Pan Am Cup June 13-18 in Gatineau a launching pad for important 2011 season

GATINEAU, Que. – The 10-country Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament which gets underway on Monday (June 13) at the Centre Robert-Guertin in Gatineau, Que., will represent an important start to the all important 2011 season for the teams entered and an all out battle for two coveted spots in next year’s prestigious World League.

For Canada, the Pan Am Cup is the start of its road to eventually qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. The U.S., the three-time defending champions, is fielding some national team members as well as introducing younger players to their first major tournament. Brazil, the number-one country in the world, will put its Military World Games squad on the court.

There are three pools: in group A it is Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico; in group B, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and Group C, the U.S., Argentina, Panama and the Bahamas.

The tournament gets underway Monday with the opening ceremonies at 11:45 a.m. followed by the match between Canada and Puerto Rico set for 12:30 p.m. The U.S., faces Bahamas at 3 p.m., Argentina plays Panama at 6 p.m. and Brazil and Mexico conclude the first day of round robin play at 8 p.m. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic have their first match on Tuesday.

The round robin continues Tuesday and Wednesday. The quarterfinals are Thursday, semifinals Friday and the placement matches Saturday.

Here follows the excerpts of the head coaches’ statements on Sunday:

Glenn Hoag, Canada: We would like to welcome all the teams to the event. Pan Am Cup has become a very good tournament both for promotion of the sport and for the quality of the team and athletes that are present. We will use this event as a starting point for the summer activities in preparation for NORCECA championship in September.

Jacinto Campechano, Dominican Republic:  We will be fighting for a medal in this tournament

Sergio Balletas, Panama: This tournament will be difficult. We will try to offer our best performance. The guys are happy to play well and do things right. We expect to finish 3rd in our pool as USA and ARG are strong Teams. We will fight with BAH for third place

Flavio Marino, Brazil: This tournament is of great importance for the Brazilian military selection as it will prepare us for the 5th CISM Military World Games which will take place in July in Rio de Janeiro. This tournament will serve as preparation and will be a big test for our team.

Carlos Rodriguez, Puerto Rico: This is a young Puerto Rican team with a combination of junior players that will play in the World Jr Champ in Brazil and player who practice with the A Team in Puerto Rico. Our expectation is to increase our level of play as the tournament progress and gain valuable experience in each of our match. This tournament will be good experience for our young player to build on for the future of the Puerto Rican National Team. In our pool, Canada will be a strong opponent in our pool. We hope that our player will do their best in this tournament.

Gordon Mayroth, U.S.A: We are happy to be in Canada and thank everyone for hosting this important event. The USA has had good results at this tournament in the last 4 showings and we hope to continue that streak. We have a mix of players, some this is their 1st major event some are part of our men’s national Team. We have not played with this group yet, so I think many teams here are very talented and have more experience together.

Jorge Miguel Azair Lopez, Mexico:  We are happy to be in this competition, we come with a young team. Like all teams we expect to see in this competition players who can represent us in the Pan American Games.

Raymond Wilson, Bahamas:  We expect good representation from the Bahamas. It is our first time at a competition of this magnitude and we expect players to perform at a high level and meet the expectation of the tournament and establish ourselves as good volleyball players from Bahamas

Juan Manuel Cichello, Argentina: Argentina has a young team preparing for the World Junior Championship. We would like to increase our level of play at the Pan American Cup by playing some strong and experienced teams

For more information on the Pan Am Cup visit: Events/VI Pan American Men’s Volleyball Cup/VI Pan American Men’s Cup.htm