Updated: Wednesday, October 29
Clues as to who will form Canada’s next generation of long track stars emerged in Calgary during October’s World Cup team selections.
Three days after the competition, Speed Skating Canada released their list of eight women and 12 men for the first four World Cups of the season. Four-time Olympic medallist Denny Morrison is the clear veteran on the men’s team. Ivanie Blondin (listed with four races), and Kali Christ lead the women’s roster.
“I’m really excited for the buildup towards the 2018 Olympics for our young speed skating team,” said Morrison in a release.
Four other Sochi 2014 Olympians also made the team: Vincent De Haître, William Dutton, Marsha Hudey and Gilmore Junio. Three Canadians will attend their first World Cup when the season begins in Obihiro, Japan next month. They are Toronto’s Alexandra Ianculescu, Calgary’s Kate Hanly and Whitby, Ontario’s Robert Watson. Other notables: Former Dutch skater Ted-Jan Bloemen is on the team. Two-time Olympian Jamie Gregg is not on the list.
See the full team list below
Here’s how it went in Calgary
In Calgary, upstart 20-year-old Vincent De Haître and 22-year-old Kali Christ each doubled up to win both the 1000m and 1500m races, events previously dominated by multiple Olympic medallists Denny Morrison and Christine Nesbitt. In fact, almost all event winners in Calgary were Olympic rookies in Sochi or had just missed the Olympic team.
A native of Cumberland, Ontario, De Haître kept up his bid for a mainstay spot on the men’s national team after surprising to make the Sochi team. On Sunday, his 1:07.71 in the 1000m edged Olympic silver medallist Morrison’s 1:07.98, more proof De Haître will be part of Canada’s future. A dual-sport athlete, De Haître spent the summer riding hard in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games where he competed in track cycling.
In the women’s 1000m, Christ skated a 1:16.21 earning her second win of the weekend and edging Ivanie Blondin by three one-hundredths of a second. Both made their Olympic debuts in Sochi. The two switched podium spots for the women’s mass start, with 24-year-old Blondin taking the proposed Olympic speed skating event in addition to her 3000m and 5000m victories.
Canada also has new blood in the men’s distance events. On Saturday, Ted-Jan Bloemen broke the Canadian record in the 10,000m with a 13:07.38, knocking 3.2 seconds off Arne Dankers‘ previous mark from 2005. Bloemen, who also won the 5000m with a personal best 6:15.75, is Dutch-born and literally picked up his Canadian passport days before his record-breaking 10,000m skate. The 28-year-old moved to Calgary in June and pending ISU approval could compete for his father’s birth country when the World Cup season begins next month.
The season after an Olympic year always includes national team shuffling, with different names able to step up. Laurent Dubreuil who turned 22 this July, missed qualifying for Sochi by five one-hundredths of a second, but this weekend won the 500m ahead of Gilmore Junio and Jamie Gregg. Sochi rookie Marsha Hudey took the women’s sprint race. Whitby, Ontario’s Rob Watson won the men’s mass start.
#TeamCanada for the first four 2014-15 ISU World Cup Speed Skating events
Jordan Belchos (Markham, ON): 5000m, 10,000m
Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, AB): 5000m, 10,000m
Vincent De Haître (Cumberland, ON): 500m, 1000m, 1500m
Tyler Derraugh (Winnipeg, MB): 1000m, 1500m
Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis – Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC): 500m
William Dutton (Humboldt, SK): 500m
Alec Janssens (Chilliwack, B.C.): 1500m
Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB): 500m
Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON): 1000m
Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.): 1000m, 1500m
Stefan Waples (Winnipeg, MB): 5000m, 10,000m
Robert Watson (Whitby, ON): Mass start
Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON): 1000m, 3000m, 5000m, Mass start
Kali Christ (Regina, SK): 1000m, 1500m, Mass start
Kate Hanly (Calgary, AB): 1500m
Marsha Hudey (White City, SK.): 500m
Alexandra Ianculescu (Toronto, ON): 500m, 1000m
Lauren McGuire (Ottawa, ON): 3000m
Heather McLean (Winnipeg, MB): 500m, 1000m
Josie Spence (Kamloops, B.C.): 1500m, 5000m