Last week, Speed Skating Canada introduced the athletes who have been named to the Long Track National Teams for 2016-2017.
The 34 skaters have been named in one of these three categories following their performances last season: the National Elite, National Senior and National Development pools.
The National Elite and Senior pools contain 19 selected senior athletes based on their performances at the 2016 World Single Distance, World Sprint or World Allround Championships and/or World Cup standings last season.
The Elite pool will be led by athletes who won medals at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships or finished in the top 10 in this competition, i.e. Ivanie Blondin (world champion in the Mass Start), Ted-Jan Bloemen (silver in the 10,000m), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (bronze in the 500m) and Jordan Belchos who won a bronze medal in the team pursuit with Bloemen and Ben Donnelly. This group also included Gilmore Junio, Laurent Dubreuil, William Dutton and Alexandre St-Jean who, with Boisvert-Lacroix, allowed Canada to have five athletes in the top 13 in the 500m World Cups final rankings.
Four-time Olympic medalist Denny Morrison, who is recovering from a cerebrovascular accident which happened April 23, is also appearing in the Elite pool.
“Following my cerebrovascular accident and several conversations with the medical team, I had an angiogram surgery June 21st to place two stents into the carotid artery in my neck in order to repair the damage in that area”, explained Denny Morrison. “I now have a plan to safely work back up to maximal effort training without disturbing the healing process of the stents in my carotid artery and I'm about halfway through that process. So far, I've mostly been riding my bicycle at a relaxed pace to keep myself in shape and to keep a smile on my face. I've also been on ice a couple of times although I can only complete about 1/10th of the program so far. One more reason I'm excited is that I will be able to increase my aerobic threshold next week.”
“I've also been on blood thinners since early June and will continue that prescription until late September, at which point I will move to a smaller dosage of blood thinners, which I may stay on for a year or more. I'm looking to have clearance to do maximal training efforts again late September.”
The Senior pool is comprised of athletes who finished in the top 11 to 25 in one or many events in the 2015-2016 ISU World Cup overall rankings.
The National Development pool includes younger athletes who took part in the 2016 World Junior Championships or were identified to the NextGen program by Speed Skating Canada, based on the Long Track Athlete Pathway, a model that Speed Skating Canada started implementing last year with its sport system partners, including Own the Podium and Sport Canada.
This 15-athlete Development Pool includes members of last year's Junior National Team, such as Ben Donnelly, Christopher Fiola, Tyson Langelaar and Béatrice Lamarche. While Donnelly was crowned 2016 World Junior Long Track Champion after collecting three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze, Fiola won three silver medals and Lamarche, two bronze medals.
Langelaar (Winnipeg, MB), as well as Lamarche and Noémie Fiset, both from Quebec City, QC, Graeme Fish (Moose Jaw, SK) and Maddison Pearman (Ponoka, AB) are part of the National team as a supported athlete for the first time.
Athletes in the Elite and Senior Pools will train at the National Centres at the Olympic Oval in Calgary or at the Gaétan Boucher Oval in Quebec City, while receiving specialized services as well as carding support from Sport Canada.
Those athletes designated to the Development pool will train at a National or Provincial center, while receiving specialized services. Some of these athletes have also qualified for additional funding through Sport Canada carding and/or Speed Skating Canada’s program funding.
Members of the 2016-2017 National Elite Pool
BELCHOS, Jordan (Markham, ON)
BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB)
BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON)
BOISVERT-LACROIX, Alex (Sherbrooke, QC)
De HAÎTRE, Vincent (Cumberland, ON)
DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon borough, QC)
DUTTON, William (Humboldt, SK)
HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK)
JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB)
McLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB)
MORRISON, Denny (Fort St. John, B.C.)
ST-JEAN, Alexandre (Quebec City, QC)
Members of the 2016-2017 National Senior Pool
CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK)
IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB)
JANSSENS, Alec (Chilliwack, B.C.)
JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC)
SPENCE, Josie (Kamloops, B.C.)
WAPLES, Stefan (Winnipeg, MB)
WATSON, Robert (Whitby, ON)
Members of the 2016-2017 National Development Pool
CLOUTHIER, Braden (Dawson Creek, B.C.)
DECKERT, Sam (Winnipeg, MB)
DONNELLY, Ben (Oshawa, ON)
DUBREUIL, Daniel (Lévis, Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon borough, QC)
FIOLA, Christopher (Montréal, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, QC)
FISET, Noémie (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough, QC)
FISH, Graeme (Moose Jaw, SK)
GRAHAM, Jacob (Dawson Creek, B.C.)
HENKELMAN, Jordan (Calgary, AB)
HUNTER, Cooper (De Winton, AB)
LAMARCHE, Béatrice (Quebec City, Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough, QC)
LANGELAAR, Tyson (Winnipeg, MB)
PEARMAN, Maddison (Ponoka, AB)
RUEL-GARVEY, Alex (Calgary, AB)
WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON)
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, City of Montreal, Calgary Olympic Oval and WinSport Canada.