VANCOUVER—Of all the places in Canada where ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir could choose to announce their retirement, they did so away from the lights and cameras in Abbotsford, B.C.
“This is home,” Moir said in a video he filmed around the rink at the Abbotsford Centre. “We spent 22 years coasting around the outside of the rink, hanging out together, making programs, trying to just soak up our sporting experience.”
Virtue continued, “After 22 years, it feels like the right time to step away from the sport. This is so personal and emotional for both of us. We’re just so grateful. How lucky are we really that we got to share all of this together and with all of you?”
While their competitive ice dancing careers have come to an end, Moir and Virtue aren’t done skating together just yet.
Dustin Bodnaryk, director of marketing at Abbotsford Centre, said the two were rehearsing for the upcoming Rock the Rink tour when they filmed their retirement announcement and shared it on social media. The pair have been at the rink before rehearsing for their sold out Thank You Canada tour last year.
Bodnaryk said it’s “fantastic” for the centre and the city to have the two decorated skaters visit the venue.
“These types of shows definitely provide a great draw — not just people in Abbotsford, but across the Fraser Valley who have watched these skaters basically grow up in Canada and rooted for them at the Olympics,” Bodnaryk added.
The tour will feature other decorated skaters, such as Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond, and Elvis Stojko. The tour will go coast to coast and hit 30 cities, starting Oct. 5 at the Abbotsford Centre and ending in St. John’s, N.L.
The two were expected to retire following a gold-medal performance at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018, but had not made an official announcement until now. Their remarkable careers include five Olympic medals, four first-place finishes at the Worlds, and many more international accolades.
Both Moir and Virtue said they are grateful for the support they’ve been shown over their careers.
“We still feel like the most fortunate kids in Canada,” Moir said. “But it just feels like the right time to say goodbye.”
Virtue and Moir became household names after capturing Olympic gold on home ice in 2010 and have been melting hearts ever since. They garnered even more attention during their final Olympic appearance in 2018, with fans swooning over their on-ice chemistry.
With files from Ted Fraser
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