Effective immediately, the test requirement for Novice Pairs has changed from Gold Free Skate to Senior Silver Free Skate.
The Skate Canada Technical Committee and High Performance Committee have received feedback from pair coaches that in many cases the requirement for a Gold Free Skate test can impede the natural development of a pair team. There are frequently times when a new Novice pair forms, and quickly the focus changes to spend time preparing one or both skaters to pass the Gold Free Skate test instead of spending time on pair elements and allowing the Pair to compete where the coach feels it is appropriate. There are times when a team starts the season as a Pre-Novice team and develops quicker than expected and is faced with the restriction of needing to stay Pre-Novice if the skaters do not have the required test.
At the 2017 National Skating Championships, we spoke at length to Singles & Pairs coaches about the need to build a larger pool of pairs teams in our country. The number of competitive pairs teams is at an all-time low and we indicated we would be looking at a variety of ways to reduce barriers that may exist to starting and continuing pairs teams in Canada.