Bursary Fund has supported over 100 athletes with over $160,000
By Ryan Ohashi
Calgary, AB - The Calgary Olympic Oval is very proud to announce the names of the 13 athletes awarded Olympic Oval Bursaries for the 2018-19 season. Congratulations go out to long track skaters; Max Brant (Niagra on the Lake, ON), Paul Coderre (Calgary, AB), Graeme Fish (Moose Jaw, SK), Sierra Johnson (Oakville, ON), Matt Laxton (Hespeler, ON), Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, BC), Jake Weidemann (Ottawa, ON) and Taylor White (Cambridge, ON). On the short track, congratulations to: Roger Fulton (Fredericton, NB), Caitlyn Pelkey (Calgary, AB), Matej Pederson (Calgary, AB), Hee Won Son (Calgary, AB) and Brendan Yamada (Calgary, AB).
Many of these young athletes starred at the recent 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer where Olympic Oval skaters totaled 18 medals in the long and short track events. >OVAL CWG PAGE
On the long track Matt Laxton led the way with a three medal performance capturing silver in the Mass Start and bronze in the 1500m and Team Pursuit events. Laxton was joined on the podium in the Team Pursuit by his Team Ontario teammate and fellow bursary recipient Max Brant. Paul Coderre scored a gold medal in the Team Pursuit as part of Team Alberta’s Canada Winter Games record skate.
Four of the short track recipients of the Oval Bursary skated to medals at the CWG led by Hee Won Son who took gold in the 500m and a silver in the Relay alongside another bursary recipient; Caitlyn Pelkey. Brendan Yamada (500m) and Matej Pederson (1500m) both scored individual bronze medals before helping Team Alberta score another silver in the Men’s Relay.
All four of these skaters also saw international competition this season with Yamada and Pederson first making the trip over the Atlantic as part of Speed Skating Canada attending the International Invitation Cup in Heerenveen, NED. The following week they were joined by Pelkey as all three competed in the 27th Alta Valtellina Trophy in Bormio, Italy.
Son and Pederson would then go on to finish second and third overall respectively at the Canadian Jr. Short Track Championships to earn their spots for the 2019 World Jr. Championships in Montreal.
Long trackers and Oval program alumni Graeme Fish, Abi McCluskey and Jake Weidemann trained at the Oval as members of the Canadian National Development team.
Since its inception in 2005, the Oval Athlete Bursary Fund has supported dozens of athletes who consistently demonstrate a high-performance mentality, have a long-term commitment to speed skating and train full-time at the Calgary Olympic Oval.
“On behalf of the Olympic Oval and our athletes I would like to thank all of our sponsors, like Nick’s Steakhouse for helping to continue the bursary program.” said Oval Director Yves Hamelin “Their support as well as the efforts of the bursary committee, led by Catriona Le May Doan, helps us to aid these deserving athletes as they push towards their personal best.”
The Oval Bursary fund was created by Olympic Oval Liaison Catriona Le May Doan to help alleviate some of the financial strains put on Canadian high performance athletes. The fund supports deserving locally trained athletes in a variety of ways – helping to pay for competition travel, training, equipment, clothes, rent and food.
Since its inception in 2005, the Oval Bursary Fund has supported over 100 athletes with over $160,000 in support of their quest for excellence in the sports of speed skating, cycling and female hockey.
Other notable past recipients of Oval bursaries include current and former Canadian National team long and short track athletes, such as short track National team skater Alison Desmarais, 2018 Olympians Ben Donnelly, Heather McLean, Josie Morrison, Keri Morrison and Isabelle Weidemann, Olympic medalist Marie Eve Drolet and 3-time Olympian Brittany Schussler.
2018-19 Oval Bursary Recipients
Max Brant (Niagra on the Lake, ON)
Paul Coderre (Calgary, AB)
Graeme Fish (Moose Jaw, SK)
Sierra Johnson (Oakville, ON)
Matt Laxton (Hespeler, ON)
Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, BC)
Jake Weidemann (Ottawa, ON)
Taylor White (Cambridge, ON)
Roger Fulton (Fredericton, NB)
Caitlyn Pelkey (Calgary, AB)
Matej Pederson (Calgary, AB)
Hee Won Son (Calgary, AB)
Brendan Yamada (Calgary, AB)