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Igor Shpilband Fired By Arctic Figure Skating Club

Igor Shpilband, one half of the ice dancing coaching powerhouse with Marina Zueva, has been kicked out of Canton, Michigan's Arctic Figure Skating Club. Shpilband (along with Zueva) coached Olympic champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, along with world bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani, among other skaters.

According to Detroit Free Press, the arena's general manager Craig O'Neil said that Shpilband was fired because the top three dancing teams felt he wasn't there for them anymore. Shpilband stated that he had been having scheduling conflicts with Zueva recently.

Although the article also reports that Shpilband wanted to start taking on his own teams, O'Neil said that wasn't a factor in the firing. According to the article:

“There was a lot of issues. This has been going on for a couple of months. He's not focused with the kids. What it came down to was the kids didn't want to skate there (in Canton) anymore with Igor. Either they were leaving or Igor was leaving.

“We told him that the kids weren't going to come back to the rink until we had this meeting with you."

O'Neill said that U.S. Figure Skating was apprised of the problems at the rink since the end of April or beginning of May. Shpilband said that when he spoke with Mitch Moyer, senior director of athlete high performance at U.S. Figure Skating, he said was about the "issue I had with Marina."

So it looks like Zueva will be moving on with the top ice dancing teams.

Prior to becoming a coach, Shpilband was an ice dancer in the Soviet Union. He defected and started coaching at Detroit Skating Club. He later moved to Arctic Figure Skating Club. He also does choreography. This is a pretty big split considering the teams he coaches and the way the firing was handled - he has literally been kicked out of the skating club (and arena) rather than being fired by the teams.