June 25, 2013, Ottawa (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport, in conjunction with Water Polo Canada, announced Tuesday the student-athletes and staff members who will represent the country in men’s water polo at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia.
The Canadian men return to the biennial tournament after a one-game absence, their most recent result being a 13th-place finish in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2009. In 13 all-time appearances at the tourney, the Canucks have reached the quarter-finals on two occasions, finishing eighth in 1999 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and sixth in 1983 in Edmonton.
Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2013
The roster heading to Kazan is comprised of goaltenders Milan Radenovic of Toronto and Daniel Sullivan of North Vancouver; centre guards Martin Pelland of Montreal and Connor Perry of Vancouver; drivers Marko Bjelica of Mississauga, Ont., Dusan Boskovic of Ottawa, Nikola Curcija of Calgary, Matija Dabic of Gatineau, Que., Eric Graham of Saskatoon, Nikola Mitrovic of Gatineau and Devon Thumwood of Calgary; as well as centres Oscar Henning of Calgary and David Lapins of Gatineau.
Radenovic and Mitrovic represented Canada at the 2011 world junior championships (14th place), while Pelland, Perry, Curcija, Graham, Thumwood, Henning and Lapins wore the Maple Leaf at the 2012 world youth championships (11th).
“We are a very young team, with guys coming from all over Canada. It will be a great experience for them,” said Team Canada head coach Michel Roy, who will take part in his fourth Universiade (1985, 1991, 1993, 2013). “Our goals at the competition are to get more experience, play more games, while driving for excellence and producing better athletes for the senior national team program.”
“We have been working very hard since the early days of June. We are putting the hours in and we are getting better as a team. Some of our key players participated with the Senior Program in a week-long camp with the Olympic bronze medallist team, Serbia. It will be very interesting to integrate those athletes and see the level of water polo they have acquired during that amazing experience of practicing with Serbia.”
The 12-team Kazan tournament is set for July 5 to 17.
In the preliminary round, Canada will face host Russia (July 5), Japan (July 7), Georgia (July 8), Hungary (July 10) and Australia (July 11) in Pool A.
The Russians claimed silver two years ago in Shenzhen, China, while the Australians captured gold in 2009. Hungary has won the competition three times, most recently in 2003.
Pool B is comprised of reigning Universiade champion Serbia, the United States, Italy, Brazil, Montenegro and Belgium.
“We are in a very experienced and very competitive group. Countries like Hungary, Russia and Australia are difficult to beat. Even Japan finished in the top seven recently in an international competition (World League Super Final), a first for them in decades,” said Roy. “It will be very competitive and a great experience for all our young athletes. Although we never know the athletes that each country will be sending at the FISU Games, we hope to do well and be competitive with every opponent and in every game we play.”