Success in China for Canadians

 OTTAWA – Canadian national team captain Fred Winters of Victoria arrived home today after an unforgettable experience playing in the men’s professional volleyball league in China.  The season culminated with an historic league title for his BAIC team.

“It was a storybook finish for us,” said Winters, who’ll soon start training for Team Canada’s World League season which starts in late May.

Winters and Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., were among the first three foreign players to compete in China’s men’s professional volleyball league this season. The pair signed this fall with BAIC Motors, a pro club based in Beijing.  Also joining BAIC was Salvador Hidalgo of Cuba.

BAIC faced the Chinese army squad (Bayi) in the league final.  Bayi won all five regular season matches against BAIC, as well as both pre-season encounters,  and took a 1-0 lead in the best of three final 25-19, 25-27, 13-25, 26-24, 15-9 in Beijing.

However Winters’s and Brinkman’s squad rallied to win the last two matches on the road: 25-16,25-20,29-27 and 25-21,29-27,25-18.

“It just took a good start in game two and we found our confidence,” said Winters. “I knew that they weren't that much better than us.  They just had extreme confidence which can go a long way.”

 Bayi had lost in the finals for the last nine years.

“When they went up 1-0 on the road and were heading back home with a chance to win after losing for so many years I guess the moment just consumed them,” said Winters.  But we took it. Heartbreaking for them, storybook for us.”