120 Short Track Speed Skaters at Saguenay’s Centre Georges-Vézina November 24-27 for the Canadian Open National Qualifier

Saguenay, Quebec, Nov. 22, 2016 – The City of Saguenay will host a total of 120 short track speed skaters across the country for the Canadian Open National Qualifier, to be held Nov. 24-27 at the Centre Georges-Vézina of the Chicoutimi borough.

Speed Skating Canada’s national competitions circuit will make a first stop in Saguenay, which has not held a national competition since the presentation of the Canadian Open Championships in January 2012.

The Canadian Open National Qualifier will showcase the best 25 senior and 25 junior athletes per gender based on the 2015-2016 Canadian rankings, excluding those who took part in the Fall World Cup Selections held in Montreal last January. Remaining positions are filled based on time criterias.

The Canadian Open National Qualifier is an important step in the short track speed skaters’ season for those who did not take part in the Fall World Cup Selections as this is one of their last opportunity to qualify for the competitions selections toward the 2017 World Senior and Junior Championships.

On the road to the World Senior Championships
At the Canadian Open National Qualifier, the athletes will aim to get one of the 16 spots per gender available and then join the 16 others who automatically got their ticket following their participation to the Fall World Cup Selections, for the Canadian Senior Championships which will be held January 13-15 at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal. Following these Canadian Senior Championships, Speed Skating Canada will select the skaters who will represent Canada at the 2017 Winter World Cups as well as for the World Senior Short Track Championships, to be held March 10-12, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

On the road to the World Junior Championships
Skaters in the junior category, who have reached the age of 14 but not 19 by July 1st, 2016, will therefore look to grab one of the 30 spots per gender available for the Canadian Junior Championships, to be held December 16-18, at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. This will be the competition selections for the Junior Team who will represent Canada at the World Junior Championships, January 27-29, in Innsbruck, Austria.

Competitions will start Thursday, Nov. 24, with the qualifying events in the 500m and 1500m distances. Skaters who do not qualify for the main events will have a second opportunity to qualify for one of the, at least, six places available through the repechage in each distance, Friday through Sunday. The last three days of the event will all have the same format, as a repechage will be held in the morning while the main event, including the finals, will follow in the afternoon. The 1500m event will be held Friday, Nov. 25, while the 500m will take place Saturday, Nov. 26.
 
In the 1000m, held Sunday, Nov. 27, the top 14 skaters based on the cumulative time ranking in the 500m and 1500m races will go directly to the main event. The other skaters will try to qualify Sunday morning through the repechage rounds.
 
Athletes to watch
Some members of the 2016 Junior Team to watch will be Marc-Olivier Lemay from Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies - Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, Maxime Laoun from Montreal (Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, Brendan Corey from Fredericton, N.B., and Jade Quevillon from Laval, QC.

At last year’s World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, Maxime Laoun took the fourth spot in the 500m and finished eighth overall. Marc-Olivier Lemay was seventh in the 500m and 13th overall.

Webcasting of the competitions
Races during the 2016 Canadian Open National Qualifier will be webcasted through the host club, the Comètes de Chicoutimi, Facebook page. Link is available on their website at www.cometesdechicoutimi.com.

Induction of Justin Rochefort
During the welcome cocktail event, which will be held Wednesday, November 23, at 5 pm at Le Montagnais Hotel, the Fédération de patinage de vitesse du Québec (FPVQ) will pay tribute to M. Justin Rochefort, posthumously inducted in the FPVQ’s Hall of Fame, last May, as a builder. In this same ceremony, Mme Monique Rioux, from Saguenay, also posthumously received this honor. Her daughters attended the event to receive the award.

Justin Rochefort is a speed skating pioneer in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. Founder of the Comètes de Chicoutmi club in 1972, he was a coach for 16 years and mentor of many well known skaters, including Olympic medalists Sylvain and Marc Gagnon, as well as Frédéric Blackburn.

Still today, the international success of the area in short track speed skating is definitively linked to the legacy left by Justin Rochefort.

For any request regarding the induction of Justin Rochefort, please François-Olivier Roberge at foroberge@fpvq.org.

Schedule
Thursday, November 24
AM: 1500m (qualification)
PM: 500m (qualification)

Friday, November 25
AM: 1500m (repechage)
PM: 1500m (finals)

Saturday, November 26
AM: 500m (repechage)
PM: 500m (finals)

Sunday, November 27
AM: 1000m (repechage)
PM: 1000m (finals)

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