Hiroshima, Japan, October 13, 2019 – Stephen Maar has emerged as a key player in Canada’s roster as the North Americans continue their efforts to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Youtube
In the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup, Canada’s intent was to find its next generation of stars, capable of filling the shoes of players like Gavin Schmitt, Graham Vigrass, Tyler Sanders and John Gordon Perrin. In their nine matches at the World Cup, Canada have played five tiebreakers and prevailed in three, including their latest victory against Italy.
“We have a lot of good, young players like Sharone (Vernon-Evans) and Blake (Scheerhoorn) who could fill the void left by the big stars because they bring a lot of physicality. We’re also missing a lot of players like Vigrass and Sanders, so it’s definitely up to a lot of the young guys to bring leadership qualities,” Maar said.
“Our captain Nick Hoag is doing an amazing job. So these guys are really building a different level. We’re just making each other better each day. Our coach brought in a lot of young players in this tournament, so we’re really focusing on our attitude and I think people could see in this match that a couple of sets got away, but we like to grind up games like that.”
Their latest performance was fascinating and gave fans a glimpse of the untapped potential Canadian volleyball has to offer on the international stage. In Maar’s case, he was given an early introduction to the senior side, as he joined the team in 2016, and has already developed leadership skills.
Next year, Canada will host the NORCECA Tokyo Volleyball Qualification men’s tournament from January 8-13, hoping to gain their fifth Olympic Games appearance. The new wave of exciting Canadian talents have responded well so far, which further shapes their future for years to come.
“We have the Olympic Qualification Tournament in January so that’s really important for us,” Maar said. “We’re building for that and we are allowing young players because these guys will be in the next Olympic cycle. We’re trying to build character in the team. It’s an exciting opportunity for us.”
Canada are looking to perform well and continue working towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but for now, Maar’s immediate goal is for him and his team to stay in top form.
“The main goal is to stay healthy in this tournament because it’s long and difficult. We all have to stay healthy in this tournament and after that the Olympic qualifiers - that’s the only thing on our radar.”