BOSTON — Canada heads home from the world figure skating championships with just one medal for the first time in nine years.
But two years out from Pyeongchang, the event at TD Garden was as much about early manoeuvring for Olympic positions. And in that regard, Mike Slipchuk said the Canadian team did fine.
"Even though we didn't have as many medals, we probably had our best showing as a team at a worlds in a while, given the top 10 placements," said Slipchuk, Skate Canada's high performance director. "Three in pairs, one in ladies, one in men, and two in dance.
"We always stress a lot about depth, and we leave here feeling good about that. And we're going to need that going into next year and the Olympic qualifier."
These world championships determined how many spots each country will have at next year's worlds, which in turn determine how many spots a country will have in Pyeongchang.
Canada earned three spots in both pairs and ice dance, and two each in men's and women's singles.
In 2007, ice dancers Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon made Canada's lone march to the medal podium, winning silver.
In Boston, it was Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford who raised the Maple Leaf, roaring to their second consecutive world pairs title, and leading a trio of Canadian pairs teams to top-eight finishes. Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch were seventh while Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were eighth.
Two other highlights for Canada: an eighth-place finish by ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, and Gabrielle Daleman's ninth in women's singles.
"We had a few that really brought it this week," Slipchuk said.
But the week saw some setbacks as well.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje arrived in Boston on a string of victories over the past two seasons, with only two losses. But undone by sloppy twizzles — side-by-side travelling spins — in their free dance, they wound up fifth, their worst world result in three years.
And while Patrick Chan insisted a world medal would be a bonus in his comeback season, he was disappointed after an error-filled free skate dropped the three-time world champion to fifth.
"This is the world championships, so even on practices you can see there's a different feel and a different vibe out there," Slipchuk said. "Going through this whole season, he now has a good perception of what's out there."
Nam Nguyen, who was fifth last year, didn't qualify for the free skate, while Alaine Chartrand, who was so strong in winning the Canadian championships, was 17th, six places worse than her debut last season.
Next season will be interesting with Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir launching a comeback.
"It's going to be good to have them. They've been such a key part of our team for so long," Slipchuk said. "I think in a lot of ways it's been good going through this year with Patrick, we kind of saw what the trials and tribulations are for coming back. It's not easy."
Virtue and Moir will move to Montreal to work with Dubreuil and Lauzon, rather than return to Canton, Mich., and their former coach Marina Zoueva.
"Being with Marie-France and Patrice, it's like a fresh start for them, and it's going to be exciting to see what they do and the development and programming of what they do moving forward," Slipchuk said. "That's what's going to be exciting, not only for us seeing it, but for them training, it's all new and that's a good thing."
Next year's world championships are in Helsinki, Finland.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press