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ENTIRE CANADIAN OLYMPIC LUGE TEAM RETURNS FOR 2006-07 WORLD CUP SEASON

-National squad kicks off new season on Olympic Track in Torino, November 17-Canada's complete Olympic Luge Team will return for the World Cup campaign, and ultimately continue racing for the national program until the next Olympics at home in Vancouver 2010, the Canadian Luge Association announced on Wednesday.

Three men, three women and two doubles teams will wear the maple leaf onto the icy luge tracks around the world this year, led by two-time Olympians Regan Lauscher and Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta., Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., and Chris and Mike Moffat of Calgary.

"For the first time ever we are welcoming back our complete Olympic team for the World Cup, and that is a significant competitive advantage in developing a team that will compete for the podium," said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association. "For many of our team members, Torino was their first Olympic Games, and we are looking to build on that experience over the next four years so we are fully prepared, and ready to contend for a medal in Vancouver."

The women's team will be led by 26-year-old Regan Lauscher, who won Canada's first ever World Cup silver medal, and finished 10th at the Torino Olympics. Lauscher will race a condensed schedule prior to the holiday break this season, competing only in the North American events, but will opt out of the team's trip to Italy and Japan. Lauscher, whose first event will be the Calgary World Cup, December 9-10, will race full-time after the holidays when the top international luge circuit travels to Europe.

Lauscher will be joined on the women's squad by 19-year-old Alex Gough of Calgary, and 20-year-old Meaghan Simister of Regina, who both made their Olympic debut last year, finishing 20th and 24th respectively. Both athletes have been steadily improving on the international circuit.

Canada will also suit up its most talented men's team ever with Calgary's Jeff Christie leading the way. The 23-year-old slider, who finished 14th at his first Olympics in Torino, has consistently been Canada's men's singles leader on the World Cup over the last two seasons. Christie will be joined by 22-year-old Calgary natives, Sam Edney and Ian Cockerline.

It's in the doubles discipline where the Canadian Luge Team continues to boast a wealth of veteran savvy. Leading the charge for the Canadian doubles contingent are Calgary brothers Chris and Mike Moffat. The sibling duo, who finished ninth at the 2006 Games, posted stellar World Cup results last year after returning from a three-year hiatus from the sport. Eric Pothier, 27, a native of Airdrie, Alta., will continue to chase his first World Cup medal with 25-year-old doubles partner, Grant Albrecht.

The Olympic coaching squad will also return to guide the Canadian team throughout the World Cup season this year. Head coach Walter Corey, a veteran of the sport who worked his way through the Canadian luge system, has controlled the reins of the national team since 2004. Corey also welcomes back to the Canadian program, assistant coach Robert Fegg, who raced five years with the German National Team.

Canada's luge athletes will open the World Cup season by returning to the Olympic Track in Torino, where they take on the world's best November 18-19, 2006.

For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Chris Dornan
Director of Communications, CODA
T: 403-247-5423
C: 403-470-9546

Tim Farstad
Executive Director
Canadian Luge Association
T: 403-247-9884
C: 403-616-1397