Their working relationship is in the honeymoon phase, though the potential for success together as athlete and coach dates back 20 years.
In 1998, Charles Hamelin was 13, living in Sainte-Julie, Que., and in his fourth year of speed skating. Éric Bé?dard was 21 and quickly earning the teenager's respect by winning a bronze medal in the 1,000 metres at his Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan.
"He wasn't the strongest guy on the ice at that distance. He was more of a 500-metre guy and he did the perfect race in the 1,000," Hamelin recalled ahead of this weekend's season-opening short track World Cup at the Olympic Oval in Calgary (Saturday, 3:20 p.m. ET, CBCSports.ca).

  • Coming Up
    Watch World Cup short track speed skating in Calgary


"I remember him looking confident, like he knew what to do to get the medal, and that's exactly what he did. Eric became one of my idols right away."
Bé?dard, a four-time Olympic medallist, later became Hamelin's teammate, roommate and mentor. They shared a relay bronze medal in the 5,000 from the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, and Bé?dard showed the youngster "how to be in control" at international races.
Watch Anson Henry preview the 2018-19 season:*
With the ISU Short Track World Cup season getting underway in Calgary this weekend, CBC Sports' Anson Henry previews Canada's new-look team. 1:22
In Calgary, he'll be looking to guide Hamelin and his five teammates to podium finishes in his debut as head coach of the national men's team after Derrick Campbell stepped down in June after 12 years at the helm.
He wants to win but he wants his team winning. He's a real competitor and it's a privilege to coach him.— Canadian men's short track head coach Eric Bedard on veteran speed skater Charles Hamelin
Hamelin, the four-time Olympian and last year's overall world champion, told CBC Sports it will be "a dream come true" to live his on-ice moments this season with Bé?dard as coach.
The 34-year-old, with five Olympic medals and 34 world championship*medals (including five gold), has "looked like a kid" this week, according to the coach.

  • Profile
    Speed skater Charles Hamelin still has more to give to short track


"He's going so fast. He came on the ice again today with fire in his eyes," Bé?dard*said, who led short track teams from Germany and Italy at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, respectively. "He wants to win but he wants his team winning. He's a real competitor and it's a privilege to coach him."

2018 Olympic medallists and close friends Sam Girard, left, and Charles Hamelin finished 1-2 on the men’s side at last month’s Canadian short track championships in Montreal. (Submitted by Hugo Baraldi-Turcotte)
The 41-year-old Bé?dard has also been impressed with Sam Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., a double medallist in his Olympic debut last February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he captured Canada's first-ever gold at the Games in the 1,000.
"He's a young athlete*with a lot of experience," said Bé?dard of the 22-year-old Girard, a fifth-year national team member who Hamelin believes is more mature and wise in his decision-making from last season. "I don't know if he knows how good he is. It's about believing in himself."
The 21-year-old feels the pressure of nation heading into his first Olympic Games? 0:59
Charle Cournoyer and Pascal Dion, who helped Canada to five relay medals last season, are the other experienced men's skaters while Bedard is also excited about the speed of youngsters Cé?drik Blais and Steven Dubois.
"I told the boys I want to see them all in the semifinals [in Calgary] and, in any given final, have at least one guy," said the coach. "The bar's high … but they're looking strong, fast and comfortable on the ice.
2018-19 World Cup schedule

  • This weekend:*Calgary
  • Nov. 9-11:*Salt Lake City?
  • Dec. 7-9:*Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Feb. 1-3:*Dresden, Germany

The Ferland-et-Boilleau, Quebec native is the first North American skater to win Olympic gold in the men's 1,000-metre short track distance. 4:08
"We already broke the world record in the relay in practice, so this is something we might attack this weekend."
Girard, who was named Canadian short track champion last month in Montreal following a pair of victories and four podium finishes, is having more fun on the ice this season, thanks in large part to Bé?dard's arrival.
"Eric has been a good coach in the past and is true to you. He always gave 100 per cent in competition and it's something he wants to share with us and make sure we do," said last season's male short track skater of the year by Speed Skating Canada. "When it's time to focus on our skating we're doing it but he likes to joke with us, and we can talk about other things than just skating."
Find out how short track athletes maximize their speed during a race. 0:38
Hamelin, who noted there were communication issues with Campbell in recent years, said Bé?dard brings a presence to the group and energy on the ice, asking his athletes to push the limits.
Boutin, Macdonald won't race in Calgary

Meanwhile, the women's team has a different look following the retirement of three-time Olympic silver medallist Marianne St-Gelais and Valérie Maltais' transition to long track earlier this year.
At 22, Audrey Phaneuf is the most experienced of the group, while Moncton's Courtney Sarault is probably the most recognizable of five rookies. The 18-year-old's triple-medal performance at the world junior championships earlier this year earned her Speed Skating Canada's short track rising star of the year award.
Kim Boutin, who won three medals in Pyeongchang, and fellow Olympian Jamie Macdonald hold the final spots in the women's racing pool but won't compete in Calgary or next weekend in Salt Lake City as those events were not part of their training and competition plans.
"With Kim and Jamie out of the mix, younger skaters will get their first opportunity to compete on the World Cup stage," coach Frederic Blackburn told Speed Skating Canada. "The chance to travel the world and compete against the best skaters will provide our team with an enriching experience, one that will help them improve on and off the ice."
In Montreal, 23-year-old*Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., captured the women's Canadian title with four podium finishes.
Canadian men's short track team

  • Cé?drik Blais, Chateauguay, Que.
  • Charle Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que.
  • Pascal Dion, Montreal
  • Steven Dubois, Lachenaie, Que.
  • Sam Girard, Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que.
  • Charles Hamelin, Sainte-Julie, Que.

Additional racing pool athletes (not racing in first 2 World Cups)

  • Mathieu Bernier, Montreal (additional racing pool athlete)?
  • Maxime Laoun, Montreal (additional racing pool athlete)

?Canadian women's team

  • Alyson Charles, Montreal
  • Camille De Serres-Rainville, Montreal
  • Alison Desmarais, Vanderhoof, B.C.
  • Claudia Gagnon, Saguenay, La Baie, Que.
  • Audrey Phaneuf, Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
  • Courtney Sarault, Moncton, N.B.

Additional racing pool athletes (not racing in first 2 World Cups)

  • Kim Boutin, Sherbrooke, Que.
  • Jamie Macdonald, Fort St. James, B.C.