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Sudbury welcomes Canada's best

BY SCOTT HADDOW scott@northernlife.

Fresh on the heels of Canada's best ever showing for speed skating at the Olympics, Greater Sudbury has announced they will host the best of Canada's skaters in 2007 for the Canadian Open Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

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Mayor David Courtemanche, far right, gets ready to test the skills of local Sudbury Sprinter Speed Skating Club members, From L to R: Keegan, Kelsey and Kaelyn Pitre.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Canada won 24 medals, including 12 in speed skating.

The city and the local speed skating club, the Sudbury Sprinters, can hardly wait to showcase the community in all its glory, which will occur at the Countryside Arena from Jan. 18 to 20, 2007.

"Sudbury has a long history of hosting national championships," said Mayor David Courtemanche. "The skaters will be the top 64 short track skaters in the country. Some people will remember them from the recent Olympics. If they weren't in Torino, then they will be in Vancouver in 2010. It's a great opportunity for our people to see this exciting sport first hand."

A major speed skating event isn't new to the Sprinters, as they helped put on the 2005 provincials championships last year. The club rolled up their sleeves to bring the 2006 event to Sudbury.

"Our experience from last year, definitely got us prepared to host an event of this level," said John Hreljac, Sprinters publicity coordinator. "It's a really feather in our cap because it brings attention to the sport and kids that participate in it here. The kids will get to see an elite level competition live and it's just awesome."