List of Inductees 2018
For many years Paul Duerden was considered by many to be the face of Canadian volleyball. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that people were calling Paul ‘the best player in the world’. Along with starring for his country for 15 years, Paul enjoyed an outstanding professional career in Europe, including seven years in France as well as stops in Germany, Belgium, Italy and finally, Turkey. In his 14 years as a professional, Paul was able to win 4 European Cups including the most prestigious of them all, the Champions League.
From his formative days growing up in suburban Oakridge, it was apparent Paul was a natural athlete and that volleyball was his game. At the age of 18, he made the gigantic move from Oakridge Secondary School to the Canadian National men’s team, the first male player in Canada to make that staggering jump. From that point it was a quick rise to stardom as a player in World Cup, Pan-American Games, and Olympic qualifying competition, interspersed with a scintillating professional career in Europe.
Paul retired at the end of the 2010 season, but only after forging some impressive credentials. His suitcase bears stickers mostly from such volleyball hotbeds as Fellback Germany, Knack Roeselare Belgium, Poitiers France, Paris France, Santa Croce Italy, and Izmir Turkey.
Professional volleyball is a major league sport in Europe, and it attracts crowds of massive proportions, similar to soccer. Teams have an abundant following and their star players are headline grabbers at every competition.
Paul Duerden was certainly a superstar. In his second season with Roeselare, he was second in voting for league player of the year, but it was in Paris where he really stepped to the fore. In 2000 he was named best blocker and MVP when his team won the prestigious CEV Cup. The following year, the Paris team won the league championship; they were Cup champions, Super Cup champions, and captured the Champions League title, the Stanley Cup of volleyball in Europe. They also won the Super Cup where Paul was the best scorer and MVP.
Other major achievements include playing in six world championships, winning a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg, finishing fourth with Canada in the 2008 Olympic trials and winning the Turkish Cup with the Arkas Sports Club. He was MVP as Arkas won the European Challenge Cup, meaning that Paul played on teams who won all of the European titles. His individual accomplishments included being the 2000 World League Top Scorer in a preliminary match against Spain, with 49 points and numerous awards as MVP of various competitions.
Following his playing career, Paul returned to London where he and his wife Kari have opened a training center. Appropriately named Empower, the center to works with high performance-minded athletes, teams and private clients. To this day, Paul remains active in the sport, coaching with the Forest City Volleyball Club, and providing on air analysis for CBC’s coverage of World League Volleyball.
In 2011, Paul was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame, as the youngest inductee at the time. We are honoured today to induct Paul Duerden as an athlete in the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame. He is incredibly deserving of this recognition for his many years competing for Canada, and for his remarkable International career.