Ricker headlines 2010-2011 Canadian snowboard team 

Canada-Snowboard announced Friday the 31 athletes who will represent the country for the 2010-2011 season.

The team has the core of its veterans from the 2010 season returning, as well as 11 new faces as the preparations begin for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

The team features six world championships medallists, three Olympic medallists, 15 2010 Olympians and eight World Cup winners.

The highlight of the upcoming season will be the 2011 FIS World Snowboard Championships in La Molina, Spain Jan. 15-23.

"Our main objective remains to be performance-driven, and be very successful on the international scene yet again this year," said Robert Joncas, Canada-Snowboard's new director of high performance. "We are putting all our resources in place to achieve that success, whether it is technical, financial or human resources."

The snowboardcross team will be led by Olympic gold medalist Maƫlle Ricker of Squamish. Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere Saint-Francois, Que., will be looking for redemption after sustaining an injury during training for the 2010 Games. The powerful duo of Ricker/Maltais combined for 11 World Cup podiums last season.

On the men's snowboardcross team, Olympic silver medallist Mike Robertson of Canmore, Alta., is back. Robertson will be riding alongside team veterans Rob Fagan of Squamish, B.C., who was fifth at the 2010 Olympic Games, Drew Neilson of North Vancouver, Francois Boivin of Jonquiere, Que., and Simon Bonenfant of Mont-Tremblant, Que.

Canadian snowboardcross champion Kevin Hill of Vernon, B.C., who fought hard but fell short of Olympic qualification makes his debut on the national team with Dan Csokonay of Calgary, Jake Holden of Caledon, Ont., and Chris Robanske of Calgary.

"With the cancellation of a World Cup race this fall and the departure of Jasey-Jay Anderson, expectations for number of podiums on the FIS World Cup tour will be less this year in comparison with last year," added Joncas. "But our goal remains for our teams to be very competitive and relentlessly ride for the podium at every occasion."

The duo of Matthew Morison of Burketon, Ont., and Michael Lambert of Toronto will look to continue strong performances in the alpine snowboarding discipline. Both Lambert and Morison won World Cup races last season. They will be joined by Patrick Farrell of Oakville, Ont., and rookies Steve Barlow of Courtice, Ont., Matthew Carter of Maryhill, Ont., and Darren Gardner of Burlington, Ont.

This year the women's alpine snowboarding program will be led by returning veterans Caroline Calve of Montreal and Ariane Lavigne of Mont-Tremblant, Que. Rookies Megan Farrell from Ontario, Marianne Leeson of Burlington, Ont., and Ekaterina Zavialova of Calgary, will be on the team.

Canadian Champions in halfpipe Palmer Taylor of Collingwood, Ont., and Brad Martin of Ancaster, Ont., are back this season. Mercedes Nicoll of Whistler, Justin Lamoureux of Squamish and veteran Sarah Conrad of Halifax will look to strengthen Canadian success in pipes around the world.

Alex Duckworth of Kinsbrug, N.S., Derek Livingston of Aurora, Ont., and Jeff Batchelor of Oakville, Ont., will also be back this season.

The Canadian Snowboard team won 28 FIS World Cup podiums last season, the most by any nation on the FIS World Cup tour.

At the 2010 Olympic Games, Canadian snowboarders won two gold medals and one silver medal.




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