Speed Skating Canada names Fall World Cup Teams

Following the Fall World Cup Selections held in Calgary a little over a week ago, Speed Skating Canada (SSC) has selected the athletes that will represent Canada at the four stops of the Short Track World Cup Circuit this Fall.

In order to qualify, athletes had to earn a maximum of points at the Fall World Cup Selection. The top three men and women when taking into consideration their two top distances at the event were automatically selected on the team. As a result, Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, QC), Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC), Marie-Ève Drolet (Laterrière, QC), Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC), Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT) and Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC) were offered a spot to skate in all four World Cups.

Jean declined his place for the two first stops, in Montreal (October 22-24) and Québec (October 29-31) as he will participate in the Fall World Cup Selections in long track speed skating, taking place the same weekend. Similarly, St-Gelais and Maltais declined taking part in World Cups 3 and 4 because of their training schedule. SSC’s High Performance Short Track Committee then met to finalize the teams.

“We are confident that athletes who have been selected to represent Canada this Fall are ready for the next steps on the international stage”, explained Yves Hamelin, Short Track Program Director with SSC. “With this being a post-Olympic year, we are just embarking in a new Olympic cycle and one of our objectives in making the discretionary selections was to give international exposure to athletes who have been targeted for 2014.”

With that in mind, 2010 Olympians François-Louis Tremblay (Boucherville, QC), Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) and François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) will be racing in both Montreal and Québec, thanks to strong performances at the selections, but they will not be part of the team heading out to Asia in December, in order to allow younger athletes to gain valuable experience on the World Cup circuit. Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC) will complete the team taking part in the Montreal World Cup, while Maxime Fortin (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) will race in Québec City. Of that team, only Charles Hamelin, Gilday and Beaulieu will head to Asia, where they will be joined by Jean and sprinters Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, AB) and Dustin Miller (Kitchener, ON).

On the women side, Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC), Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montreal, QC) and Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC) will join St-Gelais, Maltais and Drolet for the first two stops of the World Cup. St-Gelais and Maltais will then stay home to train in preparation for the Canadian Open Championships in January, where athletes will have a chance to qualify for the World Championships. Only Drolet and Mendes-Campeau will head out to Asia, where they will compete alongside Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB), who had to sit out the selections due to a concussion suffered in training earlier this summer and was granted a bye for the Asian World Cups. Andréa Do-Duc (Montréal, QC), Gabrielle Waddell (Red Deer, AB) and Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC) will join them in the adventure.

Athletes are currently training in their respective training centre in Montreal and Calgary. They are preparing to face the world at the Maurice-Richard Arena on October 22-24. From there, the Canadian team will head to Québec City for the next stop of the circuit, at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse, October 28-31.