Canada's top skating talent set to take over Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre

For most of the year, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre is home to UBC's men's and women's hockey teams. But next week the arena will be home to another brand of skater: Canada's best figure skaters.

From January 8 to 14, the nation's best will be on campus vying for a national title at the 2018 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The week long event will feature the nations best men's, women's and pairs' skaters, and ice dancers in categories ranging from novice to senior — including those heading to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February.

Here's who you may see in and around campus next week, clad in their best sparkly costumes.

National stars

Kaetlyn Osmond

After winning the silver medal at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2017, Osmond now holds the best Canadian ladies’ singles record at that event since 2009. More recently, a fall during her free skate program resulted in a tough score at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating's Internationaux de France in November, but Osmond still managed to secure a spot in the top three.

She has only represented Canada once at the Olympics, winning a silver medal with Team Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

Going in to the national championship at Doug Mitchell next week, the three-time Canadian national champion is a top contender.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford

The duo started competing together in 2010 and have become the team to beat in Canadian pairs skating. Together, they are two-time world pairs champions (in 2015 and 2016), Grand Prix Final champions and six-time Canadian national champions. Should they succeed next week, it will be their seventh national title.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are familiar faces to Vancouver, winning the gold medal in ice dancing at the Pacific Coliseum in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Their free dance at the event is still one remembered today, though their entire program was pretty flawless. They are two-time Olympic medalists, three-time world champions and seven-time Canadian champions.

If that wasn't enough, they also set two world records — one for their short dance and one for their overall score — at the Skate Canada event in Regina in October. Though their overall score has since been one upped by French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, Virtue and Moir are still ice dance royalty.

This is also their first time back to the national championship after a two year break.

Patrick Chan

The three-time world champion is back from some redemption, after a tough 2017 schedule. After missing out on a podium spot at the Skate Canada competition in Regina in October, Chan announced his withdrawal from the NHK Trophy event two months ago to focus on his training.

Now, Chan is back and on the hunt for his 10th Canadian title. This may be one of the last opportunities to see him skate competitively as well, as Chan had previously announced his retirement after the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Best of the west

Eleven senior team members from the West Coast will also participate in the championship next week. In the men's and women's categories, Kevin Reynolds and Larkyn Austman from Coquitlam, Kelsey Wong and Sarah Tamura from Burnaby, and Liam Firus from North Vancouver will be participating. In ice dance, Ravie Cunningham and Cedar Bridgewood, Sarah Arnold and Thomas Williams, and Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker will be representing the West Coast.

Kevin Reynolds is a UBC student who is currently studying international relations. He’s a 2014 Winter Olympics team silver medalist and a six-time Canadian national championship medalist. He is also the first ever skater to have landed two quadruple jumps in a short program.