Lintao Zhang, THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hugh Carey, Stephen Fisher/WCF
Lintao Zhang, THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hugh Carey, Stephen Fisher/WCF

5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: February 16-18

There’s plenty of Team Canada action to watch this weekend, with much of it taking place at home in Canada, specifically Calgary! The city is hosting the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships, a FIS Freeski World Cup for halfpipe, and one of the biggest events on the curling calendar, the Tournament of Hearts, all in one weekend.

Beyond Calgary, Canadians continue to swim for medals at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar and Team Canada’s short trackers take on their last ISU World Cup of the season in Gdansk, Poland.

Here’s what you don’t want to miss:


The swimming events at the World Aquatics Championships continue until Sunday in Doha, Qatar, and Canadians hope to take advantage of the last few days of competition to shine.

After winning her fifth career long course world championship medal on Monday when she took silver in the women’s 200m individual medley, Sydney Pickrem will swim in the 200m breaststroke final on Friday, an event in which she won gold at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

On Friday, women’s 50m and 100m backstroke bronze medallist Ingrid Wilm will swim the heats of the 200m backstroke, while Finlay Knox, who was crowned world champion in the men’s 200m IM on Thursday, will be back in the pool for the start of the 100m butterfly.

Katerine Savard, a member of the women’s 4×100m freestyle relay that won bronze in the early days of the meet, will take part in the 50m butterfly (an event that is not on the Olympic program). The semifinals of these events will take place in the evening, with the finals the following day. Also on Friday, Ella Cosgrove will swim in the heats for the 800m freestyle, with the final taking place the following day.

On Saturday, Javier Acevedo will swim the men’s 50m backstroke and Sophie Angus the women’s 50m breaststroke, both non-Olympic events, while Sarah Fournier will take part in the women’s 50m freestyle. The semifinals of these events will take place on Saturday evening and the finals on Sunday.

Ella Jansen and Tessa Cieplucha will be taking part in the women’s 400m IM heats on Sunday morning, in the hope of reaching the final that evening.

The men’s 4×200m freestyle relay will be contested on Friday and the mixed 4×100m freestyle relay on Saturday. The worlds will conclude with the men’s and women’s 4x100m medley relays on Sunday.

Long Track Speed Skating

For the first time in more than 25 years, Calgary is hosting the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships. The best long track speed skaters in the world will gather at the Olympic Oval, a legacy venue from the 1988 Winter Games.

The home team is deep with talent and will be looking to put on a show for the Calgary crowd. Nineteen Canadians will test themselves against the world across 12 individual events and four team events. Team Canada is comprised of seasoned veterans such as Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann, Valérie Maltais, Laurent Dubreuil and Ted-Jan Bloemen but also world championship first-timers Alison Desmarais, Anders Johnson, Yankun Zhao and Jake Weidemann.

Team Canada snagged seven medals at last year’s World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands. In the six World Cup stops this season, Canadian speed skaters stepped on the podium 23 times, winning five gold, 11 silver, and seven bronze medals.

Among the most consistent performers were Maltais and Blondin, who finished 1-2 in the mass start World Cup standings. Bloemen (5000m/10,000m) and Dubreuil (500m) finished second overall in the rankings of their primary events. Team Canada was also the runner-up in the women’s team pursuit standings.

After getting underway on Thursday, racing will continue on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. General admission tickets are still available.

Short Track Speed Skating

The final ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup of the season takes place in Gdansk, Poland. The Canadian team will be looking to build on its six medals from last weekend in Dresden.

On the men’s side, a number of skaters could be on the podium in this season’s overall rankings — and even win a Crystal Globe. Steven Dubois and William Dandjinou sit second and third, respectively, in the men’s general classification for all events. Unfortunately, Dandjinou will be unable to compete in the season finale after sustaining an injury.

Dandjinou currently leads the 1500m rankings, having won three gold medals as well as a silver and a bronze in this event. Jordan Pierre-Gilles leads the 500m rankings, having now won three gold medals and one silver in the distance. Dubois is second in the 1000m rankings after winning a medal of each colour.

Winner of a gold and a silver last weekend, Félix Roussel will also be looking to add to his collection. Pascal Dion, Maxime Laoun, and Philippe Daudelin round out the men’s squad.

Kim Boutin, Danaé Blais, Courtney Sarault, Claudia Gagnon, Renee Steenge and Rikki Doak will take part in the women’s events. Silver medallists last weekend, Canada is second in the season rankings in the women’s 3000m relay, while in the men’s 5000m relay, the Canadians are ranked third.

The qualifying rounds for all events will take place on Friday. On Saturday, the women’s and men’s 500m and 1500m finals, as well as the mixed relay, will be held. On Sunday, the men’s and women’s 1000m and another set of 500m races are on the program, as are the men’s and women’s relays.

Freestyle Skiing – Halfpipe

The FIS Freeski Halfpipe World Cup circuit concludes this weekend with the Snow Rodeo at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park.

Team Canada will be headlined by Olympian Amy Fraser, who is having a strong season. She earned her first career World Cup win at Mammoth Mountain, California earlier this month. She also snagged a third place finish in December at Secret Garden and sits second in the overall World Cup halfpipe standings.

On the men’s side, 21-year-old Andrew Longino is an athlete on the rise. A gold medallist at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, he placed in the top 10 at the first three World Cup stops of the season.

There are two events for each gender this weekend. The first finals are on Thursday night. Then there is qualification Friday for another set of finals on Saturday.


The Tournament of Hearts, the annual national championship for women’s curling, begins Friday in Calgary.

Jennifer Jones, who made headlines earlier this week by announcing that she will be retiring from women’s curling at the end of the season, will be playing in her 18th and final Tournament of Hearts. She sits second on the all-time games played list at the Canadian women’s championship.

Representing Manitoba, Jones would like to go out with a seventh title. She is tied with Colleen Jones for the most Tournament of Hearts victories by a skip. One of the teams trying to stand in her way is Team Kerri Einarson, who are seeking a record-setting fifth consecutive title.

The 18-team field includes the current Team Canada, 13 provincial/territorial champions, and four teams that qualified based on ranking. Divided into two pools, they will play an eight-game round robin within their pool before the top three teams from each move onto the playoffs. The tournament will conclude next weekend.