Team named for World Junior Long Track Championships

Canadian team named for World Junior Long Track Championships in Japan

CALGARY – Speed Skating Canada named today the five men and four women to represent Canada at the Essent ISU World Junior Championships (official website) at the Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi Oval in Obihiro, Japan, from March 2-4.

Eight of the nine skaters were selected from the Canadian Junior Long Track Championships held last weekend in Saskatoon. One from each of Manitoba and B.C., and two from Alberta join five Quebec athletes. There are two pairs of brothers from Lévis, Que., and another skater’s sister is on the national talent squad.

Skating for the men at the junior worlds are Quebecers Daniel Dubreuil, Laurent Dubreuil, Alexandre Déry, François Déry and Calgary’s Stefan Dilger. Mèryem Labidi from Quebec City, Kate Hanly of Calgary, Heather McLean of Winnipeg and Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., will represent the women.

Laurent Dubreuil, who did not compete in Saskatoon, was pre-selected after qualifying for and competing in his first World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Jan. 21 and 22. In his first World Cup race, he broke his own Canadian junior record in the 500 metres (34.78 seconds), winning the division B category. In his second 500 metres, The 19-year-old finished fourth in division A, breaking the Canadian junior record again (34.66) and setting a new world junior record. At the Canadian single distance championships in Calgary from Jan. 5-8, Dubreuil was sixth in the 1,000 metres (1:09.43) and fifth (1:48.28) in the 1,500 metres. He will be competing in this third world junior championship.

Hanly was the women’s 2012 Canadian junior all-round champion, taking the top spot with 174.375 points. The 18-year-old was first in each of her races: 500 metres (41.21 seconds); 1,000 metres (1:23.66); 1,500 metres (2:10.11); and, 3,000 metres (4:47.79). McLean, 19, was second with 181.324 points. Spence, 18, whose sister Tori competed at the World Cup in Heerenveen, was third with 181.326. Labidi, 18, was fourth with 181.706 points.

Déry, 19, was the best men’s junior skater at the championship, earning 166.435 points. He was first in the 3,000 metres (4:11.96) and 5,000 metres (7:15.89), as well as 10th (40.31) in the 500 metres and 15th in the 1,500 (2:01.63). François’ younger brother, 16-year-old Alexandre, was second with 167.820 points, followed by 17-year-old Daniel Dubreuil in third with 168.096 points. Dilger, 16, won the sprint title at the Canadian junior championships.

The world championships will include the following events:

Women’s single distances: 500 metres (2 races), 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres.

Men’s single distances: 500 metres (2 races), 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres.

Women’s all round combination: 500, 1,500, 1,000 and 3,000 metres.

Men’s all round combination: 500, 3,000, 1,500 and 5,000 metres.

Team pursuit race for women: 6 laps by national teams of 3 skaters each.

Team pursuit race for men: 8 laps by national teams of 3 skaters each.

Hanly, McLean, Spence and Dilger will be competing at this weekend’s ISU Junior World Cup in Calgary. Canada’s women’s squad is rounded out by Amélie Bergeron of Quebec City and Hillary Fast of Saskatoon. The balance of the junior men’s team at the World Cup includes Joakim Albert of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que., Philippe Bergeron of Ottawa, Jérôme Detuncq of Quebec City, Hewson Elliott of Brandon, Man., Cooper Hunter of Dewinton, Alta., Connor McConvey of Innisfil, Ont., Marc-André Michaud of Saint-Jean-Chrysostome, Que., and Pieter Stoffel of Saskatoon.

Junior skaters must have reached the age of 14, but not the age of 19 by July 1, 2011, as well as meeting ISU standard requirements for each distance.