By Andrew Mitchell
The Whistler Outdoor Volleyball Association (WOVA) is getting ready for the season with the introduction of a new league to go along with the new court under construction at Rainbow Park.
Starting this year, WOVA will offer three different divisions. There will be a Social League on Monday nights from 6 p.m. on that are open to everyone, regardless of experience or ability.
“It’s a four on four co-ed format, six players per team suggested, where the focus is on having a good time playing outside, expanding social circles, and every once in a while touching a volleyball,” said league coordinator Scott Rogers.
The Intermediate League will play on Wednesdays, starting at 6 p.m., and the format is once again four on four and co-ed. Six-player teams are suggested, and players should have some volleyball background. Unlike the Social League, team wins and losses will be recorded in order to seed teams for the end of season tournament to determine the overall champions.
There will also be a two on two Competitive League, running on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. onward. This league is for Whistler’s most skilled men and women.
The season runs from mid-June until the end of August. The official registration date is June 4, time and location to be announced later this month.
If you are looking to join a team or have a team and are looking for players, there will be an opportunity to hook up at the registration, which will also be WOVA’s first social of the season. There is a cap of 15 teams for each division, and the league is expected to fill up this year.
“Last season we had 143 players sign up,” said Rogers.
WOVA also worked with the municipality this year to add another court at Rainbow Park. The municipality has agreed to remove the grass section separating the two existing courts and widen them to allow for three sand courts and up to two grass courts. The plan also includes additional fencing to keep out of play balls from getting into the lake or wetlands on the other side of the Valley Trail, and new signage to help public players understand rules and protocol. There is also a possibility of equipment storage for the league.
“I submitted a proposal to the RMOW last March (2006) hoping they’d build a new sand volleyball court for last summer,” said Rogers. “It takes a little more time and consideration than I’d realized.”
Despite the delays and negotiation, Rogers is happy with the final result.
“The (RMOW) has come through on just about everything I suggested and with complete consideration for future tournament and camp possibilities,” he said.
“The initial proposal stemmed from a need to increase the number of courts so that visitors to Rainbow Park would be able to participate on busy weekends without facing an endless lineup to get on the courts.
“That and a league with more courts that would draw a larger local community of athletes together. Everyone wins.”
The league does pay to use the courts, a cost that will be covered by registration fees. Fees will be announced in the next few weeks, as well as the time and location for league registration.