Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Canadian Volleyball: Celebrating Success Stories

This month, I had the opportunity to work with ACE Volleyball club in Canada as part of their Make-A-Wish project. The athletes showed incredible generosity by raising over $24,000, allowing four Alberta families with terminally ill children to experience the magic of Florida and Disney World. It was a truly special day that made me reflect on the many positive aspects of Canadian volleyball.

Volleyball’s Growth North of the Border

During my time in Canada, I discovered a unique volleyball training method that I would like to share with you. Even in the winter months, when the ground is covered in snow, Canadian athletes continue to train diligently. I was amazed to see them growing volleyballs on the roadside and honing their skills hidden under the snow. These athletes are true warriors, dedicated to their craft.

The Rich History of Canadian Volleyball

Canada and the United States were two of the twelve nations that founded the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), which now boasts more than 220 member nations. In 1976, Canada had the honor of hosting the Olympic Games in Montreal. It was during this historic event that the back-row attack for men became a formidable force. U.S. volleyball coach Bill Neville, who coached Canada’s men’s team, recalls his experience with fondness and admiration.

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The Power of Collaboration

Over the years, Canada has demonstrated a strong commitment to the sport of volleyball through collaborations and partnerships. I personally started a relationship with Canadian youth leaders during the FIVB Youth Volleyball Symposium in Tokyo, Japan in 1985. Since then, we have continued to share ideas and collaborate in all three disciplines of volleyball. It is truly inspiring to witness the global impact of these connections.

Triumphs and Challenges

The 1996 Olympic Games marked an important milestone for beach volleyball, as it made its debut in Atlanta. Canadian duo John Child and Mark Heese showcased an incredible comeback story, going from losing in the first round to winning the bronze medal. Additionally, Canada’s indoor men’s team made a strong comeback in 2016, defeating the U.S. Men 3-0 in pool play. Such triumphs highlight the dedication and talent of Canadian volleyball players.

Embracing Diversity

The Paralympic side of volleyball has also thrived in Canada. For over a decade, the country’s standing men’s team dominated the sport, winning multiple world titles. Although the standing men’s game was dropped in 2004, the Canadian women’s sitting team has since qualified for the Paralympic Games. Their journey is a testament to the resilience and skill of these amazing athletes.

The Allure of Canadian Volleyball

Canadian volleyball has its quirks and unique traditions that make it even more special. The outdoor skating rinks, for example, are transformed into summer doubles courts by bulldozing sand through the Zamboni entrance. The illuminated courts allow players to enjoy the game until the early hours of the morning. And when winter arrives, the sand is cleared away to make room for ice hockey. This adaptability and spirit are what make Canadian volleyball truly captivating.

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A Shoutout to Visionary Leaders

None of this would be possible without the passion and dedication of individuals like Vic Lindal, Mark Tennant, Gilles LePine, Leo Van Dame, Leanne Marriott, and many others. From the grassroots level to international competitions, these leaders have been instrumental in growing the sport and fostering a strong sense of community.

In conclusion, the Canadian volleyball scene is thriving, with more clubs embracing indoor beach courts and hard courts. The success stories, collaborations, and unique traditions make it an exciting and dynamic sport to be a part of. To all those who contribute to the growth of Canadian volleyball, thank you for being wonderful neighbors and inspiring partners. Let’s continue to celebrate and support this incredible sport together!


Q: What are some memorable moments in Canadian volleyball history?
A: Canadian volleyball has had several memorable moments, including hosting the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, where the back-row attack for men first gained prominence. Another remarkable moment was the 1996 Olympic Games when Canadian beach volleyball players John Child and Mark Heese battled back to win the bronze medal.

Q: How has Canadian volleyball embraced diversity?
A: Canada has excelled in the Paralympic side of volleyball, particularly in the standing men’s and women’s sitting teams. For over a decade, the Canadian standing men’s team dominated the sport, while the women’s sitting team qualified for the Paralympic Games in 2016.

Q: What makes Canadian volleyball unique?
A: Canadian volleyball embraces its unique traditions, such as using outdoor skating rinks as summer doubles courts and transforming them back into ice hockey rinks during the winter. These quirks and adaptations reflect the adaptable and spirited nature of Canadian volleyball.

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Canadian volleyball showcases a rich history, incredible collaborations, and inspiring success stories. From hosting the Olympics to dominating the Paralympic scene, Canada has left a significant impact on the sport. The unique traditions and visionary leaders contribute to its allure, making Canadian volleyball truly special. Let’s continue to celebrate and support this thriving sport together!

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