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Speed Skating Canada – Five female skaters set to make their ISU World Cup debut on home soil in Calgary

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Speed Skating Canada is pleased to announce the short track athletes nominated to represent Canada at the first two ISU World Cups of the 2018-2019 season. These 12 skaters will hit the ice from November 2-4 in Calgary, Alberta and from November 9-11 in Salt Lake City, U.S.A.

The Canadian short track team for these first two competitions features four Olympic medalists, along with five national team members who will make their World Cup debut. Together they will look to build upon last year’s successful international campaign in which Canada won five Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals and 21 World Cup medals.

The men’s team is comprised of Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC), Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC), Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, QC), Pascal Dion (Montréal, QC), Cédrik Blais (Châteauguay, QC) and Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, QC). The women’s team includes Audrey Phaneuf (Saint-Hyacinthe, QC), Courtney Sarault (Moncton, NB), Alyson Charles (Montréal, QC), Alison Desmarais (Vanderhoof, BC), Claudia Gagnon (Saguenay, QC), and Camille De Serres-Rainville (Montréal, QC).

The veteran Hamelin, a four time Olympian and 2018 ISU World Champion (overall), will lace up for his 16th World Cup season and look to add to his impressive career total of 56 World Cup medals. Meanwhile Girard, who was named last season’s Male Short Track Skater of the Year by Speed Skating Canada, thanks in part to his 2018 Olympic Games gold medal in the 1000m, will look to improve on the six World Cup medals he captured last season.

Dion and Cournoyer, both of whom helped Canada claim five men’s relay medals last season – including bronze at the 2018 Olympic Games and silver at the 2018 World Championships – will look for continued success with the relay team and bounce back performances in the individual races.

Rounding out the men’s squad are Blais, who will be competing in his first World Cup since the 2015-2016 season, and Dubois, who helped Canada capture gold in the men’s relay at last year’s World Cup #2 in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

“Our men’s squad has a good mix of veterans and younger guys,” said coach Éric Bédard, who is entering his first World Cup season at the helm of the national team. “Each of them is capable of competing with the best skaters in the world and getting podium finishes on the World Cup stage.”

It’s a year of transition for the women’s short track team, who lost three-time Olympic silver medalist Marianne St-Gelais to retirement, while fellow Olympian Valérie Maltais officially transitioned to long track earlier this year after representing Canada for more than a decade in short track.

“Our women’s short track team may have lost some notable names from last season, but we are confident that the eight athletes selected to represent Canada this year will do a tremendous job,” said coach Frédéric Blackburn. “The chance to travel the world and compete against the best skaters will provide our team with an enriching experience, one that will help them improve both on and off the ice.”

Phaneuf, who won a bronze medal in the 500m at World Cup #3 in Nagoya, Japan during the 2015-2016 season, is the most experienced skater of the bunch. She will be joined by five teammates – Sarault, Charles, Desmarais, Gagnon and De Serres-Rainville – who will be making their World Cup debut in Calgary.

Sarault, a native of Moncton, N.B., is perhaps the most recognizable of the five rookies. She’s looking to make a successful jump to the senior ranks following a triple medal performance at the 2018 World Junior Championships, which earned her Speed Skating Canada’s Short Track Rising Star of the Year award.

The skaters representing Canada on the international stage this season are selected from the 2018-2019 Racing Pool, a group of eight (8) men and (8) women that earned their place based on the results of last month’s 2018 Canadian Short Track Championships in Montreal, Quebec. The first six spots are awarded to the top six ranked skaters, the next is filled based on either a bye request or by the seventh ranked skater, and the final spot is a discretionary choice made by the coaches and training team.

Kim Boutin, winner of three medals at 2018 Olympic Games, and fellow Olympian Jamie Macdonald, hold the final spots in the women’s racing pool. Neither skater will participate in the first two World Cups of the season as it was not part of their training and competition plans.

“With Kim and Jamie out of the mix for the first two events, a handful of younger skaters will get their first opportunity to compete on the World Cup stage,” added Blackburn. “They’ve all worked so hard to reach this level and we are excited to watch them take the next step in their careers.”

Maxime Laoun and Mathieu Bernier make up the rest of the men’s racing pool.

Please see below the full list of athletes, in alphabetical order by last name, named to the team. A biography of each athlete can be found at www.speedskating.ca/teams/short-track

Men’s Team

  • BLAIS, Cédrik                                (Châteauguay, QC)
  • COURNOYER, Charle                    (Boucherville, QC)
  • DION, Pascal                                 (Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC)
  • DUBOIS, Steven                            (Lachenaie, QC)
  • GIRARD, Samuel                           (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
  • HAMELIN, Charles                         (Sainte-Julie, QC)

 

Additional Racing Pool Athletes (not participating at World Cup #1 or #2)

  • BERNIER, Mathieu                        (Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC)
  • LAOUN, Maxime                            (Montréal, Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie, QC)

 

Women’s Team

  • CHARLES, Alyson                         (Montréal, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension, QC)
  • DE SERRES-RAINVILLE, Camille   (Montréal, Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie, QC)
  • DESMARAIS, Alison                       (Vanderhoof, BC)
  • GAGNON, Claudia                         (Saguenay, La Baie, QC)
  • PHANEUF, Audrey                         (Saint-Hyacinthe, QC)
  • SARAULT, Courtney                       (Moncton, NB)

 

Additional Racing Pool Athletes (not participating at World Cup #1 or #2)

  • BOUTIN, Kim                                 (Sherbrooke, QC)
  • MACDONALD, Jamie                     (Fort St. James, BC)

 

These skaters will kick-off Canada’s international season at the Calgary Olympic Oval from November 2-4, 2018. For more information on the event, including how to purchase tickets, visit http://oval.ucalgary.ca/worldcup.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Together, we aim to: Challenge and inspire Canada to thrive through the power of speed skating. SSC celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932 and recognizes the coaches, officials, volunteers and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

 

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium Partner: Intact Insurance

Funding Partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee

Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning

Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA

Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate

Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

 

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For more information, please contact:
Nicole Espenant
Manager, Marketing, Communications & Partnerships
Speed Skating Canada
Email: nespenant@speedskating.ca 
Phone: 613-797-1630