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Charles Hamelin leads Canada’s short track team into World Cup season

Canada's Charles Hamelin, centre, leads other skaters during the men's 500-meter final at the ISU World Cup short track speed skating competition at Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China, on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011.  Hamelin finished in a time of 40.905 seconds.

Associated Press

Double Olympic gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., headlines Canada's short track speed skating team for the World Cup season.

Speed Skating Canada announced a dozen athletes who will compete in the first four stops on the circuit, including the season-opening World Cup in Calgary from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21.

The second World Cup event is scheduled for Oct. 26-28 in Montreal.

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Hamelin, 28, won gold in the 500 metres and 5,000-metre relay at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

He'll be joined by Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., Francois Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., Michael Gilday of Yellowknife, Liam McFarlane of Medicine Hat, Alta., and Guillaume Bastille of Riviere-du-Loup, Que.

Charles Hamelin, Jean, McFarlane and Bastille won relay gold in this year's world championship.

Jean's name has been in the news lately as the victim of alleged skate tampering by an American skater at the 2011 world championships.

Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Que., Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Felicien, Que., Marie-Eve Drolet of Laterriere, Que., and Edmonton's Jessica Gregg round out of women's squad.

The Hamelin brothers, Jean, Gilday, McFarlane, Maltais, Hewitt, Truchon and St-Gelais earned their berths via their performances at the recent national trials in Calgary.

Drolet received an injury bye onto the team because she had concussion-symptoms after a fall during trials. Bastille and Gregg were discretionary selections by the high-performance committee.

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"With the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games only 16 months away, it was important that the primary focus of team selection was to select the best team to compete at each of the World Cups," short track program director Yves Hamelin said in a statement Monday.

"These events are important in providing our skaters with international competition for Sochi 2014 Olympics preparation. Our discretionary selections also allow us to continue building a strong foundation for the best team possible for key international events."

The Canadian open championships in Montreal in January will determine the skaters for two remaining World Cups and the world championship March 8-10 in Debrecen, Hungary.

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