May 3, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – Trinity Western men’s volleyball alumni Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) and Josh Howatson (Victoria) were both named to Canada’s 22-man senior national team roster that will compete in the FIVB World League tournament, which gets underway in Quebec City May 31.
This will be Verhoeff’s first opportunity to play for Canada’s senior national team, while Howatson has been a mainstay on the team for a number of years and, most recently, competed for Canada in last year’s World League tournament.
Verhoeff, who graduated from TWU in 2011 and recently signed a pro contract with France’s Chaumont Volley-Ball 52 Haute-Marne, and Howatson, who graduated in 2007 and plays for Paris Volley, will look to help Canada improve upon its 12th place finish in the 2012 event, in which the team posted a record of 3-9. The highlight for Canada was its victory over world No. 1 ranked Brazil in the opening round in Toronto before more than 8,000 fans. Canada also beat Finland twice in tournament play.
Established in 1990, the FIVB World League is an annual men’s national team volleyball tournament that reaches all corners of the planet, offering millions of dollars in prize money, professional organization and worldwide TV coverage. In Canada, the matches will be broadcast on Sportsnet with time and dates still to be finalized.
Canada’s squad includes established veterans such as scoring sensation Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, team captain Fred Winters of Victoria, Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., Dan Lewis of Oakville, Ont., Howatson.
Along with Verhoeff, three other players who spent this past winter with the Full Time National Training Centre team in Gatineau made the squad, including brothers Christopher Hoag and Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., and Graham Vigrass of Calgary.
“We are very excited to be a part of World League for the second year in a row,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag, who is fresh off winning the Turkish pro league title with Izmir. “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.
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.
Volleyball Canada’s World League roster for the 2013 season (sorted by province)
Alberta: Ciaran McGovern, Grande Prairie; Dallas Soonias, Red Deer; Blair Bann, Edmonton; Steve Gotch, Okotoks; Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary; Graham Vigrass, Calgary.
British Columbia: Josh Howatson, Victoria; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston.
Manitoba: Dustin Schneider, Brandon; Toon Van Lankvelt, River; Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg; Juston Duff, Winnipeg.
Ontario: Dan Lewis, Oakville; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Adam Kaminski, Chatham; Steve Brinkman, Bowmanville.
Quebec: Olivier Faucher, Plessisville; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de- l’Ile-Perrot; Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke; Christopher Hoag, Sherbrooke.
Saskatchewan: Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon