Long Track Skaters in Calgary for Canadian Junior Championships, World Single Distance Skate-Off

Junior skaters looking for berth on national team for World Junior Championships; seniors battling for World Single Distance Championship spots

CALGARY, ALBERTA – Calgary is set to host the country’s top junior and senior long track skaters this weekend thanks to a trio of national competitions taking place at the Olympic Oval. The 2019 Canadian Junior Long Track Championships presented by Intact Insurance, along with Canada Cup 2 and a senior national team skate-off for World Single Distance Championship spots, are all slated for January 4-6.

The Canadian Junior Championships will see a total of 30 women and 48 men - all between 14 and 18 years of age - battle for the chance to represent Canada at the 2019 ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Baselga di Piné, Italy this February.

There are four spots per gender available and the skaters will be selected to the team based on their allround ranking (total points) – the cumulative point total of their four distances (500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m/5000m).

A few of the young female skaters to keep an eye on include Gabrielle Jelonek (Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.) and Alexa Scott (Clandeboye, Man.), both of whom competed at the World Championship in Salt Lake City last season and will be looking to make the team for the second consecutive time. Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Connor Howe (Calgary, Alta.) will be looking for a second berth on the team, while Hubert Marcotte (Pont-Rouge, Que.), William Sohier (Quebec City, Que.) and Jack Deibert (Calgary, Alta.) will be looking to clinch a spot for the first time after narrowly missing out last year.

The event gets underway Friday with the 500m and 1500m. The 1000m will take place Saturday, along with the ladies 3000m and men’s 5000m, followed by the mass start races on Sunday.

Seniors competing for spots at World Single Distance Championship

Canada’s top senior long trackers will also hit the ice in Calgary this weekend, taking part in a skate-off to determine who will fill Canada’s quota spots for the 2019 ISU World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany.

A certain number of quota spots in each distance are filled by the highest ranked Canadian(s) on the ISU points list, while the remaining entries are filled by the winner of the skate-off. The list of athletes that have already pre-qualified includes:

  • Ladies 500m - Marsha Hudey, Heather McLean
  • Ladies 1000m - N/A
  • Ladies 1500m - Ivanie Blondin
  • Ladies 3000m - Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann
  • Ladies 5000m - Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann
  • Ladies Mass Start - Ivanie Blondin
  • Men’s 500m - Laurent Dubreuil, Gilmore Junio
  • Men’s 1000m - Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu
  • Men’s 1500m - Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu
  • Men’s 5000m - Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos
  • Men’s 10,000m - N/A
  • Men’s Mass Start - N/A

There remains one quota spot available in each of the men’s distances, while the ladies will look to fill one spot in each distance, except for the 5000m. Both the men and ladies also have a spot in the mass start race up for grabs.

In addition to skaters that have participated on the World Cup circuit this fall, the skate-off will also feature up-and-coming athletes that have had recent success on the international stage at the junior and neo-senior levels.

Canada won an impressive seventeen medals in the neo-senior division at the ISU Junior World Cup in Poland and all six of the athletes that participated in that event – Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, B.C.), Béatrice Lamarche (Quebec City, Que.), Noémie Fiset (Quebec City, Que.), Tyson Langelaar (Winnipeg, Man.), Jake Weidemann (Ottawa, Ont.) and Hayden Mayeur (Toronto, Ont.) – will take part in the skate-off.

Kali Christ (Regina, Sask.), a two-time Olympian that has yet to compete on the international stage this season, will also be in contention this weekend.

The athletes nominated to the World Single Distance Championships will also be pre-selected to compete in the ISU World Cup 5 in Hamar, Norway.

Additional information on these events, including schedules, list of participating skaters and links to results, can be found at: https://www.speedskating.ca/events/canadian-junior-long-track-championships-canada-cup-2.