More than 10,000 fans — including standing room only in the arena bowl for the final — flocked to the Langley Events Centre over the course of the week for the NORCECA men’s volleyball Continental championships.
“It was really exciting to see the full house that we had for the gold medal match,” said Hugh Wong, an international relations officer for Volleyball Canada. He is also a vice-president and executive committee member for NORCECA and a member of the board administration for the international volleyball federation (FIVB).
“We rarely see events at the NORCECA level that went as well as what occurred there.
“The organization and operation of the event was excellent.”
“I thought the Langley Events Centre did a great job in executing the event,” he added.
The United States defeated Canada 3-0 (25-23,25-20,25-14) to win the gold medal.
Capacity in the arena bowl at the Langley Events Centre is 3,900 and once all the suites are factored in, total capacity is 5,276.
There were 4,097 fans on hand for the gold medal game and a total of 10,527 over the six days.
Having Canada in the final “helped the energy in the building” said Jared Harman, the LEC’s director of business development.
“Everything went awesome; it was a real fun week for everybody.”
“The volleyball community was fantastic in helping support the event.”
Wong said Volleyball Canada is still waiting on final numbers — such as how many people watched via webcast — before they can establish if the tournament met expectations.
But early indications are that all went well.
“As the week went on, we could see the spectator base building, so we are pleased with that,” he said.
“In terms of the organization of the event, the gold medal match, the exposure that the sport got in this part in Canada, all those things that are very very important to Volleyball Canada, I think it was a most successful event.”
As for future events — the LEC also hosted the U23 men’s volleyball Continental Cup in September 2012 — Wong said this venue would be considered as host once again.
“We have an obligation to host events right across the country (but) when an event comes up for the west, Langley will always be foremost in our minds.”
He did say that the LEC could potentially host some Volleyball Canada national events.
“It is a marquee venue for some of our national events,” Wong said.
“That is an option as well.”
Coaches and players were also impressed.
“It was a great atmosphere and a great venue,” said American coach John Speraw.
Rudy Verhoeff, a middle on Team Canada — and former member of the Trinity Western Spartans squad — said it was a special feeling, playing for his country on home soil.
“It was very special and an experience that I may never get again.”