Sports

Langley Events Centre lands another major competition

The Brazilian team celebrates after winning the gold medal at the U23 Pan American Cup at the Langley Events Centre. - Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
The Brazilian team celebrates after winning the gold medal at the U23 Pan American Cup at the Langley Events Centre.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Volleyball Canada liked what they saw and as a result another international competition will be staged at the Langley Events Centre.

“We had talked about it but really we wanted to see what would happen with this event,” said Hugh Wong, the president of Volleyball Canada.

“And after we saw how well it was organized, how smoothly things worked, then the three parties — the Langley Events Centre, Volleyball BC and Volleyball Canada — got together and made the decision we are going to do it.”

Wong spoke to The Times following the gold medal game on Sunday between Brazil and Argentina at the inaugural U23 Pan American Cup.

Brazil won 3-0 (25-18,25-13,25-18) to win the five-country men’s volleyball event, which was hosted at the Langley Events Centre.

The Dominican Republic defeated Canada in the bronze medal game while Mexico was fifth.

With Canada not having a national U23 team, the Trinity Western Spartans represented Team Canada.

Wong said the LEC is the right size to host another event, so the decision was made to stage the 2013 NORCECA men’s Continental volleyball championships next September.

The decision was announced on Saturday and it will be the biggest international volleyball tournament ever held in B.C.

“(The Langley Events Centre) is the right size for a Continental championship,” Wong explained.

“They want something more than 3,000 but they don’t want a 10,000 seat arena, so the size fits.

“And it is close enough to Vancouver but at the same time, far enough so that it is not lost with all the other events in Vancouver.”

The event will once again be staged in the LEC’s arena bowl, with seating for 5,200 fans.

Wong also said that the LEC staff — whom he called “very accommodating and very efficient” — showed they have the organizational capacity to deliver another successful event.

“And there is also a very strong volleyball presence in this area, so there is a source of volunteers and a source of spectators.”

Wong said they would expect crowds of about 3,000 for the Team Canada matches.

“We anticipate that given one year to plan and promote, that next year’s championship will exceed our expectations and we look forward to great crowds coming from throughout B.C. to cheer on our national team,” Wong said.

NORCECA, which stands for the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation, is one of five continental confederations within the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).

The 2013 championships will include some of the top teams from the zone, including the United States (currently ranked fifth in the world), Cuba (sixth), Canada (18th), Puerto Rico (21st), Mexico (23rd) and the Dominican Republic (45th).

“On behalf of the Township of Langley, we are extremely excited to be hosting yet another major international event at the Langley Events Centre,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese, in a press release announcing the event.

“The facility continues to attract world class events and (this) will be yet another that showcases the facility and the Township of Langley to the world.”

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