Team Challenge Cup: Random Musings

So, the season is almost over, and with most of the skaternet focused on next season-program announcements, Grand Prix speculation, predicting who will be at the top-it is clear that most fans have moved on. But before we can officially call the season done (and I can start churning out post after post of 2015-16 “bests” lists :p), there’s one event left: the inaugural Team Challenge Cup.

Which is a bit of a mess.

It started out as a cool concept that had a lot of potential. In January, a preliminary list of skaters-selected by world rankings-was released. There were a lot of great skaters on it, and the fans started getting excited for the fan voting phase that would finish off the teams.

But then came the fan voting, which was a mess. It got temporarily disabled because fans were allegedly using bot software (*tries to sound like I know what I’m talking about*) to assure their favorite skaters got to skate at the event, and accusations flew back and forth across the internet. Many fans were convinced that Korean fans were using bots to get Angelina Kuchvalska into the event for the sole purpose of keeping the two Russian ladies in the poll out. (I did not necessarily believe this, but some fans were utterly convinced and would not stop accusing them of doing so.)

And, to add insult to injury, IceNetwork decided to charge an additional fee-separate from their season pass-to watch the event. Multiple skaters withdrew. It was kind of caving in. The event hasn’t even happened yet, and I’ve seen people say it shouldn’t be repeated.

Nevertheless, it’s one last event before the off-season, and I am still excited about it-even if I will probably not buy the IceNetwork pass and will probably not be able to see it as a result (unless the same people who smuggled the NBC stream of the ladies FS at Nationals put up a stream of this one). So, here are some random thoughts about that.

  1. I hope Gracie Gold will be able to pull it together and end her season on a positive note at this event. (She gave an interview where she said she was ashamed of her Worlds performances-um, please don’t say that, you got a freakin’ personal best in the SP!-so it would probably do a lot for her confidence heading into next season if she skated well here.)
  2. I wonder if anyone will replace Papadakis/Cizeron. The event starts in four days-is that even long enough to fly in an alternate?
  3. Speaking of redemption, Denis Ten and Shoma Uno also had very disappointing Worlds showings and I hope they will be able to skate well, too.
  4. I am curious to see how Boyang Jin will do coming off of his 3rd-place performance at Worlds. Now that he is the obvious favorite to win the individual competition, will he be feeling the pressure?
  5. What the heck is going to happen with Stolbova/Klimov? (Always of interest, since they are so often not at things.)
  6. Will Weaver/Poje improve on their Worlds showings? Are they really just mid-season peakers, or is Worlds itself the problem?
  7. Will this event go off without a hitch, or will it fall to pieces like the fan vote and never be held again?

Well, there you have it. Short, random, and slightly incoherent, but I wanted to write something and it felt wrong to write a reflection on the season when it wasn’t entirely over yet.  I said it would be random, after all. 😉

Also, my favorite junior lady, Vivian Le, is doing a club competition called Skate Dallas next week, so if anyone who is reading this is going to be there, PLEASE comment and tell me how Vivian (and also Emily Chan, and anyone else notable-at any level-who is going to be there) does, and if she has new programs, what they are. I know it’s a long-shot, but I would very much appreciate it. 🙂


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