One of Canada’s figure skating veterans has retired from competition, but plans to stay active in the sport. Three-time Canadian Champion Craig Buntin, 30, originally from Kelowna, BC, and now based in Montreal, had a long and successful career in pair skating with two different female partners. With Valérie Marcoux, he won three Canadian pair titles from 2004-2006 and competed at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. The last few years he teamed with Lively, Ontario’s Meagan Duhamel. They finished as high as 6th in the world at their first world championships together in 2008 and landed on the podium three times at the national championships.
While training and competing, Buntin also developed teabean white coffee, a business specializing in baking rather than roasting coffee beans. He studied marketing part-time while growing his business, and coached younger athletes at his home club of CPA Saint-Léonard. After writing the GMAT exams in May, he has been accepted into the MBA program at McGill University – a rarity for a student to be accepted to the program without first having an undergraduate degree. He will begin his studies there in August.
Buntin has many people to thank from his time as a skater. “It's difficult to summarize a 20-year career without going into all the career highs and lows; without thanking every family member, partner or friend who has helped me along the way. I do want to say thank you so much to Canada, to the Canadian fans and to everyone who played a role in the success of my career. Training, sacrificing, creating, performing and sharing the spotlight with my partners and coaches has meant more to me than anyone could imagine. It has shaped me and defined me as a person. I am so grateful to have had figure skating in my life and so proud to have represented such an incredible country. I would like to thank Skate Canada for giving me the opportunity to see the world from centre ice.”
His most recent partner Meagan Duhamel plans to keep skating, and has teamed up with Eric Radford to begin competing together next season. Buntin wished them well. “I wish Meagan and Eric all the luck and success in the world and I truly look forward to watching them carry the torch throughout the next few years.”
Partner Meagan Duhamel will miss skating with Craig. “Through multiple injuries, and misfortunes, Craig and I experienced many highs and many lows together, but I wouldn't trade any of it. He believed in me when no one else did, and I am forever indebted to him for this.” She continued, “I admire Craig, for his work ethic, ambition and patience and for everything he has accomplished through skating, not only with me but also with Valérie Marcoux. Craig has shown he has the heart of a champion and I have no doubt he will enjoy the same success with whatever he puts his heart into next. He has my utmost respect and I wish him nothing but success in his future."
Longtime coach Richard Gauthier is already missing Craig’s sense of fun at the rink. “Craig is no longer with us every day at the rink, but I feel his presence. I see him through others skaters, who are doing funny things like he used to do.” Gauthier paid tribute to his drive and perseverance. “As his coach I worked with an athlete who was dedicated to his career. We worked as a team and during all those years, I discovered that he had a lot of heart and a very positive attitude in life. Not only that, he is also a person whose dedication inspired all other athletes around him. His commitment and hard work are an inspiration and a role model for everyone. Gauthier concluded “I wish him all the luck in the world. He will remain a good friend for life.”
“Craig’s determination and work ethic saw him become a Canadian Champion, World Competitor and Olympian with partner Valérie Marcoux. His ability to reach the world level again with new partner Meagan Duhamel was a testament to his strength as an elite male pair skater,” said Mike Slipchuk, High Performance Director, Skate Canada. “I’d like to congratulate Craig on his acceptance to the MBA program, and look forward to seeing him stay involved with Skate Canada.”
Along with his studies at McGill, Craig plans to continue to stay involved in figure skating through coaching and mentoring young athletes.