Patrick Chan skates with a Canadian flag after being presented with his gold medal at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, January 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

Courtesy of skatecanada.ca

OTTAWA, ON: Fifteen of Canada’s top figure skaters will be heading to Windsor, Ontario to compete against many of the world’s best athletes at the 2012 Skate Canada International, from October 26-28, 2012 at the WFCU Centre.

The event is the second of six competitions on the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit, which qualifies skaters for the ISU Grand Prix Final which runs from December 5-9 in Sochi, Russia. Skate Canada International will showcase many skaters who will be certain contenders next season in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games as well.

In men’s, 2012 World champion Patrick Chan, 21, Toronto, Ont., returns to defend his title at Skate Canada International for the third year in a row. Last season, Chan won gold at each Grand Prix event he competed in, as well as the ISU Grand Prix Final, the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, and the 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. He is coached by Kathy Johnson in Colorado Springs, USA.
The second entry in the men’s division is Elladj Baldé, 21, Pierrefonds, Que. Baldé finished 10th at this event in 2011. He placed fourth at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, and most recently placed 14th at this season’s Nebelhorn Trophy, a senior international competition in Germany. He trains out of the Detroit Skating Club with his coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen.

Also competing in the men’s division is Liam Firus, 20, North Vancouver, B.C. Last season, Firus placed eighth at the 2012 ISU Junior World Figure Skating Championships. He also finished sixth at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, competing in the senior category. This season, Firus competed at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, a senior international competition, and placed eighth. Firus is coached by Lorna Bauer at the Vancouver Skating Club.

Amélie Lacoste, 23, Delson, Que., is one of two entries in the ladies category for Canada. Lacoste is the 2012 Canadian Champion, and placed sixth at the 2011 Skate Canada International. Last season, she also placed 16th at the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships and seventh at the 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Earlier this season, she won bronze at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, a senior international competition. Lacoste is coached by Nathalie Martin and Sylvie Fullum at CPA Saint-Léonard in Montreal, Que.

Kaetlyn Osmond, 16, Marystown, Nfld., is the other entry for Canada in the ladies category. Last season, Osmond won bronze in the senior category at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. She also placed 10th at the 2012 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. This season, Osmond competed at Nebelhorn Trophy, and took home gold. She is coached by Ravi Walia at the Ice Palace FSC in Edmonton.

In the pair discipline, 2012 Canadian Champions Meagan Duhamel, 26, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 27, Balmertown, Ont., are one of two Canadian entries. Last season, they won bronze at this event and placed fifth at the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The team is coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte at CPA Saint-Léonard in Montreal, Que.

Paige Lawrence, 22, Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers, 25, Kipling, Sask., are also competing in pair for Canada, and placed eighth at this event last season. The 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championship bronze medalists also placed seventh at the 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. This season, Lawrence and Swiegers competed at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and earned silver. They train in Virden, Man., and are coached by Patricia Hole and Lyndon Johnston.

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue, 23, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 25, Ilderton, Ont., are three-time Skate Canada International Champions (2007, 2009, 2011). The 2010 Olympic Champions won gold last season at the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, and 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. They are coached by Marina Zoueva, Johnny Johns and Oleg Epstein at Artic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Michigan.

Piper Gilles, 20, Toronto, Ont. – Colorado Springs, CO., and Paul Poirier, 20, Toronto, Ont., will also be competing in the ice dance category. In 2011-2012, their first season competing together, they won bronze at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. This season, they won gold at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. They are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razguliaevs at Ice Dance Elite in Scarboro, Ont.

Kharis Ralph, 20, Toronto, Ont., and Asher Hill, 21, Pickering, Ont., round out the Canadian entries in ice dance for Canada. Last season, Ralph and Hill placed fourth at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, and 13th at the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. This season, they placed seventh at Nebelhorn Trophy. The duo train out of Scarboro FSC and are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs.