Canada's best long track speed skaters will start their pre-Olympic season at this weekend's Fall World Cup Selections

Calgary, October 17, 2016 – The best long track speed skaters in the country will aim to qualify for the ISU Fall World Cups in this pre-Olympic season at Speed Skating Canada’s selections which will be held October 20-23 at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.

The skaters are looking to grab a spot on the national team that will represent the country at the first four ISU World Cups Long Track to be held this fall in Harbin, China (November 11-13, Nagano, Japan (November 18-20), Astana, Kazakhstan (December 2-4) and Heerenveen, Netherlands (December 9-11).

Among the National Program members to take part at the Long Track Fall World Cup Selections, the medalists at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships are set to compete: Ivanie Blondin (gold in the mass start), Ted-Jan Bloemen (silver in the 10,000m), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (bronze in the 500m), as well as Ben Donnelly and Jordan Belchos who, with Bloemen, won a bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit.

Members of the National Program who won individual medals in World Cups last season Heather McLean, Gilmore Junio, Alexandre St-Jean, William Dutton and Laurent Dubreuil will also be in action, as well as four-time Olympic medalist Denny Morrison who is coming back from a motorcycle accident in 2015 and a cerebrovascular accident last April.

Blondin, Bloemen, Boisvert-Lacroix, Belchos and Isabelle Weidemann are already prequalified for the first World Cup of the season following their top-5 finish in at least one individual event at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships. Other than the medalists in Kolomna, Russia, last year, Bloemen is also prequalified in the 5000m as is Weidemann, while Belchos also got his ticket in the 10,000m. They were all top five at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships.

To launch the season, Canada will send a maximum of 20 athletes for the first two World Cups of the season. Except for the prequalified athletes, the Canadian team will be completed following entry quota spots still to be determined, ranking at the Long Track Fall World Cup Selections, and must meet a conditional time standard.

Canadian Team members will start this new season looking to refine their preparation before the Olympic year while aiming to improve their performances from last winter. In the 2015-2016 season, the Long Track National Team won a total of 30 medals in World Cups, a new record since 2008-2009. By adding the four medals won at the World Single Distance Championships and ten at the World Junior Championships, the Long Track National program won a total of 44 medals last season, a team best medal haul since 2008-2009.

Full details regarding selection criterias are available in the Long Track High Performance Committee Bulletins on www.speedskating.ca.
 
The races at the Fall World Cup Selections, to be held simultaneously with the Oval Invitational competition, will kick off on Thursday, October 20 at 1 pm with the women's 3000m and men's 5000m events. Friday, the first 500m races will take place as of 1:30 pm, followed by the women's 5000m and the men's 10 000m. Saturday, the second 500m race and the first 1000m contest will start at 1 pm. And finally, Sunday, the 1500m races and the mass start events will be held starting at 11 am. Admission is free.

More details and the complete schedule are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at 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 and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
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 

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