Canada opens European Tour with victory

 MONTPELLIER, France (March 21, 2013) – Canada’s Fulltime Training Centre (FTC) squad opened its European tour on Wednesday with a 25-13, 31-29, 15-25, 25-20 victory over Ales, a professional team in France’s B League.

Chris Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., led the Canadian attack with 22 points including five aces, 15 kills and two blocks.  Rudy Verhoeff of Calgary added 16 kills and a block and Allan Meek of Sherwood Park, Alta., also had 17 points with 12 kills, four blocks and an ace.

Libero Devon Parkinson of Richmond, B.C., made an impressive comeback from ankle surgery earning 17 receptions.  It was his first match in a year and a half.

“We had a great start to the match making only three unforced errors in the first set,” said Canada’s FTC head coach Vincent Pichette.  “Ales then increased its level of play and the match was more closely contested.  They are preparing for some very important matches in their season and we thank them for the high quality competition as well as their hospitality.”

Team Canada arrived here on Sunday for a two-week mix of training and matches.  This week they will also have matches on Thursday and Friday and another five matches next week before returning to Gatineau on March 31.

Canada’s Fulltime Training Centre team on European Tour in Montpellier, France.

Players: Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Isle, Que., Devon Parkinson, Richmond, B.C.; Marc Howatson, Victoria; Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, Que.; Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary; Graham Vigrass, Calgary; Christopher Hoag, Sherbrooke, Que..; Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Jay Blankeneau, Sherwood Park, Alta.; Jonathan Sloane, Winchester, Ont.; Allen Meek, Sherwood Park; T.J. Sanders, London, Ont.



Head coach: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau

Assistant coach: Denis Gaboury,

Head of delegation: Julien Boucher, Quebec City

Physio: Luc Campbell:

Strength and conditioning: Nicolas Roy

Team manager: Sophie Gaboury