SSC Names Long Track Winter World Cups, World Championships Teams

Following the Canadian Single Distance Championships held at the Calgary Olympic Oval held just over a week ago, Speed Skating Canada (SSC) has selected the long track speed skaters that will represent Canada for the two upcoming stops of the Essent ISU Long Track World Cup Circuit this Winter, as well as for the World Sprint and World Allround Championships coming up.

The qualification system varied for each event. For World Cups, top athletes in each distance earned a spot on the teams up to the maximum quotas earned by Canada, while it was combined samalog points in the 500m and 1000m that helped select the team for World Sprint Championships, and combined samalog points in the 500m, 1500m and 3000m/5000m for the World Allround Championships Team.

The first international event this winter is the World Sprint Championships (Heerenveen, Netherlands, January 22-23). Canada’s representatives at the event will be Christine Nesbitt (London, ON), Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB), Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) and Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC). Nesbitt has her eyes set on a medal, as she is hoping to become one of the rare skaters in history to medal at all three World Championships this season.

For World Cup racing, Nesbitt, Rempel, Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB), Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) and Morrison were already pre-qualified in specific distances based on their Fall World Cup performances. Klassen will skip the first stop in Moscow, Russia (January 28-30), but Rempel, Schussler, Nesbitt and Morrison will be joined by numerous teammates. Veterans such as Gregg, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK), Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK), Muncef Ouardi (Québec, QC) and Vincent Labrie (Lévis, QC) will also be racing in Russia, along with a mix of younger skaters including Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC), Matt McLean (Winnipeg, MB), Tamara Oudenaarden (St. Albert, AB), Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON), Nicole Garrido (Calgary, AB), Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) and Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON).

A few other skaters will be racing in their first World Cup in Moscow. This will be the case for Tyler Derraugh (Winnipeg, MB), Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) and Kirsti Lay (Medicine Hat, AB). For the full list of distances in which each athlete will race, please visit the Press Room of www.speedskating.ca.

Following the Moscow World Cup, skaters will head back to Canada where Makowsky, Warsylewicz, Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC), Nesbitt, Klassen, Schussler and Blondin will have a chance to represent Canada in the World Allround Championships, taking place at the Calgary Olympic Oval on February 12-13.

The following weekend, long distance skaters will head to Salt Lake City for the seventh World Cup stop of the season, featuring the 1500m and 5000m/10 000m.

Two more events will be left on the international stage at that point, but athletes have to follow the ISU qualifications in order to earn spots for the Final World Cup event (Heerenveen, Netherlands, March 4-6) and World Single Distance Championships (Inzell, Germany, March 10-13).