TRU WolfPack will have a tough opponent on the opening night of the 2016-17 Canada West regular season.
The league has released its schedule for the upcoming season — the WolfPack’s 11th in the Canada West — and TRU will open at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday, Oct. 28, against University of Alberta Pandas and Golden Bears.
The Golden Bears were the No.1-ranked team in the CIS Top 10 in 2015-16 as they finished with a 23-1 record. The Pandas were rated third in the CIS top 10 women’s ratings with a 20-4 record.
WolfPack women finished last season with a best ever 12-12 record and wound up sixth. The TRU men wound up ninth at 10-14.
The first half of the season will see TRU home three weekends (including a series Nov. 11-12 which will be played at the TRU Gym) and on the road twice. The ‘Pack have a bye the final weekend before Christmas (Dec. 1-2). All other home matches will be played on the Warner Rentals Court at the TCC.
They resume play Jan. 5, 2017 with the first of four straight matches on the road (in Calgary and then Trinity Western). TRU’s first home matches of the New Year will be Friday, January 27th when they entertain the University of Regina Cougars at the TCC.
Most home matches are Friday and Saturday nights. The rare exception is the squad’s final home matches of the regular season when they play arch rival UBC Okanagan Heat. They will be played on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the TCC.
“Looking forward to getting our season started at home against a perennial powerhouse,” said women’s head coach Chad Grimm. “This should be a good measuring stick for us right of the gate to see where we stand to start the New Year.”
TRU will be led by CIS and Canada West player of the year Iuliia Pakhomenko (Donetsk, Ukraine). Pakhomenko has spent the past few months training with Canada’s National team. She will be entering her fifth and final year of eligibility in 2016-17.
The WolfPack’s men’s team will be directed by former player and assistant coach Mike Hawkins. Hawkins is filling in for a year at the helm as longtime bench boss Pat Hennelly takes a year sabbatical to work on his master’s degree.
“As always, Canada West is going to be very competitive top to bottom, so we will have to be sharp from the beginning of the season all the way through to have the type of success and development we are looking for,” Hawkins adds. “Starting against Alberta at home will be a great challenge for our young group, but I think it will set the tone for the rest of the year on how to play high caliber, Canada West Volleyball.”
The TRU men are starting a new era with the graduation of CIS all-time leading scorer and kills leader Brad Gunter (Courtenay). They will be led by sophomores Kyle Behiels (Edmonton), Sam Taylor Parks (Kelowna) and Charlie Bringloe (Waterloo, Ont.). Behiels and Taylor Parks were Canada West all-rookie team selections while Bringloe is playing this summer for Canada’s Junior National squad.
Home matches for the WolfPack will be 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on Friday’s. Saturday matches will start at 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Once again this season, spectators can see every men’s and women’s volleyball game live and on-demand by heading to Canadawest.tv-the official streaming home of Canada West. 2016-17 Canadawesttv.passes will go on sale Aug. 22 with early bird pricing available on both multi-sport and single sport passes available until Sept. 9.