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Speed Skating Canada – The competition will take place January 27-29 in Innsbruck, Austria

Montreal, January 12, 2017 – Speed Skating Canada announced today its national team for the 2017 ISU World Junior Short Track Championships to be held January 27-29 in Innsbruck, Austria.

On the women’s side, Alyson Charles of Montréal (Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough), Renee Steenge of Brampton, ON, Courtney Sarault of Moncton, N.B., and Danaé Blais of Châteauguay, QC, will represent the country after they took the first four spots in overall rankings at the Canadian Junior Championships, held December 16-18, in Calgary.

Marc-Olivier Lemay of Montréal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), Gibson Himbeault of Whitby, ON, Marco Schumann of Saskatoon, SK, and Maxime Raymond-Chitaya of Montréal (Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough) will be the Canadian representatives on the men’s side.

By taking the first two spots in overall rankings following the Canadian Junior Championships, Alyson Charles and Renee Steenge, as well as Marc-Olivier Lemay and Gibson Himbeault, were pre-qualified to take part in the individual distances at the World Junior Championships, i.e. the 500m, 1000m and 1500m races.

As discretionary choices, Courtney Sarault and Marco Schumann, who both took the third spot in the Canadian Junior Championship overall rankings, will be the third and last Canadian skaters to take part in the individual events.

Following the three individual events, the six best skaters in the World Junior Championship overall standings will then skate in the 1500m Super Final. A relay event, in which Danaé Blais and Maxime Raymond-Chitaya will take part in, is also scheduled.

Marc Gagnon will be the coach for the Canadian team along with Alan McIlveen from the Calgary’s Olympic Oval program.

Charles and Lemay crowned 2016 Canadian junior champions

Alyson Charles will take part in the World Junior Championships for the third time. In Calgary, she won the 500m, 1500m and 1500m Super Final events to take first place overall.

Fourth in the 1000m following a penalty, Alyson Charles broke the junior Canadian record during the semi-finals with a time of 1:32.555. The previous record of 1:33.32 was held by Marie-Ève Drolet since 2000.

“I’m quite satisfied with my performances and the way I skated each of the distances,” said Alyson Charles. “It was a relief to reach my goal of qualifying for the World Junior Championships. I’m even more proud of the fact that I earned the Canadian Junior Championship title, even if it wasn’t my main goal. In fact, all weekend long, I was focusing on one race at a time.

“Now that this important step has been completed, I can now focus on the World Junior Championships,” added Charles. “Even if this is my third participation, this one is very different as I now know what to expect. With the experience I gained and what I learned and developed this season with my coaches and training partners, I now have confidence in what I can do and in my chances of winning medals, individually as well as with my relay partners. In the meantime, I’m excited to skate in Austria with the entire team and to represent Canada in our sport for the third time.”

On the men’s side, Marc-Olivier Lemay kept the Canadian Junior Championship title he won the previous year after collecting gold medals in the 1000m and 1500m races, in addition to lowering the national junior record in the 1000m, which now stands at 1:24.046. The previous mark of 1:25.534 was clocked by Steven Dubois at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Lemay will be skating in his second World Junior Championships, as he represented Canada last year in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“I’m very satisfied with my performance at the Canadian Junior Championships,” said Marc-Olivier Lemay. “Above everything else, I wanted to confirm my participation at the World Junior Championships, and then try to keep my Canadian Junior Championship title. I’m proud of the fact that I reached both my goals.”

“I’m also really relieved about taking part in my second World Junior Championships because I’ve been training since the start of the season with the goal in mind to perform well at this competition,” said Lemay. “I believe I’m way stronger and better prepared, in all areas, to take part in this great competition. I think individual medals will be within my reach in Innsbruck and I’m ready to give it my all to get them. I also believe that my teammates and I are solid enough to be on the podium in the relay event.”

Danaé Blais will also take part in her second World Junior Championships, having taken part in her first last year in Bulgaria. In Calgary, Blais won the 1000m event.

Renee Steenge and Courtney Sarault will experience their first World Junior Championships. In Calgary, Steenge reached the podium in each of the four events to take second place overall, while Sarault, who was third, won three medals.

On the men’s side, Gilbson Himbeault, Marco Schumann and Maxime Raymond-Chitaya will take part in their first World Junior Championships. In Calgary, Himbeault took second place overall after winning three medals, while Schumann won the 1500m Super Final and a bronze medal in the 1500m. Raymond-Chitaya reached the podium twice.

Last year in Sofia, Bulgaria, Steven Dubois was the only Canadian on the podium, as he won a bronze medal in the 500m.

Members of the Canadian national team for the 2017 ISU World Junior Short Track Championships in Innsbruck, Austria:


-BLAIS, Danaé (Châteauguay, QC)

-CHARLES, Alyson (Montréal, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough, QC)

-SARAULT, Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.)

-STEENGE, Renee (Brampton, ON)


-HIMBEAULT, Gibson (Whitby, ON)

-LEMAY, Marc-Olivier (Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough, QC)

-RAYMOND-CHITAYA, Maxime (Montréal, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, QC)

-SCHUMANN, Marco (Saskatoon, SK)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada

Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:

Patrick Godbout

Communications & Media Relations Manager

Speed Skating Canada

Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca

Phone: 514 213-9897

Website: www.speedskating.ca 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC

Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC