team to ever win gold at the Olympic Games. At their second Olympic Games in 2014 in Sochi, they picked up two silver medals in the ice dance discipline and in the team event. In 2018 they topped off their career at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang winning gold in ice dance and in the team event. They were also the Canadian flag bearers for the 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first team to carry the Canadian flag at an Olympic opening ceremony.
“Tessa and Scott are the most innovative ice dance team of all time. Throughout their career they have always pushed the ice dance envelope by bringing different genres to life with technical precision and performance perfection,” said Mike Slipchuk, Director High Performance, Skate Canada. “What makes them so special is they are champions on and off the ice. They are great athletes but also great leaders and people. We thank them for bringing us along on their incredible journey.”
Off the ice, Virtue and Moir have also picked up several honours. After the 2018 Olympic Games, they were awarded the Canadian Press Team of the Year, Postmedia Team of the Year and CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year. Also, in 2018 they were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in the sports and athletics category.
Virtue and Moir are currently producing their own skating show, Rock the Rink. This fall the skating tour will visit 30 cities across Canada and the U.S.
AthletesCan announces that the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Sport goes to our very own alumni, Michael Slipchuk for his outstanding contributions to Skate Canada!
Michael Slipchuk honoured for his role in Canada’s ‘golden age’ of figure skating.
When it comes to sport and depth of talent spanning the many seasons, Canada continues to punch well above its weight.
The territory is huge, the climate can be harsh, and the population is relatively small. Still, in summer and winter, and in a diversity of athletic endeavour, this country produces a myriad of champions on and off the fields of play.
Canadians are major international players who not only claim titles and medals but also continue to lead the way towards an acceptance of sport which is more inclusive, accessible, safe and fair.
This year’s recipients of the Canadian Sport Awards (listed below), sponsored by the advocacy group AthletesCAN, are proof positive that the country can boast an unrivalled roster of achievers across the board.
They comprise an eclectic group of winners at the highest level from the snow sports, beach volleyball, wheelchair basketball, tennis, track and field, soccer and bobsleigh. But there are also influencers who break down barriers for indigenous Canadians, corporate citizens who provide opportunities for ambitious Olympians and socially conscious athletes who raise awareness of the necessity for sport to be conducted with integrity.
There are also leaders who work behind the scenes to produce champions in sports which have long been considered treasured elements of the Canadian folklore.
The golden age of Canadian figure skating
The example is the winner of the 2019 Leadership in Sport award, former national champion figure skater Michael Slipchuk, who has served as Skate Canada’s High Performance Director since 2007. In his dozen years at the helm of ice competition, Slipchuk has presided over what might be called the golden age of Canadian figure skating.
Slipchuk, a Canadian champion in 1992, and an Olympian at Albertville, France the same season, has embraced an environment which has witnessed skating legends of the past turning their attention to producing the next wave of outstanding performers.
During Slipchuk’s tenure, Canadian figure skaters have won 25 medals at the senior world championships and recorded nine podium results at the Olympics. Included are 10 world titles and three Olympic championships. The topper, Slipchuk believes, is a gold medal in figure skating’s team event at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in 2018 which is reflective of an overarching Canadian approach to the sporting experience.
“It should be seen as a privilege to compete for your country,” he says.
“I think the passion is there for skating in this country. It will always be there. Our champions are great people and humble people. The fans of skating continue to relate to that. Being a strong team is what it’s all about and we wanted to build a team environment, first and foremost.”
‘All in it together’
In the past 12 years, Slipchuk has witnessed a Canadian world champion ascending the podium in each of figure skating’s five disciplines, including synchronized skating.
No other country can boast that accomplishment, including the sport’s acknowledged superpower — Russia.
“They were the best skating group in the world,” Slipchuk beams. “During those years we had an older team. We had peaks and valleys but they were all in it together as a team. The team gold in Pyeongchang will always be very special to me.”
As an early proponent of figure skating’s revamped judging system and as an international, technical specialist, Slipchuk has also modernized the Canadian figure skating landscape by fostering a more complete approach to a demanding and skilled sport.
Under his watchful eye, there is more comprehensive support available to elite skaters who need the benefits of sport psychologists, nutritionists, strength and conditioning experts, and physical therapists.
“With Own the Podium there was an onus on us to create a sports science community,” Slipchuk explains. “We’ve worked hard to build a network of sports science which our athletes can access. In the time before it was up to each athlete and coach to work it out. Now we’ve created a network they can all tap into.”
Rebuilding phase underway
As it is with all leaders in sport, sustaining success is a tricky thing to do. With the retirement from international competition of superstar champions like Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Kaetlyn Osmond, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford and Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skating faces an inevitable makeover.
“We’re in a big rebuilding phase,” Slipchuk acknowledges. “It’s going to be very tough because the level of international skating rises all the time. You can come up so fast now. It’s a daunting prospect but it’s also very exciting.”
Still, the commitment to excellence remains. As someone who seeks to maximize performance, Michael Slipchuk isn’t ready to rest on his laurels.
He’s in for the long haul.
“I recognized pretty early on that figure skating is my life,” he says.
“This is what I know the most about and most importantly, this is what I love.”
Like all those being celebrated at this year’s Canadian Sport Awards, Michael Slipchuk is a leader who shares a common character trait. He has an overriding passion for the games we play as a nation and, more importantly, how we play them.
Canadian Sport Award Winners 2019
Summer Sport Performance
Female Athlete of the Year: Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Male Athlete of the Year: Aaron Brown – Athletics
Team of the Year: Beach Volleyball – Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes
Winter Sport Performance
Female Athlete of the Year: Marielle Thompson – Ski Cross
Male Athlete of the Year: Mikael Kingsbury – Freestyle Skiing Moguls
Team of the Year: Four-man Bobsleigh – Justin Kripps, Cam Stones, Ben Coakwell, Ryan Sommer
Bruce Kidd Athlete Leadership Award: Stephanie Dixon – Paralympics
AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award: Evan Dunfee – Athletics
Leadership in Sport Award: Michael Slipchuk – Skate Canada
True Sport Award: Christine Sinclair – Soccer
Inclusion Award – Obliterating Barriers in Sport: Michael Linklater – 3 on 3 Basketball
#AthleteVoice Award – Representative of the Year: Beckie Scott – WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency)
People’s Choice Award – Performance of the Year: Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Corporate Excellence – National Initiative Support: RBC Training Ground
Skate Canada announces Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Skate Canada is pleased to announce four new members into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame. The class of 2019 includes athlete Veronica Clarke, and in the professional disciplines, coach Lee Barkell, choreographer David Wilson, and builder Audrey Williams.
Veronica Clarke, of Toronto, Ont., was a skating pioneer in women’s singles, pairs, dance and fours. Clarke competed from 1928 to 1938, winning 20 Canadian medals—10 of which were gold—as well as three international medals. With her pair partner Ralph McCreath, Clarke won the 1937 North American Championships, three Canadian Figure Skating Championships and along with McCreath, Constance Wilson-Samuel, and Montgomery Wilson, fours medallists in the 1938 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Clarke is being honoured posthumously.
Lee Barkell, of Kirkland Lake, Ont., enters the Skate Canada Hall of Fame as a professional. Barkell has been a leading singles and pairs coach since his retirement from competition as a pair skater with his wife Melanie Gaylor. During Barkell’s skating career with Gaylor, the pair team won three international competitions. Over the course of his 27-year coaching career, Barkell has coached an extensive list of skaters, including world champion and Olympic medallist Jeffrey Buttle, Olympian and world medallist Gabrielle Daleman, and two-time national champions Michelle Menzies and Jean-Michel Bombardier, and Canadian pair champions Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay.
David Wilson, a former figure skater born in Toronto, Ont., has worked as a master choreographer for more than 20 years. Wilson’s choreography expertise begins from crafting a program, to searching for music, to the end product of seeing a skater perform. He has produced numerous artistic programmes for Olympic, world & national medallists including singles skaters Sasha Cohen, Jeffrey Buttle, Yu-Na Kim, Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu, Joannie Rochette, ice dancers Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Audrey Williams, from Vancouver, B.C., has served as an official for more than 50 years, first being appointed as a national judge in 1959 and later as a judge for the ISU in 1967. Williams is a role model as a judge, referee, and team leader, especially mentoring pair judges in Canada. She was a team leader at both junior and senior worlds, as well as at the Olympics in 1972. She has sat on several Skate Canada committees over many years. She judged six world championships, four junior worlds and the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. As a skater, she was a four-time Canadian Figure Skating Championship medallist with pair partner Brian Power. Most recently, she was inducted into the British Columbia Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2011.
Skate Canada is proud to celebrate the achievements of the skating community through the inductions of exceptional members in the Skate Canada Hall of Fame. The exact date and locations of the various inductions will be announced as they become available.
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