TORONTO, ON – With just 26 days to go until the beginning of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade, Team Canada has named its student-athletes and coaches. On Tuesday, U SPORTS International named the 113 athletes and 41 staff representing the maple leaf in central Switzerland for 11 days of high-performance multi-sport action.
Lucerne 2021 features ten events, pitting the best university student-athletes from around the world against each other in the world’s second-largest winter multi-sport event, only behind the Olympic Games.
Canadians will search for medals in Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Ice Hockey, Short Track Speed Skating and Snowboarding, as the country looks to build on its five medal performance from Krasnoyarsk 2019.
The alpine skiing events will take place in the FIS World Cup village and former Olympic venue of St. Mortiz and Stoos. Claire Timmerman headlines the Canadian skiers, having been named to Alpine Canada’s NexGen Program for the 2021 season. The University of Utah sophomore began racing Nor-Am Cup in 2017 and has finished in the Top-10 12 times.
Joining Timmerman will be fellow Nor-Am Cup experienced student-athletes Caroline Beauchamp, Elois Carle, Margaux Gilmour, Felix Laliberte, Jack Forsyth, Hunter Watson, Emma Williamson, Louis Perron-Wojcik and Dawson Yates.
The Montreal Carabins program sends three Canadian athletes to the alpine events with Beauchamp, Perron-Wojcik, and Gilmour. Meanwhile, McGill sends Whistler, BC alpine standout Forsyth and Collingwood, Ont’s Williamson.
For Forsyth and Timmerman, it won’t be the first time they represent Canada at an international event, having worn Alpine Canada’s yellow and red while racing at the Whistler Cup, a premier youth event.
With alpine skiing not sanctioned by U SPORTS, athletes from the NCAA and CEGEP can represent Canada, as is seen with Watson, Yates, Timmerman and O’Brien.
Canada’s student-athletes kick out of the gates in St. Moritz on Monday, Dec. 13, with the Super-G.
The biathlon events for the 20th Winter Universiade will take place in Lenzerheide, a village in the Chur Canton of Switzerland that has hosted FIS Tour de Ski stages in the past. Led by Team Leader Alli Dickson, six men and six women will race for Canada in search of medals.
uOttawa Gee-Gee Shilo Rosseau headlines the Canadian team. As a member of Biathlon Canada’s Senior Development team, the biology major will look to take the next step in her international career. Alongside her is uOttawa teammate Zoe Pekos of Richmond, BC.
Zachary Demers, from CEGEP Garneau, is the lone member of the Canadian FISU team on Biathlon Canada’s U24 development team, while Anna Perry, Liam Connon, Simon Gauthier, and William Moineau draw from the U20 Development Program.
With veteran leadership from Rosseau, and second-time FISU Winter Universiade student-athlete Anne Mirejovsky, the Canadian team will have world-class quality on the snow and are prepared to take on the Scandinavian Nordic powerhouses.
Biathlon events begin on Dec. 12 with the men’s 15km and the women’s 12.5km individual races.
Cross Country Skiing
Six Canadians will head to Switzerland searching for medals in cross country events, with a pair of Carleton Ravens sisters leading the way. Brownyn and Zoe Williams have both raced on the Nor-Am circuit and have played integral roles in Carleton’s five-season win streak in women’s OUA Nordic skiing.
Zoe, 24, arrives in Lucerne with international winning experience, winning six Nor-Am cup medals in her career, headlined by a gold medal performance in 2019 in a 10km race in Duntroon, Ont.
The Williams will be joined by UBC-Okanagan’s Gina Cinelli, Lakehead’s Shaylynn Loewen, Guelph’s Alasdair MacLean, and a 2019 returnee in Nipissing’s Alexander Mayock.
While Nordiq Canada does not list any of the student-athletes on their 2021-22 development rosters, each has had success in post-secondary racing, with Cinelli winning a bronze medal in the 30km event at the 2019 Canadian Championships.
Andermatt-Realp will host the cross country skiing events, beginning Dec. 12 with the men’s 10km and women’s 5km individual races.
The Canadian curling teams want gold in Lucerne. The men will look to go one step further in Switzerland than they did in Krasnoyarsk, where they finished with the silver medal behind the host Russians.
Three Laurier Golden Hawks and one Regina Ram make up the Canadian men’s team, with Matthew Hall, Robert Lyon-Hatcher, Adam Vincent and Rylan Kleiter.
Kleiter, a kicker for the Regina Rams football team, is a World Junior Curling Champion from 2019 and a Canadian Junior Champion with Team Saskatchewan. While he plays football for the Rams, he only featured in one game in 2021.
Joining the U SPORTS football player is an experienced trio is Hall, who won the World Junior Championship with Kleiter in 2019 and now competes on the World Curling Tour while studying Financial Mathematics at Laurier. Lyon-Hatcher and Vincent complete the team, two student-athletes competing with Laurier in the OUA.
On the women’s side, the Alberta Pandas swap out green and gold for red and white as they look to build on their 2020 U SPORTS Curling Championship, which they won on Mar. 15, 2020, against UNB, two days after North American pro sports shut down.
Catherine Clifford, Kate Goodhelpsen, Abby Marks, Page Papley and Selena Sturmay make up the Canadian team, with Papley and Sturmay returning for their second Winter Universiade.
The Curling events get going before the Opening Ceremony, with the first round-robin matches beginning Dec. 7 in Engelberg.
Canada’s men will compete alongside the Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain. The women will try to out-perform the Czech Republic, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Great Britain.
Short Track Speed Skating
Canada’s short-track speed skating team is exceptionally strong, led by four senior national team members heading into the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade. William Dandijinou, Nicolas Perreault, Rikki Doaks and Claudia Gagnon headline the group, with Gagnon looking to add a FISU medal to her resume, which already includes World Cup podiums.
While the four have not started the 2021-22 ISU Short Track Season on the World Cup, their focus has been on the FISU Universiade, where they are looking to medal.
“It will be similar to World Cups, and I think that it is going to help that I have all this experience and that I have practice racing internationally,” Doaks, a Concordia University student-athlete told 49 Sports. “I’m excited to start racing to see some new people and race against people I’ve met before.”
The majority of the short-track team attends CEGEP in Quebec, with only Jerome Courtemanche, Renne Steenge and Doak attending university at McGill and Concordia.
Lucerne won’t host many events right in the city, but the short track events are one of them, with the first gun firing on Dec. 13 with the women’s and men’s 1500m races. Learn more about the short track team HERE.
Five student-athletes from Ontario make up Canada’s small Snowboarding team in Lucerne, with four men and one woman heading over seeking hardware.
Laurier twins Adam and Jacob Farber, 19, come into their first Universiade, with Adam looking to build off a 35th place finish at the World Junior Championships in 2019 in Rogla, Slovenia. Ben Feldman and Corey Farber round out the Canadian men’s side, with Corey entering his second Universiade
Katherine Lindsey, another Laurier student, is Canada’s only woman heading to Switzerland for snowboarding. While she is the only Canadian woman, she is a medal hopeful, having won medals at the Canadian Championships and finishing Top-10 three times on the Nor-Am circuit.
Snowboarder Will Malisch won Canada’s lone gold medal in 2019 in snowboard cross. However, neither he nor the event return for the 2021 Universiade.
Snowboarding begins Dec. 14 with parallel GS in Engelberg.
Women’s Ice Hockey
The Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey Team came close to a gold medal at Krasnoyarsk 2019, falling in the gold medal game to the ghost Russians. However, in 2021, they are back for more and will look to take one more step up the podium.
General Manager Daniele Sauvageau of the Montreal Carabins put together an evenly split team throughout the four U SPORTS WHKY conferences, featuring star defenders in StFX’s Tyra Meropoulis and OUA standout forward Maria Dominico of the Nipissing Lakers.
Head Coach Jon Remple of the Manitoba Bisons brings one of his defenders, Lauren Warkentin to Switzerland, but drew upon the rest of the country for other roster spots.
The assistant coaches hail from across U SPORTS, with highlight regarded goalie coach Kyle MacDonald joining from UNB and UNB Reds Head Coach Sara Hilsworth. Laurier Golden Hawks coach Kelly Paton and Guelph Gryphons coach Kaitlyn Mora round out the OUA coaching, while Ottawa’s Greg Bowles represented the RSEQ.
Canada will open the tournament on Dec. 11 in Sursee, when they take on Japan.