Maybe there should be a question mark in that title, what with the way things are at present?
Closing the book on the 2019-20 thread, there were a lot of highs (particularly on the Grand Prix, which somewhat unexpectedly turned out to be a huge improvement from the previous year) mixed in with a number of lows for individual skaters as a result of personal tragedies, injuries and growth, and just plain missed opportunities. And obviously, the season ended with the disappointing cancellation of the World Championships in Montreal (hopefully we'll see a 2023 Worlds in Canada, but that's of course up in the air).
Our athletes are largely back on the ice training now with pandemic restrictions easing; now it's a question of whether there'll be anywhere for them to actually compete. Discipline by discipline:
- In the men, we've got a number of guys with lots of talent, but still struggling for consistency (or, in Nam's case, are finding consistency but aren't quite at the level necessary to be a top contender). Lots of individual highlights from the previous year, such as Nam's perhaps all-time best event at 2019 SCI and Roman's surprise Grand Prix medal and title win. Stephen, hopefully, can put the litany of problems he had this season behind him as he settles into his new height and new coaching.
- The ladies discipline at the senior level remained battered by injuries for the second straight year, so...that can stop any time it wants.
- In pairs, KMT & Michael had their best season to date, and even made the Grand Prix Final. Evelyn & Trennt made some hugely unexpected technical strides halfway through the year, and hopefully that will continue. The pairs field below them has thinned out a bit due to expected retirements or splits, but I'm most interested to see (whenever we get to see them) Brooke McIntosh's new junior pair team with Ben Mimar.
- Dance remains, at both the senior and junior levels, Canada's keystone discipline. Piper & Paul had their best season ever, Laurence & Nikolaj really impressed before they had to bow out due to his injury, and Marjorie & Zachary's senior debut had not-unexpected hiccups in the early going but ended on a real high. The junior ranks are also full of talent that I'm eager to see more of. Carolane & Shane's really disappointing season culminated in a coaching change that will hopefully serve them well.
Skate Canada's NextGen lineup for the coming season:
Amy Shao Ning Yang
Patricia Andrew & Zachary Daleman
Audrey Carle & Gabriel Farand
Kelly Ann Laurin & Loucas Ethier
Brooke McIntosh & Benjamin Mimar
Ashlyn Schmitz & Tristan Taylor
Lily Wilberforce & Aidan Wright
Junior Ice dance
Nadiia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont
Emmy Bronsard & Aissa Bouaraguia
Natalie D'Alessandro & Bruce Waddell
Sandrine Gauthier & Quentin Thieren
Emma Goodstadt & Michael Barsoum
Lily Hensen & Nathan Lickers
Jessica Li & Jacob Richmond
Hannah Lim & Ye Quan
Miku Makita & Tyler Gunara
Hailey Yu & Brendan Giang