Mammoth Canadian Open volleyball championships underway in Toronto

 TORONTO – It’s an incredible sight this week at the Direct Energy Centre.

The 32,000 square metre area has transformed into a mammoth volleyball venue.  A total of 54 courts are thundering with the sounds of spiking, passing and serving along with the cheering, calling and clapping as the Canadian Open volleyball championships enters its second day of competition.

On opening day Thursday, 315 teams competed and the numbers will be the similar through to Tuesday.  The action starts at 7:30 a.m. and roars non-stop until 9 p.m. in the evening.

‘’It’s been a great competition so far and a great experience for the girls,’’ said Brynn Kennedy head coach of the U16 Force from Surrey, B.C.  ‘’It’s a chance to compete against all the other provinces and see what the caliber of play is like.’’

Kennedy was hoping her squad would have fared better Friday after a strong start on Thursday.

‘’We think we are pretty strong in B.C., and we played some good volleyball.  But we saw the competition is really strong and it’s been that way the whole way through.’’

On Friday morning, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honorable Stephen Harper was on hand to cheer on his son Ben.

At the Open, teams from across Canada are battling for national titles in various age groups ranging from 14 to 18 age groups as well as in senior level championships.  Players range in age from 12 to 65.  As well Canada’s national sitting volleyball team is playing and training with the U.S., in an exhibition series.

‘’This is so fun,’’ said 15-year-old Mikaela Kott, a player with the Force.  ‘’There’s so many teams and it is such a great experience.  I’m a bit sad we lost today but it doesn’t take away from the fun.  It’s really cool how many people play volleyball.’’

Close to 10,000 players, officials and coaches are participating in the event.  It is the largest volleyball championships ever in Canada.  There are 250 volunteers as well helping with the matches and the various interactive activities outside the courts which make this event a true volleyball festival.

‘’Ultimately it’s all about the experience for the kids,’’ said Kennedy.  ‘’Whether we win or lose, it’s all about being together, being in a new place, meeting other Canadians passionate about our sport and celebrating volleyball.’’

Full results are available on-line at: