Between February 2019 and March 2020, Prince George was set to host three international sporting events. Now, the list is one shorter.
Shortly after the success of the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, Volleyball Canada has announced the 2019 Pan-American Volleyball Cup is no longer coming to the city.
The U19 volleyball tournament was set for July 22nd to 28th, 2019 and was to serve as a qualifying event for the U19 Volleyball World Championships hosted in August.
Prince George was announced as the host in November, but shortly after, the International Volleyball Federation decided that teams needed to qualify for Worlds by May, two months earlier than the event was scheduled for.
"That wasn't an option for us, to run it in May. We wouldn't have a host team because Team Canada wasn't going to be formed until July...we decided we were going to carry on with the Pan-Am Cup as a tune-up to the World Championships." - Dan Drezet, Host Committee Chairman
With the event downgraded from its international qualifier status, fewer teams showed interest in attending. The tournament originally expected eight teams from North, Central, and South America, but at one point had seen the number plummet to just four.
The kicker was the financial loss. Volleyball Canada had applied for a $100,000 federal grant and an estimated $25,000 provincial grant to aid the tournament in running. That money would have covered approximately one-third of the event cost, but their application was not successful.
"In the year before an Olympics, that's the most popular hosting year, so it's the toughest year to get funds. There are more applicants for those funds, volleyball or otherwise, both provincially and nationally. So that's issue number 1, they're simply oversubscribed." - Alan Ahac, Indoor International Events Director, Volleyball Canada
Drezet, who also serves as the President for the Prince George Youth Volleyball Club, ensures local volleyball fans that there are plans to host a summer event of some sort this year and hinted that it would "keep our athletes maybe not on the floor, but maybe the field."
As for the Pan-American Cup, the International Volleyball Federation is still seeking a host that's able to accomodate the earlier qualifying process.
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