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Brennan savouring national-team experience

Logan Brennan got to suit up for Team Canada during a pair of friendlies against Mexico in Edmonton in May. (Rob Hislop/Volleyball Canada photo)
Logan Brennan got to suit up for Team Canada during a pair of friendlies against Mexico in Edmonton in May. (Rob Hislop/Volleyball Canada photo)

DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

Logan Brennan had just been offered a chance to represent his country in the sport he'd given so many of years of his life to, but he wasn't so sure he should say yes.

The former Wesmen libero, who capped off his five-year University of Winnipeg career with Wesmen, conference and national awards, admitted he was reluctant to accept the invite to try out for the Canadian national volleyball program.

It was not that Brennan, an academic all-Canadian with a near-perfect grade point average and an all-star player, was burned out from the grind of a university season or the scholastic burdens that accompany it.

"To be totally honest, I was pretty content with how things ended with my university career and was really on the fence whether I was going to go to the tryout or now," Brennan said. "Thankfully I talked to enough people … and they convinced me that I should give it one more shot.

"… The decision for me was more along the lines of 'Was it realistic?'"

Conversations with friends, as well as Wesmen head coach Larry McKay – also the Senior B head coach – and U of W athletic director Dave Crook, convinced Brennan to take a swing at what likely represented his last chance to play at the international level.

The Bragg Creek, Alta., native said it was "disbelief" when he got the call to tell him he had made the Senior B squad as one of two liberos to train at the national centre in Gatineau, Que., and compete in a pair of friendlies against Mexico in May.

"The last day there was no way I felt that I was definitely on the team," said Brennan, who is back in Winnipeg during a break from the national team training. "Going into my meeting at the end of the tryout I didn't really know which way the coin was going to fall."

In addition to once again getting a chance to play for his university coach in McKay, Brennan suited up alongside former Wesmen Justin Duff, as well as players he once considered rivals in the Canada West – including Brandon's Jeremy Davies or Byron Keturakis of UBC.

"It's definitely another level up and most of these guys have been a part of the team for a number of years now and I'm definitely one of the newer guys to the team," Brennan said. "You can tell that every aspect of their skills is refined to an extent further than mine. Playing with people that are better than you, or studying with people that are better than you, you learn a lot real fast."

And while Brennan is undoubtedly proud to don the Maple Leaf, he said wearing a Team Canada jersey during the sweep of Mexico in Edmonton or every day during training is another checkpoint made possible by those who have pushed him throughout the years.

"It's incredible, but at the same time it's another jersey. I don't mean to pull that down by any means, but for me as an individual it's representing those who have given me an opportunity," he said.

"So whether that's my high school jersey, whether that's my Wesmen jersey, or whether that's a Team Canada jersey, all of those jerseys are incredibly important to me. So what I feel when I put on those jerseys and especially the Maple Leaf now, it's all those people from way back when — including everybody here at the University of Winnipeg — who helped me get to this spot."

Brennan said he will take a week in Winnipeg with friends and family before heading home to Alberta with his girlfriend, Wesmen women's team setter Rylie Dickson, to see more family there. Then, it's back to Gatineau and the next challenge: Trying to make another cut to represent Canada at the Pan-American Cup in Veracruz, Mexico in August.

"I never thought I would be in this spot," he said. "… It is absolutely a dream come true to get this opportunity. And now the realization is it's a dream come true but now it's actually time to make it happen."