Coach Igor Shpilband fired


from the Detroit Free Press --

Figure skating coach Igor Shpilband was told by the owner of the Arctic Edge Arena and its general manager today that he is no longer at their club.

"I just got fired," Shpilband said this afternoon.

According to Craig O'Neill, longtime general manager of the Arctic Edge, the move was made in part because its top three teams -- including 2010 Olympic gold and silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, and Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White -- felt as if "Igor wasn't there anymore for them."

Shpilband, who with Marina Zoueva built the ice dance program in Canton into the world's best after he left the Detroit Skating Club nearly a decade ago, learned of his dismissal at about 5:30 p.m. in a meeting with O'Neill and rink owner John Stansik.

“I'm totally shocked," Shpilband said. "I have to talk to the kids (skaters). I just left a message with Meryl and Charlie. He (O'Neill) said the kids don't want me at the rink anymore. For what reason, I don't know."

 Zoueva, who is remaining at the Arctic FSC, said that Shpilband had created a "conflict of interest" because she said he wanted to work exclusively with two new teams. But O'Neill said that wasn't a factor in the decision.

“What John (Stansik) and I did today was all based on the kids," O'Neill said, referring specially to Virtue and Moir, Davis and White, and 2011 world bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani. "Igor did talk about starting his own program, and coaching some of his own kids, and we didn't have issues with that. Our main focus has to be the top three teams.

read current article
read original article  Originally, it was only saying that the ice dancers wanted him out because he wasn't there for them anymore. The top three told the rink manager that it was either them or Igor and that manager did this only for the "kids." Every edit thereafter described more and more conflict between Marina and Igor until you have the current version of the article.

developments...

Jacqui White's response on Detroit Free Press
Valentin Piseev comments (Russian)
Shpilband searches for new rink in Michigan (Icenetwork)
Marina Zoueva comments (Russian) 
U.S. Figure Skating confirms top American teams to stay in Canton (Detroit Free Press)
U.S. endures ice dance shakeup (Associated Press)
More Russian commentary, this time from Alexander Gorshkov (Russian)
Skate Canada confirms that Tessa and Scott are with Marina via Twitter 
According to Jackie Wong, expect an actual Skate Canada press release this week
Zoueva asked Drobiazko/Vanagas if they wanted to come to Canton (Russian)
Confirmation that Zoueva approached Drobiazko & Vanagas (Russian)
Povilas Vanagas comments (Russian)
Olympic Champions Virtue and Moir Confirm Plans for 2012-2013 Season (Skate Canada)
Virtue Moir caught in coaching split (The Globe and Mail)

reactions...

fsu reaction
golden skate reaction
isu forum reaction
Updates on Team Canton and Igor Shpilband (Rinkside Cafe)
Trouble in paradise: Shpilband out in Canton (From the Boards)
And the Decision is Official (Aunt Joyce)
John Kerr's reaction (Twitter)
John Kerr feels like this could have been handled better (Twitter)

follow up...

igor's interview after finlandia (translation of original here)


notes

- i can't find that U.S. Figure Skating press release everyone is citing. doubt it was released to the public.
- jacqui white, charlie white's mother, took down her comment, which had said that the skaters were "pawns" and this was a fight between igor and marina. it's quoted in this article

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