U15 Boys Join National Team for World League Press Conference
Pakmen’s 15U Boys, fresh off their National Championship gold medal performance, joined members of Canada’s National team at at press conference recently to promote the upcoming World League events at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
Hershey Centre sets stage for World League volleyball
Written by Iain Colpitts. Originally published in the Mississauga News
Volleyball Canada officials believe the Hershey Centre will be filled to capacity when the Canadian men’s national team hosts Portugal and South Korea in FIVB World League matches next month.
For former nationa team member John Barrett, the outcome of a friendly wager depends on it. The honourary president for the Mississauga World League matches said he and former teammate Gino Brosseau, honourary president for upcoming matches at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, are each vying to fill their respective arenas to capacity.
Based on last year’s FIVB record-setting crowd of more than 8000 fans at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Barrett likes his chances. “The GTA in general is a hotbed for volelyball and this is a great location to get as much exposure as possible,” Barrett said during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Hershey SportZone. “We’re hoping for a great turnout of Canadian fans, Portuguese fans and Korean fans. Volleyball is the second-largest sport in the world by participants, so we’re looking for as much support as we can get and we figure the Hershey Centre is a great spot for these matches.”
Canada is one of 18 teams competing in tthe World League tournament, an annual event since 1990. The Hershey Centre will play host to a pair of matches between Canada and Portugal on June 7 to 8 as well as Canada and South Korea on June 14 to 15.
The competition begins next weekend with a pair of matches between Canada and The Netherlands in Quebec City. National team member and Ottawa native Adam Simac has many friends and family in the GTA and is excited about playing in front of them.
“For me, playing in Mississauga is special because I spent many summers with my grandparents here,” Simac said. “The volleyball community is very strong here and I know that they’ll come out and support us in full force.”
Mississauga has a rich grassroots volleyball culture with the Pakmen Volleyball Club producing numerous provincial and national championship teams. Pakmen’s under-15 boys’ team, which recently won the Eastern Canadian championships, had several team members in attendance at the SportZone this morning.
Gavin Schmitt, another national team member out of Saskatoon, feels that seeing the national team in action can have a positive effect on children who aspire to play at a high level. “I’ve been contacted by people though social media saying they’ve come out to watch us play and they’ve said the competition has inspired them to go farther,” he said. “We’re playing a high level of volleyball and people watching want to aspire to that, so that’s something we really pride ourselves on.”
Finland and Japan will join Canada, South Korea, Portugal and The Netherlands in Pool C with the first-place team moving on to the World League finals in Argentina later this summer. Canada will visit Finland and Japan before the group stage concludes July 7.