Sarah Pavan Applies for Toronto Premier League Draft

The Toronto Premier League is ecstatic to announce that volleyball superstar Sarah Pavan has officially entered her application for the 2018 Toronto Premier League Draft. The Canadian athlete is one of the top international players of our time, and with her family future in mind, she's decided to step back from her Beach successes to settle down in Toronto.

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Sarah is an internationally stud. She left a mark at The University of Nebraska where she lead her team to an NCAA Title and was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. Following her standout University career, Sarah went on to compete professionally throughout Europe, Asia and South America.

Sarah was the youngest athlete EVER to have competed on the Canadian Women's National Indoor Team at the early age of 16 before deciding to move her career to the Beach to pursue her Olympic dreams. The whole volleyball community had the opportunity to come together and cheer on the team of Pavan / Bansley at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where they went on to finish 5th on the Olympic Stage. 

 Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Sarah Pavan (right) win Canada's first FIVB World Tour title at the Porec Major in Croatia

Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Sarah Pavan (right) win Canada's first FIVB World Tour title at the Porec Major in Croatia

Since the 2016 Olympics, Sarah and her new partner Melissa Humana-Paredes, have had outstanding results on the Beach Tour. The most successful women's beach team in Canadian history, Sarah and Melissa became the first to win Gold at an FIVB Major event, on Canada Day none the less. Despite their successes, Sarah confesses she is excited about what is happening in Toronto and wants to play a role in the Premier League. 

"My true love of the game lies with the Indoor Game. I see an opportunity to settle and start my family in Toronto while helping to establish the first Professional League within Canada. The Toronto Premier League is a great step for the Indoor Volleyball Community and I am excited to support their growth and get back on the hard court." says Sarah.

So, the real question is, 

WHO WILL GET THE LUCKY NUMBER 1 PICK FOR THE 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE DRAFT?!

Canadian Armed Forces Men's National Team to Compete in Challenger Series No. 4

As we wrap up the Challenger Series for the 2017-2018 season, we are excited to announce the addition of a new team to competition. The Canadian Armed Forces Men’s National team has booked their tickets and are set to compete this weekend at Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre!

Belonging to an organization called CISM (Couceil International du Sport Militaire), the Canadian Armed Forces team competes across the world against armed forces national teams. The CISM is one of the largest multidisciplinary organizations in the world, organizing various sporting events for the armed forces of its 136 member countries and is one of the global sports organizations in which the largest number of disciplines is represented. CISM annually organizes over twenty Military World Championships for approximately 30 different sports, continental and regional competitions.

 CISM Canadian Men's Team competing at a recent CISM competition in Amsterdam where they won Gold

CISM Canadian Men's Team competing at a recent CISM competition in Amsterdam where they won Gold

This year, Canada will be hosting the World Volleyball Championships for both men and women in Edmonton 28th May-3rd June. The Military World Games is held every 4 years and is second in participation size to the summer Olympic games. The next World games are to be held in Wuhan, China in November of 2019. 

"Our constant goal is to seek high caliber competition abroad to better prepare us to face the nations we face on the international circuit." - Chuck Harvey, Manager of CISM Canada Men's Volleyball

The majority of international competitors train all year long, and many have the ability to augment professional athletes to compete for time served in countries where 2 years of military service are mandatory.  For Canada, training and competing together as a team is limited, usually on an average of 5-6 times a year, as the roster consists of the best athletes from across the country (basically an all-star team). With the limited training opportunities, the Canadian team is continually seeking high level competition and experience, and they are excited to finally have options available within Canada! 

The team competing at the upcoming Challenger event consists of many of their younger players, you can check out the Roster and a small bio about each player below! To learn more about the CISM Men's Volleyball Canada Team, check out and follow their Facebook page.

OCdt David Hamilton (setter) – This will be David’s 1st time with the team. He is currently the setter for the RMC Paladins. He has been scouted early in his career as an exceptional prospect.

2 LT Michael Peet (setter) – Michael recently graduated from the Military college and is now located in Victoria. A 6’6 setter who played with RMC.

OCdt Dale Towe (OH) – Dale is in his 3rd year at RMC and is one of the most noticeable Volleyball athletes in a while. He has been selected on the CIS all-rookie team and most recently awarded the MVP of the CISM quarter world championships in the Netherlands.  He is one of our BIG GUNS J

Sgt Ivan Karin (OH) -  Ivan is one of our veteran players who has won so many MVP’s throughout his career, it’s too long to list. Ivan also is a high level referee. He is from Ottawa and is also a BIG GUN.

MCpl Gord Lee (Libero) – Gord is another of our veteran players. He is out of Cold Lake Alberta. Our top libero who has experienced several international tournaments.

2 Lt Justin Scapinello (RS) – Justin is currently in the CAF enrolment process. He will soon become a direct entry Infantry Officer and a valuable member of our team. Many of the players will be familiar with Justin as he played with the Purple Ponies in the last Challenger event. Justin has a remarkable career in the sport thus far with Western University as well as a professional stint in Sweden. BIG GUN!!

2 Lt Blake McClelland (OH) – Blake is another rookie on the roster. Recently graduated from RMC, he is now in the process of his occupational training and will be situated in Halifax upon completion.

NCdt Travis Verbeek (Mid) – Travis currently plays with RMC and has travelled with the team in the past. His performance at the US Open Nationals was noteworthy of being brought on the roster,

Cpl Ken McKenzie (Mid) – Ken is located in Petawawa, ON. He played with Winnipeg Wesmen under coach Larry McKay for 4 yrs. He has been with the program now for a couple years and was part of the gold medal team in Netherlands last June.

Cpl Eric Desforges (Mid) – Eric is located in Valcartier, QC. He also has a couple years with the team and has been able to grow into one of the core players.

Spotted : Dan Dearing Makes Challenger Series Debut

He's back! A welcome surprise on the courts last month, Dan Dearing competed at Challenger Series No. 2 for the first time since a career limiting lower back injury in 2015.

An incredible athlete, Dan dominated on both the indoor and beach volleyball court. No stranger to injury, he worked his way back on the court after a 2 year recovery from a patella tendon tear, to finish his final years at York as a Libero (2012) and Right Side (2013), before making a mark on the beach.

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Dan competed for 6 years for our Men's Beach National Team, 3 of which he was competing professionally to fulfil his Olympic aspirations. His accolades speak for themselves, Dan alongside beach partner Garrett May, were the 3rd highest ranked pairing for Team Canada and finished as high as 5th internationally on the FIVB World Tour in South Africa. Not to mention finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Norceca Events, and winning Beach Nationals in 2014. 

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A devastating lower back injury in Qatar in November 2015 forced Dan to step away from competition for two full years. But his passion for the sport couldn't keep him away from the courts, driven to give back and impact youth through mentoring and coaching. An integral part of Unity Sports Volleyball Club, he currently coaches full time; Head Coaching both Indoor Rep and House League Academies, along with being the Technical Director of Beach Volleyball for Unity. And that's not all, Dan also created IBELIEVE, a campaign to give back to his community in Rexdale/Etobicoke where he grew up throughout his youth and teenage years.

A lot was given to me through guidance, mentorship and opportunity and it is my opportunity to do so now. All funds raised go directly to athletes and families in Rexdale to help direct them in life through the avenue of sport.
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Though his Olympic aspirations have changed, Dan is excited to continuing inspiring and coaching as much as possible, and playing whenever he can in events within North America, Central America and the Caribbean. You can catch him competing at the Challenger Series events throughout the year, and rumour has it you may even get to see him in action this summer, competing in the 2018 Toronto Premier League! 

Fun fact : Dan "loooovvveee(s) bake goods, especially chocolate crossaints!!"

Featured Challenger Series Competitor: Myriam Hallé

For Myriam Hallé, her journey with volleyball happened a bit differently than most, but her passion and love for the sport is just as great as any. 


Club: Les Vipères des Laurentides
College: Les Nordiques, Lionel-Groulx
University: University of Montréal


Hallé's volleyball resume is filled with accolades from both indoor and beach volleyball, including 2 RSEQ titles with the University of Montréal and both a silver and gold medalist at the 2011 and 2014 Beach National Championships, respectively.

Hallé played volleyball all through high school and club like most, and she also played College for Lionel-Groulx before being recruited to the University of Montréal. "The coach saw me play libero during my last collegial year and asked me to attend the training camp because he liked my energy on the court," she says. 

Hallé eagerly accepted a position on the squad but after only a few weeks of training with the team, both setters got injured. "I was asked to learn to set and I never played as a setter in my years of volleyball before University," she says. "On my first practice I was asked to jump set and do fast plays. I'd say I had to learn quickly!"

Hallé continued to set for the team for 3 years before stepping back from volleyball to pursue her career in Pharmaceuticals. Not able to ignore her love for the game for very long, she joined the Celtiques Senior Team to keep playing at a high level, and started coaching with Olivier Trudel at the University of Montréal. "I felt that 3 years as a player were not enough for me and I still had a lot the give to the team," she says. 

With the Celtiques she trains once a week, and at first it was a bit of a shock adjusting to the post-competitive volleyball life she once had. "The environment is very different. We're self-coached and play on Tuesdays after a day of working. It's a good way to continue to play my sport at a good level and having a good time with my friends," she states. "We love doing tournaments organized by ONE Volleyball to bring us competition as there is not a lot of tournament we can do around Montreal."

Aside from her time with the Celtiques and her life as a Pharmacist, which she loves, Hallé is taking Pharmacy Management classes to buy her own Pharmacy one day. And since coffee is one of her favourite things, it's likely that you can find her sitting in a remote coffee shop in Montréal-Nord, sipping a hot cup of Joe and studying for her future career goals.

Hallé claims its her work ethic that gives her the drive to pursue new avenues of her career, but that comes from all her years spent on the court. "Everything I learn in sport is helping me a lot in my career right now," she says. "Whoever is on the other side of the net won't intimidate me and that relates in my life too."

You can catch Myriam Hallé and the Celtiques January 6-7, 2018 at the 1st Challenger Series Invitational

Featured Challenger Series Competitor: Reed May

Reed May makes his debut at Challenger Series Event


Name: Reed May
Club: CRUSH Volleyball Club 13U - 18U
University: University of Alberta Golden Bears 2012-2017


 Reed May - libero - Alberta Golden Bears

Reed May - libero - Alberta Golden Bears

A former University of Alberta standout libero, Reed May is eager to tie up his laces again with Eastern Blocks for the 1st Annual Challenger Invitational this coming weekend at the Markham Pan Am Centre.

May comes from a family with a rich volleyball history. His father, John May, was a former volleyball standout at the University of Toronto and has been involved with beach volleyball at both the FIVB and Olympic Games. His brother, Garrett May, played for Western University and competes for Canada on the FIVB beach tour. In fact, it's not often that siblings get to face off against each other but Reed and Garrett have, during the 2014 CIS National Championships final, with Reed coming out on top.

I think it's safe to say that when May stepped foot on the court for the first time, he was going to become a great player. His father established CRUSH Volleyball Club and May was a dominant player for them from 13U to 18U, winning 7 National Championships. From there, May moved to Edmonton to play for the University of Alberta on one of the best teams in the country. He finished his University career in March 2017 with 4 National Championship medals, including back to back gold medals.

 Reed May - libero - Alberta Golden Bears

Reed May - libero - Alberta Golden Bears

It's always tough going from training every day to what can seem like a perpetual silence following your University career. Returning home to Toronto for the summer, May joined forces with his father as one of the owners of a men's team in the Toronto Premier League. "My first reaction when my father told me he was buying a team in the ONE Volleyball Premier league was pure excitement!" May says, "I had heard about the draft through former teammates and noticed one of the teams didn't have an owner yet. I was just about to call my dad and suggest he get involved when he walked into the office and told me he had bought the team!"

"When I was presented with the opportunity to get involved at an ownership level I was very excited because I love being around high level volleyball on a regular basis even if I’m not able to get out and play every day," May says.

Knowing he has big shoes to fill, he seemed both eager and honoured to start this adventure with his father, "Being in volleyball environments with him, I see how big of an impact he’s had on the community by the sheer number of people he stops and chats with at the events. I can see the respect people have for him in the community and how much value his perspective has. I would consider myself very lucky if I had even a fraction of the impact on the community that he has over his many years in the sport."

With a bit of time yet to plan for the upcoming 2018 Toronto Premier League season, May hopes to help his team win their first Challenger Series Title, "I’m always looking for opportunities to get back out on the court and compete. It’s in my DNA."

 University of Alberta Golden Bears at the 2014 CIS Men's National Volleyball Championships

University of Alberta Golden Bears at the 2014 CIS Men's National Volleyball Championships


Emily Betteridge signs first professional contract in Denmark

The list of Canadian athletes competing abroad keeps growing with Emily Betteridge signing her first professional contract with Brøndby Volleyball Klub in Denmark!

Betteridge played her final three years of varsity for the Ryerson Rams

A former Team Ontario athlete, Emily started her ascent to pro ball at Syracuse University and finished her varsity run at Ryerson University where she was a 2nd-team OUA All-Star in her final year. She joined the ONE Volleyball Premier League in 2017, competing for Unity Volleyball, to take advantage of the extra training time over the summer while she looked to fulfill her goal of playing volleyball overseas professionally.

Finding a contract is not a simple process. While most athletes start their seasons early September, Betteridge was still looking for the right contract by this time, "I think I learned some valuable lessons in the time it took to get here. It's reminded me that you can't control the timing of your life, but you can control your attitude and your work ethic," she says. 

Betteridge competed in ONE Volleyball Challenger Series events

After competing with other pro athletes during the summer she knew that was the level she wanted, and could be playing at, she just needed to be patient. 

Fellow Premier League athlete and Premier Cup Champion Asli Ersozoglu landed her first contract earlier in the summer with Brøndby Volleyball Klub, and when her team started looking for a new setter she immediately recommended Betteridge. An opportunity came up to travel to Denmark to train with the team and see if it was the right fit, and Betteridge jumped on the chance to start her dream.

"I'd been working toward the goal of playing overseas for a while, so having the opportunity to go to Copenhagen was more than exciting. I went to Denmark on a trial and got to experience the volleyball and the life for a week before signing. While that certainly came with some pressures, it allowed me to completely embrace the experience, take every day as it came, and both challenge myself and prove to myself, that I deserved to be here," she says. 

Betteridge competing for Unity Volleyball in the 2017 Premier League

Betteridge joins Brøndby mid-season with a record of 18-3, and they sit in 1st place in the VolleyLigaen Damer League. 

Follow Asli and Emily on their pro journey in Denmark on our Athletes Abroad page!