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  The Original Sand Volleyball League!
...open to novice, recreational, and competitive players & teams
...sand courts inside rink...same sand mix as used in Pan Am games!
... choose and play on same night or day...weekly!
...enter as an individual, couple, or company/neighborhood team!


    Free Press feature article on our sand program!

" Sand,Sun,Music..& Fun!"  
....On the CANFORD  BEACH..right in the PEG!


     Coed  4's action at  Canford Courts..Carley & Rachelle from Vantis!

WHAT'S UP WINNIPEG ?...
by Cheryl Binning, Winnipeg Free Press

You can head to the beach, a few minutes from downtown! Picture the sun shining down on a long stretch of glistening white sand. A girl in a pink bikini laughs as she dives for a ball, her bare feet stirring up the pristine beach. A shirtless guy shouts gleefully as his outstretched arms spike the volleyball far across the net. In the background, other groups of young people are running and jumping in the sand as numerous volleyballs cross back and forth over the net. Top 40 music blares in the background.

No, this isn't a scene out of Daytona or Grand Beach , or an ad for a resort in the Dominican Republic . Its right here in Winnipeg ---- believe it or not, near the corner of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Regent Avenue .
When I was first invited to try sand volleyball, I was surprised by the location......I just couldn't quite imagine playing near a strip mall behind the Cavalier Hotel. And yet, set back from the street is the Canford Sports Centre, where about 500 Winnipeggers play every week during the summer months.

The site is the creation of John Robertson, founder and executive director of Canford Sports, a non-profit organization that runs casual sport programs, including winter sponge hockey (original spongee league) and summer touch football...since 1980.

Robertson thought people should be able to get out and play beach volleyball without having to travel an hour outside the city. So what if we didn't have a resort in the middle of the Winnipeg ? He would bring the sand to the city! And that is exactly what he did! Canford sand volleyball was the subject of numerous local, regional, and national features...on TSN, CBC, and even CTV's 'Live it UP' national program....back in the mid 80's.

Robertson (who's proudly named after his uncle John Robertson---founding father of the Manitoba Marathon) trucked in more than 600 tons of sand, turning winter's hockey rinks...into summer's sand courts! And I was not the only one who had no idea about this beach-like facility. "I was shocked when I saw the place," says Ivan Verinder, 29, who is playing in the Canford Sand leagues this year. "It really gives you the feeling that you are at the beach." The last time I played volleyball was in grade nine gym class. So I warned the other players on my team not to expect much. But they were all very encouraging, offering tips and enthusiastically cheering my most feeble attempt to volley.

"Music, laughter, missed balls and socializing is a big part of this league," assured Robertson. With their help, I soon was serving over ----not under----the net, and they gave me high fives when I scored my first point! Canford offers a mix of recreational and competitive volleyball leagues, as well as special event tournaments. "But our emphasis is geared more towards the fun loving recreational type of player", Robertson explains. And having fun is much more important than your score, added Verinder. "Everyone is friendly, you get to meet a lot of people and have a great time." A lot of individuals sign up and are placed on teams, making for a great opportunity to meet and mingle! In fact, Robertson proudly notes that new friendships and relationships have been forged on the Canford faux-beach. There is even a team composed of foreign students who have recently arrived in Winnipeg to learn English...at Heartland International...whose founder and president, Gary Gervais, also has a staff volleyball team in the league...the defending 2003 coed 6's Champions!

But the sport of volleyball aside, what I liked most about the Canford Sports site is that you can forget where you are in this city...for at least a few hours each week! As soon as your bare feet touch the warm sand of the Canford Beach , the traffic and concrete simply disappear!
...Cheryl Binning___Winnipeg Free Press

Please tap into the Volleyball info...within SPORTS Link...above!
Stay active this summer...on the Canford Beach...IN Winnipeg!

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