Pepsi Centre to decide how to accommodate volleyball tournament

Gary Kean
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CORNER BROOK  The Pepsi Centre says it hasn’t ruled out allowing an upcoming volleyball tournament to use as much space as it needs.

On Thursday night, a series of posts on the Facebook social media website seemed to indicate that Corner Brook hosting the provincial under-16 girls volleyball tournament in early February might be in jeopardy because of a lack of available court space at the Pepsi Studio annex.

The tournament is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 7-8 and is expected to attract close to 30 teams, most of which are from outside the city. Losing the tournament would be an economic loss to the Corner Brook area.

Recently, the Pepsi Studio annex became the new, albeit temporary, home of the Saltos Gymnastics Club. Saltos has moved its equipment, some of which is large and not easily transportable, into its designated area of the annex.

The presence of Saltos means less space to easily set up additional volleyball courts. The upcoming volleyball tournament needs at least five courts to host the event, which would require moving in on the area now taken up by Saltos.

Finton Gaudette, one of the tournament organizers and first vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association, said the club would have to scramble to find additional courts in Corner Brook if they couldn’t get five set up at the annex.

“As everyone knows, there is a lack of available gym space in this town, especially until the Regina building opens,” Gaudette told The Western Star via its live blog Friday morning. “Booking those facilities at such short notice is very tough.”

Will Smith, the Pepsi Centre’s general manager, said the facility was waiting on confirmed registration for the tournament, the deadline for which was Friday, to see what would be accommodated. Given the tournament was booked before the agreement with Saltos, Smith said the gymnasts may have to move their equipment in order for the annex to live up to its prior commitment to the volleyball tournament.

“That was part of the agreement with Saltos,” said Smith. “We will wait for the analysis of the volleyball tournament before any decisions are made as to whether they need three, four or five courts.”

Organizations: CORNER BROOK The Pepsi Centre, Saltos Gymnastics Club, Pepsi Studio Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Western Star

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