Speed Skating Canada introduces final team roster for the 2017 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

Montreal, January 26, 2017 – Speed Skating Canada announced today the final roster for the short track national team that will take part in the ISU World Championships set to be held March 10-12 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, as well as in the ISU World Cup #5 in Dresden, Germany.
 
At the World Championships, Canada will send 10 skaters, five from each gender, while three per gender will skate in all the individual races, i.e. the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Following these three events, the top eight skaters in overall standings will have the opportunity to collect additional points by taking part in the 3000m Super Final.
 
Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, QC, and Marie-Ève Drolet from Saguenay (Chicoutimi borough), QC, on the women's side, as well as Charle Cournoyer from Boucherville, QC, Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, on the men's team, initially qualified for a spot on the Canadian team by finishing among the top three in their category in combined standings, which included results from the Canadian Senior Championships that took place January 13-15 in Montreal, as well as from the Fall World Cup Selections or the Canadian Open National Qualifier.

Added to the Canadian team were Valérie Maltais of Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, and Pascal Dion from Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, who, in the absence of any exemption request, were awarded a spot because they both finished fourth in combined standings.
 
Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, and Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, QC, were awarded the fifth spots on the team, which were discretionary choices.
 
By finishing amont the top two in combined standings in their respective categories, St-Gelais, Boutin, Cournoyer and Girard automatically earned the privilege of representing Canada in individual races. The third and last spots for the individual events, also discretionary choices, were awarded to Marie-Ève Drolet and Charles Hamelin, who will also skate in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m races.
 
Last year, Canada won nine medals at the World Championships, a high at this competition since at least the 1999-2000 season. Marianne St-Gelais was crowned world champion in the 1500m and collected silver in the 500m as well as in overall standings, while Charles Hamelin won gold in the 1000m and also finished second overall. Samuel Girard followed behind Hamelin in the men's 1000m to earn a silver medal, while Kasandra Bradette collected bronze in the women's 1000m. The men's and women's relay teams both came up with a silver medal.
 
The same roster will represent Canada at the ISU World Cup #5 set to take place in Dresden, Germany, February 3-5. The Canadian substitutes for the World Championships, François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, and Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., will also be skating in Dresden.
 
Two returning skaters and a first
The upcoming World Championships will mark the return of Guillaume Bastille and Marie-Ève Drolet at this competition, while it will be a career first for Pascal Dion.
 
After taking part in the 2015 World Championships in Russia, Guillaume Bastille had to skip a year, last year, after missing most of the season to recover from a shoulder operation he underwent in the fall of 2015.
 
“After missing most of last season, I'm extremely proud to be included among the top five skaters in the country and to take part in the World Championships,” said Bastille, who won gold in the men's relay at the 2010 Olympic Games. “On the road to the Olympics, we'll have to go through trials in August. My focus at this time is to finish the season on a good note while keeping in mind that I also need to prepare for the Olympic trials.”
 
For his part, Pascal Dion will be experiencing his first-ever World Championships.

“I'm very happy. I was tense last week,” he said. “I really wanted to qualify because the World Championships will be the last big competition before the Olympics. Of course, there will be the World Cups next fall, but it's not the same format, it's not the same stress level. In Rotterdam, I will take in experience in highly stressful situations, so it will be a great experience.”

“This gives me a great boost of confidence,” added Dion, who is aiming to qualify for a spot at next year's Olympics. “I've really improved over the last two years, and I've done better at each national competition. I need to keep doing that and remain focused, and after that things should go well for me at the Olympic trials. I think I'm in the game and that getting my ticket for Pyeongchang is feasible.”
 
Marie-Ève Drolet will be making her grand return to the World Championships as she will represent her country in individual races. The last time Drolet skated at the World Championships was in 2014, before she gave birth to her first child in January of 2015.

“My main goal for this season is now a reality,” pointed out Drolet. “I'm really happy about skating and representing Canada at the World Championships, especially with the Olympics coming up. The Worlds will give me a good idea of how things will go at the Olympics next year. This gives me a great sense of satisfaction.”

Members of the Canadian team for the ISU World Cup Short Track #5 in Dresden, Germany:
 
WOMEN
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-DROLET, Marie-Ève (Saguenay, QC)
-MACDONALD, Jamie (Fort St. James, B.C.)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)

MEN
-BASTILLE, Guillaume (Rivière-du-Loup, QC)
-COURNOYER, Charle (Boucherville, QC)
-DION, Pascal (Montréal, QC)
-GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-HAMELIN, François (Sainte-Julie, QC)

Members of the Canadian team for the ISU World Short Track Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands:
 
WOMEN
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-DROLET, Marie-Ève (Saguenay, QC)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)

MEN
-BASTILLE, Guillaume (Rivière-du-Loup, QC)
-COURNOYER, Charle (Boucherville, QC)
-DION, Pascal (Montréal, QC)
-GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)

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 and Samsung, 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