The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team are on their way to kicking off the 2014 calendar year in style. The WolfPack, who are enjoying their best Canada West performance in three seasons, are jetting to Hawaii for training and exhibition matches.
The team, featuring outside hitter Brad Gunter of Courtenay, is going to the island Oahu where they will play the University of Hawaii in some exhibitions. Coach Pat Hennelly explains how the idea to go to the Aloha State came about. “I know the University of Hawaii assistant coach Jeff Hall,” he says. “I was in Hawaii on a family vacation last year and he toured us around a bit and we started about exhibition matches. It fit into our schedule and theirs for us to come at this time.”
The WolfPack will be playing the Warriors, who play in NCAA Div. 1, in exhibition matches Jan. 2 and 4 and training in their facility daily. There will also be a couple of days when Thompson Rivers will have two workouts in order to prepare for the resumption of their regular season.
“We will be doing the same training we would normally do in Kamloops,” Hennelly states. “We will be doing some workouts as well as hikes to regain fitness. We have planned one day for sight seeing in the North Shore and around the island.”
He adds, “ I feel trips are an important part of any program. It functions as a reward and motivation and playing NCAA Division I teams is always good competition.” Hennelly has taken his team to Europe and to California in the past.
TRU has played before some big crowds at home earlier this year, they are expecting the same in Hawaii. “NCAA teams play a different style and it will hopefully mimic playoffs where you have to adapt during a match. We always have some type of competition during the break which I believe is essential to being competitive.”
Hennelly will take his entire roster including red shirts on this trip.
Both matches with the University of Hawaii will be played at the Stan Sheriff Centre and will be 7 p.m. start times (Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight time).
TRU will return to play in the Canada West Friday Jan. 10 when they host the Brandon University Bobcats at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops. Game time is 7:45 p.m.
– TRU WolfPack