Three-time Olympic figure skating medallist and three-time world champion Patrick Chan held a two-day Vancouver Island Region Skater Development Seminar at Oceanside Place over the weekend.
This year’s annual Skate Canada event had 109 participants registered in the Skate Development seminar and 48 in the Active Start or lower level seminar, which Judy Burwash of Sandy Shores and one of the organizers said was the best response they ever had for their seminars.
Chan, who won gold in the team event in the 2018 PyeonChang Olympics and silver medals in the men’s and team event at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, is one of the most decorated male figure skaters in Canadian history.
He retired from competition earlier this year and since then has focused more of his time to teaching young skaters, performing in figure skating tours and also holding speaking engagements.
Going from one place to another to teach has replaced Chan’s hectic daily routine of training. The Toronto figure skater just moved to British Columbia in March and indicated that this was his first time in Parksville. He said is happy to be visiting places in B.C. “spreading the love and spreading the love of skating.”
Chan said two days is not enough time to teach a lot but he hopes the young skaters in the seminar may learn some things that may benefit them as they progress further in their figure skating endeavours.
“I am not trying to re-invent the wheel here,” said Chan, a 10-time Canadian champion. “I am giving them a lot of information. I am giving them a lot either it’s technical or stroking exercises. It’s a lot of information I am giving these kids and I keep telling them that as long as they can remember maybe one or two things, even one thing that makes it all worthwhile.”
Chan has a dream of one-day establishing his own figure skating school. And every seminar he conducts is a learning curve for him.
“This is the first step. Just like anything you just don’t go into it right away,” said Chan. “Having a skating academy and skating school is a multi-faceted system and I am only one part of it. Even myself in terms of coaching, I am still learning. This is my first year after competing trying to transfer what I understood from skating and transferring it to kids.”
The popularity of figure skating is still there but Chan said it has its highs and lows.
“It’s kind of like the stock market, we try to predict what’s going to happen,” said Chan. “Right now for me, I am trying to build skating in B.C. To bring high level competitive skaters to this beautiful province is something everyone can benefit from.”