Figure Skating in Northern Ontario
Jeffrey Buttle is Canada's National Champion!
In the battle of north versus south Jeffery Buttle dethroned three time winner Emanuel Sandhu with an outstanding performance at the BMO Canadian Championships, earning him a stunning 156.95 points for an overall total of 262.23 and in front of a sellout crowd.
Jeff said afterwards "This is incredible. This is awesome. I've been waiting for a skate like that at Canadians for way too long. It felt so good that I want to make sure it happens over and over again. There's nothing like skating like that in front of a Canadian audience."
To have the reigning Canadian Champion be that young fellow who drops by to skate sometimes at a local arena, and help out some young local skaters, is a bit of a rush for us in the North. Jeff has said that Sudbury's Wendy Philion is part of the reason he continues to help northern youngsters. She has been a real influence in his life and is part of the reason he's where he is today, at the very top of Canada's figure skating world. And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
Both Jeffrey and Emanuel will be heading to Moscow in March for the World Championships.
Story below provided by Skate Canada
Buttle storms back for Gold
By Laurie Nealin
Jeff Buttle stormed back in spectacular fashion from an underwhelming short program to dethrone the reigning three-time champion Emanuel Sandhu on Saturday at the BMO Canadian Championships.
Buttle's inspired performance, which included two triple-triple jump combinations and two triple Axels, brought the sold-out John Labatt Centre crowd to its feet.
The twice silver medallist broke into a huge grin as he pumped the air with his fist, celebrating a spectacular performance.
With eight triple jumps woven into a masterful program, Buttle proved unbeatable on this night, especially by a slightly off-kilter Sandhu.
Sandhu went quadless in two attempts and, despite a valiant effort, without the big jumps could not amass enough points to hang on to the crown he had won three times before.
Buttle posted 156.95 points for his finale skate, 262.23 in all, to Sandhu's 143.34 and 242.66 overall.
"Incredible. Awesome," were the first words Buttle used to describe the outcome.
"I just knew I was going to skate like that... I felt it was the best I've ever done," he added.
"This is where I began to love the sport, so it's fitting I should be Canadian champion here," Buttle said of London, the city where he took his first figure skating lessons.
Buttle, who splits his training time between Barrie, Ont., and Lake Arrowhead, Calif., struggled in the opening rounds here, failing to deliver a triple Axel in the qualifier and committing two major errors in the short. Yesterday, he was on fire.
The bronze medal went to Shawn Sawyer, of New Brunswick, who was ninth at the 2004 Canadians. He posted 220.60 points for the week.
"It wasn't perfect, but it still happened," said Sawyer, 20, who trains in Drummondville, Que. "It shows how hard I've worked."
Sawyer also earned a standing ovation for his Cirque du soleil program, a fitting music choice for the acrobatic skater renowned for his uncommon flexibility in body-contorting spins and spirals. Sawyer nailed five triple jumps, including an Axel and a flip-toe loop combination.
Buttle and Sandhu will head to the World Championships in mid-March, looking to put Canada back on the men's podium for the first time since Elvis Stojko claimed silver in 2000.
Sandhu was again the only man to attempt the risky quadruple jump, a trick he says he'll need if he is to challenge the heavy hitters in Moscow.
"It's not that big a deal," Sandhu said, reflecting on his loss. "I've won this event three times. I didn't skate as good as I could have and that's what matters."
Buttle suggested he will be shooting for a top six finish at Worlds, but admitted he will need a quadruple jump to achieve that goal. Getting that currently inconsistent jump under his belt will be priority one between now and then.
The 2004 silver medallist Ben Ferreira, of Edmonton who also trains in Barrie, settled for fourth here, while Christopher Mabee was fifth.
Last year, Buttle relinquished his world team berth to Ferreira after a disastrous Canadian Championships performance. He bounced back this season, winning silver behind Plushenko last month at the prestigious Grand Prix Final, where Sandhu was fourth.
Quebec's Nicholas Young, who suffered a concussion when he crashed headfirst into the boards on triple flip gone scarily awry in Friday's short program, withdrew before yesterday's start. Despite being disoriented after the fall, he finished his routine and was in ninth place. Young, 22, was Canada's fifth-ranked man the last two years.