Short track season starts with Fall World Cups Selections

Canadian short track season starts with Fall World Cups Selections in Calgary
World and Olympic champions to compete at The Olympic Oval from Sept. 14 to 16

MONTREAL
– Canada’s short track speed skating national team’s season gets underway in Calgary as The Olympic Oval plays host to Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Short Track Selections from Friday, Sept. 14 to Sunday, Sept. 16. The top 16 male and 16 female skaters will compete in the 500-metre, 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre races starting Friday at 2 p.m., and wrapping up on Sunday afternoon with the relays.

The selections event is used to identify the teams for the first four Samsung ISU World Cups of 2012-13 – a key season leading up to the Sochi 2014 Games, which are only 17 months away. The first Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track event sees the short track team return to Calgary for international competition, starting Friday, Oct. 19 through to Sunday, Oct. 21. The circuit continues the following weekend with World Cup #2 in Montreal, from Friday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 28 (complete international short track schedule). Both World Cups will be broadcast in part on CBC Sports.

All 32 skaters will compete twice in each of the three distances. Friday will see the first 500-metre and 1,500-metre races. Saturday’s schedule will feature the 1,000 metres and 1,500 metres distances, and Sunday will showcase the 500-metre, 1,000-metre and relay races. The competition starts at 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Admission is free for the three-day competition at The Olympic Oval.

Follow the results on SSC’s Twitter account, www.Twitter.com/SSC_PVC.

The men’s group highlights all eight 2012-13 national team members and six of seven from the development squad. The women’s line-up has seven of nine national team skaters and all six from the development group.

The competitors’ field features past Olympic men’s and women’s team members, Olympic medalists and champions. Veteran skaters from the 2010 Winter Olympics include Marianne St. Gelais and Valérie Maltais, as well as Guillaume Bastille, Charles Hamelin, François Hamelin, Olivier Jean and François-Louis Tremblay.

Skaters for the 2012 Fall World Cup Short Track Selections (branch):
* denotes 2012-13 national team athlete; # denotes 2012-13 development team athlete

Men: Guillaume Bastille (*Quebec), Rémi Beaulieu (*Quebec), Guillaume Blais-Dufour (#Quebec), Charle Cournoyer (#Quebec), Vincent Cournoyer (#Quebec), Patrick Duffy (#Quebec), Pier-Olivier Gagnon (#Quebec), Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), Michael Gilday (*N.W.T.), Charles Hamelin (*Quebec), François Hamelin (*Quebec), Olivier Jean (*Quebec), Liam McFarlane (*Quebec), Jacob McKenzie (Ontario), Alexandre St. Jean (#Quebec), François-Louis Tremblay (*Quebec).

Women: Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau (#Quebec), Kasandra Bradette (*Quebec), Andrea Do-Duc (#Quebec), Marie-Eve Drolet (*Quebec), Jessica Gregg (*Alberta), Jessica Hewitt (*Quebec), Vicky Labourdette (Quebec), Valérie Lambert (#Quebec), Valérie Maltais (*Quebec), Keri Morrison (#Ontario), Audrey Phaneuf( Quebec), Courtney Shmyr (B.C.), Marianne St. Gelais (*Quebec), Léa Thibault (#Quebec), Caroline Truchon (*Quebec), Gabrielle Waddell (*Alberta).

The culmination of the 2012-13 short track season will be the 2013 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, from March 8-10, 2013.

At the 2012 world championships in Shanghai, China, Canada collected 10 medals, including three world champion titles. Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., Marie-Ève Drolet of Laterrière, Que., and Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., competed in the individual distances and relay. Liam McFarlane of Medicine Hat, Alta., and François-Louis Tremblay of Alma, Que., helped Canada win gold in relay. Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., and Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., joined Drolet and Maltais to place fourth in the women’s relay.

At his first world championships in Shanghai, Bastille ranked ninth overall, placing sixth in the 500 metres and 1,000 and ninth in the 1,500. He was world champion taking the gold medal with the relay team. The 27-year old won his second career World Cup gold and silver medals during the 2011-12 season. He also won two gold medals, a silver and bronze medal with the relay team.

Competing in his ninth world championships in Shanghai, Hamelin was a silver medallist in the 500, took bronze in the 1,000 and was relay champion. On the World Cup circuit, the 28-year old won four individual gold medals, three silver and a bronze, as well as two gold a silver and a bronze in the relay.

Jean was named SSC’s 2012 Male Skater of the Year. He ranked third overall at the world championships and was world champion in the 500 metres and relay. Competing in five World Cups, the 28-year old won gold in each of his four 500-metre races and took two silver medals and a bronze in the 1,000 metres. He also had a gold medal, two silver and a bronze in the relay.

Competing in her fourth world championships, Drolet ranked seventh overall. The 30-year old won bronze medals in the 1,500 and 3,000 metres. In four World Cups, she won silver medals in the 1,000 metres and with the relay team.

SSC’s Female Athlete of the Year, short track, for 2011-12, Maltais ranked second overall at the world championships. She was the 3,000-metre world champion and took the bronze medal in the 1,000 metres. After competing in four of six World Cups, the 22-year old won a silver and bronze medal in the 1,500 and silver in the relay.