By: Giovanni Siciliano
Red Deer, Alberta isn’t just home to places like Sylvan Lake and the Canyon Ski Resort. It is home to the 2019 Canada Games but more importantly, the CCAA men’s volleyball national championship as well. The Humber Hawks will be heading out to Red Deer next week for the national tournament that will take place from March 6-9 at Red Deer College.
Despite the Hawks falling short to Fanshawe in the OCAA gold medal game in five sets, Humber is still on their way to nationals through ranking. The Hawks had a season to remember. They charged through teams all season long and kept their chemistry at its peak. The silver medal at the OCAA’s isn’t so much a disappointment, but a reminder that another, greater opportunity, lies ahead in Red Deer. When Humber arrives in Alberta on March 5, they will check in to the Holiday Inn Red Deer South where they will be staying along with the other seven teams competing. The tournament officially begins the next day on March 6, when the teams have their first practice sessions and the CCAA hosts their awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. The matches begin the next day at 1 p.m. and will conclude with the championship game, currently scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9.
It is an exciting time of year for players, fans, and coaches. All the hard work they have put in during the season all comes down to this moment. The biggest stage in Canadian collegiate athletics. Humber may face their demons once again in this tournament if they end up across the court from Fanshawe again, but the outside hitter for the Hawks, Rrezart Sadiku, isn’t worried about that. He is more focused on the big picture. “We are really excited for nationals just because we took the best team in the country to 5 and honestly we had them,” he said. “I expect big things from us and the rest of [Humber] athletics believes in us as well so we have the support and believe we are going to do big things.”
Humber has a full two weeks off from competition from the time the OCAA’s ended until they leave for Red Deer. During a long stretch of time off for a team, you don’t want to push yourself too hard, tire yourselves and get away from your gameplans. Sadiku said, in a nutshell, don’t fix what isn’t broken. “Right now it’s kinda ‘rest is best’ situation because it’s been six months of training and we are just making little adjustments to our game so we aren’t doing anything different. More of just preparing for another high-level tournament,” he said.
The Humber Athletics association has the volleyball’s team back, do you? Support the Hawks as they look to win gold, and become the best team in Canada for 2019. If you can’t make the trip out to Red Deer, you can catch all the action once it begins by webcast at http://ccaa.ca/sports/mvball/championship/videos/
Humber’s first game of the tournament will be played on March 7 at 10 p.m. against the VIU Mariners at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.