Gatineau, Canada, September 1, 2020 – A selection of players who are part of Canada’s men’s national team will spend the next few months practicing at the team’s training facility in Gatineau as part of the country’s National Excellence Programme (NEP), Volleyball Canada has announced.
The programme, created to prepare athletes to perform at the highest level of the sport and to continue their development towards the national senior team, will reunite 18 players under the guidance of coach Dan Lewis starting on September 2. The athletes will initially be reunited until December, but the period may be further extended.
“The NEP has restarted with a targeted group of athletes, which includes national team members as well as invited university or younger athletes,” Lewis said. “After a modified training season and the cancellation of most competitions due to the pandemic, we are excited to get back into the gym with this talented group of players.”
The list includes some players with international experience for the Canadian national team, like 28-year-old setter TJ Sanders, who appeared at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Outside hitter Jason DeRocco, 30, and middle blocker Lucas van Berkel, 29, who were part of the country’s roster at both the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup and the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, are also part of the group.
The other players invited are setters Gabriel Chancy and Mikael Clegg, opposites Xander Ketrzynski and Matthew Neaves, outside hitters Erik Siksna, Samuel Cooper, Zac Hutcheson, Aaron Elser and Braedon Friesen, middle blockers Fynnian McCarthy, Jackson Bere, Jordan McConkey and Luis Lange and liberos Justin Lui and Jordan Pereira.
This will be the second activity the team holds during the summer after a one-month training camp with 13 players took place in July. A similar programme for the women is set to start in the second week of September and the players invited will be announced soon.