Windsor’s WFCU Centre was aglow this week with lights, reflections and stars… on ice.
The 2017 Canadian tour of the figure skating showcase Stars On Ice stopped in The City of Roses on Wednesday night for an elaborate presentation featuring 10 of the best skaters in the world for a phenomenal demonstration of art and sport. It was an elaborate combination of talent, mixed with a lot of flash, fancy production and stunning choreography. It was as much about skating and sports as it was entertainment and fashion.
Lead by World Champion and Olympic medalists Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko and Patrick Chan, the show also featured stars Jeffrey Buttle, Kaetlyn Osmond, Gabrielle Daleman and champion duos Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, and Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch.
Each skater had their moment to shine, including standout routines from Stojko who was the first to bring out extra loud cheers with a unique faster piece full of some slick twisty moves, and a big James Brown-powered production number from Browning, who at the age of 50, performed what appeared to be a perfect back flip.
Many would be surprised to know that the signature flip move is actually illegal in competitive skating and hasn’t been featured in Browning’s routine for roughly the last 22 years. He only brought the move back to the show in 2015 and Windsor fans raised the roof when he added it near the end of his final performance. The cheers were deafening.
Younger skaters like Osmond, who just returned with a silver medal from the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in March, wore a beautiful white outfit and spun around with a grace rarely seen in Windsor.
Chan, who is Canada’s 2017 National Champion, rocked with a few fun performances and gave a little taste of what the world watched in his signature Blackbird short routine.
Daleman, who this year became the first Canadian ladies’ single skater to land on the podium in four Continents since 2009, wore a beautiful two-piece sporty outfit in her first routine that enhanced her twists and turns, showing her slim athletic moves.
Duhamel and Radford, who just returned from Finland with a disappointing performance due to an injury, looked flawless together with no evidence of injury, so a world-championship return is most likely in the future for the pair.
Iliushechkina and Moscovitch, who obtained silver at the 2017 Canadian Championships and bronze at the 2017 Four Continents Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, looked like they had a lot of fun. During their first performance of the night, Iliushechkina wore a revealing mesh-front outfit that featured laces up her legs and Moscovitch complemented that look with a bit of a rocker ensemble with black shirt with silver embroidery.
Buttle, who also choreographed this year’s show, was a lot of fun to watch in his own routines. Since retiring from competitive skating in 2008, his choreography skills keep growing and his version of Stars On Ice seemed to bring a more dramatic feel to the exhibition than previous tours.
Although everyone in the audience had a favourite to cheer for, the real magic of Stars On Ice is the fact that each and every skater is a star in their own right and a pleasure to watch as they presented their own signature moves with grace and style.
Canada has always had a soft spot for its competitors at figure skating competitions and Stars On Ice is about as close as audiences will get to seeing those Olympic stars shine on Windsor’s WFCU ice. For the many in attendance, it was an enjoyable experience. Hopefully when the event returns to the city in 2018 (pre-sale tickets are already available), the WFCU Centre will be packed.