Louis Daignault (ISN)
May 22, 2013, (ISN) – Volleyball Canada staged its official press conference today to announce the return of Volleyball World League to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga for two weekends in June.
Canada will face Portugal in two matches on June 7 and 8, and then Korea on June 14 and 15. World League is an annual men’s national team volleyball tournament that reaches all corners of the planet, offering millions in prize money, professional organization and worldwide TV coverage. The two weekends in Mississauga will be preceded by the first weekend of competition, May 31-June 1, 2013 at the Colisée Pepsi, Québec City, featuring Canada versus the Netherlands.
The Hershey Centre was host to Canada versus Brazil in World League competition in June 2007. At that time, Canada faced Brazil in front of sold out crowds. Canada is hoping to recapture that energy and crowd support in the 2013 matches.
“The last time we staged World League matches here, we had sold out crowds and the atmosphere was electric,” stated 1984 Olympian and Honourary President for the Mississauga World League matches John Barrett, at the press conference. “We are hosting Portugal and Korea this time for two weekends and we want to set attendance records for Canadian events. My former Team Canada teammate and honourary President for the Quebec City matches Gino Brousseau has issued us a friendly attendance challenge and I don’t intend to lose! We have a lot of volleyball players and fans in Mississauga and the greater Toronto region so I am confident that we will once again fill the stands.” Canada hosted Brazil in World League action at the Ricoh Centre in 2012 with over 7,000 fans in attendance.
Head Coach Glenn Hoag stressed the development value of World League for the men’s team program. “It’s extremely important for Canada to measure itself against the best and World League offers us that special opportunity. Our quadrennial objective is to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio so all of our training and competition is structured around this objective. We expect great matches against Portugal and Korea and look forward to playing them in Mississauga in a few short weeks.”
The press conference also featured the participation of veteran players Adam Simac from Ottawa, Ontario and Gavin Schmitt from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Both players competed in World League in 2012 and look forward to taking on the world’s best again this year. Schmitt who has played most of his professional career in Korea looks forward to facing off against some of his former teammates. Simac, who hails from Ottawa, looks forward to playing in front of family and friends. “It’s always great to play in Ontario. I finally get a chance to show my friends and family what it is I do. They might watch it on TV or online or maybe just hear about it, but they rarely get to see it. It’s always special to play at home.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee was also on hand to support the press conference. “On behalf of the entire Canadian Olympic family, I would like to welcome all the athletes and coaches to Mississauga for the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League tournament,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President, Marcel Aubut. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the residents and fans in the Greater Toronto Area to witness some world-class volleyball. We hope to see some of these athletes back on our courts in two years’ time when Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.”
The Canadians returned to World League play last season for the first time in five years and automatically qualified for 2013 finishing 12th overall. Following the home matches in Quebec City and Mississauga, 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.
Tickets for the Mississauga matches can be purchased on-line through Ticketmaster (http://www.ticketmaster.ca).