CALGARY, ALBERTA – Canada will be well represented on the ISU World Championship stage in 2019, with a combined seventeen skaters slated to participate at either the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany, World Sprint Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands or World Allround in Calgary, Alberta.
These skaters earned the right to participate at the World Championships based primarily on this season’s World Cup rankings. For the World Single Distance Championships, a few of the quota spots were reserved for the winners of the national team skate-off, which took place in Calgary from January 4-6.
Five athletes will be making their World Championship debut in the coming months, including recent short track convert Valérie Maltais and reigning Canadian junior champion Connor Howe. They will be joined by a handful of more experienced skaters such as Olympic champion Ted-Jan Bloemen, three-time World Championship medalist Ivanie Blondin and this season’s top ranked long-distance Isabelle Weidemann.
Seventeen Canadians will travel to Germany for World Single Distance Championships
A total of seventeen Canadian long track skaters – including six that will make their debut – will compete at the 2019 ISU World Single Distance Championships from February 7-10 in Inzell, Germany.
On the women’s side, Valérie Maltais will make her long track World Championship debut, joining teammates Ivanie Blondin, Marsha Hudey, Kaylin Irvine, Heather McLean and Isabelle Weidemann.
Blondin of Ottawa, Ont. will compete in a team leading four distances (1500m, 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start). Joining her in those distances will be Maltais of Saguenay, Que. (1500m, 3000m, Mass Start) and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont. (3000m, 5000m)
McLean of Winnipeg, Man. is the lone 1000m participant. She will also skate the 500m, alongside teammates Hudey of White City, Sask. and Irvine of Calgary, Alta.
Meanwhile, five male skaters will participate in the first World Championships of their respective careers, a list that includes Graeme Fish, Christopher Fiola, Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu, Connor Howe and Jess Neufeld. They will be joined by veterans Jordan Belchos, Ted-Jan Bloemen, Laurent Dubreuil and Gilmore Junio.
Howe of Canmore, Alta., who was crowned Canadian junior champion earlier this month, will skate the 1500m alongside Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., who will also skate the 1000m. Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. will join him in the 1000m and will also participate in the 500m with Junio of Calgary, Alta. and Fiola of Montreal, Que.
In the long-distance races, Fish of Moose Jaw, Sask. will skate in both the 5000m and 10,000m, while teammates Belchos of Toronto, Ont. and Bloemen of Calgary, Atla. will take part in the 5000m.
Neufeld of Winnipeg, Man. will be Canada’s lone representative in the men’s mass start.
All of the athletes selected for the World Single Distance Championship, with the exception of Neufeld whose mass start discipline will not be contested, will also participate at the final World Cup of the season the weekend before in Hamar, Norway.
Kali Christ of Regina, Sask. and Tyson Langelaar of Winnipeg, Man. will also compete at the World Cup. The pair currently occupy reserve spots for the World Single Distance Championship and may get the opportunity to participate, pending the number of entries from other countries.
Dubreuil and McLean lead Canadian speedsters at World Sprint Championships in Heerenveen
Veteran skaters Laurent Dubreuil, Heather McLean and Kaylin Irvine, along with youngster Christopher Fiola, have all qualified for the 2019 ISU World Sprint Championships, which will take place in Heerenveen, Netherlands from February 23-24.
The competition will see skaters racing one 500m and one 1000m each day. The times for those races are then converted to points and used to rank the skaters and crown a World Sprint Champion.
Dubreuil, who has competed at the event six times before, is currently the top ranked Canadian on the World Cup circuit in both the 500m (12) and 1000m (17). The native of Lévis, Que. is coming off a rather impressive performance at the national team skate-off in Calgary, where he was the top skater in both distances and posted the world’s seventh fastest 500m time at 34:11.
Joining him on the men’s side will be Montreal’s Fiola, who earned a pair of third-place finishes in the skate-off and will be making his first appearance at the event.
McLean of Winnipeg, Man. won both the ladies 500m and 1000m at the skate-off to claim a spot at the international event for the fifth time in her career, while second-place finisher Irvine of Calgary, Alta. will make the trip overseas for the second time, having last participated in 2011.
Maltais and Weidemann to make World Allround Championships debut in Calgary
Six of Canada’s top all-around long track skaters, including a three-time short track Olympian, will have the opportunity to compete for a World Championship title on home ice at the Olympic Oval in Calgary during the 2019 ISU World Allround Championships from March 2-3.
The event sees all skaters compete in four distances (500m, 1500m, 3000m/5000m, 5000m/10,000m), with the combined points leader after those races being crowned the best allround speed skater in the world.
Leading the charge for Canada are veterans Ivanie Blondin, Ted-Jan Bloemen and Jordan Belchos. They will be joined by Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu, Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais.
It will be the first appearance at the World Allround Championships for both Maltais of Saguenay, Que. and Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont.
Maltais, who converted from short track only six months ago, continues to make impressive strides on the oval. She posted the fastest time in the 1500m and second-place result in the 3000m at the national team skate-off. Meanwhile, Weidemann is currently the top ranked long-distance skater on the World Cup circuit, having captured gold and silver in the 3000m and silver in the 5000m so far this season.
Veteran skaters Bloemen of Calgary, Alta. and Blondin of Ottawa, Ont. will make their team leading eighth and sixth appearances at the competition, respectively. Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que. made his first appearance at the event last season, while his teammate Belchos of Toronto, Ont. has participated twice before.
- BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON)
- CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK)
- HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK)
- IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB)
- MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC)
- MCLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB)
- WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON)
- BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON)
- BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB)
- DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC)
- FIOLA, Christopher (Montreal, QC)
- FISH, Graeme (Moose Jaw, SK)
- HOWE, Connor (Canmore, AB)
- GÉLINAS-BEAULIEU, Antoine (Sherbrooke, QC)
- JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB)
- LANGELAAR, Tyson (Winnipeg, MB)
- NEUFELD, Jess (Winnipeg, MB)