Speed Skating Canada unveils its team for Long Track World Cup #5 of the season to be held in Norway

Calgary, January 18, 2016 – Canada will send a total of 22 athletes to the fifth Long Track Speed Skating World Cup of the season, to be held January 29-31 in Stavanger, Norway, and which will also serve to finalize the Canadian team that will skate at the World Single Distance Championships.

To date, nine skaters have already qualified for the World Single Distance Championships because of their performances at the first four World Cup stages of the season, held in the fall. Two other earned their spot during the Canadian Single Distance Championships, which took place January 3-6 in Calgary. The additional 11 skaters will travel to Norway to try to qualify for the annual world-scale event that will take place February 11-14 in Kolomna, Russia.

Canadian skaters whose spots at the World Single Distance Championships have already been confirmed are: Heather McLean (500m and mass start) of Winnipeg, Marsha Hudey (500m) of White City, SK, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (500m) of Sherbrooke, QC, William Dutton (500m) of Humboldt, SK, Vincent de Haître (1000m and 1500m) of Cumberland, ON, Alexandre St-Jean (1000m) of Quebec City, QC, Ivanie Blondin (3000m, 5000m and mass start) of Ottawa, Jordan Belchos (mass start) of Toronto, and Ted-Jan Bloemen (5000m and 10,000m) of Calgary.
   
Isabelle Weidemann (5000m) of Ottawa, ON, and Stefan Waples (mass start) of Winnipeg, MB, also qualified for the World Single Distance Championships a few weeks ago in Calgary.

The following events are scheduled at World Cup #5: two 500m events and two more 1000m events (women's and men's), one 1500m event (women's and men's), as well as one women's 3000m and one men's 5000m.

A look at the 500m
In the women's 500m, aside from McLean and Hudey who have already pre-qualified in this distance for the World Single Distance Championships, Olympians Anastasia Bucsis and Kaylin Irvine of Calgary as well as Olympic medalist Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg will face off for the third and last spot available.

McLean has also already clinched a spot at the World Single Distance Championships in the women's mass start after she was the top skater in this event at the Canadian Single Distance Championships. She will join Blondin, who already has a ticket for Kolomna in this event.

On the men's side, 2014-2015 World Cup runner-up and bronze medalist at the World Single Distance Championships in the 500m distance, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, as well as Gilmore Junio of Calgary and Alex St-Jean will battle it out to become the top Canadian in Norway and therefore try to collect the third spot that will allow them to travel to Russia along with Boisvert-Lacroix and Dutton.

Each athlete with the fastest combined time at the conclusion of the two 500m events will earn Canada's third and final spot.

A look at the 1000m
No one has qualified for the women's 1000m at the World Single Distance Championships, and therefore all five skaters in action in Norway, i.e. McLean, Bucsis, Irvine, Rempel as well as Kali Christ of Regina, SK, will face off to collect the sole Canadian spot available in Kolomna in this distance.
On the men's side, in addition to De Haître and St-Jean, who have already pre-qualified, Boisvert-Lacroix, Dubreuil and Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, will be in action and will vye for the third and last available spot.

For both genders, the athlete who skates to the fastest single time in the 1000m events scheduled in Norway will earn the remaining spot.

A look at the 1500m
In the women's 1500m, the situation is similar to the 1000m in that no Canadian has been pre-selected. Blondin, Christ, Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C. and Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, will take part in this event at the World Cup #5. However, Blondin is not looking to compete in this event at the World Single Distance Championships. This means Christ, Spence and Tutt will battle for the two available spots at the World Single Distance Championships by finishing among the top two Canadian finishers at World Cup #5.

On the men's team, Bloemen, Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON, Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, and Nick Goplen of Kelowna, B.C., will take part in this event in Norway. Like Blondin, Bloemen is not planning to compete in the 1500m in Kolomna. That leaves Donnelly, Jean and Goplen gunning for the second and last spot available to Canada at the World Single Distance Championships, which will go to the highest-finishing skater in Norway. That athlete will join De Haître, who already has a spot in the 1500m in Kolomna.

This will be Goplen's first career World Cup. He earned his ticket for World Cup #5 by finishing fourth in this event at the Canadian Single Distance Championships.

The longer distances
In the women's 3000m, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa and Josie Spence will face off as they try to become the top Canadian in Norway and therefore clinch Canada's second and last spot – and join Blondin in that event, in which she has already qualified.

Weidemann has already earned a spot for the World Single Distance Championships in the women's 5000m. She accomplished that feat by being the best skater in that event at the Canadian Single Distance Championships. Blondin is already qualified as well for the World Championships in that event.

In the men's 5000m, Belchos and Donnelly will aim to be the national team's top skater in Norway, which would lead to Canada's second spot at the World Single Distance Championships and a place alongside Bloemen, who has already qualified in that event.

Bloemen has already obtained Canada's sole ticket for the 10,000m scheduled in Kolomna. He broke the world record in that distance in November.

As for Belchos, he is already sure to be part of the Canadian team at the World Single Distance Championships, having qualified for the mass start following his performances at the Fall World Cups.

The Canadian team will also be competing in the women's and men's team pursuit; skaters taking part in those events will be selected by the team leader and attending coaches at the World Single Distance Championships.

Members of the Canadian National Team at ISU World Cup Long Track #5 in Stavanger, Norway
* Already qualified in this event at the World Single Distance Championships (WSDC)

WOMEN   
-BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m, *3000m (also qualified for the 5000m and mass start at the WSDC)
-BUCSIS, Anastasia (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m
-CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK) – 1000m, 1500m
-HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK) – *500m
-IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m
-McLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB) – *500m, 1000m (also qualified for the mass start at the WSDC)
-REMPEL, Shannon (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m, 1000m
-SPENCE, Josie (Kamloops, B.C.) – 1500m, 3000m
-TUTT, Brianne (Airdrie, AB) – 1500m
-WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON) –3000m (also qualified for the 5000m at the WSDC)

MEN
-BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON) – 5000m (also qualified for the mass start at the WSDC)
-BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB) – 1500m, *5000m (also qualified for the 10,000m at the WSDC)
-BOISVERT-LACROIX, Alex (Sherbrooke, QC) – *500m, 1000m
-De HAÎTRE, Vincent (Cumberland, ON) – *1000m, *1500m
-DONNELLY, Ben (Oshawa, ON) – 1500m, 5000m
-DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC) – 500m, 1000m
-DUTTON, William (Humboldt, SK) – *500m
-JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC) – 1500m
-JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB) – 500m
-GOPLEN, Nick (Kelowna, B.C.) – 1500m
-MACLENNAN, Richard (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) – 1000m
-ST-JEAN, Alexandre (Quebec City, QC) – 500m, *1000m

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site 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, 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

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