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Richmond female skaters vying for spot in Canada’s championship

Top 18 skaters at the Skate Canada Challenge will head to the Canadian championships in January
Ellie Cheung and Leah Lee
Ellie Cheung (left) and Leah Lee are among other skaters from Connaught Skating Club heading to Skate Canada Challenge this week.

Two female skaters from the Richmond-based Connaught Skating Club are heading to Regina to fight for a spot in the national championships this week.

Connaught’s Leah Lee,16, and Ellie Cheung,15, will both be competing in the Skate Canada Challenge from Dec. 1 to 5 where the top 18 skaters will be able to qualify for the Canadian championships.

Lee, who placed second in the senior ladies category at the national qualifiers, said that she is nervous but excited for the upcoming competition.

“I usually do feel a little nervous, but this one isn’t too different from the others,” said Lee.

“I think one of the main things that I’m pretty excited about is to travel for this competition because we haven’t been able to travel for awhile since COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Cheung, who placed fifth in the junior ladies category at the national qualifiers, said she’s prepared for the Skate Canada Challenge.

“I do feel prepared for the competition, but I’m definitely still pretty nervous because it’s my second time at the skate challenge,” said Cheung.

Both Lee and Cheung are thankful for the return of in-person competitions.

The feeling of people watching at the rink raises morale and creates a more lively and energetic environment, according to the two Connaught skaters.

Connaught Skating Club’s coach Keegan Murphy said the coaching team is extremely proud of Lee and Cheung for being able to skate so well at competitions while doing well in school.

“They’re doing a great job managing an elite level sport all while balancing high school and excelling academically. We’re just proud of them,” said Murphy.

Skaters who place in the top 18 spots at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina, Sask will be able to move on to compete in the Canadian championships in January.