Volleyball Nations League is Coming to Ottawa

Photos courtesy of Volleyball Canada and Team Canada

Over the past year Ottawa has played host to an impressive list of big sporting events, and now there is one more to add to the line-up. The best volleyball players in the world are coming to the Nation’s Capital. In June, The Canadian men’s volleyball team will square off against Australia, Germany and their North American rivals – the United States, at the arena at TD Place at Lansdowne Park.

It’s part of the newly created Volleyball Nations League, where 16 of the top ranked teams in the world will battle to become champion by playing in a round robin format. With a total of 130 matches throughout the league season, every team will play a minimum of 15 matches. The league will take place over a series of weekends, with different countries serving as host. The games here in Ottawa will take place on June 8, 9 and 10.

The games at TD Place will serve as a homecoming for the Canadian team, whose national training centre is in Gatineau. Though volleyball is one of the most popular sports in terms of participation, it still isn’t a mainstream spectator sport here in Canada. Volleyball Canada is hoping to change that, and says this new tournament format is a step in the right direction.

This Canadian team is worth getting excited about. Over the past decade Canada has skyrocketed up the world rankings, and is currently sitting at 6th in the world. In 2016, Canada qualified for the Rio Olympics. It was the team’s first appearance at the games in 24 years, and the Canadian players had an excellent showing – finishing 5th overall.

“This is the first time the team has had a chance to play at home and show what top ten teams in the world look like, and present volleyball in a way that’s never been experienced before by Canadians,” says Volleyball Canada President and CEO, Mark Eckert. “I think a lot of people expected a drop off after Rio, but low and behold our development system and what we’re doing in Gatineau at the training centre, our national excellence program, shows great value.”

Fans attending the matches can expect a party atmosphere at TD Place, including a live DJ and plenty of spectator participation. The games will also feature new innovation and technology, such as a video challenge replay, similar to what is used in tennis line calls.

“We are thrilled to be hosting an international event of this caliber and will once again welcome the world to TD Place with open arms,” said Mark Goudie, COO at Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. “Featuring some of the best volleyball players in the world, fans are in for a thrilling experience with the Volleyball Nations League.”

Public ticket sales begin on Feb. 15 through TD Place’s box office. Tickets will include two matches per day.