Alec Janssens & Jordan Henkelman retire from speed skating

Calgary, June 30, 2017 – Alec Janssens of Chilliwack, BC, and Jordan Henkelman of Calgary, AB, have decided to retire from competitive long track speed skating.

Janssens, age 25, had been training with the National Program since 2013, as he started on the development team and moved up to the senior team three years later

Janssens skated in six ISU World Cup stages and took part in the ISU World Allround Championships as well as in the ISU World Single Distance Championships once. In 2014-2015, Janssens maintained a spot in the ISU World Cup 1500m Division A ranking for the entire season and finished 19th at that year’s ISU World Single Distance Championships. Between the years of 2009 and 2011, Janssens raced in four ISU Junior World Cups and competed in the 2011 ISU World Junior Championships in Seinäjoki, Finland, where he placed 13th in three distances – the 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.

After fully recovering from a persistent concussion and from a broken collar bone, Janssens’ on-ice results were not what they had been before.

“My goal was to become the best I can be, and the best in the world. An Olympic medal was only a by-product of completing my ultimate goals. I now see less of a chance to accomplish these goals, which is the main reason of my retirement. The career of an amateur athlete is a 'métier de passion' and I no longer have the same passion I once had for self improvement in the sport,” explained Janssens.

His best memory in skating is “racing at the world championships at the Thialf in Heerenveen, in front of my parents and grandmother,” reminisced Janssens, who has Dutch roots.

Alec Janssens wanted to take the opportunity to thank those who helped him through his career.

“It takes a village to raise an athlete and it is amazing how many people have been a part of the skating community as a whole. I would like to thank all the support staff that have been there for me for the last couple years, as well as the Sardis Fliers Speed Skating club, and the Donatelli Green Family for their outstanding number of years of volunteerism, coaching and leadership in the speed skating community,” said Janssens.

“Above all, as a skater, I enjoyed doing something that I loved, and I like to think that I brought a certain positivity to the training environment. Joy brings success and success brings joy. I tried to bring a joyful and playful attitude with dedication, determination and hard work to the training environment, day in and day out.  I look forward to seeing many years of success for Canadian speed skaters, living up to the words of my father who always said before a race to 'have fun, skate fast',” added Janssens.

Janssens recently came back from a two-month solo bike packing trip in South America, crossing Chile, Bolivia and Peru. He is working full time and will be returning to school in the fall.

Henkelman to also hang up his skates
Jordan Henkelman of Calgary, AB, a National Program NextGen member for two seasons, has also decided to step away from speed skating.

Beginning his speed skating journey with a focus on the short track discipline, Henkelman, 22 years old, competed at the 2011 Canada Winter Games held in Halifax. Also that season, he was chosen to join a group of long track athletes that traveled to Japan to compete in two international competitions in Obihiro and Kushiro. Shifting his focus completely to long track in 2014, he was the Canadian Junior Champion in the 500m, which earned him a spot on the World Junior Team that year. At the 2014 World Junior Championships in Bjugn, Norway, Henkelman was 11th in the 500m.

“I could go on forever about the awesome memories I have from speed skating. Traveling and racing in Japan, and the whole Canada Games experience are definitely up there. But my number one speed skating memory – and probably number one memory in general – is my team pursuit race at the World Junior Championships in Norway. I had never even skated eight laps in a row in long track before, but it probably ended up being the funniest and best time of my life,” remembered Henkelman.

Cutting his career short due to persistent injury, Henkelman had many people to thank.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me in my 17-year skating career. My coaches, staff, family and friends have all been amazing and I wouldn't have made it this far without them,” he said.

Additional details are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
“To Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating”

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.

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
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
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, Conseil du sport de haut niveau de Québec

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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

Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC