Canada’s Mylene Brodeur and John Mattatall are hoping that their second season together will end on a high note. “Our goal for this season is to be in the top five,” Mattatall said. “We can do it if we skate a clean short and long. And getting assigned to Four Continents or another international would be nice.”
Last season, the couple finished fourth at the Nebelhorn Trophy in their first international. The couple started this season by winning the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava, then won the Quebec Sectionals.
They finished ninth in seniors at their first Canadian Nationals in 2007. “We knew we should have been higher,” Mattatall said. “We made a seven point mistake in the short or we could have been fifth.
The duo has been skating together since March 2006. “It was like circumstance,” Brodeur said. “My senior programs at Nationals didn’t go too well so I thought maybe I should try pairs. Some people had told me pairs was less stressful. Then John called and told me he had seen my short program at Nationals and wanted to tryout with me.”
“I like pairs because you have someone to talk to on the ice if something goes wrong,” Brodeur continued. “When I’m in singles, I’m alone on the ice and everyone is watching me. That’s more stressful. I was eighth in seniors last year and I still want to compete for a bit, but I don’t have as much pressure now so I can just skate.” She qualified for Nationals by finishing third at Quebec Sectionals.
Brodeur, now 20, began skating when she was five in her hometown of Stanbridge Station, Quebec. “My older sisters were doing CanSkate and I wanted to be like them and do it too,” she said. “My sister, Jacinthe, still skates in junior ladies.” She landed her first triple toe loop at 13 and has landed all the triples in practice.
Mattatall, who hails from Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, started skating when he was two. He landed his first triple toe at the age of 14. Mattatall reached as high as 19th in senior men at Canadians in 2006, but quit singles after that season. “I had done both for three years at Nationals and it was time to pack it in and concentrate on pairs,” he said.
The 25-year-old began skating pairs when he was 16, reaching Nationals with Renee Trumbley in 2002 when they finished fourth in novice pairs. He then skated with Terra Findlay for three seasons, winning the silver medal in junior pairs at Canadians in 2004 and placing tenth at Junior Worlds that year. The couple finished seventh in senior pairs in 2005 before Findlay switched to dance.
Brodeur and Mattatall train at St. Leonard in Quebec with Richard Gauthier. They train for two to three hours on ice and two hours off ice, five days a week, including singles training. Brodeur works with Nick Young in singles.
They are doing a throw triple salchow and side-by-side triple toe loops in the short program. In the long, they include a side-by-side triple Toe-double toe loop combination and side-by-side double axels and a throw triple loop and triple salchow. “I like the lifts because they’re fun but not too hard,” Brodeur said. “I have to do my part but mainly I get to smile up there.”
Julie Marcotte choreographs the couple’s programs, both of which are new this season. Their short is to “Tico Tico” and the long is to “Cinema Paradiso”. “Richard found the short program, which is kind of a jazzy French samba,” Mattatall said. “Julie found the long program music. We wanted something upbeat and as soon as I mentioned it, Julie said I have just the thing. For gala programs, the couple uses either “Footloose” or “Love” by Frank Sinatra.
Off ice, she listens to pop music, while he prefers rock and alternative. “I have a little bit of everything in my collection,” he noted. He also plays the piano and the guitar. “I’ve been in a few bands back home,” he added.
Both skaters are hockey fans. “I play a little bit for one of the local rec teams, just as an alternate,” Mattatall said. “I play defense.” Brodeur, not related to the NHL’s Martin Brodeur, enjoys watching the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils on television. She also likes to chat with friends online and watch comedy movies.
Brodeur is in CGEP, where she is studying social sciences. “I want to go to university, then be a primary school teacher,” she said. Mattatall has applied to York University. He plans to work in teaching, engineering or kinesiology.
– Photo by Brett Barden