U SPORTS International announced Friday its 122-member delegation for the 2017 Winter Universiade, set for Jan. 29 – Feb. 8 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The 122 Canadians includes 88 student-athletes and 34 mission and support staff in six sports – biathlon, cross country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboard, along with men’s and women’s teams in the U SPORTS championship offerings of hockey and curling.
“We’re excited to compete in Kazakhstan,” said chef de mission Ari Grossman. “The mission staff have been working with the Organizing Committee to make sure that we have a great experience for our student-athletes.
“From the competition venues to the athletes’ village, everything is ready for what will be an outstanding games in Almaty. We’re excited to get there and compete.”
At the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, Canada won five medals, including bronze in alpine skiing, short-track speed skating and men’s hockey, and a pair of silvers in women’s curling and women’s hockey.
Canada will begin competition in women’s hockey on Jan. 28 against China at 4:30 pm local time (5:30 am ET), while the men’s hockey team – made up of OUA players and staff as per the U SPORTS conference rotation – faces off Jan. 30 against USA at 7:30 pm local (8:30 am ET). Curling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing and snowboard will also begin on Jan. 30, with biathlon starting on Jan. 31.
Since the U SPORTS conference rotation began in 1997, Canada has reached the podium in men’s hockey all but once, winning a pair of gold and silver medals to go along with five bronze. In women’s hockey, the Canadians took home gold in each of the first three tournaments dating back to 2009, before winning silver in 2015. Canada has also been a force in curling at the Winter Universiade, capturing four medals in the women’s competition (one gold, three silver) and two medals in the men’s event (one gold, one bronze).
In snow sports, sisters Abby and Emma Van Groningen from the University of Guelph, along with Ryerson’s Jennifer Hawkrigg, are all members of the national alpine snowboarding development group.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Winter Universiade will be held on Jan. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) from the Almaty Arena, which also serves as the ice hockey venue.
Canadian fans can livestream the action from the 2017 Winter Universiade at liveFISU.TV.
For the full Almaty 2017 Canadian delegation listed by sport, click here