Speed Skating Canada introduces Short Track teams for the World Championships & World Cups #5 & #6

Speed Skating Canada introduced today its national team members for the last ISU international short track speed skating competitions of the season: the World Championships, held March 13-15 in Moscow, and the World Cups #5 in Dresden, Germany, Feb. 6-8, and #6 in Erzurum, Turkey, Feb. 13-15.

The 10 athletes taking part at the World Championships will also compete at the World Cups.

At the World Championships, the Canadian team will include five men and five women and initially included skaters who finished among the top four per gender in the combined ranking of the 2015 Canadian Senior Championships and the 2014 Fall World Cups Selection or National Qualifier.

The team will be led by Olympic medalists Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC), Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC), Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, QC, borough La Baie) and Marianne St-Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC). They will mentor rookies Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON), Kim Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC), Kasandra Bradette (Saint-Félicien, QC) and Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC).

Olivier Jean and Genève Bélanger: discretionary choices
To fill the fifth and final female and male positions, Speed Skating Canada’s National Team coaches and Short Track High Performance committee selected Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC) and Genève Bélanger (Montréal, borough Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, QC) as discretionary choices.
 
Olivier Jean, who is 30 years old, won the gold medal in the men’s relay event at the Vancouver’s Olympic Games and finished fourth at the Canadian Senior Championships and sixth in the combined ranking.
 
“His participation at the National Qualifier instead of the Fall World Cup Selections means that his selection ranking is not fully representative of his overall performance this season”, explained Speed Skating Canada’s High Performance Director, Brian Rahill.
 
“Olivier has extensive relay experience and has demonstrated stability in all relay conditions. Participation in World Cups 5 & 6 will help refine his racing prior to the World Championships.”
 
On the women’s side, Genève Bélanger, 17, took the fifth ranks at the Canadian Senior Championships and combined ranking. The Development National Team member, still in the junior age group, won two events on four at the Canadian Junior Championships to finish tied in the first rank of the overall ranking and got a ticket for the World Junior Championships, Feb. 27-March 1, in Osaka, Japan, with Samuel Girard.
 
“Genève’s relay performances at past international competitions have been very promising and this was again evidenced at the exhibition relay at the Senior Canadian Championships”, said Rahill.
 
“Additionally, her experience helping the World Cup teams prepare for relays this year was beneficial to her development as a relay skater. Genève finished in fifth position of the combined ranking and will compete at the World Junior Championships prior to World Senior Championships, giving her additional racing experience.”
 
Individual events representatives
For the World Senior Championships, Canada will identify three skaters who will take part in all individual events in 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Following these three individual events, the eight best skaters based on the cumulative ranking will take part in the 3000m event to determine the World champion based on the final points ranking.
 
By taking the first two positions of the combined ranking, Hamelin, Girard, St-Gelais and Boutin assured themselves berths in the individual events.
 
As the third spot was discretionary, Kasandra Bradette have been selected on the women’s side. She took the third rank in the combined ranking.
 
“The bronze medal she earned at the World Cup #4 in Shanghai illustrates her strong podium potential in the 500m," said Rahill. “Additionally, over the course of the Fall World Cups Selections and the Canadian Senior Championships, Kasandra competed in the A final of all distances, except for one 1500m.”
 
On the men’s side, a decision will be communicated later.
 
Last year, in Montreal, Canada won four medals including one gold from Charles Hamelin in the 1500m event. He also won a bronze in the 500m. On the women’s side, Valérie Maltais won a bronze medal in 1000m and in the women’s relay event. Hamelin and Maltais finished third in their overall ranking. Canada has so far won 177 medals in 39 editions of the World Championships.
 
World Cups #5 and #6
For the World Cup #5 in Dresden, Germany, Feb. 6-8, Canada will be represented by six men and six women including all members of its World Senior Championships team as well as one discretionary choice per gender.
 
These last positions have been granted to François Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) and Audrey Phaneuf (Boucherville, QC).
 
François Hamelin, gold Olympic medalist in the relay event at the 2010 Olympic Games, finished seventh in the Canadian Senior Championships ranking and fifth in the combined one.
 
Audrey Phaneuf took the sixth positions in both rankings. She took part in the two World Cups in Asia last fall while sharing the top ranking at the Canadian Junior Championships with Genève Bélanger to qualify for the World Junior Championships in Japan.
 
In order to maximize their preparation for the World Junior Championships which will be held Feb. 27-March 1, Samuel Girard and Audrey Phaneuf will not take part in the World Cup #6 in Erzurum, Turkey, which will be held two weeks after the event in Japan. Canada will then send five men and five women to the last World Cup of the season.
 
Genève Bélanger, who will also take part in the World Junior Championships, will however compete at both World Cups in Europe, her first two international senior competitions in her career, to gain experience before the big event in Moscow.
 
So far this season Canada has won 17 medals in four World Cups. Individually, Marianne St-Gelais won six medals, including one in each World Cups, while Charles Hamelin made the podium four times.
 
Members of the Canadian Short Track Team for the 2015 World Short Track Championships:
Men
-BASTILLE, Guillaume (Rivière-du-Loup, QC)
-DUFFY, Patrick (Oakville, ON)
-GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC)
 
Women
-BÉLANGER, Genève (Montréal, borough Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, QC)
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC, borough La Baie)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)

Members of the Canadian Short Track Team for the World Cup #5 in Dresden, Germany:
Men
-BASTILLE, Guillaume (Rivière-du-Loup, QC)
-DUFFY, Patrick (Oakville, ON)
-GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-HAMELIN, François (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC)
 
Women
-BÉLANGER, Genève (Montréal, borough Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, QC)
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC, borough La Baie)
-PHANEUF, Audrey (Boucherville, QC)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)

Members of the Canadian Short Track Team for the World Cup #6 in Erzurum, Turkey:
Men
-BASTILLE, Guillaume (Rivière-du-Loup, QC)
-DUFFY, Patrick (Oakville, ON)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-HAMELIN, François (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC)
 
Women
-BÉLANGER, Genève (Montréal, borough Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, QC)
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC, borough La Baie)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)

More info, including the full schedule and results, are available on 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, 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

Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC