Biathlon Canada has named their national team for the upcoming season. There’s few surprises on the ‘A’ squad – or the ‘Eh!’ squad, as the team is calling it.
“That was my idea- After all we are Canadian, eh!” High Performance Director Eric de Nys wrote in an email to FasterSkier.
The ‘A’ team is filled with six athletes who achieved top-20’s at the World Cup or World Championships level in 2016: Rosanna Crawford, Julia Ransom, Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Scott Gow, and Macx Davies.
Also named is Christian Gow, who was an integral part in the Canadian men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay bronze medal at World Championships.
And so is Megan Tandy, a two-time Olympian and team veteran who did not meet the objective criteria, in part because she broke her arm partway through the World Cup season and missed out on the end of the race schedule, including World Championships.
The 27-year-old had been apprehensive about her chances of being re-named to the team, and guessed that if she was not her career might come to an end.
That was not going to happen, though.
“This was an easy decision for us,” de Nys wrote. “We feel she can contribute in individual and team performances for the next two years. It’s unfortunate she broke her arm and missed the second half of the season.”
While that rounds out the ‘A’ team, a three-woman ‘B’ squad was named: Emma Lunder, Audrey Vaillancourt, and Sarah Beaudry – who had represented Canada at World Championships.
There’s also the newly-created ‘Zed’ team, consisting solely of Prince Edward Island’s Carsen Campbell, who in his first year of senior racing got a start at the Preque Isle World Cup, where he placed 78th in the sprint.
“The ZED team is actually a counter to the US Team’s ‘X Team’,” de Nys wrote. “The alphabet in Canada, we say ZED not ZEE. Trying to make things a little more fun. Carsen will join the [national team] on a couple of camps, be provided some testing/evaluation time, have some help evaluating his ski fleet and a few other small benefits. Carsen was our second best male shooter internationally behind Christian Gow. We want to give him some opportunity to close the gap on his skiing speeds so he will have time to train with the faster men. We feel this will be beneficial for him and where he is currently at.”
A large group of junior and young senior athletes from around Canada were also named to the ‘2022 squad’, which is a development group to ensure national team success after the next Olympic cycle.
“Theoretically, post 2018, we may have a turnover of athletes as some retire and move on to other ventures,” de Nys explained. “Some of the younger athletes in this squad MAY surprise and surpass the older athletes within this grouping. In six years, a lot can happen and we feel that the athletes in this squad have demonstrated performance to be indicative of being on track. Albeit, consistency of performance tends to be varied for younger athletes, but the fact that they were able to demonstrate a result on demand is a key factor in their skill set.”
While the benefits of being named to the A and B teams are fairly clear, the 2022 squad is still a work in progress.
“The support level this group will receive has yet to be determined until we finalize our budget/s,” de Nys wrote.
Eh! Squad Men
Nathan Smith (Calgary, AB)
Brendan Green (Hay River, NT)
Scott Gow (Calgary, AB)
Christian Gow (Calgary, AB)
Macx Davies (Canmore, AB)
Eh! Squad Women
Rosanna Crawford (Canmore, AB)
Julia Ransom (Kelowna, BC)
Megan Tandy (Prince George, BC)
Sarah Beaudry (Prince George, BC)
Audrey Vaillancourt (Quebec City, QC)
Emma Lunder (Vernon, BC)
Carsen Campbell (Central Bedeque, PEI)
Aidan Millar (Canmore, AB)
Leilani Tam von Burg(Ottawa, ON)
Pearce Hanna (Edmonton, AB)
Megan Bankes (Calgary, AB)
Nadia Moser (Whitehorse, YT)
Emily Dickson (Prince George, BC)
Adam Runnalls (Calgary, AB)
Teo Sanchez (Wakefield, QC)
Leo Grandbois (Sherbrooke, QC)
Ben Churchill (Calgary, AB)
Zachari Bolduc (Ste. Sophie, QC)
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.