Haguenauer finds new horizons in Canada

Romain Haguenauer with students

By Vladislav Luchianov

French coach and choreographer Roman Haguenauer, who worked in Lyon for the past 17 years, decided to continue his professional career in Montreal, Canada.

In North America the specialist will join a group of two-time World silver medalists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

He made a decision for moving in Canada quite recently, though the idea of the need for change has often been visited him during last months. Looking for optimal conditions for his professional activity, he found a suitable harbor in Montreal, at the coaching camp of Dubreuil/Lauzon.

At various times, Romain successfully worked with such French teams as Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat, Pernelle Carron and Matthieu Jost, and many others. Among his current students are the 2013 World junior silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

WFS talked with Haguenauer about his moving, thoughts on long-time work in France and new prospects in Canada.

– Romain, recently you decided to move to Montreal to work there in cooperation with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, also leaving the position of France’s national coach. Tell us, please more about this decision.

– I was born in Lyon, skated there for 15 years and worked as a coach for 17 years at the same place. I achieved a lot of goals of my life and career in Lyon and France. As I’m still young, I think it’s a good time for me to have another experience, in another place and with other people. Of course, personally it is difficult to let behind my friends and family I love, but professionally I’m very excited and confident about this cooperation with Marie-France and Patrice.

– Were you invited to work in Canada or did you make this decision by yourself? Whose initiative was it?

– In fact, things happened simultaneously. When I left France at the end of May for my vacations in North America, I was ready to move somewhere, to change something… I met Patrice and Marie-France in Montreal, where my team Papadakis/Cizeron were making their new free dance. I told them my feeling about my situation in France and as closed friends they said to me: “If you plan to move somewhere one day, you have a place in Montreal with us!”

Four days later I took my decision! After returning to Lyon I just had 10 days to organize the moving!

– Based on your last interview with me, I can conclude that you felt quite comfortable working in Lyon. Has something changed?

– I’ve always felt comfortable working in Lyon. It’s my hometown since always. Everything was very convenient, natural and easy there. But during the past few months, I felt that it was not working as I wanted. I felt that something had to be changed, concerning the organization of work, planification, goals, atmosphere of work, etc… A turn had to be done!

– Maybe there were some, let’s say difficulties in relations with other Lyon based coaches and choreographers or with French federation?

– There were no personal problems with anybody. French federation had nothing to do with my decision. I had an honest discussion about my feeling and points of view with other coaches in Lyon, and we disagreed on many points. If I don’t trust a project, I can’t give 100% of my energy and inspiration, so I had to make a decision.

– Do you already know with whom of athletes will you work in Canada?

– It is very recent, but I will continue to work for French federation as Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron decided to follow me in Montreal as well as the 2nd Spanish team Celia Robledo and Luis Fenero. They will join Patrice and Marie-France’s team, where already work Sara Hurtado/ Adria Diaz (Spain), Laurence Fournier/Nikolai Sorensen (Denmark), Elisabeth Paradis/ François-Xavier Oulette (Canada) and other younger teams from Montreal.

– And how do you see your relations with new coaching partners?

– We know each other for a long time. I coached them from 2002 to 2007 as they trained in Lyon during that period. I like their philosophy of work and after many discussions, we have the same view about where ice dancing should go. Conditions of work in Montreal are amazing and we’ll have the possibility to work with great professionals there (ballet, circus, theatre, etc…). I know that we will be very complementary.

– Will you work there more as a coach or choreographer? Or will you combine these two areas?

– I will combine these two areas just like I did it last 17 years. I like to create programs as well as to work on the technique, to push skaters to their best.

– What’s your opinion on the results of FFSG presidential elections? Was their result predictable?

– I did not really follow these elections. I’m just concern about athletes and if the policy of the federation is good for them and give them the best chance to achieve their dream, I will be pleased.

– Gwendal Peizerat was one of candidates there. What do you think about his potential to lead the national federation in future?

– I know Gwendal for many years and I can say he has quite a good potential to lead a national federation. He knows his sport perfectly; he’s very smart and began to get a lot of experience since he moved to sports policy. Maybe it was too early for him but I think it was very positive for French skating to have a real competition between two charismatic candidates who are passionate about our sport.

– You’re leaving France. In general, how do you see the state of skating in your country and its prospects?

– France is a great nation of skating but at the same time a small country, concerning facilities and conditions of practices for high level. We have a lot of talented skaters and coaches, who need to work hard to come back at the top level. After each Olympic cycle, we have the same question: who’s next? It is not new. I’m confident in a promising future for France and its new generation even after the retirement of very talented skaters after Sochi Olympics.

Personally, I will be always ready to help French skating to stay in the top five nations, as it was for the last 25 years.

– Which new professional horizons would you like to open for yourself in Canada?

– I think working in Canada will give me opportunity to work with my teams in optimal conditions. Moreover, it gives me opportunity to work with a lot of interesting skaters, coaches, choreographers and clubs. I have a lot to give and a lot to learn there.

Photo: courtesy of Roman Haguenauer

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