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McDougall, Fish & Howe Ready to take on the World!

Trio of Oval skaters selected to represent Canada at the 2017 ISU World Junior Long Track Championships February 17-19 in Helsinki, Finland; will be joined by Oval's Jeff Kitura & Marcel Lacroix
Calgary, AB – Speed Skating Canada introduced today the eight athletes who will represent the country at the ISU World Junior Long Track Championships, February 17-19, in Helsinki, Finland.  Among those selected are a trio of Olympic Oval Skaters: Calgary locals; Brooklyn McDougall and Connor Howe as well as Graeme Fish from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Fish recently set a new Canadian Junior Record in the 10k with a 13:35.23 at the Canadian National Single Distance Championships held at the Oval in January. 

The Canadian Team will feature Véronique Déry of Lévis (Les Chutes-de-la-Chaudière-Est - Saint-Jean-Chrysostome borough), QC, Béatrice Lamarche of Quebec City (Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge borough), QC, and Tyson Langelaar of Winnipeg, MB, who will all be taking part in their second consecutive World Junior Championships.

Fish, Howe and McDougall join Carolane Gingras of Quebec City (La Haute-Saint-Charles borough), QC and David La Rue of Saint-Lambert, QC, as the other Canadian representatives taking part in their first ever World Junior Championships.

Oval Coach Jeff Kitura and Muncef Ouardi will be the official Canadian team coaches. While Oval Associate Director of Sport Marcel Lacroix will be the Canadian Team Leader and mentor for two provincial developmental coaches: Tyler Derraugh (Manitoba) and Tim Comfort (Saskatchewan), who will attend the World Junior Championships thanks to funding grants from their respective provinces.

All of the skaters, except for Béatrice Lamarche, have been selected following their performances at the Canadian Long Track Junior Championships, which were held January 27-29 in Saskatoon, SK. They had to finish among the top four per gender in overall rankings, which included their best 500m and 1000m races in Saskatoon, as well as their results from the 1500m, women’s 3000m or men’s 5000m at that competition.

Lamarche, a bronze medalist in the 1500m and in the mass start at last year's World Junior Championships, wasn’t able to take part in the national competition in Saskatoon because she was ill, but her bye request was accepted and she was awarded the fourth and last spot available on the team.

At the World Junior Championships, all skaters will take part in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and mass start races, as well as in the women’s 3000m or men’s 5000m. Medals will be awarded for each distance and World Champions will be designated based on the overall ranking that will take into account the cumulative performances in each distance.

Canadian representatives for the team sprint and pursuit events will be announced during the competition.

David La Rue and Véronique Déry: 2017 Canadian Junior Champions
David La Rue and Véronique Déry have been crowned 2017 Canadian Junior Champions following their performances at the Canadian Junior Championships in Saskatoon.

On the men’s side, David La Rue won four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. A short track speed skater with the Centre régional canadien d'entraînement (CRCE) in Montreal, La Rue, 18, switched over to long track speed skating only a few days before Canada Cup #2, early last January.

“I’m very glad to be able to represent Canada at my first international competition,” said David La Rue. “It took me few days following the Canadian Junior Championships to realize that I was going to Finland. It was a great feeling!”

“It was among my goals to finish in the top four of the competition in Saskatoon and to earn a spot at the World Junior Championships. But I was surprised to win the Canadian Junior Champion title so quickly. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix told me even before I started long track that my chances were good at the World Junior Championships. But he also told me there were basically two spots that were not reachable: those that would go to Graeme Fish and Tyson Langelaar. I was still able to finish at the top of the ranking. It was a pleasant surprise for me.”

“My goals for Finland are pretty simple. I’ll try to continue to improve and will look to gain experience, race after race. I don’t know yet how I will compare at the international level, so I will race for myself and give it everything I have on the ice.”

On the women’s side, Véronique Déry won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze to be crowned Canadian Junior Champion title, therefore following in Béatrice Lamarche's footsteps.

“I’m very happy about my competition in Saskatoon,” said Véronique Déry. “To qualify again for the World Junior Championships was my main goal this season, so I’m satisfied. I wasn’t expecting to win the Canadian Junior Champion title. It gives me confidence for the World Junior Championships.”

“I’m happy that my bye request was granted because the World Championships was clearly the competition I was looking forward to the most since the start of the season, and I really wanted to be part of it,” said Béatrice Lamarche. “I’m really disappointed that I didn’t skate in Saskatoon. In Finland, for sure I would be happy to repeat or improve on my fifth place finish in overall rankings, but I can’t control what the other skaters will do. If I come up with races that I think are good, I will be satisfied with that.”

In the 2017 Canadian Junior Championships overall ranking, Carolane Gingras took second spot and Brooklyn McDougall was third. Gingras won the two 500m events and stood on the podium following both 1000m events. McDougall won one silver and two bronze medals.

On the men’s side, Tyson Langelaar finished second, Graeme Fish, third, and Connor Howe, fourth.

Langelaar won one gold and four silver medals in Saskatoon, Howe collected four bronze medals and Fish won the 5000m event. Back in January, Fish broke the 10,000m Canadian Junior Record.

Races at the ISU World Junior Long Track Championships will start Friday, February 17, with the 500m and 1500m events, followed on Saturday, February 18 by the 1000m, the women’s 3000m, the men’s 5000m and the team sprint events. The competition will end on Sunday, February 19, with the team pursuit and mass start events.

At last year's World Junior Championships in China, Canada won a total of 10 medals, as Ben Donnelly was crowned 2016 World Junior Champion and became the third Canadian to win that title in the history of the competition.

Members of the Canadian Team at the 2017 ISU World Junior Long Track Championships

WOMEN                                                               
-DÉRY, Véronique (Lévis, Les Chutes-de-la-Chaudière-Est - Saint-Jean-Chrysostome borough, QC)
-GINGRAS, Carolane (Québec, La Haute-Saint-Charles borough, QC)
-LAMARCHE, Béatrice (Québec, Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge borough, QC)
-MCDOUGALL, Brooklyn (Calgary, AB)

MEN
-FISH, Graeme (Moose Jaw, SK)
-HOWE, Connor (Calgary, AB)
-LANGELAAR, Tyson (Winnipeg, MB)
-LA RUE, David (Saint-Lambert, QC)

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at www.speedskating.ca.

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