Canadians sparkle in professional volleyball

 OTTAWA – Canadian national men’s volleyball team coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que., and Team Canada players Adam Simac of Ottawa, Ont and Gord Perrin of Creston, BC are currently in the final of the Turkish professional league with their club Arkas.

The trio is among several Canadian players who have starred this past winter in the professional volleyball leagues in Europe and assuring Canada will be a force to reckon with this summer in World League play.

Arkas, based in Izmir, topped the league standings in the regular season with an 18-4 record and are currently in the championship final leading 1-0 over Halk Bankasi. Arkas has also qualified for next year’s Champions League which determines the top pro team in Europe.

Setter Josh Howatson of Victoria has enjoyed a strong season with Paris Volley in the French pro league. Paris was sixth in the regular season at 15-11 and reached the final this week defeating Cannes. It will face top-ranked Tours in the final. Toon Van Lankvelt of River, Man., lost in the quarterfinal with Nantes.

In the Czech Republic pro league, Adam Kaminski of Chatham, Ont., has advanced to the finals with Liberec after two exciting five set victories on the weekend over Pribram. Liberec is the heavy favorite for the league title after going 20-2 in the regular season.

In the Russian Super League, Justin Duff of Winnipeg is headed to the semifinals after helping Belgorod to a dramatic five set win in the decisive third match over Novosbirsk. Canadian scoring ace Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon was eliminated earlier in the playoff with Odinsovo.

National B Team member Jason DeRocco of Winnipeg helped St-Nazaire win the French B Division Championship and qualify for the A division next year.

Earlier this season, national team veterans Fred Winters of Victoria and Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., won the Chinese pro league title with BAIC Motors.

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