Yamada, Pederson & Pelkey to Skate for Canada

Trio of Oval Short Trackers set to race in Europe.

Yamada and Pederson to skate in Holland then joined by Pelkey in Italy

By Ryan Ohashi

A lot of firsts came out of the 2018 Short Track Canadian Championships held in Montreal in late September, many with ties to the Oval program.  Former Oval program skater Jamie MacDonald brought home her first Canadian Championship title, Alison Desmarais scored her first Canadian Championship silver medal (500m (2)) and a trio of Oval skaters booked their first tickets to international competition in Europe.  Brendan Yamada and Matej Pederson will all make the trip over the Atlantic as part of the Canadian contingent attending the International Invitation Cup in Heerenveen, NED the weekend of October 13-14.  The following week they will be joined by Caitlin Pelkey as all three will compete in the 27th Alta Valtellina Trophy in Bormio, Italy Oct 19-21.

All three skaters qualified with their performances at the Short Track Canadian Championships as the top Next-Gen athletes in the competition.  Yamada and Pederson will be joined by fellow Canadians Nicolas Perreault and William Dandjinou in the Netherlands and will then team up with Philippe Daudelin and Jean-Sebastien Beaulne in Italy.  

Yamada is a Calgary native who had a breakout season in 2017-18. He took the overall title at the 2018 Short Track Canadian Jr. Selections #2, was named the 2018 Alberta Jr. Skater of the year and qualified for this team as the top Next-Gen male in the Canadian Championships.  This will mark the 18 year old’s first trip to a European competition, an experience he is looking forward to.

“It’s really exciting for me and I want to compete and take in as much as I can” said Yamada “I really can’t wait to get the chance to wear the maple leaf and represent Canada in Europe – it’s going to be an awesome feeling.”

Pederson and Pelkey both also hail from Calgary and are looking to make the most of their opportunities. The 16 year old Pederson, qualified with his 4th overall finish in the Next-Gen group at Canadian Championships.  In last season’s Short Track Jr. Selections #2 he placed 3rd overall. Pelkey, who just turned 17 in August, finished fifth in the 1000m of the Jr. Selections #2 last season and was 7th overall at WEC #3 in February.

“It’s going to be a great experience for all three athletes” said Oval Short Track High Performance Manager and Canadian Olympic medalist Jonathan Guilmette “You never forget the first time that you get to compete for your country on international soil, it is an opportunity that everyone works very hard for but few get the chance to experience first hand." adding with a smile "It's ironic that this competition in Bormio is actually the same place where I competed in my first international, back in 1994"

“I am really excited for the level of competition” said Pelkey “It’s going to be a chance for me to be able to skate against a lot of skaters I haven’t competed against before, I am looking forward to the challenge” 

The International Invitation Cup starts October 13th in Heerenveen while the race for the 27th Alta Valtellina Trophy starts in Bormio, Italy on Oct 19.  Be sure to follow along on the ISU website for results.