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World renowned coach leads Connaught Skating seminar

Brian Orser visits Richmond club, fresh off a dominant Winter Olympics for his skaters
Brian Orser offers some tips to Connaught Skating's Ciara Iorio during Tuesday's seminar at the Richmond Ice Centre.

A weekday afternoon training session at the frigid Richmond Ice Centre typically doesn’t attract an audience unless it happens to be led by a world renowned figure skating coach.

That was the case on Tuesday as the Connaught Skating Club welcomed Brian Orser to lead 93 skaters and a number of coaches through its biennial seminar.

The two-time Olympic silver medalist and world champion has evolved into one of the sport’s top coaches. That was certainly evident at the recent Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang where two of Orser’s top clients — Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu and Spain’s Javier Fernandez — won gold and silver respectively in the men’s singles event.

Orser typically works out of the Toronto Cricket and Curling Club. His extensive list of students also includes former Korean superstar Yuna Kim — gold medalist in women’s singles at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

So how was Connaught able to convince him to make a quick visit to Richmond to run a two-day seminar for a grassroots club?

It has a lot do with a close relationship he has with coaches Keegan and Eileen Murphy. Orser was in Richmond six years earlier as well.

As much as the skaters benefit from his presence, it’s the coaches who will gain the most from the visit. On top of the Connaught staff, instructors from elsewhere were invited as special guests.

The club sure made good use of Orser’s valuable time. After he finished a session with one group, he moved from the RIC’s Coliseum to Forum rink to immediately lead another.

“This is an investment from the organization into the education and training of the coaching team,” said Keegan. “This information will stay for generations and we have coaches here from Europe, Alberta and the United States just to listen to what he is saying. I am proud and happy to share that information with everybody.”