Volleyball was born into the world of sports in 1895 when William Morgan, director of the YMCA in Holyoke, Mass., was casting about for a “new diversion” to supplement his organization’s physical education program.
He took as his basis modifications from tennis, basketball and baseball but reworked the rules considerably over the next years, to give the new sport tighter competitive values. He wanted an activity that young and old could play and not as rough as basketball. Spalding Brothers modified the ball and in 1896 a demonstration was played at the Physical Directors’ Conference in Springfield.
In 1900, Canada was the first country outside of the USA to play the game and regular inter-city competitions were staged in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. The game was first adopted by the Ottawa YMCA, and then branched out to the YMCA branches in Toronto and Montreal.
From then on the sport continued to grow with the International YMCA movement spreading the popularity of volleyball throughout the world.
In 1936 at the Berlin Olympics there was a meeting of 22 countries to discuss the organization of volleyball and Canada was represented. By the end of World War II, interest in the game had grown so much that the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) was formed in1947 as governing committee for the world’s national volleyball federations.
The FIVB is now responsible for the organization of international championships, the adopting and improvement of rules of play, the instruction and certifying of referees and coaches and the general promotion of the game on a worldwide scale. It is the largest international sports governing body in the world, with 221 member Federations. Today, the FIVB estimates that there are over 800 million participating athletes in the sport worldwide.
Volleyball was part of the ‘First Far Eastern Olympics” in 1913 (Philippines, China and Japan). To keep WWI soldiers occupied over 16,00 volleyballs were distributed to occupy the troops. While it was a demonstration sport at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, volleyball was officially accepted into the Olympic Games in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Canadian volley results by competition
At the Olympic Games
With only 10-12 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams in the Olympic volleyball tournament and hundreds of FIVB member nations attempting to qualify for the Games, qualifying for the Olympic Games has been a difficult and competitive process for the sport of volleyball. In 1996, the IOC expanded the tournament to 12 teams for both men and women. Teams now qualify in the following manner: 1-Host, 2-World Cup, 5-Continental Winners, 4-OQTs (Olympic Qualification Tournaments) for a total of twelve teams.
1976: Montreal (Canada qualified as host)
Men – 9th
Women – 8th
1984: Los Angeles
Men – 4th
Women – 8th
Men – 10th
Women – 9th
2016: Rio de Janeiro
Men – 5th
At the World Championships
Canada men’s national volleyball team participated at world indoor volleyball championships 11 times (1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). The team achieved its best results at the 2014 world championship in Poland (7th place).
Canada women’s national volleyball team participated at world indoor volleyball championships 8 times (1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2010 and 2014) with its best ever result being 11th place in 1974 and 1982.
At the Pan Am Games
Canada’s national men’s volleyball team participated at the Pan American Games 15 times (1959, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015). The team won bronze 3 times in 1979, 1999 and 2015.
Canada’s national women’s volleyball team participated at 11 Pan American Games (1967, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2011 and 2015), with its best ever result being bronze in 1995.
At NORCECA Championships
NORCECA, Canada’s continental volleyball Federation stands for « North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation » and is comprised of 35 member countries. The NORCECA Continental Championships are held every second year for both the men’s and women’s national volleyball teams within the NORCECA countries. In addition to valuable world ranking points, the winner of these events gets a berth into FIVB World Grand Champions Cup (year following the Olympic Games) or FIVB World Cup (year preceding the Olympic Games).
The Canadian men’s team has played in every single NORCECA championship since it began in 1969. Team Canada’s best results on the men’s side were in 2015 (1st place) as well as silver medal positions in 1979, 1983, 1989, 2003 and 2013. The national women’s team has played in every championship except for in 1971 and in 2001. Team Canada’s best result on the women’s side has been second place, which they achieved in 1973 and 1989.
NORCECA also hosts Championships in the Junior and Youth Categories every second year (even years) in order to qualify teams for the FIVB Junior and Youth World Championships. Additionally, U 23 Championships are also held.
At the World University Games
Since 1959, volleyball has been a compulsory sport on the programme of the World University Games, now known as the Summer Universiade. The competition takes place every two years with Canadian volleyball being a consistent competitor in the event. , which is used as a training ground for younger players aspiring to be a part of Team Canada Men’s and Women’s programs.
Canadian volley through the decades
Early 20th century
- 1895: William G. Morgan invents the game of volleyball
- 1947: The FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volley-Ball) is founded
- 1949: Prague, First Men's World Championship
- 1952: Moscow, First Women's World Championship
- 1953: Canadian Volleyball Association (CVA) is founded
- 1953: CVA joins the FIVB
- 1953: First Canadian Championship
- 1955: Pan Am Games include volleyball for the first time
- 1959: Canadian Men's National Volleyball Team first participates in first international competition (Pan Am Games - Chicago)
- 1959: First appearance of volleyball at the World University Games (FISU), in Torino, Italy
- 1964: Tokyo, First Olympic titles are awarded to Japan (Women) and USSR (Men)
- 1966: NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) Confederation is formed
- 1968: Canada and USA join NORCECA
- 1969: Canadian men and women finish 4th at NORCECA Championships
- 1972: First international medal won by the Canadian Men's Team by placing third at the NORCECA Championship in Mexico
- 1973: Canadian women win silver medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1973: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1974: Canadian women finish 11th at World Championships
- 1974: Canadian men finish 20th at World Championships
- 1976: Canada hosts Montreal Olympic Games (Men 9th, Women 8th)
- 1977: First Junior Men's and Women's World Championships
- 1977: Canada’s Men’s Team wins bronze medal at the Pan Am Games – first major games medal
- 1977: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1978: Canada’s first international gold medal: Men’s Junior Team wins NORCECA Championships in Durango, Mexico
- 1978: Canadian women finish 14th at World Championships
- 1978: Canadian men finish 20th at World Championships
1980: Gold Medal won by Canada - NORCECA Juniors - Women (Calgary, Canada)
1981: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
1982: Canadian women finish 11th at World Championships
1982: Canadian men finish 11th at World Championships
1983: Canada hosts Universiade Games (FISU) in Edmonton (Men – 2nd, Women – 4th). Canadian men qualify for 1984 Olympic Games by defeating Cuba
1983: Canadian men win silver medal at NORCECA Championships
1983: Canadian women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
1984: Canadian men finish fourth at Los Angeles Olympic Games
1985: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
1986: Canadian women finish 15th at World Championships
1987: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
1989: Canadian men and women win silver medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1990: FIVB introduces the World League
- 1990: Canadian men finish 12th at World Championships
- 1990: Canadian women finish 14th at World Championships
- 1991: Canadian Men participate for the first time in the World League
- 1991: Canada hosts NORCECA Championships in Regina and Team Canada Men qualifies for 1992 Olympics
- 1991: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1992: Canada men finish 10th at the Barcelona Olympic Games
- 1993: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1994: Canadian men finish 9th at World Championships
- 1995: Canadian men and women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1996: Canada hosts NORCECA Olympic qualifiers for Men and Women
- 1996: Team Canada Women participate in Atlanta Olympics (10th)
- 1997: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1998: Canadian Men's Junior National Team wins at NORCECA to qualify for Junior World Championships
- 1998: Canadian men finish 12th at World Championships
- 1999: Canada returns to Men’s World League and plays in it for the 1999 and 2000 seasons
- 1999: Canada hosts Women's World Junior Championships in Saskatoon/Edmonton (9th place)
- 1999: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1999: Canadian men wins the bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg
- 1999: Canadian women win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 1999: New Rules of the game are introduced
- 2001: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 2002: Canadian men finish 17th at World Championships
- 2002: Canadian women finish 18th at World Championships
- 2003: Canadian men win silver medal at NORCECA Championships
- 2005: Canadian men win bronze medal at NORCECA Championships
- 2006: Canadian men finish 11th at World Championships
- 2010: Canadian Men finish 19th at World Championships
- 2010: Canadian women finish 21st at World Championships
- 2011: Canadian men win bronze at NORCECA Championships
- 2011: Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico (Men 6th - , Women 7th)
- 2013: Canadian men win silver medal at NORCECA Championships
- 2014: Canadian men finish 7th at World Championships in Finland
- 2014: Canadian women finish 17th at World Championships in Italy
- 2015: Canada hosts the Pan Am Games in Toronto (Men-3rd, Women-8th)
- 2015: Canadian men win gold medal at NORCECA Championships
- 2016: Canadian men qualify for Olympic Games at OQT in Japan
- 2016: Canadian men finish 5th at the Rio Olympic Games
The CVA was the first National Sport Organization in Canada to set up its own equipment company to sell volleyball and sport related items. “Sportquip” was an important revenue generator for the organization, and included items such as volleyballs (Tachikara, then the official ball of the FIVB – CVA obtained exclusive distribution rights for Canada) and other volleyball and other sporting equipment. The CVA unfortunately, had to sell the company when some volleyball equipment businesses complained about the CVA being in a conflict of interest by being in competition with them.
Anton Furlani – 1953-1973
Art Willms – 1973-1978
Jacques Samson – 1979 – 1983
Doug Robbie – 1983 –
Theresa Maxwell –
Alan Ahac – 1992-2000
Debra Armstrong – 2012 - (became Chair of Board in 2015)
Ian Stoddart – 1970–1984
Peter Fraser – 1984-1986
Dave Kilfoyle – 1986-89
Sylvie Bigras – 1989-1998
Caroline Sharp – 1998-2007
John Paul Cody Cox – 2007-2010
Mark Eckert – 2010 – present (became President & CEO in 2015)