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Canada looking to sustain momentum against Finland in Calgary

Glenn Hoag has been in charge of the Canada men's team since 2006

Ottawa, Canada, May 30, 2014 - Glenn Hoag, the coach of Canada’s national men’s volleyball team, says his troops are prepared for their biggest matches so far this season as they open their FIVB Volleyball World League campaign on Saturday and Sunday in Calgary against Finland.

Earlier this month, the Canadians locked-up a berth for the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014 due to be held in September 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 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.

“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.’’

Finland captain Antti Siltala knows his team will have to fight hard for World League points in Calgary: “Our team is full of passion and we are really hungry. We have some new guys and players who have been waiting their chance to play in the national team.”

Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo is ready for the battle. “We will show that we will fight until the last ball,” he said.

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 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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