Trois-Rivières welcomes the country’s best junior short track speed skaters this weekend for Speed Skating Canada’s Canadian Junior Championships

For the first time since March 2008, Trois-Rivières will host a national short track speed skating competition as Canada's best junior athletes will be in action January 9-11 at the Complexe sportif Alphonse Desjardins (260, Dessureault Street).

The top 64 juniors skaters (32 per gender) between 14 and 19 years old, will aim one for the four spots for the women or one of the three sports for the men to represent the country at the World Junior Short Track Championships, Feb. 27-March 1, in Osaka, Japan. They will be chosen based on their overall results at the Canadian Junior Championships in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events.

Athletes qualified for this event through the Fall World Cup Selections held in Calgary in September or the National Qualifier in Montreal in mid-December.

Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Quebec, is already pre-qualified for the World Junior Championships by virtue of his finishing top 6 in an individual event in one of the Fall World Cup. Girard, who will turn 19 in June and was a member of the Junior National Team last year, was 5th in the 1500m event in Salt Lake City and 6th in the 1000m in Seoul.

The competition, hosted by the club Les Élans de Trois-Rivières and the Fédération de patinage de vitesse du Québec under the leadership of Speed Skating Canada, will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday (1500m) and Saturday (500m), and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 pm Sunday (1000m and 1500 Super Final).

Admission is $5 per day or $10 for the weekend, and free for kids of 12 and under.

2014 Junior National Team members to watch
Among the participants, four members of last year's Junior National Team will try to again represent Canada at the 2015 World Junior Short Track Championships, in addition to Girard.

Audrey Phaneuf of Boucherville, Que., will be one to watch as she took part in her first two World Cups in Asia this fall. The 18 years old earned 9th place in the 3000m and 8th in the 500m in Shanghai.

Sasha Alexander Fathoullin, 19 of Calgary and the Canadian junior record holder in the 500m since last year, as well as Genève Bélanger, 17, of Montreal, nearly competed at the World Cups last fall. Fathoullin had to withdraw from the team due to injury while Bélanger was an alternate for the World Cups in Asia.

Sébastien Gagnon, 19, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, and Maxime Laoun, 18, of Montreal, will also try to qualify again for the Junior National Team.

Canada won two medals last year at the World Junior Short Track Championships in Erzurum, Turkey. Samuel Girard won silver in 500m, and was 4th in 1000m and second in the 1500m Super Final event, while the women’s relay won silver. That team also included Kim Boutin, Joanie Gervais, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier and Audrey Phaneuf who all competed at World Cups this fall.

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