Increased Speculation Lesser Senior Skaters To Do Challenge
Rumors continue to circulate but, the writing appears to be on the wall that Skate Canada has made the decision to make its lesser seniors do a Challenge event to qualify for Canadians. This appears to be a done deal even before the issue gets discussed and voted on at the Skate Canada Annual General Meeting.
Press releases for 2008 in Vancouver announce that 150 athletes will compete over 5 days as compared to 250 over 7 days in Halifax. Greg Guy, reporter for Skate Canada at Canadians in Halifax is quoted in the Halifax Chronicle Herald as saying “Word is Skate Canada will most likely follow suit next year, with the full field of skaters being decided from the previous national championships and the Eastern and Western Challenges leading up to Canadians.”
How unfortunate that we will prop up and protect some skaters for years giving them funding and development. Yet, we deny those who are our grass roots talents, potential coaches, judges and volunteer base of a single chance of competing at the big one.
The decision always seemed inevitable but, the way in which it is slowly being unveiled will leave a lasting mark on sport. Halifax under the current format seemed to deliver some new possibilities; the crowd held its breath and lifted up the new comers. It also voiced its displeasure when the system seemed to fail. Such voices are the grass roots of skating that pay the bucks and who will be watching to see what the result of the new changes will be.
These voices wonder how in a world where other countries grow new talent regularly and crown new national champions every year or so, we chose to make certain ours reign for several years.
It will be interesting to monitor the longevity of participants from the Junior Nationals events as they go forward. For many, giving it their all, is worth it to pass their Senior Competitive Test and get a chance after years of dedication to skate at Canadians. Knowing that half of the available senior spots in any give year are blocked and that there is now an additional hurdle in the way may take its toll.
I agree that some skaters will stay in the sport to have that oppertunity to go to Canadians but I also wonder if that system produces the strongest skaters. You metitioned that half the spots would be blocked, I thought just the top 5 on the national team would have bye's, I could be wrong. What do other countries do for their nationals?
Currently this year the top 12 had a bye. It looks as if this will be part of what is proposed.
I have heard from coaches and regional sources that it is confirmed that Challenge events for everyone but last years the top 12 are now required for Seniors hoping to advance to Canadians.
I thought this was to be voted on at the AGM! I have not seen it posted as an ammendment on the Skate Canada website!
The establishment rules! Skating democracy is dead and the new brooms sweep clean!
Skate Canada please speak up!
So if half of the spots at Senior are reserved each year for the previous top 12 -- then why bother moving up to senior???? Skaters who haven't aged out of juniors should stick around for the full 3 years of eligibility and skaters who haven't moved up from Pre-Novice and Novice -- can stay there forever as there is no age cap.
Why not maximize your podium potential by staying in the lower ranks as a skater gets better? There is nothing stopping a skater from passing their senior competitive test and staying back. Then, when the current crop of seniors have moved on -- you can move up to senior as the slots become available, instead of sitting out season after season while only 12 skaters from across the country get the chance to move on after Challenge to Canadians.
I wonder if Skate Canada has done an economic impact study on this move. In the past, senior skaters spent lots of money on icetime, coaching, choreography, etc. after sectionals preparing them for Canadians. Even though many were eliminated after the QR, these skaters, their families and coaches spent money on airline tickets, hotel rooms, meals, entry fees etc. to be at Canadians. And the national experience gained by these skaters was priceless -- many came back stronger the next season to actually make it to the long program.
Just a thought.
Let' Hear From Others
Your post contains many of the same questions and concerns I have.
I would like to hear from some others out there. At the club and regional level they tell me this is happening and seem to believe nothing can be done. I have looked for correspondence to confirm this yet none seems to exist. Still the signs are there.
I would like to hear from others out there. I have tried to create a dialogue but no one seems to care. It would be nice to have some momentum for the AGM but, it doesn't even appear on the agenda.
I seem to remember you were one of the original bloggers on the subject. Any ideas going forward? My past experience is if you challenge these things you get black balled!
Last edited by bems; 03-26-2007 at 03:06 PM.
The Skate Canda ACGM in Montreal has alloted 1 1/2 hours to discussion regarding the competitive skating situation and proposed changes on Friday May 25 at 10:15 - 11:45am. I hope to be there with my two cents worth.
Believe me - I have spoken with other coaches and skaters at Canadians and Jr Nationals, at my club and section level and whenever the subject is brought up -- about the changes.
It seems that most people only think of those bottom few skaters at Canadians in Senior women who made it by default ......no senior skaters at sectionals to defeat or just 4 senior skaters in their section so they get an automatic bye to Canadians...when you discuss sending seniors to Challenge. Grant it, there were a few senior women this year that wouldn't have made it out of sectionals if they were junior, let alone through Challenge to Canadians. However, there were senior skaters who did make it through QR to skate the short program and fought hard every step of the way.
The problem with sending all senior skaters to Challenge - is that grandfather clause everyone is talking about....you know, that the top 12 skaters from the previous Canadians are byed into the short program at the next Canadians. That is why there are just 12 spots in all of Canada - east and west - for all the senior women to battle for at a Challenge event.
There are so many great and talented Junior women moving up this year -- that will find themselves sitting out the competitive season rather than truly battling it out at Canadians with the 'old guard' who are protected. My guess is that many of these talented skaters will opt for university rather than hang on training full-time for a coveted spot at Challenge.
What I would like to see - is that the senior event be treated the same as any other event at Challenge. One-half of the competitors move on to Canadians or a minimum of 10 - whatever the largest number is. So if Eastern Challenge has PQ- 8, COS- 4 EOS - 4, NS - 1 NFLD - 1 = 18, the top 10 would move on. Same with Western Challenge - say they field 15 - 10 would move on. That would be a total of 20 seniors from Challenges, and the 12 seeded from the previous Cdns, to bring the total of competitors at Cdns to 32. All would skate their short, and then 24 would go on to skate the long.
Makes more sense to me. What do you think?
That's Better !!!!
That sounds like more of a competion to me! I hope you are able to put it forward. What you suggest is much better than the possibilites I am hearing about. I applaude you, most of the coaches I have talked to in our Region really don't care. Skaters come and skaters go.
With the proposed changes, like you I believe our Senior ranks are about to drop off. As a skater if I have very little opportunity to truly compete and test my compitence as a Senior, why would I stay skating? Better to spend your money on school rather than waste it on skating. Those who have the money can afford to wait it out and they will become our national champions. Certainly, they will have the skills but we will never know what talent we might have lost because we did not give it exposure on the National stage. I truly believe the public is losing interest in skating as a sport. It remains an entertainment. The average age of our skaters given those on the podium at Worlds has fans in my circle saying where is our young talent?
Challenge will still be an additional expense for those attending. The skaters will play to empty arenas with the true competion still being at Canadians. I still believe we can do what the ISU does, that is to take on all on comers, everyone competes the short and top 24 move on. We can protect the top 12 for development purposes if we want but, other countries and other sports make it understood that you must prove yourself annually. This seems like alot of time and energy to eliminate the 3 or 5 ugly ducklings who Skate Canada feel do not belong based on skill. Based on their results, they will soon move on anyway. For every Senior attending they get the benefit of real competition. We see how the world competes, we have seen many new talents rise in Tokyo. Let's not limit our thinking on how to grow champions.
Sorry, for rambling. I will not be able to attend the AGM this year. I hope you will be able to be there to do what you can to keep skating truly competitive and affordable for those who have dedicated and denied themselves so much to have a chance to compete.
Last edited by bems; 03-27-2007 at 02:43 AM.
If anyone attended the ACGM this past weekend or can share reliable hearsay information, was there any significant debate/discussion there on this topic?
In response to the post above, Skate Canada is having senior skaters compete as one group at Western/Eastern Challenge this year. The senior skaters who placed third last in 2007 will have a bye for Vancouver as well as skaters who compete at an international competition. This might not be permanent. Skate Canada is trying this out for this year and re-evaluating the idea for next year.