HALIFAX — It took Patrick Chan all of four minutes and 40 seconds to remind Canada just what it’s been missing in men’s figure skating.
The 25-year-old from Toronto, who walked away from competing after the Sochi Olympics, roared to his eighth Canadian figure skating title Saturday night.
As if he’d never left.
“I feel happy, it’s been a great week, such a good learning week, it’s what I needed going forward for the rest of the season,” Chan said.
The three-time world champion landed two massive quadruple jumps in his classical program to music by Chopin, scoring 295.67 points overall.
When a reporter compared his quad to a “freight train,” Chan laughed and said “I need that speed, I need to haul ass into it.”
He’s only the third person in Canadian history to win eight titles. Brian Orser also won eight, while Montgomery Wilson won nine. Chan surpassed Elvis Stojko, who has seven.
Liam Firus of North Vancouver, B.C., won the silver with 237.20, while Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., won the bronze (236.18).
Alaine Chartrand captured her first Canadian women’s crown. Reigning world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won their fifth Canadian pairs title, and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won their second consecutive ice dance title.
Chan’s victory marked the first time this season he had landed both quads in his long program. He’s planned to add a second triple Axel to up the technical difficulty, but said he was “gassed” by that point in his program, and downgraded it to a double.
“Legs just had that tingling feeling of tiredness, just a little rushed,” he said. “But great steps forward, great short program, great second quad in the long. These are little steps, I can’t rush this kind of thing. Got to remember, it’s only seven or eight months since I’ve come back so I have to keep reminding myself of that.”
Chan, who was hampered by a sore knee and sore left glute, said his focus over the next few weeks will be to heal up before the Four Continents in Taiwan and the world championships in Boston.
His goal for worlds, he said, will be to land the two quads and two triple Axels in his long program.
“I don’t even want to think about the medals. Winning worlds again, that would be awesome,” he said. “But in order to get to that point, I have to achieve my little goals, which is to do the second Axel. It’s sweet when I land it in practice. If I can do that on game day, that would be a pretty great feeling.”
Chartrand, meanwhile, laid down the skate of her life, but had to wait several insufferable minutes to hear her scores. When the 19-year-old was shown on the big screen, she impatiently held up a wrist and tapped an imaginary watch.
(She later learned the delay was due to a commercial break.)
“I’m not feeling like Canadian champion yet. I’m pretty shocked,” Chartrand said.
Chartrand was second behind Kaetlyn Osmond after Friday’s short program. But she unleashed a spectacular long program to music from “Gone with the Wind” that included seven triple jumps and had the Scotiabank Centre crowd on its feet well before she’d taken her final pose.
“Oh my god,” she said. “I wasn’t even into the second spin yet and people were screaming.
“And just dealing with the music, like ‘Okay, don’t fall on your spin. Make it to the end.”’
She scored 201.99 points. Gabrielle Daleman, from Newmarket, Ont., third after the short program, moved up to second with 197.99. Two-time Canadian champion Osmond, who’s coming back from a broken leg that knocked her out of last season, finished just 0.12 points back of Daleman in third.
In pairs, Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., scored 221.75 points to win gold with a significantly stronger performance than Friday’s short program.
“That was hard,” Duhamel said. “The teams before us skated really well and they put up big numbers, we had to do our job, we couldn’t melt down, we couldn’t have a performance like (Friday), and we knew that getting into our starting position.”
Added Radford: “I think we needed that type of skate on two different levels — in this moment and in the long-term timeframe, leading into worlds. We felt a lot more in control and in the right mindset.”
Julianne Seguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Montreal claimed the silver (211.40), while Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto finished third (204.22).
Weaver and Poje scored 191.73 points to win ice dance gold, entertaining the crowd with their elegant skate to “This Bitter Earth.”
The two competed for years in the shadow of Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir — who are doing television commentary in Halifax — before winning their first Canadian title last season.
“I’m happy to say we’re not a blip on the champions’ record list,” Weaver said. “Two times means you’re not just 15 minutes of fame, so I’m happy about that.
“This means so much to us.”