Ottawa’s Adam Simac joins the ranks of retiring men’s team athletes, after a career that spans one of the most exciting eras of Canadian men’s volleyball.
“I will never forget the Olympic qualifying experience in Tokyo in May of 2016, culminating in the epic hallway celebration, which we had all been waiting so long to taste,” said Simac.
The middle blocker was part of the national team program since 2008, during which his international career has been highlighted by Canada’s best-ever seventh place finish at the 2014 FIVB World Championships, and competing in the final six of the FIVB World League in 2013.
Other highlights include: “World Championships in Italy in 2010 when we beat Serbia, and served notice to the world that we weren’t to be taken lightly. After that definitely the Pan Am Games (bronze medal) experience, with thousands of Canadians creating an atmosphere that I will likely never experience again, and beating Brazil in World League in 2012 in Toronto in front of 8,000 screaming fans, in what was our first World League campaign in a long time.”
It has been a bittersweet year for Simac. The difficult decision of paring down the roster to 12 for the Olympics came, and Simac accepted that the qualifier would be one his final tournaments with the National Team. “To be part of the 14 guys who were grinding for weeks in Japan was something I will never forget,” said Simac, the consummate team player. The squad went on to win World League Group 2 this year.
“There were other great moments throughout the years, but I think the biggest thing I helped accomplish was to move volleyball ‘forward’ in Canada,” explains Simac. “From the guys who were around when I started in Winnipeg until the end of 2016, we all had a common goal, and put aside everything else to continue to battle every day in practice and keep raising the standard of volleyball in Canada.”
Playing professionally in Europe, Simac was a two-time Slovenian Champion and two-time Slovenian Cup champion with ACH Volley Ljubljana. The club also won the Middle European Cup in 2010-11. He then joined Arkas Holding in Izmir, winning the Turkish Championship in 2012-13, before moving to Pallavolo Lugano in Switzerland for 2013-14 and then ASUL Lyon in France for 2014-15.
Simac began his serious development as a player with the Queen’s Gaels from 2001 to 2006. “I’d like to thank Brenda Willis from Queen’s University for setting me on the path that would ultimately help me build my national team and professional career.”
Simac is also grateful to other coaches who have influenced him including Vincent Pichette, Chris Green, Larry McKay, Georges Laplante, and the health care staff, Mat Seguin and Seb Hartell, who sacrificed personal time to help him come back from a late 2015 shoulder surgery.
He has nothing but praise for Canada’s head coach during his tenure with the team: “The man to whom I owe a great deal to, and who pushed me to be a better version of myself every time I stepped on the court, Glenn Hoag. He not only helped me grow exponentially as a player, but he also helped me grow into the man I am today.”
Simac will use those volleyball and life lessons as he gives back to the sport. He is currently assistant coaching both men’s and women’s volleyball teams, and also strength and conditioning coach (for both teams), at Ryerson University in Toronto.
“I hope to continue to learn about the game and teach the next generation of Canadian volleyball players.”