(FREDERICTON, NB) Francois Pitre-Pelletier is hoping to open some eyes.
Having helped the UNB Varsity Reds win the Atlantic University Sport 2016 men’s volleyball championship in his freshman season, Pitre-Pelletier is looking for more.
The 6’10” middle/outside hitter is attending this week’s selection camp for the national junior team, in Gatineau, Quebec.
“It’s going to be high level volleyball, really good players,” says Pitre-Pelletier. “I don’t know how many or who is going to be there, but I’ll find out.”
45 players will attend the camp where Volleyball Canada will choose players for the upcoming NORCECA Under-21 men’s Continental Cup, being held in Gatineau, in early July.
That tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2017 U21 world junior championship, and will feature teams from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cuba, Barbados and St. Vincent.
“Make the team, that’s pretty much the only goal,” says Pitre-Pelletier.
Like other athletes attending the selection camp, the Balmoral, NB, native is having to pay for this opportunity.
Pitre-Pelletier has paid about $900 to attend the five-day camp.
He says his first season as a Varsity Red served as good preparation for the coming week.
“I would never be going there if I’d just played high school, so the higher level of volleyball has trained me well for this,” says Pitre-Pelletier. “I played a few sets at nationals. That was good for my first year, I didn’t expect that. That should help.”
Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran feels Pitre-Pelletier has a decent shot at making Team Canada.
“There aren’t that many 6’10” to seven foot guys that are kicking around,” says McMorran. “That alone is going to get him a look, and the fact that his ball control and other skills are good for a big kid, at his age, I think he’s got a very good chance.”
Regardless of what happens, McMorran is pleased one of his up-and-coming stars is getting this opportunity.
“I think it’s big for him, we’re excited. Any time that one of your athletes gets to go and tryout for one of these teams, I think it’s a win-win. Whether he makes it or not, he’s going to get great experience up there, training and competing against some of the top athletes in the country, in his age class.”
Canada has finished second in each of the last four NORCECA U21 Continental Cup tournaments. The event is held every other year.