OTTAWA — Dan Lewis, the long-time libero and key member of Canada’s national volleyball team, announced his retirement as a player on Wednesday, moving into coaching full time.
The 41-year-old native of Oakville, Ont., played for more than 25 years, including a stint with Canada’s beach volleyball team at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.
Lewis said in a statement that qualifying for the 2016 Olympics after a 24-year drought as well as wins against Brazil and Russia in World League play as memorable highlights on the court.
“If you went around the world and asked all the teammates he’s ever had who their most memorable teammate was, Dan would land at the top of a lot of those lists,” teammate Fred Winters said in a statement. “He is the life of the party, the centre of attention, and a guy you hate to play against, but love to play with.
“Basically, he’s a player you’d want in the trenches with you because when it was time to go to war you knew you were going to get his best effort. I love Dan Lewis and he is one of the greatest persons I’ve had the privilege of knowing.”
Lewis started his volleyball path at the University of Manitoba, winning CIS (now U Sports) championships and being named MVP in 1996. He also played professionally in France, Poland and Slovenia.
Lewis was not on the final roster for Canada’s team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but was part of the coaching staff as Canada earned a fifth-place finish. He said he will continue working with the national program.