Gary Oke believes end of Gushue’s rule provides opportunity for next wave
Gary Oke played in three Briers as Newfoundland and Labrador’s entry, but he doesn’t have any plans on going for a fourth with Brad Gushue out of the picture for next season.
Finton Gaudette is a happy camper knowing Corner Brook will be a stop on the Atlantic Beach Tour this summer.
The Atlantic Beach Tour features tournaments held almost every weekend in either Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for the purpose of promoting beach volleyball in the Atlantic provinces and also preparing teams for national competitions such as the Canada Games.
The season culminates with an Atlantic beach volleyball championship being hosted in either Halifax or Moncton.
Depending on the province, the criteria for teams having to qualify for the Atlantic championship tournament varies. Teams in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick must play in three tour events in order to play in the tournament, while Newfoundland and Labrador teams have to play in only one tour event.
Gaudette says Newfoundland and Labrador teams have a tough time trying to attend that one tour event that is required for teams to play in the showcase event at the end of the season because of the cost of travel and risk associated with tournaments that have a registration deadline two days before the event instead of a couple of months.
Presented with this challenge, Gaudette has been active on the beach volleyball scene since 2000, so he contacted those involved with the tour in an effort to see if the tour could be extended to this province.
He filled out an application and it was approved.
The tour stop in Corner Brook is scheduled for July 15-16, with doubles play in both minor and adult, and Gaudette is excited about putting out the welcome mat.
“If we were going to continue to compete in the Atlantic championships this is what really needed to happen,” he said.
Gaudette says beach volleyball players on the local scene will get a chance to play some top-notch volleyball without having to worry about the uncertainties of trying to travel out of province, so he expects to see a lot of players from this province on the court in July.
Furthermore, he says teams from Atlantic Canada will welcome a chance to travel to Newfoundland when they never would have considered it before, so they get the experience of playing in a different place.
He’s happy that organizers saw value in expanding the tour.
Prince Edward Island has since filed an application to play host to a tour stop this summer, and received the thumbs up, so Gaudette is excited about the opportunities this change means for beach volleyball players from this neck of the woods.
“On the youth side, I think this will explode,” he said.