Victoria’s Howatson brothers help each other reach different goals at Canadian national volleyball team selection camp

GATINEAU, Que – Setter Josh Howatson of Victoria is on the comeback trail after a spectacular pro season in Spain while his younger brother Marc Howatson is looking to make a strong impression as the Canadian men’s national volleyball team selection camp continued Wednesday.

Josh Howatson played this past winter for Almeria, Spain and led his squad to the Spanish league title and was named the Spanish Cup’s MVP. The former CIS player of the year with Trinity Western University is here at camp looking to regain a spot on Canada’s national senior team.

“I came here because I want to be on the team that goes to the world championships,” said Josh Howatson, 25. “I haven’t been on the team the last couple of years for various reasons (injuries, marriage) but I feel strong after this winter season and I feel this the right time for me to come back and help the team.”

Meanwhile Marc Howatson, a former youth and junior national team member, is hoping he can put his name on the national B team list for this season.

“It feels great to be at a high performance camp,” said Marc Howatson, 20, currently playing at Trinity Western. “It’s going well and it’s great experience to see all the pro players coming to train with the younger players.’’

The brothers (photo) are getting a kick out of being together at the same camp.

“We never got that opportunity in high school or university because of the age difference,” said Josh Howatson. “It’s awesome and a great chance to play together.”

From one coast to the other

While the West coast is strongly represented at the 50-player camp, Max Burt is the sole representative from Newfoundland and Labrador. The Gander native started playing volleyball in grade 9 under former Canadian national team member Deon Goulding and was eventually recruited by Dalhousie University in Halifax. This season the Tigers won the Atlantic conference were ranked third in the country before being upset early at the national championships.

A member of Canada’s World University Games team last year, Burt’s primary goal is to continue impressing Canadian national team coach Glenn Hoag and his staff.

“Everybody is really pushing hard, it’s a tough camp, but it’s going well,” said Burt, a 6’9” middle. “My goal is to make sure I’m still here when the camp is over and train here and get better. If the A team happens this year, it happens, otherwise I’ll just keep working towards it.”

Heartbreak for Jérémie Lortie

Jérémie Lortie of Orleans, Ont., could only sit and watch Wednesday’s morning training session which focused on setting, reception and spiking. Lortie, a member of the Canadian under-18 champ Maverick Mustangs last year, sprained his ankle Monday afternoon when he landed on another player’s foot after a blocking attempt.

‘’It’s a bit disappointing but I’m trying to remain positive,’’ said Lortie, who completed his first season with the Quebec champion Universite Laval Rouge et Or this past winter. ‘’It was such a surprise for me just to be invited to this camp and even though I’m injured I feel I can still learn a lot by watching these guys train here.’’

Camp ends on Thursday.

Here are the players participating the Canadian national volleyball team selection camp May 10-13 in Gatineau, Que (sorted by province

Alberta: Graham Vigrass, Calgary; Jeremy Wilcox, Calgary; Blair Bann, Edmonton; Ciaran McGovern, Grande Prairie; Tim Gourlay, Grande Prairie; Steve Gotch, Okotoks; Jay Blankeneau, Sherwood Park

British Columbia; Gord Perrin, Creston; Jason Dakin, Courtenay; Jared Krause, Langley; Joe Cordonier, Vancouver; John Galloway, Victoria; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Marc Howatson, Victoria; Rudy Verhoeff, Victoria;

Manitoba: Andrew Town, Winnipeg; Chris Voth, Winnipeg; Daniel Lother, Winnipeg; Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg; Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Michael DeRocco, Winnipeg.

New Brunswick: Davin St-Pierre, Dieppe; Mathieu McLaughlin, Tilley Road.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Max Burt, Gander.

Ontario: Joren Zeeman, Cambridge; Tyler Santoni, Kingston; Eric Simon, London; Sander Ratsep, London; Terrell Bramwell, Mississauga; Bryan Fautley, Oakville; Jeremie Lortie, Orleans; Thierry Lavigne, Rockland; Josh Lichty, St. Catharines; Michael Amoroso, Toronto; Jeremy Groenveld, Welland; Jonathan Sloane, Winchester.

Quebec: Micael Girard, Lac-St-Jean; Fred Desbiens, La Malbaie; Pierre-Alexis Lapoints, La Malbaie; Karl DeGrandPré, Pierreville; Tommy Bélisle, Pierreville; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-L’Isle; Olivier Faucher, Plessisville; Christopher Hoag, Sherbrooke; Benoit Raymond, Vaudreuil.