As we prepare for the third and final Challenger in Toronto, we are excited to announce that the Canadian Armed Forces Women’s National Team will be joining us! Last year, we had the privilege of hosting the Men’s National Volleyball Team at Challenger No.4 and although they didn’t take home the cash prize, they brought a ton of energy to the court.
So, who are these ladies you ask? We dive into what drives these amazing women below.
This Canadian Armed Forces team represents Canada at home and abroad, competing against other Armed Forces National teams. Many of the Armed Forces teams are comprised of Olympic calibre athletes, whose job in their respective military is to be a full-time athlete. This is not the case for the Canadian athletes. They all have distinct occupations, and competing as an athlete is a privilege that is only afforded when it doesn’t affect Canadian Armed Forces operations. Additionally, training and competing together for the Canadian team is limited to several times a year, as the athletes are spread out all across the country. Limited in training opportunities, the Canadian team continually seeks out high level competition and experience and are excited to have options like the Challenger series available to them within Canada.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a member nation of CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire), which is one of the largest multidisciplinary organizations in the world, comprised of 138 member countries, who organize sporting events for the Armed Forces. CISM annually organizes over 20 Military World Championships for approximately 30 different sports, for continental and regional competitions. The CISM motto is “Friendship through sport”, facilitating sporting activities that promote peace and solidarity. This year, CISM will be holding the Military World Games in Wuhan, China from October 17 to 27, 2019 where Canada will be well represented in several sports, including volleyball. This multisport event are second only in participant size to the summer Olympic Games.
The team competing at the upcoming Challenger event consists of players that are currently posted and living within Ontario and Quebec:
Lieutenant (Navy) Carolyn Pumphrey is from Gander, Newfoundland. She currently plays libero for the CAF CISM team and participated in the World Military Championships in Edmonton in 2018. She enrolled in the military in May 2007, is a Naval Warfare Officer and currently holds the position of Squadron Commander at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC).
Lieutenant (Navy) Kelsey Chang is from Richmond, British Columbia. She played libero for RMC from 2009-2013 and was libero for the CAF CISM team from 2010-2019. She participated in the World Military Games in South Korea (2015) and Brazil (2011) and the World Military Volleyball Championships in Edmonton (2018), USA (2017), Costa Rica (2013), and Netherlands (2012). She enrolled in the Naval Reserves in 2009, is a Personnel Selection Officer and is currently working as a Recruiting Officer for the Army Reserves in Kingston, ON.
Lieutenant (Navy) Ali Beaver is from Nova Scotia. She played left side for Saint Mary's University in Halifax from 2007-2011 and Team Nova Scotia in summers 2008/2009 for the Canada Games. She enrolled in the military in April 2013 as a Naval Warfare Officer and after coming home from deployment last July was posted to Ottawa as the Attractions Officers at the Canadian Forces Center Northern and Eastern Ontario (CFRC NEON).
Lieutenant Marianne Pichette is from Longueil, Quebec and is currently a student in Physiotherapy. She played middle for the University of Ottawa (2011-2012), CEGEP de l'Outaouais (2008-2011) and for the CAF CISM team (2015-present) where she also participated in the World Military Championships in USA (2017). She enrolled in the military starting in the Primary Reserves in the 2008 and transferred to the Regular Force in August 2018.
Officer Cadet Kara Stephan is from Barrie, Ontario and is a fourth year student at RMC. She plays left side for RMC and the CAF CISM team where she has participated in the World Military Volleyball Championships in Edmonton (2018) and in USA (2017). She enrolled in the military in May 2015 and upon graduation will be commissioned and will become a Communication Electronic Engineering Officer (CELE); she is hoping to go into cyber defence.
Sergeant Emma Porter is from Ottawa, Ontario. Sgt Porter currently plays as setter and has been part of the CAF CISM team from 2013-present. She has participated in the World Military Games in South Korea (2015), the World Military Championships in USA (2017) and Costa Rica (2013). She enrolled in the military in 2008 as a musician and is currently a Recruiter at the Canadian Forces Recruitment Center.
Master Corporal Isabelle Moo Sang (Hendy) is from Quebec City, Quebec. MCpl Moo Sang currently plays middle with the CAF CISM team (2014-2019) and attended the World Military Championships in Edmonton in 2018. She has been in the Primary Reserves for over 12 years as an infantry soldier with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and currently works full-time for the Federal Government - Transport Canada, since 2009, as a Policy Advisor. She also has two children named Fiona (3) and Winston (1).
Leading Seaman Norah Collins is from Cedar Valley, ON. She is an outside hitter and has played for RMC from 2009-2013, Team Canada Full Time Training Centre and CISM. She has participated in the World Military Games in South Korea (2015) and Brazil (2011) and the World Military Championships in Edmonton (2018), USA (2017), and Costa Rica (2012). She enrolled in 2009 and is currently an HMCS Cataraqui Recruiter.
To learn more about the CAF CISM Women's Volleyball Team, check out and follow their Facebook page.