Canada set to start Volleyball World League

After qualifying for the Olympic Games for the first time since Barcelona 1992, Canada’s men’s volleyball squad will have one more challenge prior to heading to Rio 2016.

Team Canada will start its 2016 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World League in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic from June 17 to 19. With 36 teams competing across three groups, the 27th edition of the event is the biggest in the tournament’s history.

RELATED: Canada qualifies for men’s Olympic volleyball

Steven Marshalls spike, Canada vs China, Olympic qualification tournament

Steven Marshalls in Canada vs China match, at Olympic qualification tournament (Photo: FIVB).

The first Canadian match will be against China – a team it defeated for a spot in Rio – this Friday. After that, Canada will face Egypt on Saturday and then take on the Czech Republic on Sunday.

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The Intercontinental Round will continue in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan between June 24-26, at SaskTel Centre. The last stop of the Intercontinental Round for the Canadian squad will be in Tampere, Finland from July 1 to 3.

Here are the dates and times of Canada’s Intercontinental Round matches:

2016 FIVB Volleyball League, Intercontinental Round, games

2016 FIVB Volleyball League, Intercontinental Round, games

Canada is in Group 2 of the 2016 World League, which features Cuba, Japan, Korea, Czech Republic, Portugal, Finland, Netherlands, China, Turkey, Slovakia and Egypt. The final four will be held from July 9-10, featuring the top three of round play plus host Portugal.

Volleyball Canada released its roster for this weekend, which includes TJ Sanders, Jay Blankenau, Rudy Verhoeff, Justin Duff, Adam Simac, Toon Van Lankvelt, Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Fred Winters, Blair Bann, Graham Vigrass, Stephen Maar, Steven Marshall and Brett Walsh.

2016 World League

RELATED: Rio 2016 qualification tracker

As in previous Olympic years, the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World League is a shortened version of the competition to accommodate teams taking part in Rio 2016. The Intercontinental Round sees three different venues hosting matches over each of the three weeks of play.