After an extremely successful season in Canada West, Nate Speijer continues his superb year on the volleyball court as he was selected to represent Canada on the national senior men’s B team.
“It is unbelievable. I’ve been thinking about it; right now I’m on a bus with the best players in the nation – all on this bus,” says an excited Speijer as he travels with the national A and B teams from Gatineau, QB to Toronto. “I’m really happy to be here just taking in the experience.”
Speijer, an outside hitter from Penticton going into his fifth year in the fall, was one of 44 players at the selection camp; Nate and fellow Heat teammate Mark Broome (Middle, Kelowna, BC) made up two of the seven from BC. Players aged 17-28 were invited to the tryouts and the players were not just university athletes but also players from the National Training Centre.
“The competition level was nothing I’ve ever seen,” points out a Speijer, “to be honest once I heard the full time training centre guys were going to be on the team I thought ‘there is no way I’m going to make the team, they’re just older than me and they know the game.’”
Yet Nate overcame the odds and made the team, not backing down from the challenge, something his coach for the Heat was not surprised about.
“If there's anybody who's put in the time and worked hard to make this calibre of a team, it's Nate,” explains a proud coach Greg Poitras.
Poitras, the coach of the Heat over the past seven seasons, has been coaching the Okanagan Valley product for more than half of his tenure at UBC Okanagan. Greg was able to persuade Speijer to stay at home and pursue university volleyball in Kelowna after Nate captained his Pen Hi team to the 2007 AAA B.C. Provincial championship (hosted in UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium), earning tournament MVP in the process
“The experience Nate will gain this summer will not only benefit him and his promising volleyball career, but it will also benefit all his Heat teammates next year,” continues Poitras outlining just how excellent an opportunity this is for Speijer. “We are very proud of Nate and wish him luck this summer as he battles for playing time at the international level.”
Nate will be playing on the national B team as a developmental team that will represent Canada at the elite level internationally, specifically at the 2012 VII Pan American Cup to be held in the Dominican Republic, July 7-15, 2012.
The team will continue to train intensely in Gatineau until July 6 with two-a-day training sessions after which it will head to the Pan Am Cup. Currently the team is en route to Toronto to attend a World League Event, which will include a playing in a rehearsal match for the international referees, as well as a couple of practices.
Speijer’s older brother Ryan played for Canada in 2003 on the Junior National Team that won the NORCECA event held in Kelowna at what was then known as Okanagan University College gymnasium, now UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium.
Volleyball Canada official release on the selection of the B team: http://www.volleyball.ca/content/mens-national-b-team-selected
Info on the national senior B men’s program: http://www.volleyball.ca/content/men-b-fisu-program-info
List of players that attended the selection camp: http://www.volleyball.ca/content/volleyball-canada-announces-players-men%E2%80%99s-national-b-team-selection-camp