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Shpilband searches for new rink in Michigan

Dance coach 'in shock' over dismissal

Igor Shpilband's client list is uncertain following his dismissal from the Arctic Edge FSC.
Igor Shpilband's client list is uncertain following his dismissal from the Arctic Edge FSC. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(06/04/2012) - Igor Shpilband was still reeling Monday morning from being let go the day before from the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton, Mich.

"I am in shock," he said. "I had no idea this was happening."

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Shpilband learned of his dismissal at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday in a meeting with Craig O'Neill, general manager of the Arctic Edge Ice Arena, and rink owner John Stansik.

Since defecting from the former Soviet Union in 1990 and beginning his coaching career at the Detroit Skating Club, the 47-year-old Shpilband has become the preeminent ice dancing coach in the world. He teamed with Marina Zoueva, a former top Soviet ice dance competitor and choreographer for two-time Olympic pairs champions Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, a decade ago. Together, they moved from the Detroit SC to the Arctic Edge in 2003.

Ice dance teams coached by Shpilband and Zoueva -- including Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, four-time U.S. champions and 2011 world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and U.S. silver medalists and 2011 world bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani -- have brought home seven of the last nine medals at the world championships.

Zoueva remains at the Arctic Edge, while Shpilband will search for a new situation in the greater Detroit area.

"I'm still trying to figure it all out," he said. "I have to find another rink in the area where I can teach. I have a lot of skaters, and this is very inconvenient for them. I need to find ice."

In addition to the two top U.S. teams and the Canadians, U.S. competitors Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Lithuanians Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas, among others, train at Arctic Edge.