Canada’s men start the 23_24 season ranked 7th overall in the World Cup Nations Cup standings, including 8th in downhill and 6th in super-G. Building on a season that included two world championship medals, one of them gold, three podiums and saw five different men finish in the top 10 in World Cup races there is quiet confidence around the team.
Men’s head coach John Kucera provides some thoughts on the season ahead:
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Coaching: Entering his 10th season, started in the ‘14-‘15 season, and all have been with the national team.
Head Coach: His first season as a head coach was in ‘15-‘16 season
What are the expectations for this season?
This is a great group of athletes, coaches and staff. Even though our guys are relatively young, we’ve been fortunate to be together for a while now and everyone works very well together. We all see the potential and we’re going to continue to move forward as a group, and to continue to grow season over season.
I’m excited about what our speed guys have shown and for what we believe is possible for that group. And we’re looking for growth on the tech side and seeing those young guys start to punch into the points. They now have program around them, and that will help them build results.
We’re looking for a bunch of guys to finish the season in the WCSL (World Cup Starting List) top 30 and for people to qualify for World Cup Finals.
Who are the athletes Canadians will be hearing about this season?
We’ve got a group of athletes who compete hard every race and who will make Canadians proud. Our veteran guys are pretty young when compared to other countries, but they are making their presence felt on the World Cup tour. They are podium contenders week in and week out and we’re excited to see what they can do this season.
We’ve got some young talented guys that will have the opportunity to show what they can do on the World Cup circuit this season. Asher Jordan (North Vancouver, BC), Justin Alkier (Toronto, ON), Kyle Alexander (North Vancouver, BC) and Liam Wallace (Calgary, AB) have been working hard this off-season on their own and with the coaches and staff and they are poised to establish themselves. Making a national team is a big step in an athlete’s career and it’s another big transition to being consistently in the top 30 on the World Cup circuit.
What race are you most looking forward to:
This is an interesting this year with no world championships and no Olympic Winter Games. The World Cup Finals will be a goal for us and something that we’ll be working towards. There are the annual big races, Kitzbühel and Schladming that are exciting, in an iconic venue, with an amazing atmosphere. They’re always fun and you always look forward to them.
We’ll value every weekend as an opportunity. We’re looking to be a team that pushes for growth and to get the most that we can get from each race. This group wants to challenge every week, to be on the podium at every race and to capture Globes.