STARS ON ICE FROM PAST AND PRESENT PUT ON A SHOW
It wasn’t only the clouds that evaporated over Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday night. So, too, it seemed, did the years.
Canada’s past and present in skating melded seamlessly during a Stars on Ice performance, before 4,954 fans, that featured past legends with current stars who will be heard from in February at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In the golden oldies group was three-time world champion and two-time Olympic silver-medallist Elvis Stojko, who won his first national junior championship on Blanshard Street in the old Memorial Arena.
That’s going back some. Yet some things never change, as the 45-year-old Stojko still retains his famously muscular brand of skating. Yet he has another side. His skates on Tuesday to Ashes of Eden by Breaking Benjamin and Run Boy Run by Woodkid were both truly haunting.
The present was ably represented by Kaetlyn Osmond, a big Canadian hope for the 2018 Olympics, who showed her range by skating to the differing tempos of Hallellujah by Tori Kelly and I Love It by Icona Pop. Osmond has come a long way since placing sixth in this same building on Blanshard in the 2011 world junior championships.
“We had two Canadian ladies on the world championship podium for the first time (silver-medallist Osmond and bronze-medallist Gabrielle Daleman this spring at the 2017 Worlds in Helsinki),” said Jeffrey Buttle, 2006 Turin Olympic men’s bronze medallist, and now choreographer for Stars on Ice. “Canada is looking mighty strong for next year's Olympics.”
Along with the gold in ice dance by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada’s three medals were the most for any nation at the 2017 World championships.
Daleman was a late scratch on Tuesday due to injury. Her surprise replacement did not disappoint. Shawn Sawyer, well remembered in Victoria for his Mad Hatter routine that won silver behind Patrick Chan at the 2011 Canadian championships in the Memorial Centre, gave an energetic performance that was well received.
Two-time world pair champions Eric Radford and Meagan Duhamel failed to make the podium in Helsinki because of Radford’s herniated disc. His recovery is coming along, but he and Duhamel are limiting themselves to just one individual number in Stars on Ice, which they did with aplomb Tuesday to David Bowie’s Heroes sung by Peter Gabriel, to indicate they will be a factor at the Olympics.
Three-time world champion and 2014 Sochi Olympic silver-medallist Chan’s reboot, after taking time off following Sochi, continues after his fifth place in Helsinki. He looked in good form skating to Oh, What a Night by the Four Seasons and Sunday Morning by Maroon 5.
There was a moment to be savored for young Racquet Club skaters — John and Chris Horwood, Audrey Darrah, Tendo Mukahanana, Kirsten Reder — who performed at the halfway break.
“The (Stars on Ice) skaters are amazing role models for these kids,” said Racquet Club director Deena Beacom. “It motivates our young skaters and shows them that, if they continue to work hard, they can aspire to be at this level some day.”
The biggest crowd favourite was four-time former world champion Kurt Browning. Beacom skated with Browning on the national team and trained with him for four years.
He still leaves her tickets at the door under her maiden name, Deena Woodley, when the show comes to Victoria.
One of the ensemble performances was skated to Send in the Clowns by Barbara Streisand. Instead, they sent in the greats.