Exhibition men’s college volleyball is coming to Vernon and Coldstream later this month.
The UBC Okanagan Heat of Kelowna and the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack of Kamloops will play a pair of matches on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The universities are bringing enough players to play simultaneously at both Vernon Secondary and Kalamalka Secondary.
The game at Kal will start at 6:30 p.m. and the match at VSS will start at 7 p.m. Warm-ups begin a half-hour before match time.
The Kal Senior Boys and VSS Junior Girls teams are the hosts for the games.
“TRU and UBCO Men’s bolleyball programs are part of USPORT which offers the highest level of competition in Canada for many athletic programs and sports,” said Brad Parno, head coach of the Kal Lakers Senior Boys squad. “Pat Hennelly (TRU head coach) and Brad Hudson (UBCO head coach) are excited to bring this level of competition to our volleyball hotbed in the North Okanagan where there has been exceptional growth in the sport of volleyball.”
“This is a pre-season exhibition game for both programs,” added VSS Junior Panthers coach Mike Bertram. The game also serves as a fundraiser.
Admission is $2 at the Panther Pit with any money raised going to the VSS Junior Girls team.
Each university is donating shirts and game passes for door prizes.
There’s also a local flavour to the contest, particularly with UBCO.
Rory O’Brien of Kalamalka Secondary and James Helfrick from VSS are rookies on the Heat squad and will see some game time.
Levi Vanderveen from Vernon Christian School is in his fourth year at UBCO but is recovering from injury and will not play.
Vernon’s Landon Currie, former Fulton Maroon standout, started his college volleyball career at TRU before transferring to the University of Alberta, helping the Golden Bears win a national title. Currie is now with Canada’s men’s volleyball squad.
“This is a great opportunity for our community volleyball enthusiasts to see some hard hitting university volleyball without having to travel out of town,” said Bertram. “We would love to fill the gyms and let these programs know how much Vernon loves their volleyball.”
The TRU website shows five Kelowna Secondary grads on its roster: Riley Brinnen, Mason Sodaro, Gavin Margerison, Owen Waterhouse, Rylan Ibbetson. The Heat’s 2023-24 roster has not been posted.