Keri Morrison will be among the athletes vying for a spot on the 2015-16 National Team this weekend. PHOTO: Andy Young
It promises to be a wild weekend at the Oval as we play host to the Canadian Short Track Senior National Team Open Selections #2 on the north rink AND the Olympic Oval Grand Prix Winter Classic on the long track Oval ice.
CANADIAN SHORT TRACK SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM OPEN SELECTIONS #2
The North rink of the U of C Olympic Oval will welcome 68 short track speed skaters for Speed Skating Canada’s National Short Track Senior National Team Open Selection #2. The 37 male and 31 female athletes representing eight provinces, excluding national team members who are at the World Short Track Championships which will also be held in the same time in Moscow, will be vying for positions on the Canadian national team next season. This will be the final opportunity for these skaters to gather points towards their national rankings which are key in the selection process for next year's SSC National and National Development teams.
2010 Olympic medalist François Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, QC) will headline the list of athletes and will compete against many of the national team members who competed on Canada's 2014-2015 World Cup teams. This group includes William Preudhomme (Toronto, ON), who was a 500m bronze medalist at his first career World Cup in Shanghai last December, Yoan Gauthier (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) and Samuel Bélanger-Marceau (Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC). Defending Canadian junior champion and Calgarian Sasha Alexander Fathoullin will also comepte - he was the best Canadian at the last World Junior Championships in Osaka, Japan, with a 10th place position.
In the women’s side, national team members Courtney Shmyr (Langley, B.C.) and Keri Morrison (Burlington, ON) and development team member Jamie MacDonald (Ft.St.James, BC) who all train at the Olympic Oval, will try to take advantage of skating at home to finish in front of competitors such as co-National junior champion, Audrey Phaneuf (Boucherville, QC).
Shmyr, a native of Langley, BC is a true “Oval-grown” athlete who began her career with the Oval Program in 2009. She is coached by Oval Program coach Maggie Qi and last summer was named to Canada’s national development team. Shmyr competed on the world stage twice before at the 2011 and 2012 World Junior Championships before this fall where she was selected and competed in her first senior World Cup events in Salt Lake City and Montreal.
Morrison and MacDonald recently returned from the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain in February. Both skaters put forth solid performances with Morrison narrowly being edged out for third in the final of the Ladies 1500m. Macdonald was able to capture a bronze medal in the ladies relay.
Phaneuf also took part in her first career ISU World Cups this season, as did Namasthée Harris-Gauthier (Montréal, QC) and Joanie Gervais (Saguenay, QC), who will also be in the hunt for this competition.
Several of the Oval program short track skaters remain in the hunt this weekend, amoung them 14-15 Canadian Short Track development team member Jacob McKenzie (Calgary, AB), Keegan Christ (Regina, SK), Isabelle Carrier (Drummondville, QC) and Kiel Hillis (Calgary, AB).
Here are the approximative competition schedule (local time):
Thursday, March 12
10:10 am to 2:30 pm
Friday, March 13
9:40 am to 2 pm
Saturday, March 14
9:50 am to 2:10 pm
Sunday, March 15
9:20 am to 3:30 pm
More info, including the full schedule and results, are available on Speed Skating Canada’s Website: www.speedskating.ca.
OLYMPIC OVAL GRAND PRIX WINTER CLASSIC
The Calgary Oval Long Track will host the Olympic Oval Grand Prix Winter Classic this weekend. Starting Friday afternoon (5:00pm) with the 500m races this event will be headlined by Dutch Sprinter Ronald Mulder. Mulder is the 2014 Olympic Bronze medallist in the 500m and is also the current 500m mens Dutch record holder. He is the twin brother of Michel Mulder - the 2014 Olympic Champion in the 500m and 2013 & 2014 World Sprint Champion.
This is a single distance event with men’s and women’s races in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m and 5000m. This year’s competition will also feature several Canadian National and development team skaters including Vincent De Haitre, Alex Boivert-Lacroix, Alexandra Iansculescu and Lauren McGuire. Oval coached juniors - Ben Donnelly and Isabelle Weidemann will also compete - Donnelly is the reigning Canadian Junior Champion while Weidemann finished 4th in the 1500m at the recent World Junior Championships in Poland.
Long Track Live Results > http://liveresults.oval.ucalgary.ca/
Be sure to drop by the Oval to take in both of these competitions! Admission is complimentary!