The first stage will be held Nov. 11-13 in Harbin, China
Calgary, AB – Canada will be represented by a contingent of 20 skaters at the first two ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stages that will kick off the new 2016-2017 international season, November 11-13 in Harbin, China, and November 18-20 in Nagano, Japan.
The eight women and 12 men on the Canadian team will be led by three individual medalists at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships: Ted-Jan Bloemen from Calgary, AB, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC.
The start of the 2016-17 season will also feature the return of four-time Olympic medalist Denny Morrison, from Fort St. John, B.C., at the international level. Morrison was in a motorcycle accident in 2015 and suffered a stroke last April.
Taking part in his first sanctioned competition in 18 months at the Fall World Cup Long Track Selections held at Calgary's Olympic Oval, Morrison took second spot in the 1500m and fourth place in the 1000m. He will skate in both events at the World Cups.
The 20 skaters who have been named to the team are listed below.
Canadian sprinters to watch
In Harbin and Nagano, skaters will take part in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, mass start and team pursuit events. The team sprint event is also scheduled at the Nagano stage.
Canada will be a podium threat in particular in the men's 500m, as five Canadian skaters were among the top 13 in World Cup overall rankings last season.
For the first two stages of the season, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, the bronze medalist at last season's World Single Distance Championships who was fifth in 2015-2016 World Cup overall rankings in the 500m, Gilmore Junio (3rd) from Calgary, AB, William Dutton (8th) from Humboldt, SK, and Laurent Dubreuil (9th) from Lévis, QC, will represent Canada along with Christopher Fiola of Montreal, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, QC. Fiola will be making his World Cup debut.
On consecutive days last week in Calgary, Boisvert-Lacroix and Junio registered the fastest times in the world so far this season in the 500m distance.
On the women’s side, Heather McLean from Winnipeg, MB, will also be a skater to watch. She won her first three career medals on the World Cup circuit last season.
McLean, who was sixth in World Cup overall rankings last season, wasn’t able to compete at the Fall World Cup Selections due to a viral sinus infection and earned a bye.
In the 1000m, Vincent de Haître from Cumberland, ON, will also be a skater to watch. On Sunday, October 23 in Calgary, he clocked the fastest time in the world so far this season in that distance.
Aside from Fiola, who will be taking part in the 500m, another Canadian team member making her World Cup debut will be Béatrice Lamarche of Quebec City, QC, who will skate in the mass start event. Fiola and Lamarche both earned podium finishes at last season's World Junior Long Track Championships.
Athletes prequalified for these World Cups by finishing among the top-5 at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, or qualified at the Fall World Cup Selections by meeting time standards, conditional to quota spots Canada has for each event at the World Cups.
At the start of this new season, Canadian Team members will be looking to polish their preparation before the Olympic year while aiming to improve their performances from last winter. Over the 2015-2016 season, the Long Track National Team won a total of 30 medals in World Cups, a team high since 2008-2009. When including the four medals won at last season's World Single Distance Championships and the 10 podium results earned at the World Junior Championships, that total increases to 44 medals, the team's highest medal haul over a season since 2008-2009.
Members of the Canadian national team for ISU World Cups Long Track #1 in Harbin, China, et #2 in Nagano, Japan
-BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON) – 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, Mass Start
-FISET, Noémie (Quebec City, QC) – 500m
-HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK) – 500m, 1000m
-IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m
-LAMARCHE, Béatrice (Quebec City, QC) – Mass Start
-McLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m, 1000m
-TUTT, Brianne (Airdrie, AB) – 1500m
-WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m, 3000m
-BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON) – 5000m, Mass Start
-BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB) – 1500m, 5000m
-BOISVERT-LACROIX, Alex (Sherbrooke, QC) – 500m
-De HAÎTRE, Vincent (Cumberland, ON) – 1000m, 1500m
-DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC) – 500m, 1000m
-DUTTON, William (Humboldt, SK) – 500m
-FIOLA, Christopher (Montréal, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, QC) – 500m
-JEAN, Olivier (Lachenaie, QC) – Mass Start
-JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m
-MACLENNAN, Richard (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) – 1500m
-MORRISON, Denny (Fort St. John, B.C.) – 1000m, 1500m
-ST-JEAN, Alexandre (Quebec City, QC) – 1000m
More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at www.speedskating.ca.