In a move that is sure to delight fans, Skate Canada will be live streaming segments of the events from 2018 Canadian Nationals, which take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Jan. 8-14. The streams will be available worldwide to a global audience for free.

During the 2017 Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan, we had the opportunity to speak with Ted Barton — the globally popular commentator of the Junior Grand Prix Series and the Junior Grand Prix Final — about Skate Canada’s innovative plan to cover this historic event and what prompted the federation to share it with the world.

“In Vancouver this year it will be kind of the end of an era, as it will be around around the world. With the Olympics coming, there will be many retirements,” Barton said. “In Canada, Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and many other athletes may be moving on, so it is a big competition this year.

“We will be broadcasting in two languages, which we have never done before. Former Canadian team member, Myriane Samson, will do the French commentary and myself and Debbi Wilkes (the 1964 Olympic silver pairs medalist) will handle the English coverage. We want to welcome the world to watch Canadian skating.

“At the end of the television broadcast in Canada, we will come back with a post-show stream — a recap (which will also be streamed around the globe), with comments from and interviews with some of the top senior skaters. We want the fan base to get involved, so they can feel that they are part of it, especially if they are not there to watch the competition live.

“I would love people to send questions and be engaged with what is happening in Vancouver and I encourage fans to ask questions online.

“To me, this is important and it is in parallel with what we are doing with the ISU. We are trying to grow the sport and reach out to people and engage them through technology; to tell the stories with a sense of humour — and that can’t happen without these types of broadcasts. 

“Skate Canada supports this 100 percent because the people in that organization know that Canada is a big country with skaters in remote places that don’t normally get to see those at the elite level. This is one way we can reach them, educate them, motivate them and get them engaged. Many might skate in a little town somewhere in the north, but with this concept they can feel connected through the broadcast.   

“I believe that a good combination of age and experience and youth and energy is what is going to transition one generation to the other. So being able to tell the stories, motivate the youth and serve the current generation…we are looking for people to be that youth an energy for how this sport will be covered in the future.  

“I am hoping that this will be a catalyst for other federations around the world to open their national championships to the world, so we can all watch the sport grow. We are starting here and we encourage other countries to do the same.”

Skate Canada will provide full coverage of the novice and junior events and non-televised segments of the senior competition may also be live streamed. The senior practice sessions will be streamed on Thursday but not on Friday and Saturday. 

While some segments of the senior events may be live streamed (undetermined at this time), due to television contractual obligations, the final flights in each of the senior disciplines will not be globally available. 

For those who subscribe to a Canadian cable/digital network, all events will be live streamed online and will also air on the CTV/TSN television networks across the country.