Team Canada - Official 2018 Olympic Team Website

Team Canada opens speed skating World Cup season with team pursuit bronze

Isabelle Weidemann, of Canada, competes at the women's 5000 meter race of the speedskating single distance World Championships in Kolomna, Russia, on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Canada has its first medal of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating season.

The women’s team pursuit squad captured bronze at the opening stop in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann and Josie Morrison raced in the second heat and laid down a time of 3:00.65 to take the lead. That held up until the final pairing when Japan set a world record time of 2:55.77 to take the gold medal, while the Netherlands won silver in 2:59.06.

Unlike the Olympic competition, which is held in an elimination bracket format with head-to-head races, in World Cup team pursuit competitions each team races once against the clock.

RELATED: 2017-18 Team Canada Winter Preview: Long Track Speed Skating

Canada had just missed a medal in the men’s team pursuit immediately prior when the trio of Denny Morrison, Jordan Belchos and Ted-Jan Bloemen place fourth in a time of 3:43.48, finishing just over a second behind New Zealand for the last spot on the podium. South Korea claimed the gold ahead of Norway.

The World Cup continues through the weekend. Saturday features the 500m, 1500m, and mass start finals for both genders. Sunday’s races include the 1000m as well as the women’s 3000m and men’s 5000m.

Strong results are especially important through the first four World Cup stops of the season as they will go towards determining how many speed skaters Canada will send to PyeongChang 2018.