He is saying goodbye but Brian Orser admits he doesn't like the term that's often used to describe such finality.
"Farewell tour ... I hate farewell tour," the 1987 world champion says when asked for his thoughts about one last go-round with Stars On Ice, the annual spring skating extravaganza that hits Scotiabank Place tonight at 7:30.
But this is indeed it for Orser, nearly two decades after that famous night at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, when he and another Brian -- U.S. champion Boitano -- staged a duel for the ages at the Saddledome. And he is going out exactly the way he wants to, with the tour that has been the biggest part of his professional career.
"Last year, I felt like I was running down a bit," said Orser, 45. "I thought 'let's do it right,' and I wanted to finish with Stars because that's where it started. It was kind of the right time."
Orser has already begun the transition into his new skating life. After calling Ottawa home for several years, he left the capital a year ago to direct the skating program at the venerable Toronto Cricket, Curling and Skating Club. It's a duty he shares with Tracy Wilson, his good friend and fellow Calgary Olympian.
"We're a team and it's been going really well," said Orser.
He's already got himself a star pupil. Korea's Yu-Na Kim, the bronze medallist at the just-completed world championship in Tokyo, began working with Orser last summer. She's moving to Toronto full-time next month, and hopes to stay with Orser all the way through to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
The next two weeks, though, are about one last round of bows from coast-to-coast. About finishing off a pro career that, Orser admits, he didn't expect to last much longer than five years. But 19 years later, he's still going.
"As long as you keep skating well, there's work out there for you," he said.