National Ice Skating championships in Ottawa and Boston

Ice dancing team Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier. Gilles was "fast-tracked" for Canadian citizenship to become eligible for Team Canada and the Sochi games. Photo: annoyedtonoend, Creative COmmons, some rights reserved

Ice dancing team Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier. Gilles was “fast-tracked” for Canadian citizenship to become eligible for Team Canada and the Sochi games. Photo: annoyedtonoend, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Serious skating fans already know this is a huge weekend for the sport, but casual spectators may not know what’s up.

The U.S. will determine its national figure skating and ice dancing champions – and the Sochi Olympic team - this weekend in Boston. Pretty much the same exercise is happening now in Ottawa, for the Canadian championships and Olympic berths.

The 100th annual National Skating Championships takes place Jan 9-15 at the Canadian Tire Centre, in Ottawa’s west end of Kanata. (In case you missed the name change, that was formerly known as Scotiabank Place. It’s the home arena for the Ottawa Senators NHL team.)

That’s close enough to attend, for interested parties out of our listening area. (Ticket info can be found here.)

Here’s the roster of the current Canadian National Team, which includes the senior ice dancing team of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

As per this item from Fox News, Gilles was born in Illinois to an American father and an American/Canadian mother. She was “fast-tracked” to Canadian Citizenship (which became official in Dec) to ensure eligibility for the Canadian Olympic team, which will be determined this weekend.  (Note: I’m no expert on how each Olympic team is chosen. Results in the National Championships are important, but may not be the only deciding factors. Specifics for the Canadian team selction are detailed in a .pdf found here.)

The 100th anniversary of the Canadian Championships is also being marked by a variety supporting events and a reunion of great Canadian skaters, as mentioned in this Ottawa Citizen article:

As part of the celebrations to mark 100th anniversary of the Canadian figure skating championships, which start Thursday (practice sessions) and continue through Sunday, some 75 past Canadian champions representing 22 Olympic medals are expected to attend.

All taking place now through this weekend, in Ottawa.

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