Short Track Season Starts with Fall World Cup Selections Sept. 16-18

Top skaters competing at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal

MONTREAL – The speed skating season gets underway this weekend in Montreal as the Maurice-Richard Arena plays host to Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Selection for short track. The top 16 male and 15 female skaters will compete in the 500-metre, 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre races starting Friday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m., and wrapping up on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. with the relays.

The selections event will be used to identify the team for the first four World Cup competitions. The first World Cup event for the short track team is Friday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 23 in Salt Lake City, Utah, quickly followed by the second competition in Saguenay, Que., from Friday, Oct. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 30.

All 31 athletes will compete twice in each of the three distances. Friday will see the first 500-metre and 1,500-metre races. Saturday’s schedule will feature the 1,000 metres and 1,500 metres disciplines, and Sunday will showcase the 500-metre, 1,000-metre and relay races. The complete schedule is listed below. Follow the competition on SSC’s Twitter account,

The men’s group highlights seven of the eight 2011-12 national team members and seven of eight from the development unit. The women’s line-up has five of nine national team skaters and four of seven from the development squad.

The competitors’ field features past Olympic men’s and women’s team members, Olympic medalists and champions. Veteran skaters from the 2010 Winter Olympics include Marianne St. Gelais and Valérie Maltais, as well as Guillaume Bastille, Charles Hamelin, François Hamelin, Olivier Jean and François-Louis Tremblay.

2010 Vancouver 500-metre gold medal winner Charles Hamelin will be on hand to start his eighth season with the national team. Hamelin also placed second overall at the 2011 World Short Track Championship, taking silver in the 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre races and winning gold with the relay team. He also collected medals in five consecutive world championships from 2005 to 2009. Silver medalist at the 2006 Winter Olympics and bronze in 2010 in the 500 metres, François-Louis Tremblay joins the competitive field. Tremblay also won medals at the 2006, 2007 and 2010 world championships, as did teammates Olivier Jean in 2009 and François Hamelin in 2010.

On the women’s side, 2010 Olympic silver medalist in the 500-metre race Marianne St-Gelais leads a group of skaters of world championships medal winners. St. Gelais took bronze in the 500-metre at the 2010 World Championship, and gold (2009) and bronze (2008) at the world junior championships. Valérie Maltais also earned a bronze medal at the 2009 world juniors.

Admission is free for the three-day competition at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal.

Short Track Fall World Cup Selection Athletes

Women skaters (place of birth): #Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau (Loretteville, Que.); #Sabrina Bourgela (Montreal); #Kasandra Bradette (Roberval, Que.); #Andrea Do-Duc (Montreal); *Marie-Eve Drolet (Laterrière, Que.); *Jessica Hewitt (Langley, B.C.); *Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.); #Ann-Véronique Michaud (Amqui, Que.); Ana Pacanins (Caracas, Venezuela); Gillian Richmond (Sarnia, Ont.); Courtney Shmyr (Vancouver); *Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, Que.); Léa Thibault (Laval, Que.); *Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, Que.); *Gabrielle Waddell (Red Deer, Alta.)

Men skaters (place of birth): *Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.); *Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, Que.); #Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Fleurimont, Que.); #Gabriel Chiasson-Poirier (Laval, Que.); Charle Cournoyer (Longueuil, Que.); #Vincent Cournoyer (Longueuil, Que.); #Maxime Fortin (Rivière-du-loup, Que.); Allyn Gagnon; #Pier-Olivier Gagnon (Quebec); *Michael Gilday (Iqaluit, Nunavut); *Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, Que.); *Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.); *François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.); #Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, Alta.); #Alexandre St-Jean (Quebec); *François-Louis Tremblay (Alma, Que.)

*denotes on national team; #denotes on development team

Short Track Fall World Cup Selection Schedule

(times are approximate and subject to change)

Friday, Sept. 16

1 p.m.: Warm-up period for women and men

1:45 p.m.: Heats and finals for women’s and men’s 1500m

3 p.m.: Heats, semi-finals and finals for women’s and men’s 500m

Saturday, Sept. 17

1 p.m.: Warm-up period for women and men

1:45 p.m.: Heats, semi-finals and finals for women’s and men’s 1000m

3 p.m.: Heats and finals for women’s and men’s 1500m

Sunday, Sept. 18

9:30 a.m.: Warm-up period for women and men

10:15 a.m.: Heats, semi-finals and finals for women’s and men’s 500m

12:30 p.m.: Heats, semi-finals and finals for women’s and men’s 1000m

2:30 p.m.: Women’s 3000m relay, one race

2:45 p.m.: Men’s 5000m relay, one race

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