10/26/2017 12:27 EDT | Updated 10/27/2017 21:42 EDT

Medal contenders lead Canadian speedskating team into World Cup season

CALGARY — Denny Morrison, Ted-Jan Bloemen, Ivanie Blondin and Vincent de Haitre headline the Canadian long-track speedskating team competing in the first World Cup races of the season.

The team was chosen following trials at the Olympic Oval in Calgary last week.

The first four World Cups of 2016-17 include a Dec. 1-3 stop in Calgary at the Oval.

Morrison, from Fort St. Jean, B.C., is a four-time Olympic medallist making a comeback from a motorcycle crash followed by a stroke. Calgary's Bloemen is the world-record holder in the men's 10,000 metres.

Ottawa's Blondin won a world championship in the mass start in 2016, as well as bronze in the 5,000 metres at this year's world single-distance championship.

De Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., took silver in the 1,000 metres at the world single-distance championship.

The Canadian team will range between 20 and 25 skaters depending on the race program at each World Cup.

The season opens Nov. 10-12 in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, followed by races Nov. 17-19 in Stavanger, Norway and then Calgary.

The Canadians will also compete Dec. 8-10 in Salt Lake City before breaking for the holidays.

Canadian speedskaters who win a medal in an individual distance will punch their ticket to February's Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Those who rank in the top five in a distance after the four World Cups would also qualify.

A maximum 10 athletes per gender can be selected to the Olympic squad.

Another round of trials Jan. 4-9 at the Oval will complete the team bound for South Korea.