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Guay, Hudec, Osborne-Paradis headline 18 skiers named to Canadian team

CALGARY - Erik Guay, Jan Hudec, and Manuel Osborne-Paradis headline the 18-member crew named as the Canadian alpine ski team Thursday.

Eleven men and seven women will make up the national team, which is focused on fostering talent for the next two Olympic cycles.

Guay, the 2011 downhill world champion, has a Canadian record of 22 World Cup podium finishes, Hudec is the reigning Olympic bronze super-G medallist, and Osborne-Paradis is a three-time World Cup winner. Morgan Pridy, Trevor Philp, Phil Brown, Erik Read, Dustin Cook, Morgan Megarry, Tyler Werry and Robbie Dixon were also named to the team.

The women's team has grown by one-third since last year, and will be led by Marie-Michele Gagnon, who became the first Canadian to win a World Cup in super combined last season. Slalom specialist Erin Mielzynski — the first Canadian since 1971 to win a World Cup slalom race — is also back in action, along with Candace Crawford, Brittany Phelan, Julia Roth, Mikaela Tommy and Larisa Yurkiw.

"There's a real balance present on this year's team," said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada's vice-president of sports. "There is a core group of veterans who are highly capable on the World Cup, and any one of them can be on the podium on any weekend. Also on the team is a skilled group who are the next wave of athletes. It's an exciting group — the mean age is very young — and they have multi-discipline talent that will be great to watch in the next four to eight years."

Burkhard Schaffer will rejoin the men's program as head coach of the speed team following an eight-year hiatus from Alpine Canada when he worked with Norway, Slovenia, and most recently as head coach for the Austrian men's downhill team.

Martin Rufener, last season's head coach and alpine director, will move to Alpine Canada's executive team full-time as athletic director for the alpine program, and Italian-born Massimo 'Max' Carca and Jim Pollock will continue as head coaches of the men's and women's combined teams, respectively.

Madison Irwin, Marie-Pier Prefontaine, Ford Swette, and Ben Thomsen did not make the national team, but have been invited to train with Canada's squad.

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