A year after Yukon got its first gold at the figure skating nationals, the territory got its first pairs medal at the championship this week.
Whitehorse’s Bryn Hoffman and her Alberta skating partner Bryce Chudak won silver in junior pairs at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Halifax on Wednesday.
“It’s actually bitter-sweet,” said Hoffman. “We’re really happy to have placed well and won a silver, obviously. It feels amazing. But in our long program we didn’t skate as well as we could have and we did make some mistakes.”
Hoffman, 18, and Chudak, 20, placed second in both programs out of nine teams. They scored a personal best of 51.25 in the short Tuesday and an 87.90 in the free Wednesday for a combined 139.15.
“Although the (free) program wasn’t going how we wanted it to go … As the program went on we focused on all the details, our spins and choreography sequence – doing all the easier elements really, really well to try to get as many points as we could,” said Hoffman.
With their silver placing, Hoffman and Chudak are now waiting to learn if they will be selected to represent Canada at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary this March.
It wouldn’t be the first time they skate for Canada at an international competition. The two placed fourth at International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix competitions in Colorado and Poland so far this season.
The Hoffman-Chudak team, who placed seventh at last year’s nationals, live and train in Calgary where Hoffman attends the University of Calgary.
Also competing in Halifax was Whitehorse’s Rachel Pettitt, the winner of Yukon’s first gold at last year’s championship in novice women.
The 16-year-old, who now competes in junior women, placed sixth out of 18 skaters on Thursday.
“I’m really very pleased with how I finished for my first junior nationals,” said Pettitt. “I didn’t have the best free program, but I’m proud of finishing seventh in the free with not my best skate.
“I’m walking away proud and ready to train and be ready for the next one.”
Like Hoffman and Chudak, Pettitt notched a personal best in her short with a 48.87 for third place on Wednesday. She then placed seventh in the free with a 79.08 on Thursday for a combined score of 124.95, about five points from her personal best.
“I just did everything the best I could,” said Pettitt of her short. “I just performed very well, got all my jumps done, and just enjoyed it a lot.”
Pettitt, who skates for Yukon’s Arctic Edge Skating Club and trains in Kelowna, also won Yukon’s first-ever gold in figure skating at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Both Hoffman and Pettitt skated for Yukon at the 2011 Canada Winter Games that, like this week’s nationals, took place in Halifax.
“I love it here in Halifax – I seriously do,” said Pettitt. “I’m not really a lobster fan, but I told myself I need to try lobster before I leave … I did try mussels, so I’m proud of that.
“It’s such a nice environment – being down at nationals is so much fun. We saw some of the senior competitors today. We saw Patrick Chan and all the ice dancers and pairs and everything.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org