While winning and going for the gold medal is important, that is not the only objective for the Canadian senior men’s national volleyball team.
“We hope to give you a good show; we will show you some good volleyball,” said Canadian coach Glenn Hoag.
“(But) these are the team we will face in 2015 when we try to qualify for the 2016 Olympic (Games).
“These games are important for us to measure where we are.”
Hoag was speaking at a press conference on Sept. 20 in the banquet room at the Langley Events Centre.
The press conference was in advance of the 2013 NORCECA men’s volleyball Continental championships.
The nine-country tournament begins Sept. 23 and runs until Sept. 28 in the arena bowl at the LEC.
NORCECA is the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Federation.
In addition to Canada, there are teams from the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, St. Lucia and the Bahamas.
The U.S. are ranked first in NORCECA while Cuba, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican are second through sixth, respectively.
“It is very important to showcase the game and promote the sport and at the same time, show where we are (in the sport),” Hoag said.
Township Mayor Jack Froese and Volleyball BC’s Tom Jones also spoke at the press conference.
The championships are being jointly hosted by the Township, Volleyball BC and Volleyball Canada.
“We know the (Langley Events Centre) has done its homework and is worthy of this event,” Jone said.
“Langley is a sports town (and) thanks to events like this, we have become known as an example of sports tourism,” Froese said.
“This is the place for sport.”
For Howatson, this is his first time playing at the LEC.
“It is great to see the change in venue from the old barn to this great facility,” he said, referring to the David E. Enarson Gymnasium where the Spartans played when he attended school in Langley from 2003 to 2007.
He said he was looking forward to going to battle with many of the same players he used to battle against back at the university level.
Verhoeff is no stranger to success at the LEC as the Spartans play their home games in the facility’s gym.
“It is exciting to come back to Langley,” he said.
“This was a really special time in my life.”
In 2011, he was carried off the court on the shoulders’ of the student body after winning MVP honours in helping the Spartans win the CIS national championship. They also won it the following year at Queen’s University.
And he said while it is an honour to play for your country anytime, Verhoeff said it was extra special to do so at home.