MusingsPatrick Chan News

Where the Blackbird Flies: Stop 1 – Finland

Espoo Metro Areena, formerly known as Barona Areena. (Photo by junafani / Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Espoo Metro Areena, formerly known as Barona Areena. (Photo by junafani / Source: Wikimedia Commons)
It’s hard to believe that summer has passed and skating season is upon us! This year, Patrick opens the 2016-2017 season in Espoo, Finland, where he will compete for the Finlandia Trophy. Here is a short preview of what he (and we) might see in Finland.

The Timezone

For those of you watching the event live, the Mens’ short program event will start at 2 PM local time, according to the ISU’s competition timetable. That equates to the following North American time zones:

Time zone conversion between Espoo, Finland and Canadian time zones
The City
Espoo, Finland, photo by Victor Belousov
Espoo, Finland. (Photo by Victor Belousov / Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Located just above 60° North (about the same latitude as Whitehorse, Canada or Anchorage, Alaska, US) on the southern shore of Finland, the name Espoo means “a river bordered by aspen trees”. It is Finland’s second largest city and it borders Helsinki to the east. While he is there Patrick will hear locals mostly speaking Finnish, with a Swedish-speaking minority present. The city provides travel guides in English, Russian and Chinese here.

The Competition

The Finlandia Trophy competition belongs to the ISU Challenger Series of competitions. The annual event began in 1995, with Igor Pashkevich winning the first gold in the mens’ competition. Patrick has never competed at this event before and this is his first time visiting Finland.

The competition will be at the Espoo Metro Areena on October 6-9th, 2016. See the detailed practice and competition schedule here.

One cute activity hosted by the event is a knitting challenge to make flower mittens for the skaters, with the opportunity to hand them out personally to the competition winners! As a knitter myself, I expect to see a photo of Patrick with his mittens on!

The Entourage

Besides Patrick’s new coaching team (Zoueva, Epstein and Johns), according to Skate Canada, he and the Canadian Skating team will be accompanied by Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk, onsite physiotherapist Sylvia Ciurysek, and Canadian officials Cynthia Benson and Nicole Leblanc-Richard.

The Competitors

Patrick will compete against 17 other men listed here. Of these, following are some of the top-ranked skaters according to ISU’s World Standings:

#7: Maxim Kovtun
#13: Alexander Petrov
#15: Daniel Samohin
#20: Alexei Bychenko
#48: Nathan Chen

I think this competition will be a fun learning experience for Patrick, where he will get to debut his programs and receive feedback from the judges, as he said. This first stop of the season will also prepare him for his final stop at the World Championships next year. Like many of his fans, I wish him a great experience in Finland, and yes, I can’t wait to see his new costumes!


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