It’s a Great Day for Ontario Skaters!
On day one of this season’s second ISU Grand Prix event at Skate Canada International, the mood was joyful, and the skaters were ready to show just what they had been up to since the Pandemic derailed everything in early 2020.
From every corner in the building, all I could hear was the sound of happy fans and happy skaters and coaches and, well, everyone. This weekend so far has been about the excitement of finally being at a skating event where we are able to focus on the skating and not all the circumstances surrounding all our collective movements.
The Skate Ontario women kicked things off in a fantastic way, with Gabby Daleman taking an early lead with a spectacular short program. Gabby oozed confidence and charisma and looked every inch the fierce competitor for which she was known.
The great skating continued when Maddie Schizas took the ice to perform to Black Swan. Elegant and poised, the maturity in her skating has caught up to the raw talent about which we have become aware over the last couple of years. She performed to a Season’s Best score of 67.90, which was enough to secure the top spot after the short program.
Ice dancers from Ontario, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were my pick for the top spot here in Mississauga. For my money, they are the most creative ice dance team in the world today. Period. For the Rhythm Dance portion of the ice dance event, they positively sizzled in a way that perfectly represented Latin movement. Loved it! They sit in first place, headed into the free dance, where there is no doubt in my mind that they will claim their third Skate Canada International title.
Brooke McIntosh and Ben Mimar are moments away from stepping on the ice for the first time at Skate Canada International. Their goals here are simple: to do what they do in practice and to enjoy the experience. After a terrific short program, I asked them their goal for the free skate tomorrow, “Just have FUN!” they commented in unison.
The men close out day one of competition with former Junior Grand Prix Final Champion, Stephen Gogolev, and teammate Conrad Orzel of Ontario looking to do battle against the likes of defending World Champion, Shoma Uno from Japan.
Make sure you follow Skate Ontario on social media @SkateOntario on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you will find the most up to date AND entertaining coverage of our Ontario athletes competing at Skate Canada International.
Check out our Live on Saturday at 7:15pm with special guest Asher Hill, host of CBC Sports’ That Figure Skating Show.