Poirier figures out destiny at young age

SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Like many Canadian boys, Paul Poirier learned to skate when he started playing hockey. His dad played junior hockey in Ontario and he thought Paul and his two brothers should learn the game, too. But he soon realized young Paul might be better suited for figure skating.

"When I about six years old, playing in the lower levels, instead of chasing the puck I would stand on the dots on the ice and start spinning," said Poirier. "So that's when my parents thought I might be more interested in figure skating. And it's something that I really enjoyed and kept wanting to improve, and that's what got me here."

With Canadian champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir sitting out with injury, Poirier and partner Vanessa Crone will be the top Canadian ice dancers this weekend.

"Of course it adds pressure, and it's unfortunate she got injured so close to the event and we really hope she recovers quickly," Poirier said, "but it's a great opportunity for us."

A medal would be a great birthday present. Poirier, who was born in Ottawa but grew up near Toronto, turns 17 next Thursday, while Crone, of Aurora, turned 18 yesterday.

Catch a bug

Skate Canada wants to put a bug in your ear.

For $20, fans can purchase a "Skate Bug," an earpiece that will provide commentary while they watch the show live.

"The Skate Bug is going to change the live figure skating experience," said Debbi Wilkes, director of marketing and communications for Skate Canada.

This weekend, it will feature guest commentators Jeff Buttle, a former world champion, and 1988 Olympic silver medallist Elizabeth Manley.

The interactive component to Skate Bug will allow fans to text their messages, questions and comments directly to the commentators. (No, guys, you can't ask for Jessica Dube's phone number!)

The Skate Bug can be purchased at the HomeSense Boutique in Scotiabank Place.


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