Canada’s best battling in Langley
The top eight men’s volleyball teams from across Canada arrived in Langley this week with one goal on their minds: capturing the Tantramar Trophy, which is presented to the national champions.
Judging by history, the likely winner will come from the Canada West conference, which makes up half of the eight-team field, including the defending champions and No. 1 seed Calgary Dinos.
The last 16 champions — and 32 of the past 35 — have come from what is now the Canada West conference (some of the teams in the conference used to play in the Great Plains Conference).
Eight of the past nine CIS championships matches have included two Canada West schools, including the 2010 title game, which saw Calgary defeat this year’s host, the Trinity Western Spartans.
“The historical results speak for themselves,” said Calgary coach Rod Durrant. “You can’t argue with what this conference has been able to do over the past several years.
“The Canada West conference prepares teams to play at a high level every weekend, and that helps us when we get to the national championship.”
Only five teams have won the Tantramar Trophy on their home court and the Spartans hope to make it six.
“It’s always exciting to get the chance to compete for a national championship,” said Trinity Western coach Ben Josephson.
“Every team starts out in September with that as their ultimate goal.
“The opportunity to compete for that championship in front of our own family, friends and faithful supporters only makes it more exciting.”
“We have always believed we have the best fans in the country and now we will get to compete for Canadian volleyball’s biggest prize with them alongside us the whole way,” he added.
The teams will spend Thursday practising with the quarter-final matches set for Friday. The bronze medal game is Sunday at 3 p.m. with the gold medal match set for 6 p.m. All of the games are at the Langley Events Centre.
1. Calgary Dinos (Canada West champs)
16-2 regular season/4-0 playoffs
2. Laval Rouge et Or
(Quebec champs) 17-0/2-0
3. Brandon Bobcats
(Canada West finalists) 10-8/3-2
4. Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West bronze medallists) 13-5/3-1
5. Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West fourth place) 17-1/0-2
6. McMaster Marauders
(Ontario champs) 16-4/3-0
7. UNB Varsity Reds
(Atlantic champs) 11-6/2-0
8. Sherbrooke Vert & Or
(Quebec finalists) 9-8/2-2
Friday, March 4 (quarter-finals)
1 p.m. No. 2 Laval vs. No. 7 UNB
3 p.m. No. 3 Brandon vs. No. 6 McMaster
6 p.m. No. 4 Trinity Western vs. No. 5 Alberta
8 p.m. No. 1 Calgary vs. No. 8 Sherbrooke