Canadian volleyball star Gavin Schmitt during the open media training in Calgary
Calgary, Canada, May 15, 2015 - This weekend kicks off the Canadian men’s volleyball team’s action-packed season with two matches (May 16 and 17) at the Corral at Stampede Park in Calgary.
Canada’s players are fresh off their professional seasons overseas, and ready to get back to representing their country in the FIVB Volleyball World League 2015.
"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 in so long, so we don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow," said Canada’s captain, Fred Winters of Victoria, BC, of the first match on Saturday night.
Canada last played Cuba at the FIVB Volleyball World Championship Poland 2014 with Canada coming up on the winning end of that contest: “They’ll have most of their team from the World Championships here, seven or eight guys and they were a competitive team. I think we won in five 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.”
Cuba is ranked 11th in the world; and Canada currently sits at 14th.
However, at the World Championship, Canada finished a best-ever seventh and Cuba was 11th overall.
Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag explained: “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 guys get proper recovery from their pro leagues. 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.”
The first match, which is almost sold to capacity for attendance at the Corral, takes place Saturday at 19.00 local time. It’s all about volleyball this weekend in Calgary with the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships, women’s team matches against Puerto Rico (May 13 and 14) and now FIVB Volleyball World League for the men’s team.
In June, the team will face Argentina at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 5th and 6th, followed by matches against Bulgaria at Credit Union Place in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on June 12 and 13.
Canada will also be participating in the FIVB Volleyball World Cup qualifier in Detroit, Michigan, (May 21 to 23) 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 Staff:
Glenn Hoag, Head Coach
Vincent Pichette, Assistant Coach
Larry McKay, Assistant Coach
Mathieu Seguin, Physiotherapist
Julien Boucher, High Performance Director
Murat Haktanir, Statistician