Unlike the ladies’ event, the men’s competition at this week’s 2018 Skate Canada International has a pretty clear favorite. Shoma Uno brings a heavy and illustrious resume with him to Laval and it will take mistakes from him and flawlessness from others to push him off the top of the podium. But the rest of the podium could very well be a battle between the veterans and the newcomers, a common theme in this post-Olympic season. Whatever happens, this will be a packed field.
2018 Skate Canada International preview
Official hashtag: #SCI18
GOLD Shoma Uno JPN - The Olympic silver medalist is two-for-two - gold at Lombardia Trophy and a first place individually at Japan Open. Uno brings a lot of expectations with him this week as the heavy favorite for gold. He doesn’t actually need to be perfect to win here, but he will certainly want to clean up some of the mistakes he made earlier in the season as he looks ahead to showdowns with the likes of Hanyu and Chen later this season.
SILVER Junhwan Cha KOR - Cha is a skater who is ready to break through this season, and his two silver medalist at Autumn Classic and Finlandia were certainly great signs that he will do just that this year. With injuries behind him, he’s focused and prepared early this season, and he could very well set himself up for a great Grand Prix with two strong skates this week.
BRONZE Jason Brown USA - Brown is one of many skaters who made a major change in his coaching in the post-Olympic off-season. Autumn Classic, where he was fourth, was a stepping stone for him, but it certainly wasn’t a shining example of what he hopes to achieve this season. It’s been another month and he’s had a chance to regroup after that sub-par free skate there. Quad or not, Brown will need to be consistent on his triple axel to get on the podium here.
4. Keegan Messing CAN - Ready to take on the responsibilities as the top men’s skater in Canada - and also newly engaged! - Messing started off his season with gold at Nebelhorn Trophy. He made a name for himself last season with his top ten finish at Worlds, and his star is certainly rising, along with his component marks. He’s got a real shot at a first Grand Prix medal this week.
5. Roman Sadovsky CAN - He was the surprise bronze medalist at Autumn Classic last month. Sadovsky has always been a skater with strong basics, but he hasn’t been terribly consistent in competition. He has worked hard on getting his jumps in order and showed off some great stuff at Autumn Classic. He’s your dark horse here this week.
6. Nam Nguyen CAN - With a solid sixth at Skate America last week, Nguyen skated some of his strongest programs of the past couple of years there. He’s a skater who relies on competition confidence to get his consistency in order, and his first two events this season may spur him on to another strong competition this week.
7. Kazuki Tomono JPN - Fifth at Worlds in his breakthrough senior debut season, Tomono didn’t quite have that same consistency and spark at his first event this season, taking fifth at Lombardia Trophy. He is certainly looking to cement his status as the third man in Japan this season, and Skate Canada will be an important part of that journey.
8. Kevin Aymoz FRA - The former French champion has one of the most interesting free skates of the season, and his fifth-place showing at Autumn Classic last month bodes well for what’s to come this year. That said, his performances at French Masters just a week later were less than satisfying. So which Aymoz do we get this week?
9. Alexander Samarin RUS - Samarin was fifth at Nepela to start his season, but he didn’t look nearly as sharp as he did last season when he medaled at Skate Canada and took fourth at Internationaux de France.
10. Brendan Kerry AUS - With a win at Halloween Cup last weekend, Kerry will be looking at Skate Canada and hoping to break the last two seasons of poor Grand Prix finishes. He has all the technical potential necessary to break the top half here, and if he finds consistency this week, he has a great chance to do so.
11. Alexander Majorov SWE - Majorov has eyed this season as his final one. He started off strongly with a silver at Nebelhorn Trophy, but dropped off earlier this month with an 11th at Finlandia.
12. Daniel Samohin ISR - Always incredibly unpredictable, Samohin was sixth at both Nepela and Nebelhorn last month, but he was nowhere near his best at either event.