Madison Chock and Evan Bates, fifth-place finishers at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, were the first team to announce their departure from Canton. Last season was their first together as a team, and I thought they had great connection for a new team. With the top three Canton couples all staying with Marina at Arctic Edge, I think this is a great move for Maddie and Evan. They'll be able to receive more attention at the new rink, and I hope to see more beautiful programs from them like their free dance from this past season:
Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas are the other team following Igor to Novi. They skate for Lithuania (Isabella is American) and had a great showing at Skate America last year when they captured the bronze medal. They are approaching their third season together, and I think the move to Novi will also be beneficial for them. They've made great improvements in their two seasons together, and I'd love to see them continue to grow and entertain us with programs like their short dance from last season:
Michigan was already considered the ice dance capital of the world, and now yet another dance center has been added to the mix. It will be interesting to see what other teams flock to Novi to train under Igor. Will some of the Russian teams find their way to Michigan to make a strong surge before Sochi? I'd like to see some young novice and junior American teams make the move so there's a continuous pipeline of talent rising through the ranks like there was in Canton the past decade.
Skate America in October will be the first time Marina and Igor will be behind the boards while representing two different camps. That will add another layer of intrigue to what promises to be an exciting event. I'll be there in Kent, Washington covering it all!
You may have noticed my blog has undergone a bit of a makeover. I'd like to thank IM Designs for her awesome design work. I love my new banner!