Author: Ben Saxton

On the Precipice

The combine and draft are less than a month away, and as always, there’s a sense of excitement in the air. This year, however, it’s mixed with a sense of unease, as Covid-19 number are beginning to swell worldwide. As has been the case with many things since this pandemic became a part of our current lives, there are many questions around how things will be different this season. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re working to keep the league as safe as possible for everyone involved.

The players in the NBVL are in a demographic at a low risk of hospitalization from the virus, but with the highest rate of infection in Canada. Every interaction made outside of our personal bubbles puts those involved at some amount of risk of exposure to Covid-19. We don’t necessarily have the same capacity to fully isolate a sport cohort, like in the NBA or NHL, but we can certainly hold ourselves to a higher standard than your average sports league.

As a league with a growing public audience, our players are ambassadors for the sport of beach volleyball and role models to all those watching. They’ve already demonstrated their abilities to shoulder that responsibility on the court, but this year there will be more asked of them. They’ll be expected to set a good example off the court as well.

Every Ace from Vancouver leader Irem Eren will be preceded by a mask worn while entering and followed by the same while exiting 6pack Indoor Beach.
Every Kill from Calgary leader Jarron Mueller will come only if he’s confirmed he’s symptom free as he enters at The Beach YYC or the Volleydome.
Every Block from Vancouver leader Chris Howe will be performed during play or in training within the NBVL Vancouver’s sport cohort.
Every Dig from Calgary leader Steph Burnside will be controlled with the same self discipline that she uses to keep 2 meters of physical distance when outside of her personal bubbles or the NBVL Calgary cohort.

As a fan of the NBVL, you can feel comfortable knowing that the volleyballs, team benches, and nets will be cleaned between games, the referees will be wearing masks, and pre/post match handshakes will not be a part of this season. Physical spectators might not be encouraged, but we’ll be working to provide an entertaining broadcast that will be available online for your viewing pleasure.

We sit on the edge of a major decision in our league. We can decide that the virus is too big a risk and call the 2021 season off, or we can choose to become positive examples in Canadian sport by fully committing league wide to keeping sport a safe environment in the midst of a pandemic. AHS and viaSport have set the guidelines to follow in Alberta and BC, and the NBVL will strive to be role models in following those rules in both provinces. The NBVL’s motto is Compete Together, this year that will fit more than ever as the league as a whole competes together against Covid-19.

NBVL Combine sessions are as follows:
NBVL Vancouver (Pacific Times):
Sunday November 15th – at 6Pack Indoor Beach
-Session 1 – 9:00AM-10:00AM
-Session 2 – 10:00AM-11:00AM
-Session 3 – 11:00AM-12:00PM

NBVL Calgary (Mountain Times):
Sunday, November 15th – at the Beach YYC
-Session 1 – 12:00PM-1:00PM
-Session 2 – 1:00PM-2:00PM
Monday, November 16th – at the Volleydome
-Session 3 – 8:30PM-9:30PM

2021 Registration Open!

Welcome back NBVL fans, it’s that time of year again. The 2021 season of the NBVL is now Open for player registration!

To say it’s been an interesting offseason would be an understatement. The 2020 season ended and then the whole world shut down, and has slowly been reopening just enough to go forth with the 2021 season (fingers crossed).

The theme of this year will be adaptation. We’ll be doing our best to keep our athletes, staff, and officials safe, and working to keep the league fun and engaging for those following along. We’ll also be paying close attention to the global situation and making sure the NBVL is up to date and following the provincial health regulations for sport.

To keep large gatherings at a minimum, the combine will have to be done differently. In the 2 weeks leading up to the Draft, we will organize smaller group training sessions. These training sessions will be filmed for team Owners to review. The Draft itself will be November 22nd via Zoom. All draft eligible athletes will be invited, and we’ll work on keeping our tech game up to speed so that athletes can help their team Owners and GMs in the decision making process once they’ve been drafted.

A few changes to play this season:
-First, in Calgary we’ll be pushing to add 2 more teams and bring it up to 6, the same as in Vancouver – which means an additional 6 male and 6 female spots will be up for grabs. This will push the total number of players that will be rostered on draft night up to 36 (18M, 18F) in each league.
-Second, returning owners will now have the option to keep 2 players from their previous season. This year, that will include Player/Owners, and kept players will take the place of the teams 1st and 2nd round selections.
-Third, All drafted players are guaranteed to play in at least 2 regular season Matchups this season (unless injury or sickness). So there won’t be any 3rds who miss out, and there will be a little more strategy involved in setting the rosters.

The season will run from Jan 10th with the Championship Final just before March break. With a lot of luck, we’ll be in the new normal phase by then, and can make it even bigger than it was last season.

To register for the 2021 NBVL Draft, click the links below:

NBVL Vancouver Draft Registration

NBVL Calgary Draft Registration

Good Luck!

The Playoff Picture

Is it playoff time already? Very nearly. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing team preview’s and now all of a sudden the Regular Season is coming to an end and I’ve barely had any chance to tell the stories of what’s been going on in our Calgary and Vancouver 2020 seasons. This year’s contender’s are nearly decided, so let’s take a look at how the team’s have gotten to where they are right now, and what tomorrow’s matchups mean to them heading into the knockout rounds.

NBVL Vancouver
Remember that in Vancouver this Sunday’s matches start at a special time 1:30pm PST

We’ll start of with the untouchables, Natura Solutions is the only team in either league to still be undefeated, and therefore to have clinched the #1 seed going into the playoffs. On top of that, the team has only gone to Overtime once, meaning they’ve only dropped a single match out of the 8 total that they’ve played, and Jared Krause and Grant O’Gorman remain the only unblemished pair in either league. Will they be able to carry their winning ways through to the end?

On the other end of the spectrum, Dunbar Cycles have had a rough go this season. They had high hopes coming in, but with some miscommunications and an inability to finish matches for either gender, they’ve gone through the first 4 weeks with only a single point. Their playoff dreams are over, but they have the opportunity to end their season on a bright note if they can take down Volleyball Stuff this weekend.

Volleyball Stuff is on the outside looking in at the moment, currently in 5th but only a single point back from 2nd, giving them plenty of opportunity to bounce themselves either in or out of the playoffs. A win will put them in good shape, and even going to Overtime will give them a chance in a tiebreak scenario (depending on how other matches go), but if they lose in straight sets to Dunbar, then they kiss the postseason goodbye.

In a 3 way tie for 2nd sit Pacific Coast, navaslab.com, and Moveo, but all of them still have their neck on the line. Navas has arguably the toughest go of it, since they play top seeded Natura, though since the latter have already clinched, you never know how motivated they’ll be on this free weekend. The key matchup will be between Pacific Coast and Moveo, as the winner of that one will have the best chance at taking the #2 seed, and guaranteeing both their spot in the postseason, and also the chance to avoid Natura until the finals.

Every point counts for all 4 teams, even an OT loss could keep any of the 4 alive, and any straight sets defeat could mean the end of the road. For those of you who are curious, the seeding tiebreak protocol is as follows:

  • Total Matches won (ex. 3W+2L= 6pts > 2W+1L+2OTL= 6pts)
  • Head-to-head result
  • Sets W/L ratio between tied teams (OT counts as a set)
  • Points W/L ratio between tied teams
  • Points W/L ratio between all teams
  • Coin Toss

NBVL Calgary
It’s a little simpler in Calgary, since all 4 teams will be making it into the 2020 playoffs, but the race is still very tight. All 4 teams are still capable of taking the 1st seed, and all but one can end up as #4.

The Dome Defenders are currently the top dogs in Calgary. After dropping their week 1 matchup in regulation to CBVA, they’ve taken overtime wins in their last 4 straight, giving them the edge over the rest of the league. This despite their men’s team having yet to record their first match win so far this season. Camille Saxton and Steph Burnside have been dominant since week 2, and Leah Andries has stepped up when called upon as well.

The only team in a position to dethrone the Defenders is ACE. Though the women had a rough start, they’ve become contender’s since Megan Nagy returned to join Jaimie Thibeault. On the men’s front Tom Haight and Alex Bader have been solid and given ACE consistency with a 4-1 record on the Men’s court. They’ve led ACE to being the only team in Calgary without a regulation loss, and within a point of the top seed.

The men on CBVA are also 4-1 (with Colton De Man and Jarron Mueller together, they’re 4-0), and will look to put a stamp on who the top men’s pairing is when they battle it out with ACE for the second time this season. The last time they played, ACE took the matchup in overtime despite a dominant performance from De Man and Mueller, and a tight 3 set loss from Leah Pezer and Claire Crossfield on the women’s set (Crossfield and Rhonda Schmuland are the only pair to take down Burnside/Saxton this season). I expect it’s a rematch both teams are looking forward to. Potential for a top 2 playoff seed is on the line.

PlayBeach will be looking for that high playoff seeding as well. It’s a tough matchup, but Amanda Moppett-Beatch and Ashtyn Mackenzie nearly pulled it of the last time they played a 3 set match vs the Dome Defenders women, before suffering eventual match and then overtime defeats. PlayBeach had a strong start to the season winning their first 2 matchups, but have fallen in their last 3, so will need to find their early season form if they want to be contenders to take it all. A win this weekend will guarantee that PlayBeach won’t face off against the top seeded squad in round 1 of the Playoffs on Feb 16th.

Playoff Schedule

February 16th
Calgary Semi Finals at The Beach YYC
5:30PM and 6:30PM MST
Vancouver Semi Finals at 6Pack Indoor Beach
7:00PM and 8:00PM PST

February 23rd
Calgary Finals at The Beach YYC
5:30PM MST
Vancouver Finals at 6Pack Indoor Beach
7:30PM PST

February 29th
NBVL FINALS at The Beach YYC (Calgary)
5:30PM MST