World Junior Speed Skating Teams Named

Following the Canadian Junior Long Track Championships, Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is happy to unveil the names of the 10 athletes that will represent Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Seinajoki, Finland, February 25-27. That same weekend, Canada will also be well represented at the World Junior Short Track Championships taking place in Courmayeur, Italy.

The team heading to Finland is fairly experienced on the junior stage, with half of the athletes having competed in last year’s World Championships. Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, QC) will sure be one to watch, after he skated to two fourth place finishes at last year’s event, in the 500m and 1000m. Dubreuil will also race the 1500m, and he will be joined for the sprint portion of the Championships by rookie Axel Morin (Saskatoon, SK).

Teammate Martin Corbett (Uxbridge, ON) also has some good experience under his belt as he prepares to race all distances. Corbett finished 23rd overall at the 2010 World Junior Championships, and he sure hopes to improve his ranking this time around. Alec Janssens (Chiliwack, BC) and Connor McConvey (Innisfil, ON) have also qualified to race the all round event.

On the women side, Kate Hanly (Calgary, AB), Brianne Tutt (Airdrie, AB) and Kali Christ (Regina, SK) will all be returning to the World Junior Championships this year to race all distances. Last year, Hanly’s best finish was 11th place in the 500m, while Christ was 15th in the overall competition and Tutt 22nd. They will be joined by Jennessa Kemp (Calgary, AB) and Alexandra Ianculescu (Toronto, ON) at this year’s championships.

In short track speed skating, the team was selected in December at the Canadian Junior Championshpis. Only three athletes out of eight have previous experience on the international scene, and Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau-Mistassini,QC) will certainly be one to watch, as she won two bronze medals at last year’s event (1000m and relay) where she finished 6th overall. With some World Cup racing under her belt this season, she is definitely going for the podium. Cynthia Mascitto (Laval, QC) and Ann-Véronique Michaud (Amqui, QC) will also be racing individual distances at the Championships, and Courtney Shmyr (Langley, BC) will join forces with them for the relay.

On the men side, keep an eye out for Pier-Olivier Gagnon (Québec, QC), who raced to two 7 place finishes at last year’s event (500m and 1000m) and helped the relay team to a silver medal. He is hoping to improve those performances this time around. Alexandre St-Jean (Québec, QC) and Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON) also qualified to race individual distances, while Maxime Gauthier (St-Lambert, QC), who skated the relay for Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Short Track Championships, will join them for the team event.

Gagnon, Marceau and Duffy decided to skip the Canada Winter Games taking place the previous weekend in order to fully focus on the World Junior Championships as this is their last year of eligibility. The vast majority of the other skaters will be heading to Halifax next week, where they will compete in the 2011 Canada Winter Games in their respective discipline. From there, they will head straight to Finland and Italy.