Dubreuil, Hamelin, Blondin & Sarault Named Speed Skating Canada Athletes of the Year
This past season’s award recipients overcame pandemic-related challenges to reach the World Championship podium a combined eight times
OTTAWA, ON – Laurent Dubreuil, Charles Hamelin, Ivanie Blondin and Courtney Sarault were announced today as Speed Skating Canada’s Athletes of the Year in their respective disciplines. The performances of these four incredible skaters – who overcame uncertainty and pandemic-related training challenges – helped Canada shine on international stage this season, earning a combined eight World Championship medals.
First awarded in 1968, the Athlete of the Year Award recognize an athlete who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to success during the season through outstanding performance at national or international competitions, dedication to the training program, continued growth in physical and technical abilities, and contributions to sport or community development.
Long Track Athlete of the Year (Male): Laurent Dubreuil
Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.) continued to show that he is among the world’s top sprinters. The 28-year old etched his name into the record books with a historic performance at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen. He was crowned 500m world champion, becoming only the second Canadian male to win World Championship gold that distance, and earned a bronze medal in the 1000m. Despite only touching the ice a handful of times since the start of the pandemic, he wrapped up his season with four World Cup medals (two silver, two bronze) in six races, along with two World Championship podiums.
This is the second Jeremy Wotherspoon Award of Dubreuil’s career, having jointly won the prize alongside the recently retired Denny Morrison in 2015. He joins Guy Thibault (3) as the only Quebecois skaters to win the award multiple times.
Short Track Athlete of the Year (Male): Charles Hamelin
Despite being the oldest skaters on the international circuit, Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.) showed this season that he is still among the world’s very best. The 36-year old was crowned world champion in the 1500m at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Hamelin finished the short track season’s one and only event sixth in the overall rankings, cracking the top-10 in both the 1000m (6th) and 500m (7th). The national team veteran has now won 37 World Championship medals over the course of his illustrious career.
Hamelin has now won the Marc Gagnon Award for Canada’s male short track athlete of the year a record 11 times (2005, 2007-2011, 2013-2016, 2021), which is more than the award’s namesake Marc Gagnon, who brought it home seven times between 1993 and 2002.
Long Track Athlete of the Year (Female): Ivanie Blondin
Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, Ont.) overcame a challenging start to the season to win her fifth career World Champion medal in the women’s Mass Start, brining home silver. The 31-year old captured two Mass Start silver medals during the World Cups and also helped Canada’s Team Pursuit squad reach the podium on three separate occasions in the Heerenveen Bubble, earning a pair of World Cup gold medals, along with silver at the World Championships.
This is Blondin’s sixth career Catriona Le May Doan Award for female long track athlete of the year, having previously won four in-a-row from 2015 to 2018, and again in 2020. Her six awards ties her with Susan Auch and places her only one behind seven-time winner Le May Doan.
Short Track Athlete of the Year (Female): Courtney Sarault
Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.) made history this season, becoming only the second New Brunswick native – and only the sixth Canadian from outside Quebec – to reach the overall podium at the ISU World Short Track Championships. The 20-year old earned silver in the 1500m, bronze in the 1000m and finished the season’s only international competition as vice-champion.
This is the first Nathalie Lambert Award of Sarault’s young career. She becomes the first New Brunswick native to claim the prize, as well as the first skater from outside Quebec to win the award since Edmonton’s Jessica Gregg in 2009.
- “I am very happy to have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Jeremy Wotherspoon Award. It’s only the second time in my career that I have received such an honour! I take great pride in being recognized as the best skater in the country, especially when other Canadian skaters have been so successful. 2021 was a dream season in terms of results and I hope 2022 will be as well!” – Laurent Dubreuil
- “It’s always an honour to receive this prize. I have won it several times throughout my career, but this time it’s a little more special because I had the chance to work alongside Marc Gagnon [for whom the award is named after] and see firsthand the passion that he has for our sport.” – Charles Hamelin
- “I’m honoured to have been selected as this year’s winner of the Nathalie Lambert Award. Being acknowledged for such an award is special to me because I know how many people are deserving of it. Last season, we all faced new challenges with everything going on in the world. There was a lot of uncertainty with our season and even our ability to train. I can now look back and say I’m proud of not only myself but of my teammates, coaches and staff for how hard we worked. I am looking forward to competing again and have high hopes for this upcoming Olympic year.” – Courtney Sarault
- “Last season was definitely challenging, but I made it through thanks to the support from my teammates, coaches, support staff and everyone else that supports me. It’s an honour to win this award once again and I’m looking forward to carrying this momentum with me into the upcoming Olympic season!” – Ivanie Blondin
- Alain Brouillette
- Speed Skating Canada