Minoru hosting tomorrow's skating stars

By Don Fennell

Published 10:56 PDT, Tue August 28, 2018

The future of international figure skating is coming to Richmond.

Several of tomorrow’s champions will be participating in a qualifying competition in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2018-19 series Sept. 12 to 15 at Minoru Arenas. It’s the first time Skate Canada has hosted a qualifying event since 2005 in Montreal. Most recently, Quebec City hosted the 2011 final.

Having competed on the circuit himself, Connaught director of skating Keegan Murphy knows the significance of hosting an event of this calibre.

“As kids we’d be always be sitting in Croatia or something thinking, ‘Oh, this would be so great if we had this at home in Canada,’ because we knew we would do such a great job,” he says. “But it never comes to North America, and you never get it in B.C. It’s just so awesome.”

Continued Murphy:“We get to bring the highest level Russian, Japanese and American skaters to our rink here in Richmond, and all of these kids (members of the local Connaught Skating Club) get to sit there and watch that. YouTube does not cut it. Seeing it live is something totally different. And to give some perspective as to who will be here, the Russian girl Alina Zagitova, who is the current Olympic champion, was competing on this junior circuit just the year before (winning Olympic gold in 2018). That’s how good they are. They’re world-class, Olympic level athletes who, just because of their age, are sitting at a junior event.”

Murphy says in some ways seeing these elite young skaters at a developmental phase, rather than when they’re already celebrities, adds to the champion of Thailand, Lynette will be representing that Asian country at the event, but his longtime Richmond coach, Murphy, will be at his side.

“It’s a nice story for us,” Murphy says. “(The other Connaught skaters) all know Micah so well, so it’s inspiring for them.”

“The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating is a critical growth stage for skaters and we know they will be motivated to deliver remarkable performances at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Canada,” said Debra Armstrong, chief executive officer of Skate Canada.“We are proud to be able to welcome some of the top junior skating talent from around the world, including members of our Skate Canada NextGen team, to Richmond for this event. We hope to see many of the skaters at this event earn spots at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, which we will also be hosting in Vancouver in December.”

The Richmond Sentinel is pleased to be giving away 11 pairs of tickets to the September event.

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