Calgary, AB – The best short track speed skaters in the world will be back at Calgary's Olympic Oval next season, November 4-6, 2016, for the first International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup stage of the season. It will be the first of two international competitions to be held next season at the Olympic Oval, where the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships will also take place, February 25-26, 2017.
“Calgary is a great host for speed skating events and next season, we can look forward to two ISU events: an ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event in November 2016 and the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in February 2017, said new ISU President Jan Dijkema. During the pre-Olympic season, we can expect some great competitions and perhaps some new World Records on the fast ice of Calgary.”
“Calgary has a long tradition of excellence not only on the ice, but also in terms of organizing international competitions, and we are happy to once again welcome the top short track and long track athletes in the world to our country,” said Speed Skating Canada’s President Susan Auch. “I want to thank the Olympic Oval in Calgary as well as Organizing Committee Calgary; we are convinced that these competitions will impress spectators and will inspire the next generation of skaters.”
“Along with our partners at Speed Skating Canada, the Organizing Committee Calgary and the Organizing Committee of Short Track World Cup Calgary, we are ready to welcome the very best in the world to the Fastest Ice in the World, said Oval Director Yves Hamelin This city carries with it a proud legacy as an Olympic host and Calgarians have always embraced world class competition. We look forward to bringing these opportunities to them.”
The ISU World Cup Short Track will be the first ISU Short Track international event to take place in Calgary since the World Cup stage that was held at the Olympic Oval in October of 2012.
Fans of action-packed and eventful racing from the Calgary area will be able to potentially once again see in person performances by Canadian Olympic medalists Marianne St-Gelais and Charles Hamelin, the reigning world champions in the 1500m and 1000m distances respectively, their teammates on the national team, as well as the best skaters in the world who will all be kicking off the last season before the Olympic Games.
“It was here in Calgary that we beat the world record in the men's relay (6:30.958) the last time we were here in 2012, and the record has held up since then. So we are obviously looking forward to returning to this ice and to put our speed to the test, especially at the start of this pre-Olympic season, said four-time Olympic medalist Charles Hamelin. We're happy to give this opportunity to rediscover our sport to fans in Calgary, a place where we've been only once over the last ten years at least. We therefore hope the community from the Calgary area will come and support us in large numbers! ”
Canadian skaters Jamie MacDonald and Courtney Shmyr, who have trained at Calgary's Olympic Oval over the last few years, are also hoping to skate at that World Cup.
“After leaving British Columbia at the age of 16, it was here, at the Olympic Oval, that I was able to develop to my full potential, and I was therefore able to qualify for my first World Cup and win my first World Cup medal last season,” said Jamie MacDonald. “It is my greatest hope to get the opportunity to represent Canada at this World Cup stage in Calgary and to skate in front of all the people who supported me so well and continue to support me at the Olympic Oval!”
The final list of skaters picked on the Canadian team will be announced following the Fall World Cup Selections, set to take place September 23-25 in Montreal.
Tickets will be available at the start of September. In the meantime, people interested in being a volunteer at this event can now register online at www.oval.ucalgary.ca/volunteering.
World Sprint Championships: February 25-26, 2017
A few months later, the Olympic Oval will be the site of the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships, as the best long track speed skaters in the sprint events, the 500m and the 1000m, will be featured on February 25-26, 2017.
During this competition, skaters will take part in two 500m and two 1000m races, at the rate of one race per distance per day, and a champion will be crowned based on overall standings.
Canada did very well last season in the sprint events, as five members of the men's national team are among the top 13 skaters in the world in the 500m according to last spring's final World Cup standings: Gilmore Junio (3rd), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (5th), William Dutton (8th), Laurent Dubreuil (9th) and Alexandre St-Jean (13th). Boisvert-Lacroix also won the bronze medal in the 500m at the ISU World Single Distance Championships.
On the women's side, Heather McLean and Marsha Hudey respectively finished 6th and 15th in overall 500m standings.
The Canadian team that will take part in the World Sprint Championships will be announced following the Canadian Single Distance Championships, set to take place January 3-6 at Calgary's Olympic Oval.
“When Calgary gets to organize world championships, it's always exciting for the speed skating community because of the great reputation the Olympic Oval and the organizing committee have. And if you ask any member of our team, the excitement level is multiplied by ten,” said Gilmore Junio, who is from Calgary. “Each time our team has an opportunity to skate at home, in front of Canadian fans, it's an opportunity we cherish and we want to take advantage of it. Personally, Calgary being my city, I obviously feel a lot of pride when it comes to events that are held in Calgary, especially world championships. I definitely hope to be one of the skaters that will represent Canada at the World Sprint Championships.”
“As a volunteer organizing committee that has welcomed the world to Calgary since 1988, we are very proud to host the 2017 ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Calgary for the delight of our fans and home ice advantage for Canada’s athletes,” said Alice Humeny, Chair of Organizing Committee Calgary.
Tickets for the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships will be available this fall.
More information is available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.