Best Canadian long track speed skaters in Calgary, January 3-6, for the National Single Distance Championships/Canada Cup #2

Calgary, December 31, 2015 – The best Canadian long track speed skaters will fight to grab a spot for the upcoming 2016 winter international competitions at the Canadian Single Distance Championships and Canada Cup #2, Sunday, January 3, to Wednesday, January 6, at Calgary Olympic Oval.

As many athletes aim to qualify for the last spots on the National Team for the next major international competitions, others, already pre-qualified for the World Cup #5 and the World Single Distance Championships based on their performances this fall, will look to finalized their preparation. A total of 140 athletes will take part in this competition.

At the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, to be held February 11-14 in Kolomna, Russia, Canada will have three representatives in the men’s and women’s 500m, two in the men’s and women’s 1500m, two in the mass start events, one in the women’s 1000m and three in the men’s 1000m, two in the women’s 3000m and in the women’s and men’s 5000m, and one in the men’s 10,000m. Canada will also have a team in the women’s and men’s team pursuit events.

By being the best Canadian(s) so far this season based on the ISU ranking, the following skaters are already pre-qualified in some distances: Alex Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, Heather McLean from Winnipeg, Marsha Hudey from White City, SK, and William Dutton from Humboldt, SK, in the 500m; Vincent de Haître from Cumberland, ON, in the 1000m and in the 1500m; Alexandre St-Jean from Quebec City in the 1000m; Ted-Jan Bloemen from Calgary in the 5000m and in the 10 000m; and Jordan Belchos from Toronto in the mass start. Ivanie Blondin from Ottawa is also already qualified in the 3000m, 5000m and mass start events.

Final events for each skater pre-qualified at the World Single Distances Championships are still to be determined.

First step: to qualify for the World Cup #5
The remaining spots will be allocated to the best Canadians at the World Cup #5 in Stavanger, Norway, except those already qualified. Athletes need to qualify at the Canadian Single Distance Championships to be able to have a shot at the World Cup #5. Including those pre-qualified, Canada will send up to five athletes for all men’s events. In the women’s competition, up to five athletes will be selected in the 500m and 1000m and four athletes will be send to Norway for the 1500m and 3000m events.

The other upcoming international competitions are the World Sprint Championships, February 27-28 in Seoul, South Korea, World All Round Championships, March 5-6 in Berlin, Germany, and the World Cups Final, March 11-13 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. This last competition is only for the best 12 skaters per event based on the ranking of the five first World Cups of the season.

Canada Cup competitions are a series of events where athletes can gain points for each distance towards season-ending rankings to proceed with national high performance program athletes’ selection and identification, and is a competition for senior and junior A, B, C2 athletes, this last category being for the skaters born between July 1st, 2000, and June 30, 2001

Denny Morrison to focus on next season
Four-time Olympic medalist Denny Morrison decided to not take part in the Canadian Single Distance Championships and, consequently, not in the upcoming international competitions for the remainder of the 2015-2016 season to continue his rehabilitation.

Morrison, crowned 2014-2015 World Cup Champion in the 1500m and who won a silver medal in this event at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, suffered multiple injuries following a motorcycle accident on May 7, 2015.

“I could very likely compete at trials and skate a decent time good enough to qualify for the World Cups for the remainder of the season”, said Denny Morrison. “However, doing so could further slow my overall recovery in the grand scheme of things. Now, I need to focus in regards to rehabilitation and training myself back to a competitive level. It's better for both the team and myself if I continue to sit out the remainder of this season, allowing another teammate to have that competitive experience which they may have missed had I chosen to utilize my wildcard spot based on last year's results only to race at a non-competitive level on the World Circuit.”

“I am hopeful of resuming an almost normal training season next spring and summer, which will have me better prepared to reach my race day potential.”

The new 10,000m World Record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen will also not take part in the Canadian Single Distance Championships as he is still recovering from a laceration to his leg which happened at the World Cup in Inzell, Germany, in the first week of December. Pre-qualified in the 5000m and 10,000m, the goal is to have him compete at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships.

More information, including full schedule and a link to the results, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website:
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897

Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 403-589-8960