Alpine Canada's men's development team will be stocked with Whistler Mountain Ski Club products for the 2014-15 season, as three skiers from the local club were named to the roster last week.
B.C. Ski Team veterans Broderick Thompson and Brodie Seger each got the call when the team was unveiled on May 23, while Jack Crawford also cracked the roster after just one year of skiing at the FIS level.
The team will have 10 skiers in total — five men, five women — who represent the top up-and-coming U21 talents in the country. The team was selected following a camp at Banff's Sunshine Village in mid-May that featured 26 athletes vying for a spot on the team.
Seger, 18, said there was an anxious waiting period between the camp and the team announcement, which was slightly delayed.
"I am super excited right now, but at the time I got the call, it was just a huge relief," he said. "We were supposed to find out about a week before we did, so that whole week I was a little bit stressed, not feeling super sure about things."
Thompson has been on Alpine Canada's radar in the past, being named to the national team's prospect group for the 2012-13 season and representing Canada at the past two Junior World Ski Championships. The 20-year-old said he thought he skied well at the selection camp, and he's excited to be taking the next step in his racing career.
"(Training under head coach) Kip Harrington and (assistant) John Kucera, it's going to be really awesome to see what they bring to the table," said Thompson, as former downhill world champion Kucera will be working with the men's development team next winter.
"I've gotten more confidence on the Nor-Am level and I'm excited to go out there and try to win," added Thompson, who had a number of career-best results on the continental circuit this past season.
Crawford, 17, will be the youngest member of the squad, coming off an impressive rookie season at the FIS level that included five wins and nine podium finishes in all.
"I was a little surprised that they didn't take some of the older guys over me, but I think it kind of played to my advantage that I was younger," said Crawford, who has blossomed over the past couple of seasons after moving from Toronto to train with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.
Crawford said he thinks coming to Whistler has played a big role in his quick development.
"Being out here, I get the chance to ski pretty much every day, and that helps a lot. It keeps your mind in it so you can always be working on the issues you have in your skiing," he said.
Meanwhile, older sister Candace will also be on the development team roster, the oldest of the five women on the squad — Valerie Grenier, Jocelyn McCarthy, Roni Remme and Mikaela Tommy being the others.
"It's kind of cool, because I never get to see her," said Crawford. "She's been on the team for a number of years and she's always away, so it'll be a good chance to get to reconnect."
All of the skiers will be moving to Calgary for summer training by early June.
Martin Grasic will also be coming to the development squad from the B.C. Ski Team alongside Thompson and Seger. Montreal's Lambert Quezel was also selected for the team.
Thompson said having a couple of his B.C. teammates making the jump as well should make the transition fairly smooth.
"They're the two I've been with the longest, so it's cool that we're all moving up together," he said.
Seger, meanwhile, is excited for the new challenge, but also sad to be leaving the provincial team behind.
"This has been one of my goals, but we have had such an awesome group of guys and coaches on the B.C. team," said Seger. "We've had such an amazing team and so many good times that it's definitely kind of sad. It's a happy but sad feeling."
And Seger said he knows there's plenty more hard work ahead of him now that he's made the development team.
"Making this team is only Step 1," he said. "I've still got a lot of work to do and I've got to make sure — on my behalf, and on behalf of everyone who was close to making it — that I'm working as hard as I possibly can."
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