UBCO Heat  

Heat men's volleyball sign BC standout Max Heppell

Heppell will add more power and a proven champion's mentality to the Heat attack next season.

KELOWNA, BC - Max Heppell of Langley, B.C. has signed on to become a part of the UBC Okanagan Heat men's volleyball program in 2017.

Heppell, a 6'4" left side hitter, comes to the Heat from the Langley Fundamental School, and from the Force Volleyball program.

Max played five years with the Force club program, earning four consecutive provincial championships and well as four consecutive national championships. He also had success with his school teams, earning First Team All-Star honours as his junior team took home a provincial title. In 2014 Heppell was a member of a Fraser Valley team that earned the gold medal in the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo.

Max cites both athletic and academic reasons for wanting to come to Kelowna. "I chose UBCO because of Brad Hudson. He coached my brother at Douglas, and so I know he is a good coach," said Heppell, adding, "UBCO has a business program, which is what I wanted to study."

Specifically, Heppell plans to study business management, with the end goal of staring a farm and an electrical business after his time at UBC Okanagan.

"I can't wait for this coming year to be able to show what I'm worth and prove myself on this team," said Max when asked about his upcoming step up to the U Sports level. "I am ready to work hard and do whatever I can to help make this team better."

The feeling is evidently mutual. "I am very excited to have Max join us," said his soon-to-be coach. "Max possesses both the skillset we look for in our wing players and the character we want in our Heat men's volleyball athletes. In particular, Max is an exceptional receiver and attacker out of the back row."

Hudson is also pleased at the club program that Heppell is coming from citing the winning the team has done in Heppell's time there "Our recruit, Max Heppell, and his club team just won u18 nationals in Saskatoon. It's his teams fourth national championship in a row. I literally think his team has lost once in Canada (in their age group) in something like five years. It's amazing", said Hudson on the run.

After a strong first season in 2016-17 that saw first year coach Hudson, with an interim tag, set a record for wins in a Canada West season by the UBCO men's volleyball program with nine, has an impressive first recruiting class, and is bringing in seven players to compete for the UBC Okanagan Heat for the upcoming season.

Heppell is one of two leftsides entering the program that only lost one significant starter, Alex Swiatlowski, from a nine win team, a transfer from Grand Prairie Regional College, Tristan Simmonds, is the other leftside.

Also from GPRC Lucas Robertson, a setter, is transferring to UBC Okanagan for the fall.  Caleb Funk is one of two middles that have committed to UBCO, Shawn Zhao from Richmond's R.A McMath is the other one.

Zach Gotmy, a libero from Calgary and Morgan Nichols, a setter from Lake Country's George Elliot are the other recruits in the fold.

The upcoming season schedule for the Canada West volleyball team will be released on Wednesday, June 21st. Check for details at goheat.ca.

Max Heppell (6)

Max Heppell (5)

Max Heppell (4)

Max Heppell (2)

Max Heppell (3)

Max Heppell (1)


Ben Kornelsen will be a sizable addition to Heat from Briercrest


Returning to the Okanagan after two years in Saskatchewan, Armstrong product Ben Kornelson looks to stage an impressive homecoming.

KELOWNA, BC - Ben Kornelson, a 6'7" forward from Armstrong, B.C., has signed on to be a part of the Heat men's basketball program ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Kornelson comes to Kelowna with two years of post-secondary competition under his belt, having played as a starter for a pair of seasons with Briercrest College in Caronport, Saskatchewan. Ben played his high school ball at Pleasant Valley Secondary in Armstrong, while being home schooled. He will also already be familiar with the UBC Okanagan environment, having played for two years as part of the Junior Heat U17 club side in Kelowna.

Ben was recognized by Briercrest in each of his years with the program, earning Most Improved honours his first season and the Most Valuable Player award in his second.

"I chose UBCO to improve in basketball and to be closer to home," said Kornelson of his decision to transfer to the Okanagan campus. "I am very excited to be coming to UBCO to play basketball at a higher level, improving my skills as a player, and learning more in the classroom about business."

On the academic side of his upcoming time in Kelowna, Ben's plan is to earn his BA in Management.

"Ben was a part of our Junior Heat program and we wanted him to join UBCO two years ago," said Heat head coach Pete Guarasci of his latest recruit. "He wanted to complete some schooling at Briercrest College. We're happy that he's made the decision to join our Heat program. He'll provide some experience, size, and athleticism to our young front court."

Ben will join a new sizable frontline for Guarasci's squad who has a commitment already from local and Junior Heat Club product 6'10" Owen Keyes (Kelowna Secondary) and from North Vancouver 6'8" Amir Hajisafer (Handsworth Secondary).  Jake Stokker (6-4 G, Penticton) has also committed to the Heat for this fall.

A first look at the Heat's upcoming Canada West schedule will be posted on Thursday, June 22nd.  Check for details at goheat.ca.

Photos Courtesy of Briercrest Athletics
Ben Kornelsen - Courtesy of Briercrest (2)

Ben Kornelsen - Courtesy of Briercrest

Aidan Lea earns spot on National Volleyball Team

After just one year playing for the Heat Kelowna product Aidan Lea has been chosen to be a part of Volleyball Canada's Women's National Team. 

KELOWNA, BC - After completion of the largest women's selection camp ever and the first one held at the new home of Canada Women's volleyball in the Richmond Olympic Oval, Aidan Lea current middle for the UBC Okanagan Heat women's volleyball team been selected as one of the 24 athletes that will compete this summer for Team Canada.

The 6'6" middle Aidan, in the Arts program at UBC Okanagan, finished her first season with the Heat after transferring from the University of Colorado last spring.

This is the second straight year the Heat have placed a member of their squad on the national team and the first time that the student athlete will return from competing and training with the national team and compete again for UBCO.

Brianna Beamish made the National Team last summer (2016) after completing her fifth and final season of competition for UBC Okanagan. Beamish will join Lea on the team this summer as Beamish made the team once again after a very successful year playing volleyball in Austria for a VC Tirol, Innsbruck.

Former Kelowna Owl and a product of the Junior Heat Club Program Aidan Lea is the third athlete to hit the elite status at UBC Okanagan to suit up for their country on the highest level, in their sport. Along with Beamish, Lea will join fellow Kelowna Secondary product, Marisa Field, on the national team. Field played volleyball at the Kelowna campus for the Lakers in 2004/05 and 2005/06 - all three have been coached extensively by five-time national coach (2x in CIS / USPORTS and 3x in CCAA) of the year and UBC Okanagan Heat head coach Steve Manuel.

Lea had an outstanding first year with UBC Okanagan leading the Heat back to the Canada West Final Four for the fourth straight time more than capably filling the gap left by Beamish and two Canada West (CW) All-Star middle in Katy Klomps and Katie Wuttunee.  She led Canada West in hitting percentage (.350), the highest hitting percentage in the Heat's history, and the 15th-best percentage in Canada West history. Her efforts in the CW Quarter-finals against Calgary led to the Heat's unbelievable comeback on the road against the Dinos with back-to-back tremendous performances in the second and third games.  Had a career high 19 kills in game two to help force a game three, and once again played exceptionally well as she finished with 16 kills on .393 hitting to help the team advance to the Final Four

Playing in every match this season she finished the year with 183 kills and 74 total blocks, also named a Finalist as the Outstanding Athlete of the Year at UBC Okanagan.

Release from Volleyball Canada: [https://www.volleyball.ca/en/news/national-women-s-team-2017]

National Women’s Team Selection Camp Wraps Up in Richmond

Volleyball Canada is pleased to announce the 2017 Women’s National Team roster.

"With a nice mix of returning veterans and up and coming young athletes - our 2017 National Team is very promising," said Volleyball Canada High Performance Director, Julien Boucher. "Following the largest women’s selection camp ever, our program will undoubtedly see a new beginning in its new training centre in Richmond."

Lea, Beamish and the rest of Team Canada will play and train all summer in Richmond, BC at the Olympic Oval with some feature events over the course of the next few months.

One of the highlights of the season will be FIVB World Grand Prix - one of the premier international tournaments for women’s volleyball. It will take place at the Richmond Oval, in Richmond, BC from July 21 to July 23. The city will host six matches among four teams in Group 2 – Canada, Germany, Peru and Czech Republic. For more details, please see this direct link to purchase tickets: http://wgp2017.brownpapertickets.com

The team will also compete in a Pan Am Cup in Peru this June and the NORCECA Continental Championship (Trinidad) in October. The team will also train/play in Anaheim with the U.S. women’s team from June 12-14

Rosters for specific events will be named at a later date.


Members of Team Canada

Courtney Baker, Bridgewater, NS
Brianna Beamish, Surrey, BC
Marie-Alex Bélanger, Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, QC
Danielle Brisebois, Caledon, ON
Margaret Casault, Edmonton, AB
Lucille Charuk, Vancouver, BC
Alissa Coulter, Calgary, AB
Jennifer Cross, Scarborough, ON
Megan Cyr, St. Andrews, MB
Alina Dormann, Ottawa, ON
Anna Feore, Stratford, ON
Marisa Field, Kelowna, BC
Alexa Gray, Calgary, AB
Shae Harris, North Vancouver, BC
Shainah Joseph, Ottawa, ON
Aidan Lea, Kelowna, BC
Kristen Moncks, Standard, AB
Alicia Ogoms, Winnipeg, MB
Alicia Perrin, Creston, BC
Michaela Reesor, Caledon, ON
Kyla Richey, Roberts Creek, BC
Danielle Smith, Kelowna, BC/Beaverlodge, AB
Layne Van Buskirk, Windsor, ON
Elizabeth Wendel, Caronport, SK

Sarah Chase, Campbell River, BC
Nikki Cornwall, Coquitlam, BC
Alison McKay, Port Moody, BC

Head coach: Marcello Abbondanza
Assistant coaches: Vincenzo Mallia, Daniele Alpi and Gina Schmidt
Statistician: Darrin Moreira
Head Athletic Therapist: Morgan Sangster
Team Manager: Chrissy Benz

Click here for program information.


Volleyball Canada media contact:
Jackie Skender
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 613.794.7676


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