By: Pj Kwong @skatingpj

Walking into the bright and airy Elite Jump Performance (EJP) facility in Markham, Ontario just north of Toronto, I was struck by a couple of things: the claw machine in the corner of the open lobby area (more on that later) and the welcoming smile of Leslie Ip, EJP’s founder and owner.

The inspiration comes from a time when Leslie was a competitor working his way up the ranks in Ontario and subsequently Hong Kong as an elite singles skater. Understanding the importance of training when not at the rink is at the core of Elite Jump Performance’s services, but the reality goes so much farther.

Leslie’s story started during COVID when nobody was going anywhere, literally. He had just moved over to coaching at the Unionville Skating Club and like so many others, was trying to find ways to keep the kids engaged by thinking outside the box. Enter virtual off-ice classes via ZOOM which became the order of the day and in many ways became the foundation for EJP.

Once things were back to normal, Leslie wanted to find a way to offer classes to the skaters in Unionville. There were problems to solve like where to store equipment when not in use and how to secure a location for classes on a consistent and ongoing basis as well as local bylaws, as the arena is a public and city-managed facility that needed to be accessible to all.

The next step was clear: finding a location.

Currently the EJP facility runs 7 days a week and offers fitness and dance classes to skaters at all levels. Primarily, the work happens in group classes, but skaters are also able to access private coaching to focus on specific skills or goals.

Leslie believes that “off-ice IS a part of skating” and ensures that everyone from the earliest learn-to-skate levels all the way through competitive elite synchro and singles skaters from the Unionville SC has access to classes. Although skaters from other clubs can also register for classes, the situation with Unionville is unique in this space, in that it is a collaboration/association of sorts. When skaters register for the Unionville SC, they are also signing up for EJP classes. This is a unique way to guarantee that a skater’s training is comprehensive and happening in all areas.

Managing Director, Meagan Duhamel, multi-Olympic medallist and champion as well as two-time World champion weighs in: “”I learned through my own career the importance of off ice training. I managed my own off ice training and found it critical to my success on the ice. I hope to help young athletes manage this training so they can stay healthy and happy as they reach their potential on the ice.”

The rest of the team doing the teaching is made up of current and former skaters, many of whom are competing or have competed at the international level. They are all Skate Canada members in good standing and are certified in first aid. In the Dance program, the dance teachers are also certified in their own organizations and parents are able to watch their child(ren) in class via closed circuit television in the lobby.

Remember that Claw Machine? Leslie told me with a smile that every couple of weeks, the teachers get together and select one or two ‘best students’ from the classes and award them a token to be used in the Claw Machine – a big hit to be sure! I need to mention that ‘best’ is not defined by skills but rather by attendance, persistence and attitude.

“I want EJP to be a place where we aren’t only teaching about skating but about motivation and accountability and goal setting,” said Leslie. “Ultimately, our programs are athlete-driven, and we want to encourage and support skaters to work on progressions to meet their own end goals and to explore all their options.”

Skate Ontario is proud to have EJP as the Presenting Partner for the Provincial Series of events this year. Visit our partners page to learn more at or check out their website or on Instagram @elitejumpperformance.

Don’t miss our upcoming Facebook live stream with @elitejumpperformance, me (@pjkwong) and 2-Time World Champion, Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalist, and 7-time Canadian National Champion in pairs skating – the incomparable @meaganduhamel. Friday, March 15, 2024 on the Skate Ontario Facebook and YouTube pages.


Never Miss an Update

Subscribe to the Skate Ontario newsletter to get the latest club, coaching, or events and technical news.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Official Shop

Show off your skate pride with offical gear.

Shop now