OTTAWA, O.N. – Three Peace Region skaters have made the cut after Speed Skating Canada announced their list of athletes on the Long Track National Teams for the 2016-2017 season yesterday.
Fort St. John’s Denny Morrison was named to the National Elite Pool along with 11 other skaters, while Jacob Graham and Braden Cloutier from Dawson Creek were named on the list of skaters on the team’s National Development pool.
The four-time Olympic medalist has had a rough go of it in the past 15 months. After spending much of 2015 recovering from a motorcycle accident in May of that year, Morrison suffered a stroke that occurred on April 23rd, and underwent an angiogram on June 21st to place two stents into his carotid artery. He says that he has resumed training at a relaxed pace in order to allow the stents to heal. He added that he will be taking blood thinners until his prescription ends in September, at which point he will move to a lower dosage as he begins to train more intensively for the upcoming speed skating season.
The National Development pool includes younger athletes who took part in the 2016 World Junior Championships or were identified to the NextGen program by Speed Skating Canada, based on the Long Track Athlete Pathway. Those athletes designated to the Development pool will be training at a National or Provincial center, while receiving specialized services. Some of these athletes have also qualified for additional funding through Sport Canada carding and/or Speed Skating Canada’s program funding.