HALIFAX -- It went from maybe Mabee to Mabee, baby!
Jeffrey Buttle won his third straight Canadian figure skating championship in Halifax last night but, for the first time, there was somebody new standing beside him to receive the silver.
Christopher Mabee from Tillsonburg, Ont., stole the headlines in the men's event for a second straight night as he finished second.
Mabee, 21, who skated last, said he wasn't sure where the judges were going to put him when he was done.
"Apparently, I did enough," he said.
"Now I'm going to take it and run with it.
"I'm completely thrilled."
For the first time since Emanuel Sandhu made his debut as a senior skater at Canadians in 1998, he's leaving without either a gold or a silver. He took back bronze.
First at Canadians in 2001, 2003 and 2004, and second the other five trips to nationals, Sandhu said it stings.
"It hurts a little bit," he said.
"I came here to win my title back.
"I thought I competed like a champion today but I didn't compete like a champion yesterday," he said of a disastrous short program.
With his bronze, Sandhu still makes the Canadian team to the world figure skating championships in Tokyo.
Buttle had it won before either Sandhu or Mabee skated, although he said he didn't.
"I had an inkling but I knew what he could do," he said, not of Sandhu but of his Barrie, Ont., based team-mate Mabee.
"I'm really happy for him. He's been capable of that for quite a while now. And we're really good friends."
Buttle received a standing ovation from the 4,883 fans and was more than happy with a Canadian record 232.83 score under the new points system.
Mabee ended up with 209.31 and Sandhu 209.49.
Buttle, who earned the Olympic bronze medal in Turin last year and won silver at the 2005 Worlds, is still in search of the quad which is keeping him away from ever going into an international event as a favourite regardless of whether disaster strikes the rest of the field.
There was no quad planned for his free skate and he doubled out of a triple Axel. But still he skated clean and landed seven triple jumps.
"I'm definitely happy with the way it went," said the native of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., who was competing in his first event of the year due to injury.
Mabee was without a quad and didn't get his triple Axel done but landed five other triple jumps.
He's gone from ninth to sixth to fifth to fourth to second at Canadians in the last five years.
In the pairs event, a silver meant the three-year reign of Valerie Marcoux and Craig Buntin came to a crashing end when Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison skated their way to the top of the podium.
Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay finished third.
Dube, 19, of Drummondville, Que., and Davison, 20, of Cambridge, Ont., won silver last year. They came on after finishing seventh at worlds in Calgary last March.
"We did so well that we wanted to keep rolling towards 2010," Davison said.