World-class men’s volleyball arrives at the Langley Events Centre this Monday, Sept. 23, with the opening serves of the NORCECA Men’s Volleyball Continental Championship.
Opening day features three matches, including Canada facing Guatemala at 8 p.m. at the LEC.
Other games that day include the U.S. against St. Lucia, and Cuba versus the Bahamas.
After Monday, Canada faces Mexico next Wednesday, Sept. 25.
The tournament continues to Sept. 28.
“We are very excited to bring this level of volleyball to Langley – it promises to be an excellent event for both competitors and spectators alike,” said Jared Harman, the LEC’s director of business development.
Nine teams from the FIVB’s North and Central America and Caribbean regions will participate.
Among the top men’s teams in the round-robin tournament are the United States (ranked No. 5 FIVB, No. 1 NORCECA), Cuba (No. 5, No. 2) Canada (No. 11, No. 3), Puerto Rico (No. 20, No. 4), Mexico (No. 23, No. 5) and the Dominican Republic (No. 41, No. 6).
It’s been an exciting year for the Canadian team, with its best-ever FIVB World League performance (fifth overall) earlier this summer, including a confidence-boosting win over 2012 Olympic gold medalist team, Russia.
This elevated Canada’s overall world ranking from 18th to 11th.
“The NORCECA championship is a very important event for us,” men’s Canadian national team coach Glenn Hoag said. “It will mean more high level matches for our group. It will be another amazing experience for our players to play in front of a home crowd. We are training hard with the main objective of winning the event.”
The Canadian team includes captain Fred Winters and former Trinity Western University Spartans Rudy Verhoeff and Josh Howatson.
The NORCECA’s will feel like a homecoming for Verhoeff as his volleyball career really took off during his time with the Spartans, who play out of the LEC.
“I’m ecstatic,” Verhoeff said about coming back to Langley, “I never thought I would be playing on the national team this summer. It’s going to be a dream come true, for sure.”
The Spartans hosted the 2011 CIS national championships at the LEC where Verhoeff won his first of two, back-to-back, CIS titles. Verhoeff was named MVP in 2011 and following the championship point was raised up by the Spartan fans, who stormed the court with excitement.
The full NORCECA event schedule is available at www.langleyeventscentre.com/continentalvolleyball.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.ca or at the LEC box office.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The 2013 NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship gold-medal team qualifies for the 2013 FIVB Grand Champions Cup to be played Nov. 19-24 in Japan.
The NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship is held every other year.
Cuba is the defending champion; Canada finished third at the last event.
@ Copyright 2013