The Bears and Pandas athletic programs are consistently among the strongest in Canada, but one sport is always amongst the elite. That sport is volleyball, and now it appears that the trend will continue for many years to come. In a report by the University of Alberta’s Matt Gutsch, the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Physical and Education and Recreation is collaborating with Volleyball Canada to open a Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence (VCCE). Promising club and high-school volleyball players will whet their skills at the U of A-based VCCE, preparing for eventual CIS – and if all goes as planned – international competition.
At the moment, there are VCCEs across British Columbia, with Langley, North Vancouver, Richmond and Kelowna all boasting centres. In September, the University of Calgary will also launch its own VCCE. A quick look at this map provides a Canada-wide overview of the VCCE expansion.
On one hand, it’s clear that the VCCE will further a sport that is already popular in Edmonton. It may also take a stellar Bears and Pandas volleyball program to new heights. However, it is possible that neighbouring universities, such as Calgary, Lethbridge, Regina and Saskatchewan will also see their programs jump in quality.
With VCCEs sprouting up across Canada, Rio 2016 and the 2020 Olympics might be very promising for Canadian volleyball.
Photo courtesy of Duncan Rawlinson