Volleyball Canada


Sitting volleyball teams looking ahead to World Championships

October 14, 2022: In less than a month, Canada’s women’s and men’s sitting volleyball teams will get the opportunity to compete with the best in the world at the 2022 World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball Championships (November 4 to 11) in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • UPDATE: Matches to be streamed on YouTube

The women’s team consists of mainly returning Tokyo Paralympic athletes, where the team finished fourth, with a few additions.

“The majority of our Tokyo roster has returned - Sarah Melenka has rejoined the program and we have added two newcomers, Jennifer McCreesh and Jayme Lepp, so we have more depth than ever and are ready to showcase that,” explains Nicole Ban, women’s head coach. “Our experience will be important as our pool has the reigning Paralympic gold medalists, USA, meaning we will be tested right away in round robin play. We will also play Slovenia and Iran who are tough competitors as well.

“This group of athletes are ready to show our improvements since the Tokyo Games and once again, push for the podium on the world stage.”

Throughout the summer and fall, the women have been training daily in Edmonton at the Edmonton Volleyball Pickleball Centre. The women’s sitting volleyball team has a centralization training model where athletes will stay and train in Edmonton for extended periods of time around their monthly training camps. The women's team will finish off its World Championships preparations at a training camp in Italy at the end of October before heading to Bosnia.

The men’s team was not part of the Paralympics in 2020, but the squad has been working hard to prepare for the Worlds, most recently at training camp in the U.S.

“The team is looking forward to getting back on court and putting the progress we have made in the last two camps against a strong Para Pan am zonal competitor (USA),” explains men’s head coach Jeff Smith. "Playing the USA is always beneficial as we match up very well with them. We haven't been able to play any matches with international speed and size for some time, so these matches are key in our prep for World Championships at the end of the month

“We have developed a new offence that will suit us very well in our pool for World Championships. We have seen Germany, Brazil, and match up very well against Poland. Our goal is to finish top 10 at World Championships and I believe the team we have can do so. We want to play a faster tempo game and rely on ball control and our defence as part of our equation for success.”

The first-place finishers for both the men and women at the 2023 WPV World Championships automatically qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games, and there are also valuable World Ranking points available at this event.

The full schedule is yet to be released. More information can be found at www.worldparavolley.org

Women’s team roster:
#2 Julie Kozun - Melfort, SK
#3 Danielle Ellis (C) - White Rock, BC
#4 Jennifer Oakes - Calgary, AB
#5 Payden Vair - Cardston, AB
#6 Angelena Dolezar - St. Albert, AB
#7 Anne Fergusson - Carleton Place, ON
#8 Jolan Wong - Vermilion, AB
#9 Sarah Melenka - Vegreville, AB
#10 Jayme Lepp - Vancouver, BC
#11 Heidi Peters - Neerlandia, AB
#14 Katelyn Wright - Edmonton, AB
#15 Felicia Voss-Shafiq - Burnaby, BC
#16 Jennifer McCreesh - Smithers, BC
#17 Allison Lang - Edmonton, AB

Head Coach: Nicole Ban
Assistant Coach: Chelsea Hobbs
Assistant Coach: Kate Rozendaal
Mental Performance Coach: Marek Komar
Analyst: Lionel Bonnaure
Physiotherapist: Yung Wong
Team Manager: Ian Halliday

Preliminary Pool (World Rank in brackets)
USA (1)
Slovenia (10)
Iran (14)

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Photo: World ParaVolley

Men’s team roster:
#2 Mikael Bartholdy – Calgary, AB
#3 Austin Hinchey – Edmonton, AB
#5 Nasif Chowdhury – Toronto, ON
#6 Bryce Foster – Thunder Bay, ON
#7 Douglas Learoyd (C) – Calgary, AB
#9 Andrew Tucker – Brampton, ON
#10 Christopher Bird – Brandon, MB
#11 José Rebelo - Saint-Hubert, QC
#13 Dariusz Symonowicz – Toronto, ON
#14 Connor Compton – Calgary, AB
#19 Jason Beaman – Vancouver, BC

Head Coach: Jeff Smith
Assistant Coach: Tristan Simmonds
Assistant Coach: Mark Broome
Physiotherapist: Cassandra Downe
Team Manager: Ian Halliday

Preliminary Pool (World Rank in brackets)
Brazil (4)
Germany (8)
Poland (16)

Volleyball Canada Media Contact:
Jackie Skender
Mobile: 613-794-7676

Photo: CPC (women)