Closing the door on the 2020-21 thread, which in the past few years I've left open until July 1, but since other countries' new threads are starting to pop up and discussion of the season that (barely) was is largely over, it seems fitting to kick off the new thread now.
The 2020-21 season was a pretty rough time for fans of Canadian skaters, as the pandemic virtually eliminated competitive opportunities for our athletes until the tail end of the season. But it ended in unexpectedly strong fashion, with a strong World Championship showing capped by Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier winning Canada's first World medal of the quadrennial. So things are looking up heading into the Olympic season.
- Coming off a very rough 2019-20 season, Keegan Messing was riding high this time around; the blessings of geography made him the only Canadian skater in any discipline to get multiple in-person events, and he impressed at both, winning a bronze medal at Skate America and placing a personal-best sixth at the World Championships. If there aren't two Canadian men at the 2022 Winter Olympics, it won't be because of him.
- The other notable Canadian guys, Roman Sadovsky and Nam Nguyen, had a bit more inconsistent results, but Roman is now showing progress in his longtime nemesis, the short program. Nam probably is disappointed after his very consistent 2019-20 season.
- Lower down the ranks, Corey Circelli made an unexpectedly strong impression now that he's decided to focus on singles. Stephen Gogolev was missing due to growth and injury issues, but we hope for better in the season ahead.
- Madeline Schizas, the late-breaking highlight of the 2019-20 season, solidified her place atop the Canadian ladies' standings this past season, and added the triple Lutz (in combination!) to her previously lighter jump arsenal. She has ambitions to add bigger jumps still, but while it remains to be seen whether that can be delivered, she's in a very good place looking ahead.
- The rest of the field...well, Alison and Gabrielle's World Team Trophy showings had some positive moments, ideally they can build on that. Kaiya Ruiter, in her one appearance, showed some pretty ambitious technical content, if inconsistent in the delivery; assuming her provincial government will let her get into a rink enough to train, maybe she'll continue her progress next season.
- The heretofore sleepy pairs scene got a major injection of the drama at the end of the season with the announcement of the return of Eric Radford, now partnered with Vanessa James, a major shakeup when otherwise the two spots on the Olympic team were looking pretty set. How they perform is obviously a major question mark as we look ahead.
- Our defending champions, Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro were hampered by injuries for much of the training period and didn't perform at Worlds to their full potential by any means, so they'll be looking for a better showing in the future.
- Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud pulled off a really solid Worlds without even virtual competitions beforehand to prepare, and they'll need all that gumption for the coming fight.
- Below the top teams, a number of new younger pairings showed some potential in the virtual competition, and will hopefully continue to develop now that there are real competitions (hopefully!) for them to attend.
- Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier achieved their long-sought (and, for many, myself included, seemingly longshot) World medal, and are among the top three seeds for the coming Grand Prix season. Can they keep building on what they've already achieved?
- Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen came onboard Team Canada three years ago with a plan to make it to the Olympic Games, and now the prize is firmly in sight. The citizenship curse's end may finally be nigh.
- Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha, coming off their Worlds debut, will be looking to take that third ticket to Beijing. We'll see if any of the teams below them can find another gear and take it away.
- At the junior level, a bunch of our talented teams basically had nowhere to compete last season, so let's hope for better things ahead (including the return of Emmy Bronsard & Aissa Bouaraguia, who had injury issues last season in addition to missing the virtual competition).
Canada is currently scheduled to host three ISU competitions:
- 2021 JGP Edmonton, August 25-28;
- 2021 CS Autumn Classic International, September 16-18 in Montreal; and
- 2021 Skate Canada International, October 29-31 in Vancouver.
The 2022 Canadian Championships are scheduled for Ottawa, January 6-13.