One week after Skate America in Everett on the West Coast of North America, the skating family moved about 3,000 miles east to the second Grand Prix of the 2018-19 season. Skate Canada International took place in Laval, a city with a population of 430,000 in the province of Quebec, some miles north and the biggest suburb of Quebec’s largest city of Montreal. Laval is dominated by immigrant families from all over the world and has quintupled its population in the last 50 years.
The competition takes place in the Place Bell, a multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility with one arena of 10,000 seats and two smaller rinks, all of which are mainly used by ice hockey clubs. It is named after and sponsored by the well-known telephone company and near brand-new as it was opened only in early 2017. It is located next door to the subway terminal to Montreal downtown and the suburban bus terminal and therefore very convenient for spectators without a car, especially teenagers.
In the ladies competition a hard fight for the medals between the 2016 and 2017 World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva, the 2015 World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, both from Russia, and Wakaba Higuchi from Japan can be expected.
Shoma Uno from Japan is the favorite in the men’s competition. Other medal candidates are U.S. skater Jason Brown, Keegan Messing from Canada, Junhwan Cha from South Korea and Alexander Samarin from Russia.
Vanessa James & Morgan Ciprès from France are the favorites in the pairs competition. But Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro, Cheng Peng & Yang Jin from China and Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier also want to win a medal.
In ice dance. U.S. skater Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue may win their second Grand Prix one week after Skate America and be the first skaters to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Silber medal candidates are Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier from Canada. The third place is wide open, maybe for Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katslapov from Russia or the Spanish couple of Olivia Smart & Adrian Diaz or the Chinese Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu.