4 June 2012

Coach Shpilband fired - Some drama in the Canton Dinasty

Figure Skating From The Boards
A very unexpected news came this morning to shake the world of ice dance: the Arctic Club of Canton gave the boot to Igor Shpilband, the famous coach who has created with Marina Zueva one of the most successful dance school.

"I just got fired," Igor Shpilband said yesterday to Jo-Ann Barnas of Detroit Free Press. It seems the move was made in part because Arctic Figure Skating Club's top three teams, i.e. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and Maia and Alex Shibutani, felt as if "Igor wasn't there anymore for them."

Shpilband learned of his dismissal in a meeting with general manager of the rink Craig O'Neill and rink owner John Stansik. “I'm totally shocked," Shpilband said to Barnas. "I have to talk to the kids (skaters). I just left a message with Meryl and Charlie. He (O'Neill) said the kids don't want me at the rink anymore. For what reason, I don't know."

It seems that Shpilband and Marina Zoueva have had conflicts recently, namely over Zoueva's scheduling of their teams. "To me, that's not a good partnership," he said. "Me and Marina had a good run, and I don't want it to end like this; two years after the Olympics (2014 in Sochi) we could have gone our seperate ways." Then he added that "She (Zoueva) wanted me to go away. I worked for many years before Marina, I built and took skaters to the top podium in the world. But I felt like I needed Marina to (go) from worlds to the Olympics, which (was) incredible, we did it together."

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
O'Neill replied that "Igor did talk about starting his own program, and coaching some of his own kids, and we didn't have issues with that." But "he's not focused with the kids. What it came down to was the kids didn't want to skate there (in Canton) anymore with Igor. Either they were leaving or Igor was leaving."

In short, it seems that the climate in Canton was not as idyllic as often praised, at least not in the past few months, and that the American federation was aware of the problems since the beginning of May. For now, no comment from Davis/White, still on vacation, and from Virtue/Moir.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
"Honestly, I need some time to regroup," Shpilband said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. If Marina put it in a way, her or me, OK, I hope that not all skaters go that way, that they see (that ) I put my heart and soul into this."

What I ask myself is how this separation could happen so close to Sochi. I mean, what's the good of it? What will happen to the Canton Dynasty and how all this will affect the commradere of the club?

I imagine that this sensational story will have further developments soon, hopefully clarifying the many obscure points which still enshroud the drama.

Source: Detroit Free Press


  1. Vedremo come si evolverà questa situazione - ma mi ha veramente sorpreso e mi è dispiaciuto tanto

  2. Sì è una situazione un po' strana e poco chiara. Vedremo se usciranno maggiori dettagli, anche sulla eventuale decisione di Shpilband di continuare in un diverso club.