NEWS: Long Track Season Starts with Fall World Cup Trials, Oct. 27-29

World and Olympic medallists to compete at Calgary’s Olympic Oval OTTAWA – The long track speed skating season gets underway this weekend at Calgary’s Olympic Oval as it plays host to Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Long Track Trials. More than 60 of Canada’s best long track speed skaters will be on hand for the first trials of the season, from Thursday, Oct. 27 through to Sunday, Oct. 29. The national long track trials offer a unique opportunity to speed skating fans in Calgary to see Olympic, world championship and World Cup champions Christine Nesbitt, Cindy Klassen and Shannon Rempel. The men’s draw includes also Olympic gold and world championship medallists Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison. Twenty-fine (25) women will be competing in the following distances: 500, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 metres. Four national team women and nine from the development team are eligible to compete in all five distances, but will focus on their specialties. The other women will be positioned in specific distances according to their ranking or International Skating Union (ISU) time. More than 35 men will face distances of 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 metres. Like the women, seven national team members and 12 from the development team are also eligible to compete in all five distances, but will focus on their specialties. Another 20-plus top ranked athletes have also qualified for select races. Starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, the national trials will feature the 1,000-metre distance. Friday, as of 1 p.m., will see the 1,500-metre races. The women’s 3,000-metre and men’s 5,000-metre will be highlighted noon on Saturday, starting at noon. Sunday’s competition will see the first 500-metre race at 10 a.m., followed at 1 p.m. by the 5,000-metre distances for women and 500- and 10,000-metre for men. The women’s and men’s mass start will be held Friday, Nov. 4. The trials will be used to identify the team for the first three World Cup competitions. The first World Cup event for the long track team is Friday, Nov. 18 to Sunday, Nov. 20 in Chelyabinsk, Russia, quickly followed by the second competition in Astana, Kazakhstan, from Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27. The third World Cup is again only a couple of the days later running from Friday, Dec. 2 to Sunday, Dec. 4 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. Based on last year’s World Single Distance Championships, the top five in an individual event or top three in the team pursuit, several athletes were identified for the fall World Cups. Nesbitt will compete in the 1,000- and 1,500-metre races and in the team pursuit. Joining Nesbitt in the team pursuit are Klassen and Brittany Schussler. Morrison will race in the 1,000 metres and Makowsky in the 1,500-metre. Giroux will join both in the men’s team pursuit. The men on the national team are Jamie Gregg of Edmonton, Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., Vincent Labrie of Quebec City, Lucas Makowsky of Regina, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., Muncef Ouardi of Charlesbourg, Que., and Philippe Riopel of Repentigny, Que. The women’s national team members include Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg. Calgary’s Olympic Oval will also welcome the Essent ISU World Sprint Championships from Jan. 28-29, the weekend following the fourth World Cup of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ticket and event information are available on their website - Essent ISU World Sprint Championships. Follow the competition on SSC’s Twitter account, Visit the Calgary Olympic Oval website and Twitter, @theOlympicOval, for additional information. You can download the National teams media guide (PDF) by clicking here. - end -