Canadian Speed Skaters Gearing Up for World Cups & World Championships

Following the completion of the Canadian Single Distance Championships, Speed Skating Canada confirmed the selection of athletes to racing teams for the Continental Championships, World Sprint Championships and several of the winter stops on the long track speed skating World Cup Circuit.

Several athletes had been pre-selected for these events based on the strength of their performances at World Cups in the first half of the 2006-07 season while others qualified with their racing results from the 2006 Canadian Single Distances Championships held on December 28-31 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

The first international event of the long track speed skating winter season is the Continental Championships that will be held this weekend, January 13-14 at the Pettit National Ice Centre in Milwaukee, USA. On the women’s side, Christine Nesbitt and Kristina Groves were both pre-qualified and will be joined by Clara Hughes, Brittany Schussler, Tara Risling and Shannon Sibold. Arne Dankers was pre-selected for the men’s team, and Steven Elm, Justin Warsylewicz, Lucas Makowsky, Jay Morrison and Neal Zaluski make up the rest of the Canadian contingent.

The Continental Championships are a regional qualifying competition with athletes from Canada, the United States, Mexico and Oceania all vying for spots at the World All Round Championships in February. The North America / Oceania region has a total of 6 racing positions with a maximum of 4 per country eligible to qualify for this year’s World All Round Championships. Competing over four distances, Canadian skaters will need to finish in the top 6 overall to be guaranteed a ticket to race at the Worlds in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

The next international competition for Canadian Long Track Speed Skaters will be the World Sprint Championships in Hamar, Norway, on January 20 and 21. Cindy Klassen, Kristina Groves and Shannon Rempel will represent Canada as they finished first, second and third respectively in the sprint portion (500m and 1000m) of the Canadian Single Distances Championships. Mike Ireland, Denny Morrison and Brock Miron will represent Canada on the men’s side. At the World Sprints, the 500m and 1000m distances will each be raced two times over the course of two days to determine the fastest athletes on ice.

There are four remaining stops on the World Cup Circuit this winter and Canada confirmed the team for the first three in Heerenveen, the Netherlands (Sprint), Torino, Italy (Long Distance) and Erfurt, Germany (Long Distance)

Krisy Myers (Lloydminster, SK) - Heerenveen

Kim Weger (Regina, SK) - Heerenveen

Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) - Heerenveen, Turin

Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) - Heerenveen, Turin, Erfurt

Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) - Turin, Erfurt

Clara Hughes (Glen Sutton, QC - Turin, Erfurt

Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) - Turin, Erfurt

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) - Turin, Erfurt

Shannon Sibold (Calgary, AB) - Turin, Erfurt

Mike Ireland (Winnipeg, MB) - Heerenveen

Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC) - Heerenveen

Brock Miron (Cornwall, ON) - Heerenveen

Jeff Kitura (Langley, CB) - Heerenveen, Erfurt

François-Olivier Roberge (St-Nicolas, QC) - Heerenveen, Turin, Erfurt

Arne Dankers (Calgary, AB) - Turin

Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, CB) - Turin

Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) - Turin, Erfurt

Mark Jesney (Saskatoon, SK) - Turin, Erfurt

Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) - Turin, Erfurt

Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) - Turin, Erfurt

The final World Cup of the season will showcase the top athletes in the World racing in each of the 500m ,1000m ,1500m, 3000m for women and 5000m for men as well as the demonstration 100m event. This World Cup will take place at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on March 2-4. The selection process for the Canadian athletes is dependent upon performances and points accumulated throughout the duration of the World Cup circuit and participants will not be confirmed until late February.