Short Track World Cup Teams Finalized at National Team Selection 1

Kalyna Roberge (Ste-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) and Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) won the 1000m races to take the overall first ranks at the Short Track National Team Selection, and Speed Skating Canada has now announced the teams that will compete in the first World Cups of the season.

Roberge once again swept all three events this weekend, becoming the first ever Canadian women to win all 9 events in three National Team Selections in a row (NT 1 in Calgary, last fall, Canadian Championships in Sudbury, last winter, and this weekend in Calgary). “Martin [Gagné, her coach] told me before the final that I could become the first to win 9 events in a row in selections, so that really pushed me to skate harder in the final”, explained Roberge. “I felt really tired after the semi-final, but it gave me the little bit of energy I needed.”

Even better, she broke the Canadian record in her semi-final race with a time of 1:29.870, skating lower than the World Record (1:30.037). Just like with Hamelin’s record yesterday, her record will only count as Canadian, as the event is not ISU-ratified so her time can’t become an official World Record. The former Canadian record was 1:30.823 and it was that of Amanda Overland (Montréal, QC). “I actually thought about the record all night”, continued Roberge. “I knew I could make it if the other girls skated with me, so during the race, I was actually counting my lap times to see what I needed to achieve it.”

Overland finished 2nd today, which gives her the fourth rank in the overall standings and a spot on the World Cup Team. Tania Vicent (Verchères, QC) was third, an excellent result for the skater who had no expectations coming into this weekend as this was her first competition in over a year. This third top-four finish of the weekend ensures her of a place for the World Cups as well.

In the men’s competition, the final was highly contested between Hamelin, Marc-André Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC), Rémi Beaulieu and Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT). Hamelin was first overall before the race so he was sure to make the World Cup team, but a win was needed from any other skater to qualify. It was a close race, with Monette trying to pass Hamelin at the finish, but he was 0.01 seconds too late and had to settle for 2nd. This places Monette in 5th place overall, so he will still have a chance to compete in the World Cups this Fall.

“It’s always better when you win a race, it’s a good way to end the weekend”, said Hamelin. “I’m really proud with my results this weekend, I finished 2nd in both the 1500m and 500m and 1st today. I didn’t think of the others who really needed the win in the final, I just focused on winning.”

At the end of the competition, Jeffrey Scholten (Fredericton, NB) announced that he was retiring from competition. The crowd was behind him for the final race of his long speed skating career, which he won. “I was stressed before the race, knowing it was my last, but the crowd’s energy and cheering gave me what I needed to have a good last race. I’ve always had good success in Calgary, so I wanted to finish my career here”, said an emotional Scholten shortly after his good-bye race.

Following the end of the competition, Speed Skating Canada officially announced the teams that will take part in the first 4 World Cups of the season. On the men’s side, it will be Mathieu Giroux (Montréal, QC), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC), Charles Hamelin, Steve Robillard (Montréal, QC), François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal, QC) and Marc-André Monette. Tremblay could not skate this weekend due to an injury, but he was granted a bye.

The women’s team for the first two World Cups (Harbin, Oct. 19-21 and Kobé, Oct. 26-28) is made of Kalyna Roberge, Anne Maltais (Québec, QC), Tania Vicent, Amanda Overland, Andréa Do-Duc (Montréal, QC) and Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB). Gregg will be replaced by Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) for the 3rd and 4th World Cups (Heerenveen, Nov. 23-25 and Torino, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2).