Langley – The TWU Spartans will have five Spartans representing Canada at the Volleyball Nations League, as the senior men’s roster was of announced a week before the tournament is set to begin in Italy.
The Spartans quintet includes Dan Jansen Van Doorn (’13, Langley), Eric Loeppky (’20, Steinbach, Man.), Steve Marshall (’13, Abbotsford, B.C.), Ryan Sclater (’17, Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Lucas Van Berkel (’14, Edmonton). Loeppky, who played his first year of professional volleyball this past season in Italy, joins a TWU foursome that helped Canada qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at the NORCECA Men’s Tokyo Qualification Tournament in 2020.
Both the men’s and women’s VNL matches will be streamed live by CBC Sports (free of charge in Canada only), as well fans can purchase an all-access pass for Volleyball World TV for all games.
Carrying on from the successful 2018 and 2019 competitions, 2021 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) (https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/vnl-2021/) continues in the same format of 12 core teams and four challenger teams per gender with each team playing against every other – though in view of the ongoing pandemic all matches of both genders will be played in the Italian city of Rimini.
Including the five Spartan alums on the men’s side, Canada’s women’s team also features two TWU graduates, with Hilary Howe (’21, Calgary) and Brie King (’19, Langley) also set to represent the Maple Leaf in Rimini.
The men’s core teams are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and USA. They are complemented by the challenger teams from Australia, Bulgaria and Canada, plus newcomers Slovenia, who won the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup and are replacing Portugal who were relegated that same year, and the Netherlands, who are replacing China.
The 2021 VNL is set to start on May 25 for the women (Canadian team announced previously (https://volleyball.ca/en/news/canada-s-first-ever-women-s-vnl-team-announced) and May 28 for the men, with the preliminary round completed on June 20 for the women and June 23 for the men. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The men’s team is qualified for Tokyo 2020, based on its early 2020 win of the NORCECA zone tournament. The 2020-1 Olympic roster will be released at a later date.
TJ Sanders, London, ON
Gordon Perrin, Creston, BC
Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC
Jordan Pereira, St. Catharines, ON
Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON
Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB
Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC
Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, BC
Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB
Sharone Vernon-Evans, Scarborough, ON
Eric Loeppky, Steinbach, MB
Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB
Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON
Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB
Danny Demyanenko, Toronto, ON
Head Coach: Glenn Hoag
Assistant Coaches: Daniel Lewis, Gino Brousseau
Physiotherapist: Tracy Blake
Strength & Conditioning Lead: Michael Cook
Statistician: Lionel Bonnaure
Physiotherapist: Melissa Healy
Team Manager: Julien Boucher