After a five-year absence, Team Canada made their return to the World League in 2012. The Canadians finished 12th among 16 squads, playing in the same pool of world number-one Brazil and eventual champion Poland. In the battle for the third place in the pool with Finland, the Canucks were successful despite the Finns being a more experienced team. Canada will play in the 2013 World League, an annual tournament that is essential for the team preparation towards Rio Olympics in 2016.
Kill on Two interviewed head coach Glenn Hoag, the man that has been training the Canadian men’s team since 2006. Hoag, who is also behind the success of the Turkish club Arkas Izmir, has a contract with Volleyball Canada until 2016. He points some positive aspects on Team Canada at the World League, although they had too many ups and downs. Hoag admits they need to do better: “Right now we have too many technical flaws. This is what we will work on.” Check out Glenn Hoag’s interview:
Kill on Two - How do you evaluate Canada’s performance at the World League?
Glenn Hoag - I would say we were good at the beginning and on the last weekend. This was really good for us as we got to assess the team with 12 good international matches. This will be useful as a base for the next cycle.
KO2 - Was any tactical change made for the final leg in Finland?
Hoag - Ciaran McGovern (setter) brought some stability to our offence after we lost Dustin (Schneider) and Josh (Howatson) to injuries. Young Blair Bann did a great job on the libero position. Overall, on the last leg we just found the patience that characterizes our game. We had lost this after Toronto.
More after the jump.
KO2 - What was the difference for the team to change the game pace and play better?
Hoag - I think mainly our patience and our focus was much better especially with our serve-block-defence, and offensively our hitters made much smarter choices in attack.
KO2 - What aspects of Canada’s game satisfied you most throughout the World League?
Hoag - It was on and off. But our net game was good, blocking especially.
KO2 - What needs to be fixed, the main weaknesses?
Hoag - Our technical game, how we deal with small things like free ball passing, covering our hitters. We are okay on straight forward stuff, but when teams take us out of our comfort zone we struggle. We need to be more aware of our bad execution in certain situations.
KO2 - What about the depth of the team? It never seemed to be one consistent line up, whether it was due to injuries or some guys' bad performance.
Hoag – Yes, it was difficult to find flow. We need to compensate technically for the difficulty of sustaining three matches in a row physically. Right now we have too many technical flaws. This is what we will work on.
KO2 - A new Olympic cycle is about to start. What the fans should expect for the upcoming years?
Hoag - This will be an interesting cycle. We have a competitive group and some solid young players coming to challenge the top 12 players. This is what we have been working on for the past years and we are reaching this very important point.
KO2 - Blair Bann and Ciaran McGovern came from the B team to help and both played well. Any other players are ready to join the A team?
Hoag - Quite a few. The full time training centre group entering this fall in Gatineau is composed of the same generation players as Ciaran and Blair. This will make for an interesting selection process next spring.
KO2 - How Team Canada’s presence at a high level tournament as the World League can help the sport to become more popular among Canadians?
Hoag - Exposure with TV and through the event in Toronto were major promotion tools. I hope this will help make the sport more popular. We have a lot of good comments.
KO2 - What’s the team schedule for summer and fall?
Hoag - We will do some training in August, then players will go back to their pro teams. The junior team will also train and compete in Junior NORCECA at the end of August. The full time training centre will start again on September 3rd and will run until April.