Team Canada Disabled Volleyball General History
In 1986 the Canadian Amputee Sports Association launched the first, formal, national disabled volleyball program. The purpose of the program was to provide athletes with a disability an opportunity to represent their country on the international stage, in the sport of volleyball. Prior to this Canada had participated in the sport by forming teams made up of athletes who were active in other sports and were able to spare the time, at a multi-sport event, to play some volleyball. Although this was Canada's inaugural season, the sport of disabled volleyball had been played for many years. Teams that have been very successful internationally include Poland, Germany and Israel.
In December of 1996 the Canadian Amputee Sports Association appointed one of their Vice-Presidents to act as the director of the volleyball program, giving him the responsibility to build a winning team and to integrate the disabled program into the able body sport group. The recruitment of athletes with a disability, already active in the able body volleyball community, was the first success achieved through the integration process. In August of 1997 Canada hosted an international competition and defeated the defending World Champions (Poland), the Paralympic Silver Medallists (Slovakia), and the United States. With these victories, Team Canada finished the competition with the best overall record and earned a top world ranking.
After the ratification of a memorandum of understanding between the Canadian Amputee Sports Assn. and Volleyball Canada in June of 1998 the formal integration process was complete. Volleyball Canada put in place a standing committee for disabled volleyball with the same rights and responsibilities as their other working groups such as the Beach Volleyball Committee.
On the competitive front Canada continued to open eyes with a strong performance at the 1998 World Championship in Olsztyn and by qualifying at the 1999 Pan-Am Open competition in Laval, to compete for gold at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
In Sydney, Team Canada's standing disabled volleyball team made Canadian volleyball history on October 27th, 2000, winning the silver medal at the Paralympic Games. Facing perennial Paralympic champions Germany in the final Team Canada lost a well-fought match in three straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) -- the German team's experience and consistency proved too much for the dynamic Canadian squad.
2001 was a difficult year for Team Canada Standing Disabled. The Team spent the post-Paralympic year preparing for the 2001 World Cup in Puchov, Slovakia, and looked very good leading up to the competition. Due to the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001, Team Canada was forced to withdraw from the tournament, which was scheduled to take place from September 14-24, 2001.
In December 2001, the team suffered another blow. The International Paralympic Committee rejected the WOVD's appeal to re-instate Men's Standing Disabled Volleyball to the slate of events for the 2004 Athens Paralympics.
In 2002, the Team shifted its focus to the 2002 Standing Disabled World Championships in Wisla, Poland. A couple of eager and promising new recruits helped the Team Canada veterans pave the way to the finals, beating Germany in the Semi-final match in the process. Team Canada pulled out an exciting 3-1 victory (25-17, 18-25, 25-28, 25-15) against Poland in the Gold Medal Match to be crowned World Champions for 2002.
Since 2002, The Men’s Standing Team has been ranked #1 in the world, defending their 2002 World Championship title in not only 2004, but also in 2006 – a rare 3-peat. In that time, they have also won a Silver Medal in at the 2003 World Cup, and Gold on home soil in Regina , SK, at the 2005 World Cup. The players have continued to rack up the individual awards as well in that time, impressing the world with their skills.
The team has also garnered recognition on the domestic side, being a 4-time finalist for Male Team of the Year at the Canadian Sport Awards (2002-2005), as well as a finalist in the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Category in 2005 for their work in assisting the Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled) with player and coach development.
Volleyball Canada has very recently begun to set in place a grassroots and high-performance Sitting Volleyball program. With the help of several partners across the country, we’re confident that in due time, the popularity of Sitting Volleyball will be significantly increased. We will be running workshops and visibility sessions in various cities throughout 2007-08, with the ultimate goal of partnering with local organizations to implement Sitting Volleyball activities into their regular programming schedules. Our initiation on the competitive front will be our participation in the Pan Am Zone championships in 2007.
Competition History Team Canada Standing Volleyball:
2006 World Championships, Roermond, Netherlands – 1st place (GOLD)
2005 World Cup, Regina, Canada – 1st place (GOLD)
2005 Asia-Oceania Zonal Championship, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Winner, Developmental Cup
2004 World Championships, Mettmann, Germany – 1st place (GOLD)
2003 World Cup, Rhodos, Greece – 2nd place (SILVER)
2002 World Championships, Wisla, Poland -- 1st place (GOLD)
2001 World Cup, Puchov, Slovakia -- did not attend due to events of 9/11
2000 Paralympics, Sydney, Australia -- 2nd place (SILVER)
2000 European Invitational, Wisla, Poland -- 3rd
1999 Pan American Championship, Laval, Canada -- 3rd
1998 World Championships, Olsztyn, Poland -- 5th
1997 Canada Cup, Montreal, Canada -- 2nd
1996 Canada Cup, Toronto, Canada -- 4th
1995 European Cup, Poland -- 6th
1991 World Championships, St-Etienne, France -- 8th
1989 World Championships, Las Vegas, USA -- 7th