Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association  |  Tel: 403-220-7911  |  Email.  | Address: 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4

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Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association

Skater News

Two-time Olympian Anastasia Bucsis and NextGen Skater Alex Ruel-Garvey retire from Long Track Speed Skating

Click here for the SSC April 10, 2017 news release about Anastasia and Alex

Click here for CBC coverage of Anastasia's retirement


Alberta Provincial Team members Brooklyn McDougall and Connor Howe  both earned Team Canada spots to compete at the ISU World Junior Long Track Championships in Helsinki, Finland, February 17-19, 2017! 

One of the highlights for both skaters was racing for and cheering on teammates to 8 medals, enough for Canada to take second place in the overall team points! Shown in the photo, below, Connor and teammates earned one of the awesome medals, a silver, as part of the men's Team Sprint event! Brooklyn and the Canadian ladies finished very close to the podium with fourth in the Team Pursuit, and fifth in the Team Sprint!

Full information and results: 

Photo 1, left to right: Team Canada with Connor Howe, silver; Team Netherlands, gold; Team Germany, bronze.

Team Sprint podium World Jr Feb2017

girls sprint

Photo 2: Team Canada Ladies Sprint with Brooklyn McDougall; photo courtesy Getty Images / Joosep Martinson, ISU

Check out our World Juniors Photo Gallery on the Alberta Speed Skating Facebook page link: 

Alberta Speed Skating asked Brooklyn and Connor to reflect upon their 2017 World Junior Long Track Championship experiences. Here are their responses:

Brooklyn McDougall:

Q: What did it feel like to represent Canada at a World event?

B: Representing Canada was a dream come true for me. Every time I put on my suit it reminded me of all the hard work I put in to getting where I am in my skating career.

Q: It seemed like Team Canada was very supportive of each other; how was it for you with the coaches, team-mates, other support staff, parents, etc?

B: Our team had a huge support group. Almost everyone's parents came, so we had an awesome fan section. The team was a mixture of skaters from across Canada, but once we got together we just clicked and had a great time. I couldn't have asked for better teammates, they made this experience unforgettable. The coaches also played a huge role in bringing the team together. The theme of the week was definitely family. We all came together from across Canada and created a family that was supportive and positive. This translated into our performance on ice.

Q: Lessons learned from the experience?

B: I definitely learned a lot about myself as a skater while in Finland. I gained valuable experience skating outdoors, which was something I needed to work on. A large part of the weekend was mental preparation, and now I can make small changes to my pre race routine to ensure I am mentally prepared. I also learned a lot from my team mates. Watching my team succeed and win medals was very inspiring and made me even more passionate about speed skating (which I didn't think was possible!).

Q: What was the best part of your World Juniors experience?

B: The entire experience was amazing! I especially loved racing the team sprint. It was so much fun and we ended up placing really well. Meeting juniors from around the world was also a highlight. It's very cool to be racing against these incredible athletes and to realize that we are the future of speed skating.

Q: What are your next goals?

B: My short-term goal is to end this season on a high note. I hope to get some PBs at Finale. Looking into the future, next year I'd like to push myself and see if I can improve my third-place ranking in Canada. Along with that, I am wanting to make Junior Worlds next year, held in Salt Lake City.

Q: Anything else you'd like to say?

B: I just wanted to thank the entire coaching staff that came to Finland. The entire week couldn't have been better and I am so thankful to be a part of the experience! I also would like to thank my two coaches, Brock Miron and Mike Marshall. I couldn't have done it without their incredible coaching.

Connor Howe:

Q: What did it feel like to represent Canada at a World event?

C: I felt honoured to represent Canada at the World Junior LT Championships in Finland. At most competitions it is an individual effort but at the Junior Worlds I was skating for my country. Wearing the Canadian clothing made me feel proud but also created stress because I wasn’t only skating for myself but also for Canada. At first I felt a little insecure, that maybe I wasn’t good enough, but as the week went on, I started to feel more confident.

Q: It seemed like Team Canada was very supportive of each other; how was it for you with the coaches, team-mates, other support staff, parents, etc?

C: I am thankful for all of the support I received from everyone, including my fellow athletes, coaches, parents and other support staff. Skaters from the oval made signs for us that we took to Finland and that was awesome! They also followed our races on YouTube and cheered us on through social media. My team-mates in Finland were all very supportive, and told me I was doing well even though I wasn’t satisfied with some of my races. And when I returned home, I was congratulated by a lot of skaters, parents and coaches. Overall, the members of Team Canada really supported each other and everything was very positive.

Q: Lessons learned from the experience?

C: I had never skated at an international competition before so I was inexperienced, but Marcel, Jeff and the rest of the coaches looked out for me and gave me lots of assistance. Going to such a high-level competition also made me realize how much I still have to improve and motivated me to work even harder.

Q: What was the best part of your World Juniors experience?

C: I would have to say that the Team Sprint was the best part of my experience at the World Juniors. Being chosen for the team and leading the first lap for my strong teammates was very exciting. And winning the silver medal was exciting too of course!

Q: What are your next goals?

C: My main goal is to stay focused and healthy so that I have a chance to qualify for the World Juniors again next year and improve my results. There will be a lot of really good skaters trying out again next year, so I know that I’m going to have to work hard and leave nothing to chance.