The new season is getting nearer. The last time the NBVL was represented at 6Pack Indoor Beach, Ryan Gandy, the eldest and tallest competitor from the Inaugural Season, was hoisting the Championship Trophy over the heads of his Moveo teammates Jana Weir, Aly McKay and Alex Harvalias, after a thrilling Overtime Finals victory. That was 10 months ago. Now we get to do it all over again, with a few tweaks. Starting with the Combine presented by MVMT Lab, and culminating in the NBVL Vancouver 2020 Draft.
We all know about the addition of the new Calgary chapter of the NBVL, but I won’t go into that today. They’ll get a full draft preview of their own before their selections are made, tomorrow night. Another new factor is the addition of a 3rd player per gender, meaning 12 more athletes will be a part of the 2020 season than were in the Inaugural Season. But the change that most affects tonight’s draft, however, is the keepers. Returning teams from last season were allowed to hold on to one player from their previous roster, making those athletes the foundation around which the new teams will be built, and therefore the key to their team’s draft strategies
Here are the teams and athletes who will be flying the same flag for the 2020 season:
- Moveo – Aly McKay
- Volleyball Stuff – Kumiko Chow
- Natura Solutions – Jared Krause
- Dunbar Cycles – Stephen Nash, Rob Venables (player/owner)
Rounding out the Draft, and picking First and Second overall (since they don’t get the advantage of a kept player) will be navaslab.com and Pacific Coast. I’ll go into detail on all the teams over the next few weeks, but for now we’re in draft mode, so let’s talk about which names will have all eyes on them tonight at the Combine. A total of 45 athletes (24 Women, 21 Men) are eligible to play this season, and 18 per gender will be chosen. Last year saw the women dominate the early rounds of the draft, due to the parity on the men’s side, making the highly sought after women’s players extra valuable. Thanks to the kept players and a better understanding of how the league runs after it’s successful Inaugural Season, I predict it will be a lot more balanced this season. With the addition of a couple players with World Tour experience on the men’s side, Grant O’Gorman and Felipe Humana-Paredes, it likely won’t be an all female first round this year. There are many names for teams to choose from, and there’s no telling how things will go for real until we start the Draft live on Volleyball Source tonight at 9PM PST. Nevertheless, I’ll take a crack at predicting the minds of the NBVL Vancouver Owners. Without further ado, here is the Commissioner’s mock draft predictions for the First Round of this year’s NBVL Vancouver Draft:
- navaslab.com selects Grant O’Gorman – The most accomplished player in the field, with a few FIVB medals under his belt. Grant’s experience would make a great building block for any team to work with.
- Pacific Coast selects Denise Wooding – A first team All-Star from the Inaugural Season. Denise likely would have been kept, if her team had remained in the league. A great all around player, that can play and win with anyone.
- Dunbar Cycles selects Katie Wuttunee (Ball) – With 2 men already on their roster, Dunbar will certainly be looking for a female in this round, and who better than last season’s Top Scorer.
- Natura Solutions selects Kaitlynn Given – A newcomer to the NBVL, but a strong performer on the BC beach circuit, Given was 2nd overall in points from the BC Beach Tour this summer. With Jared Krause on the team, this would give a solid base to both men’s and women’s pairs.
- Volleyball Stuff selects Jonny Wiskar – With MVP Kumi already heading the squad, this would make Volleyball Stuff the only team with two 1st team All-stars from the Inaugural Season. If the NBA has taught us anything, it’s that star power wins championships.
- Moveo selects Bailey Soolsma – If Bailey is still on the board, Aly will be pushing to keep united with her summertime partner. The VBC Provincial Silver medallists would go into the season with chemistry, which could take time to build on other teams.
No matter the order of things tonight, good luck to all the athlete’s! I hope everyone is as excited as I am to kick things for the NBVL Vancouver’s 2020 Season Combine presented by MVMT Lab – Registration Opens as 5:30PM PST Draft – LIVE STREAMED ON VOLLEYBALL SOURCE AT 9PM PST