Florence Brunelle (Que) skates in the 1500m during the SSC Canadian Junior Short Track Championships at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta on November 29, 2019. (Photo: Dave Holland/CSI Calgary Photos).

Speed Skating Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee are proud to announce the short track skaters nominated to represent Canada at the upcoming 2020 ISU World Junior Short Track Championships in Bormio, Italy and the Youth Olympic Winter Games Lausanne 2020 in Switzerland.

The Canadian team competing at the ISU World Junior Championships from January 31 to February 2 is comprised of Mégan Boudrias (Repentigny, Que.), Florence Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, Que.), Léa Chamberland-Dostie (Trois-Rivières, Que.), Claudia Heeney (Waterloo, Ont.), William Dandjinou (Verdun, Que.), Matej Pederson (Calgary, Alta.), Philippe Daudelin (Trois-Rivières, Que.) and Nicolas Perreault (Sherbrooke, Que).

Dandjinou, Pederson, Perreault and Heeney return to the World Junior Championships for a second consecutive year, having participated at last year’s event in Montreal, while the remaining four athletes will be making their debut against the top junior aged skaters – between 14 and 19 years of age – in the world. Last year, Heeney and Courtney Sarault were Canada’s sole medalists, winning bronze in the 1000m and 1500m, respectively.

Meanwhile, Florence Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, Que.) and Félix Pigeon (Saint-Pie, Que.) will become the first-ever short track skaters to represent Canada at the Youth Olympic Games when they hit the ice in Lausanne from January 18 to 22. They will both take part in the 500m and 1000m, as well as in a unique mixed country, mixed gender relay event. The upcoming edition of this international multi-sport event will be the third, having previously taken place in Innsbruck (2012) and Lillehammer (2016).

Dandjinou was pre-selected for the junior national team based on his participation at the first two World Cups of the season. The remaining skaters earned their positions based on their results at last month’s Canadian Junior Short Track Championships. Pederson and Boudrias were the respective overall champions, earning the most points among their respective fields of 32 skaters to capture the titles.

“It’s an immense honour to represent Canada during its first Youth Olympic Games appearance in short track. When I look at the calendar, I’m excited to live each of these moments; from the ambiance of the Games in Lausanne to rejoining the Canadian junior team in Bormio. I see these competitions as opportunities to improve my skills, to gain lots of experience and to learn about the trade of a short track skater.”

– Florence Brunelle
“I think my World Cup experience gave me a taste of who the best junior skaters on the international circuit are this season. In terms of my objectives, I would like to reach the podium as many times as I can. I know it’s an ambitious goal, but I am very confident. And I’m certain we will do great things as a relay team as well.”

– William Dandjinou
“With so many great junior skaters in Canada, I’m honoured to have the chance to represent us again against the best in the world. I would really like to race to my full potential in Bormio, which will hopefully result in some finals appearances and maybe even a medal.”

– Matej Pederson
“I feel very luck to be the first Canadian skater, among such a great group of skaters, to compete at the Youth Olympic Games. My objectives are to qualify for an A Final and to gain as much international racing experience as possible.”

– Félix Pigeon
“I’m very happy to have earned a spot on the World Junior Championships team. It’s an objective that I’ve had for several years and attaining it is a reward for all my efforts. I don’t have any precise performance objectives at this point, but I’m excited to see how I handle competing against the top skaters in the 500m.” 

– Mégan Boudrias