Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada Names 2016-17 National Ski Team
Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada —Olympic and Paralympic veterans lead next generation of elite skiers into new season—
CANMORE, Alta.—Focused on winning medals at all levels, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada named its 2016-17 National Ski Team loaded with promise for 2018 & 2022 Olympics and Paralympics Games on Tuesday.
Feeding off a successful ending to the inaugural Ski Tour Canada where the squad celebrated countless personal and season-best performances, seven Olympians including six men and one woman will lead the charge for the Canucks.
Led by Alex Harvey (St-Férréol-les-Neiges, Que.), who captured two medals last season, a high-powered group of athletes including Len Valjas (Toronto), Ivan Babikov (Canmore, Alta.), and Devon Kershaw (Canmore, Alta.) will form the World Cup A Team. Two other athletes who posted breakthrough performances during the Ski Tour Canada, Jesse Cockney (Canmore, Alta.), and Graeme Killick (Fort McMurray, Alta.), will make up the World Cup B Team with Emily Nishikawa (Whitehorse) leading the Canadian women on the elite squad.
With a focus on developing the next generation of elite skiers, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada also selected seven athletes for its Under-25 Team who will split time racing World Cups, international development level races, and Haywood NorAms in Canada. Three athletes who cracked the top-30 on the World Cup last year while racing the Ski Tour Canada will headline this group of seven including Whitehorse skiers Dahria Beatty and Knute Johnsgaard, along with Maya Macisaac-Jones (Athabasca, Alta.). They will be joined by Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.), Cendrine Browne (St-Jérôme, Que.), Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.), and Julien Locke (Nelson).
The governing body for cross-country skiing in Canada also announced seven athletes who combined to win nine medals last year, will return to the Para-Nordic Ski Team. Athletes include: Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) and his guides Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse) and Erik Carleton (Canmore, Alta.); Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.), Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert) and Paralympic champion, Chris Klebl (Canmore, Alta.). Emily Weekes (North Vancouver), who bolted onto the international para-nordic scene one year ago with multiple podium performances will continue her progression on the Development Team.
“We obviously have a great line-up of athletes that combines veteran experience with youthful energy and drive,” said Tom Holland,” high-performance director, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada. “I think our elite athletes proved last year they have what it takes to continue delivering medal-winning performances, while our next generation of athletes are steadily developing and demonstrating a promising future for our program.”
Holland and his high-performance selection team also identified one dozen athletes who will compete on the Junior National Ski Team. Athletes include:
Marie Corriveau (St-Férréol-Les-Neiges, Que.) Philippe Boucher (Lévis, Que.)
Katie Weaver (North Vancouver) Antoine Blais (Lévis, Que.)
Laura Leclair (Chelsea, Que.) Gareth Williams (Kelowna, B.C.)
Annika Richardson (Vancouver) Ryan Jackson (Midhurst)
Hannah Mehain (Vernon) Etienne Hebert (Varennes, Que.)
Zoe Williams (Cantley, Que.) Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.)
CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, and Mackenzie Investments – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.
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