Canadian volleyball star Gavin Schmitt during the open media training in Calgary
Calgary, Canada, May 16, 2015 – The Canadian men’s volleyball team’s action-packed season kicks off this weekend, with matches on May 16 and 17 at the Corral at Stampede Park.
The Canadian players are fresh off their professional seasons overseas, and ready to get back to representing their country in the 2015 season of the FIVB Volleyball World League.
"It’s easy to come back, but the hard thing is to find our game right away, and play at the top level because we haven’t played together for so long, so we don’t really know what’s going to happen on Saturday," Canada captain Fred Winters said.
Canada last played Cuba at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship with Canada coming up on the winning end of that contest.
“They’ll have most of their team from the World Championship, seven or eight players, and they were a competitive team,” Winters added. “I think we won in five sets and it was a really close game. It wasn’t our best game as I remember. They’ll have new players and we don’t really know much about them. We just know how they play.”
The Cuban team is ranked 11th in the world, while Canada currently sit at 14th. However, at the World Championship, Canada had its best-ever finish at seventh place, while Cuba were 11th overall.
“It’s just the start, we’ve just gotten back together so it’s going to take a little while to get the groove flowing, and we have to assure the players to get proper recovery from their pro leagues,” Canada coach Glenn Hoag explained. “We’re going to try to give players rest right through the World League to get ready for the Pan Am Games and other events this summer.”
In June, the team will face Argentina at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 5 and 6, followed by matches against Bulgaria at the Credit Union Place in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on June 12 and 13.
Canada will also be participating in the World Cup qualifier in Detroit, Michigan in the United States, and the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games in July.
World League Roster:
Dustin Schneider, Brandon, MB
Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB
Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK
Gord Perrin, Creston, BC
Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
Frederic Winters, Victoria, BC
Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
TJ Sanders, London, ON
Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB
Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC
Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON
Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
Josh Howatson, Victoria, BC
Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
Glenn Hoag, Coach
Vincent Pichette, Assistant Coach
Larry McKay, Assistant Coach
Mathieu Seguin, Physiotherapist
Julien Boucher, High Performance Director
Murat Haktanir, Statistician