On Sunday, the Canadian men’s volleyball team secured their spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics, making it their third consecutive appearance after participating in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Canada, ranked 12th, achieved this by winning against Mexico, ranked 34th, with a score of 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-15) in their last game of the men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Xi’an, China. This win secured the Canadians a second-place position in Pool C, which consisted of eight teams, with a record of 5-2.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Canada’s head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo in a news release. “I’m just so happy for volleyball in Canada, and the history of what people have done for many years with this program to now consistently be in the Olympics.
I want to express my gratitude to the players, both those in China and those who have dedicated themselves to this program throughout the summer. I also want to acknowledge the coaching staff who have been involved in the program. This is an incredible moment for us, and participating in the Olympics is a tremendous honor as it symbolizes our nation.
Canada defeats Mexico in the match.
After losing to Belgium, it seemed improbable for Canada to finish second in the group behind Poland, who is currently ranked number one with a 7-0 record. However, Bulgaria, ranked 19th, defeating Belgium earlier on Saturday gave Canada a chance to qualify.
This time, Canada made the most of its chance and maintained full dominance throughout the three-set win. They were only behind at 1-0 in the first two sets, but quickly regained the lead and held on to it until the end.
Eric Loeppky, hailing from Steinbach, Manitoba, took the lead with a total of 16 points in the game. He also contributed to Canada’s tally of eight aces during the match.
Hoag, who hails from Sherbrooke, Quebec, is the only player from the current team to compete for Canada in Rio. He is also one of four players, including Arthur Szwarc from Toronto, Lucas Van Berkel from Edmonton, and Stephen Maar from Aurora, Ontario, who participated in the Tokyo games in 2021.
In the past two Olympics, Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinals, and their most successful outcome in four attempts was reaching the bronze-medal game in 1984 in Los Angeles.
Canada secured victories against the Netherlands, Argentina, China, Bulgaria, and Mexico but faced defeats against Poland and Belgium during the week.
The United States and Japan secured their spots in the men’s tournament this week, competing in Pool B. Similarly, Germany and Brazil qualified for the tournament in Pool A.
- #20 Jordan Canham — Avonmore, Ont.
- #13 Samuel Cooper — Hamilton
- #97 Landon Currie — Coldstream, BC
- #6 Danny Demyanenko — Toronto
- #1 Pearson Eshenko — Banff, Alta.
- #2 Luke Herr — Winnipeg
- #4 Nicholas Hoag — Sherbrooke, Que.
- #5 Brodie Hofer — Langley, B.C.
- #80 Eric Loeppky — Steinbach, Man.
- #18 Justin Lui — Pickering, Ont.
- #7 Stephen Maar — Aurora, Ont.
- #16 Jordan Schnitzer — Surrey, B.C.
- #14 Arthur Szwarc — Toronto
- #12 Lucas Van Berkel — Edmonton
- #8 Brett Walsh — Calgary