Volleyballers ready to take on the world

99cc14c24a399a3494d1cda9bbcc[1]Dan Lewis of Oakville has been named to Volleyball Canada’s national team.

Head coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau announced the 22-man Team Canada roster for the FIVB World League tournament which gets underway in Quebec City, QC on May 31.

The squad includes established veterans, in addition to Lewis, scoring sensation Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, SK team captain Fred Winters of Victoria, B.C., Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., who has more than 200 international matches under his belt, and Josh Howatson of Victoria, BC.

Four of the players spent this past winter with the Full Time National Training centre team in Gatineau: brothers Christopher Hoag and Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., and Rudy Verhoeff and Graham Vigrass of Calgary.

“We are very excited to be a part of World League for the second year in a row,” said Glenn Hoag, fresh from winning the Turkish pro league title with Izmir, which also included Adam Simac of Ottawa, Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., and Justin Duff of Winnipeg (also all on the World League roster).

“This is a very important competition for our program. As we start new Olympic quadrennial the World League will help us gain valuable experience.”

Later this month, Canada will host Turkey in a three-match pre-World League series. The matches are May 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. the Centre sportif in Gatineau and May 18 at 4 p.m. at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Canada, ranked 18th in the world, opens World League play at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City on May 31 at 7 p.m. and June 1 at 4 p.m., against the Netherlands. The next four home matches are at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont., against Portugal on June 7-8 and South Korea June 14-15. All matches in Mississauga start at 7 p.m.

The Canadians returned to World League play last season for the first time in five years and automatically qualified for 2013 finishing 12th overall with three wins and nine losses. The highlight for Canada was its victory over world number-one Brazil in the opening round in Toronto before more than 8,000 fans. Canada also beat Finland twice in tournament play.

Canada will conclude its World League preliminary round Pool C matches in Finland June 28-29 and Japan July 6-7.

Six teams will qualify for the World League Finals in Argentina featuring the top two teams from Pools A and B, plus the winner of Pool C and Argentina as the host country.