Oval coached athlete set to compete in first Senior World Cups of her career; Calgary's Sasha Fathouillin selected for Men's team.
Montreal, QC – Speed Skating Canada has announced the athletes who will represent the country at the first two ISU World Cup Short Track events of the 2015-2016 season, to be held in Montreal, October 30-November 1, and Toronto, November 6-8.
Canada will be represented by five Olympic medalists: Charles Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, Marianne St-Gelais from Saint-Félicien, QC, Valérie Maltais from Saguenay (La Baie borough), QC, François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, QC, and Charle Cournoyer from Boucherville, QC.
Joining these esteemed athletes will be Oval coached Jamie MacDonald, 20, from Fort St. James, B.C. MacDonald who will be making her World Cup debut after representing Canada at the last two Winter Universiade. MacDonald qualified with an impressive showing at the 2015 Fall World Cup Short Track Selections held September 18-20 in Montreal. Last season, MacDonald had a breakout year taking first place in the overall standings of Speed Skating Canada’s National Short Track Senior National Team Open Selection #2 in Calgary.
Canadian representatives at last year's World Championships, i.e. Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, QC, the best Canadian female skater in that competition with a seventh-place finish overall, as well as Kasandra Bradette from Saint-Félicien, QC, Samuel Girard from Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Patrick Duffy from Oakville, ON, will also be in action.
Audrey Phaneuf, a 19-year-old skater from Boucherville, QC will round out the Canadian women’s team.
Last year, Phaneuf won a silver medal in the 500m race at the World Junior Championships after finishing first overall (tie) at the Canadian Junior Championships. She also took part in the first three World Cups of her career. At the 2015 Fall World Cup Selections, she finished fourth overall while MacDonald took the sixth spot.
On the men’s side, 20-year-old skater Sasha Alexander Fathoullin, from Calgary, AB, will also be taking part in his first-ever World Cups. Fathoullin was crowned Canadian junior champion last season after he broke the National Junior record in the 500m distance in 2014.
Athletes qualified for a spot on the Canadian team following the Fall World Cup Short Track Selections held September 18-20 in Montreal. The first three highest-ranked skaters in adjusted overall standings automatically qualified. The other spots awarded were discretionary choices.
Patrick Duffy to skate at home in Toronto
On the women’s National Team, Marianne St-Gelais will be looking to pick up where she left off last season, when she won a total of 12 medals in six World Cups. She also won all six events held at the Fall World Cup Selections, a little over two weeks ago.
On the men’s side, four-time Olympic medalist Charles Hamelin will continue his long-term preparation for the 2018 Olympic Games after he qualified for a spot on the Canadian men's team thanks to three first-place results and two second-place finishes at the Fall World Cup Selections. Samuel Girard, who finished second overall behind Hamelin, will try to build on his results from the recent Montreal competition, where he won both 1000m races.
For Oakville's Patrick Duffy, the Toronto World Cup stop will be a great opportunity to compete in front of his family and friends.
"I'm very happy to be able to represent my country at home, in Toronto," said Patrick Duffy. "With a month to go, my general feeling is excitement. There will be family and longtime friends to support me as well as the Canadian team. I'm also hoping there will be a massive turnout of greater Toronto area skaters, including those from my local club in Oakville, who will be able to enjoy the experience of international racing close to home.”
"At the same time, when the moment comes, it'll be important not to be overwhelmed during the races, but rather try to focus and channel that pressure into positive energy. That being said, it doesn't mean I can't enjoy the experience and try, I hope, to put on a good show."
Amanda Overland: honorary president
Short Track Speed Skating Olympic medalist Amanda Overland from Cambridge, Ontario, will be the honorary president for the World Cup competition held in Toronto
Overland, who won a silver medal in the relay event at the 2006 Games in Torino, will represent the tradition of excellence built by numerous skaters from Ontario, including her brother Kevin (Overland) Crockett, a bronze medalist in the 500m event in long track at the 1998 Olympic Games and part of the long track National team coaching staff, and her sister Cindy Overland, also a long track Olympian in 1998 and 2002. Their father, Ernie, who coaches the sport, recently received the Andy Higgins Lifetime Achievement Award from the Coaches Association of Ontario.
Amanda Overland will also represent other well-known speed skaters from Ontario, such as Olympic medalist Christine Nesbitt from London, Kristina Groves from Ottawa, Cathy Preistner from Windsor, and men’s Short Track National Team coach Derrick Campbell from Cambridge. Overland and Campbell are Ontario’s sole short track Olympic medalists.
"Coming from a family of three Olympic speed skaters whose father has coached for 34 plus years in the sport, I take a tremendous amount of pride in being asked to be the honorary president for the second stop of the 2015-2016 season on the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup circuit. It is an incredible way to honour my family and my sport,” said Amanda Overland.
“As the athletes begin the second year of their four-year buildup to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, we can expect excellent performances from our Canadian athletes. We will all get the chance to experience firsthand excitement as world and Olympic champions go head to head."
Members of the Canadian National Team for the ISU Short Track World Cups #1 (Montreal) and #2 (Toronto):
-BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
-BRADETTE, Kasandra (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-MACDONALD, Jamie (Fort St. James, B.C.)
-MALTAIS, Valérie (La Baie, QC)
-PHANEUF, Audrey (Boucherville, QC)
-ST-GELAIS, Marianne (Saint-Félicien, QC)
-COURNOYER, Charle (Boucherville, QC)
-DUFFY, Patrick (Oakville, ON)
-FATHOULLIN, Sasha (Alexander) (Calgary, AB)
-GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
-HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
-HAMELIN, François (Sainte-Julie, QC)
More details are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.