Canada’s national bobsled team for 2020-21 is 33 athletes deep, with faces new and familiar headlining the senior squad.
The senior team pilots named to the team on Friday are Olympic champ Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., two-time world championship medal-winnner Christine De Bruin of Stony Plain, Alta., as well as Chris Spring of Vancouver and Alysia Rissling of Edmonton, who return to the program after taking a year off for injury rehab.
Returning senior team crew members are two-time Olympian Ben Coakwell of Saskatoon, Cam Stones from Whitby, Ont., Ryan Sommer of Kelowna and Kristen Bujnowski of Mount Brydges, Ont. New senior team crew members are Mark Mlakar of Mississauga, Dawn Richardson Wilson from Edmonton and Sara Villani of Norval, Ont.
“The depth in our program has grown significantly over the last three years led by this group of veterans who have developed a competitive and respectful culture of excellence where all athletes share a common goal to deliver medal-winning performances,” said Chris Le Bihan, high-performance director for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. “This is a group of proven performers who have delivered under the most intense pressure. It promises to be an exciting ride over these final two critical seasons of our four-year plan.”
On the development side, the pilots are Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., Bianca Ribi of Calgary and Cynthia Appiah of Toronto.
There are 19 crew members in the development program: Eden Wilson (Calgary); Erica Voss (Toronto), Mackenzie Stewart (Madeira Park, B.C.), Catherine Medeiros (Mascouche, QC), Niamh Haughey (Scarborough), Stefanie Schoenberger (Abbotsford, B.C.), Stephanie Drost (Thunder Bay), Shaquille Murray-Lawrence (Scarborough, Ont.), Jay Dearborn (Yarker, Ont.), Kayden Johnson (Kerrobert, Sask.), Keefer Joyce (Kelowna, B.C.), Cyrus Gray (Duncan, B.C.), Josh Gilpin (Cambridge, Ont.), Orion Edwards (Newmarket, Ont.), Mike Evelyn (Ottawa), Anthony Couturier-Lagacé (Riviere-du-loup, Que.), Chris Patrician (Toronto), Will Auclair (Quebec City); and Dan Sunderland (Calgary).
Due to health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior team will skip the first half of the World Cup tour in Europe, returning to the circuit in January. Team members will instead work at either the Whistler Sliding Centre or at the Ice House at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.