Kingston to host Skate Canada

MIKE KOREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 AM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- Some of the world's top figure skaters will be competing in Kingston in October.

Whether the list includes Canada's biggest names -- Olympic ice dance winners Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue and Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist Joannie Rochette -- remains to be seen.

A news conference will be held at the K-Rock Centre on April 29 to announce plans for Skate Canada International, which will be held Oct. 29 to 31 at the downtown arena. It is one of six events on the 2010 International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating schedule before the series final in December in Tokyo.

The announcement will not include a roster of competitors. A tentative list is due in the summer after ISU officials meet to divide seeded skaters into the six Grand Prix events (ranked skaters are assigned to two of the six events, where points are up for grabs to qualify for the Tokyo final).

Even when that tentative list comes out, changes still might be necessary.

Moir and Virtue, who followed their Olympic gold with a win at the world championships, and Rochette, who won bronze at the Olympics just days after her mother died of a heart attack, have not made firm plans for their competitive futures. All three currently are on Stars on Ice tours.

"After she is done with the tour and (takes) a much-needed vacation, Joannie will consider her options over the summer," said David Baden, Rochette's New York-based agent.

Virtue and Moir likely will be doing much the same thing when their tour comes to an end. After the worlds, Skate Canada CEO William Thompson said he believed the dancers would return to competition.

Regardless of whether the terrific trio ends up in these parts, Skate Canada International is certain to be the biggest figure skating event to land in Kingston.

Longtime Kingston figure skating coach Nancy Brennan said the eastern Ontario championships, held at the Cataraqui Community Centre in 1996, probably represented the high competitive point for the sport in this city.

Jan Armitage, the section chair of Skate Canada for eastern Ontario, said the three-day competition should be a big boost for area skating.

"It's a huge event for us to have," she said. "I really do hope it's a success. We've always liked skating as a community and I think it will be a good event. Looking at possibilities of people who could be here, people know their names more than they do a year ago (because of the Olympics)."

Skate Canada, the governing body for the sport in this country, picked Kingston over a bid from Saint John, N.B. Skate Canada officials visited the city and arena in the winter.

Traditionally, the ISU slots top Canadians in the sport's four disciplines -- men's, women's, pairs, dance -- into Skate Canada International. (The other Grand Prix events are in Japan, China, the United States, Russia and France.)

That means likely competitors include two-time reigning world championship silver medallist Patrick Chan of Toronto and two-time reigning Canadian pairs champs Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison.

The hosting country also can invite up to three of its own competitors for each discipline.

Last year's Skate Canada International in Kitchener ended up featuring four 2010 Olympic medallists, including Rochette and Virtue and Moir.

This will be the third year in a row the event is held in Ontario -- Ottawa hosted in 2008. The event is expected to be televised nationally.

Many of the sport's greats have won Skate Canada International, including Sasha Cohen, Katarina Witt, Evgeni Plushenko and Brian Boitano.


Videos

Photos