TOKYO -- Canada hopes to carry its gold-medal momentum into the ISU World Team Trophy, figure skating's season finale.
Patrick Chan and ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, gold medallists at the world championships last month in France, will lead a Canadian team set to battle a Japanese squad out to make its most of its home-ice advantage.
The top six national figure skating teams -- Canada, Japan, the United States, Russia, Italy and France -- are competing in the event which begins Thursday at Yoyogi Arena.
Each team consists of two women, two men, one pair and one ice dancing couple. Each skater/couple will compete with a short program/short dance and free skating/free dance and the highest point total will win.
Chan, the defending two-time world champion from Toronto, will be joined by Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., in the men's event. Canadian champion Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., and Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., are the entries in the women's event. Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., who were fifth at the world championships, will compete in pairs.
The World Team Trophy should provide a preview for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, where Canada will be a strong contender when the team event makes its Olympic debut.
Japan, which tops the world standings with 7,891 points, will field a strong squad this week that includes world silver medallist Daisuke Takahashi, world bronze medallist Akiko Suzuki and 2011 world silver medallist Takahiko Kozuka.
World bronze medallists Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran will represent the host nation in pairs, while ice dancers Cathy and Chris Reed round out Japan's team.
The United States, which won the inaugural team trophy in 2009, will be led by ice dancing world silver medallists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold will compete in the women's short and free events, while Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon make up the men's team. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin will compete in pairs for the U.S.
Russia's team will feature world silver medallist Alena Leonova and world junior champion Adelina Sotnikova. European ice dance bronze medallists Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov and European pairs silver medallists Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov round out Russia's team.
Newly crowned world champion Carolina Kostner headlines and Italian team that includes Valentina Marchei, Samuel Contesti and Paolo Bacchini in men's, ice dancers Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, as well as pair skaters Stefina Berton and Ondrej Hotarek.
Veteran Brian Joubert and European bronze medallist Florent Amodio will represent France in the men's event. Ice dancing world bronze medallists Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat and pairs skaters Daria Popova and Bruno Massot will also be skating for France, as well as Yretha Silete and Mae-Bernice Meite.
The event was scheduled for April, 2011 in Japan but was postponed following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.