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May 28,2014 (ISN) – OTTAWA – The head coach of Canada’s national men’s volleyball team says his troops
are prepared for their biggest matches so far this season as the FIVB World League
tournament opens this Saturday and Sunday (May 31-June 1) in Calgary against
Finland.

Earlier this month, the Canadians locked-up a berth for this fall’s World
Championships by winning a continental qualifier in Mississauga. However the World
League features the top-countries battling for the largest cash prizes in the sport.

“We are well aware that Finland will be tougher than any of the teams we faced at
the qualification tournament,” said Glenn Hoag, at the helm of the Canadian national
team since 2006. “We have worked hard in the short time we’ve been together and are
looking forward to two competitive matches in Calgary.”

The Gatineau-based national squad was the revelation in last year’s World League
placing a best-ever fifth and climbing from 18th to 11th in the world rankings. They
defeated Olympic champion Russia in the final round although the Russians rebounded
to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

There are many returning stars from that Canadian team including Fred Winters of
Victoria, Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., and Adam Simac
of Ottawa.

Both matches this weekend at the Stampede Corral start at 6 p.m. local time and
tickets can be obtained at Ticketmaster.ca. Sportsnet will carry all Canadian
matches live home and away.

“We are excited to kick off the 2014 World League pool C play in Calgary this
weekend,” said Hoag. “We were pleased to have recently qualified for the World
Championships in front of a home crowd.”

Canada is in Pool C this year with the Finns, ranked 30th in the world, number-37
Belgium, and number-14 Australia. The teams face each other four times in the
round robin portion of the tournament officially called the Intercontinental Round.

The other home Canadian Intercontinental Round matches are June 13-14 in Vancouver
against Belgium and June 20-21 in Edmonton against Australia.

The World League has a new format this year with a record 28 countries split into
seven pools of four. Canada must win its pool or place second to Australia to
advance to the Group 2 final set for Sydney, Australia July 11-13. The winner of
that Group then advances to the six-country Final Round July 16-20 in Florence
Italy.

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