Story:The TRU WolfPack men's volleyball team spent last weekend with Rick Hansen and is spending part of this week with the Argentina under-23 team.
It seems the fun already has started for Pat Hennelly's men.
The WolfPack is scheduled to play its first exhibition match tonight, 7 o'clock, against Argentina at the Tournament Capital Centre. TRU's Canada West season won't start until Nov. 2, when it heads to Brandon to play the Bobcats.
It already has been an eventful month for the WolfPack, which only has been on the court practising for two weeks.
Last week, TRU helped play host to a camp for Hansen's daughter's high school team, the Richmond-Robert A. McMath Wildcats, at the Tournament Capital Centre. Hennelly and Hansen, the Man In Motion, ran sessions for the Wildcats, and Hansen spent two hours talking to the WolfPack players one night.
"It was good for (the Wildcats) and amazing for us," Hennelly said.
That was part of the fun the WolfPack has been enjoying this season - a bit of a departure from how last season went.
The WolfPack was 3-17 and finished last in Canada West in 2011-12. It was the first time TRU had missed the playoffs since 2006, and it's something the WolfPack's returning players haven't forgotten.
"A lot of the guys came in with chips on their shoulders," Hennelly said. "We were last place last season. No one wanted that, especially not me."
The WolfPack has five new players - left sides Philip Ozari and Hardy Wolldridge, middle Daniel Eikland Rod, libero Blake Majcher and setter Graham Stoliker - and a veteran lineup that mostly has been together for two full seasons.
But, compared to last season, "We've got more balance and depth," Hennelly said.
"There are one or two guys fighting for each spot. It's very competitive," he added. "But the guys are getting along well, and there's a little more maturity in practice . . .
"Will that transfer to (matches)? I hope so."
The WolfPack played Argentina in an unofficial scrimmage last night, and the teams will play for real tonight. Perhaps, then, Hennelly will know.
He does know that Argentina's biggest threat is left side Gonzalo Quiroga, who plays for the NCAA'S UCLA Bruins. He also knows that Argentina is generally a strong country in the world of volleyball.
"In their country, soccer's No. 1, and rugby and volleyball are Nos. 2 and 3," he said. "But they're regularly going to the Olympics and a top-10 team in the world.
"They're not physically that big . . . and we have some older guys, but we're going to have our hands full."
TRU has scheduled an exhibition match for Wednesday against the UBC-Okanagan Heat. The WolfPack then will head out on its annual East Kootenay trip, where it will play three matches against the Calgary Dinos and others against the College of the Rockies Avalanche (Pacific Western Athletic Association) and the Red Deer College Knights (Alberta Colleges Athletic Association) from Sept. 27-30.
The WolfPack women's volleyball team also is set to open its preseason on the weekend.
TRU will head to Regina for an exhibition tournament, with its first game scheduled for Friday against the host Cougars. The WolfPack also will play the Calgary Dinos and the Winnipeg Wesmen in the eight-team, exhibition event.
TRU's next exhibition action will be at a tournament at Calgary's Mount Royal University, from Oct. 5-7, before a tournament at the Lower Mainland from Oct. 19-21. The Canada West season will open Oct. 26, when the UBC-Okanagan Heat visits the TCC.
After falling a spot in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association rankings, the WolfPack women's soccer team will look to get back on track at the Lower Mainland this weekend.
The WolfPack, now fifth in the CCAA rankings after splitting a pair of weekend road games, is scheduled to play the Capilano Blues on Saturday in Vancouver and the Vancouver Island Mariners in Nanaimo on Sunday.
TRU is 3-1-0 in Pacific Western Athletic Association action; Capilano and VIU are 1-2-1.
The WolfPack men's soccer team also will be playing in Vancouver and Nanaimo.
TRU is 1-2-1 after a weekend road split. It will take on the Blues (0-2-2) on Saturday, before meeting the Mariners (2-0-2) on Sunday.
The WolfPack baseball team is getting ready to hold an alumni weekend for the first time.
The weekend will include a golf tournament on Friday at The Dunes. That will be followed by Saturday's alumni baseball doubleheader at NorBrock Stadium, and TRU's annual 100-Inning Games on Sunday, starting at noon.
TRU has been out in the community the past few weeks.
The WolfPack had players helping at schools for Terry Fox Runs last week, before players off its men's basketball and badminton teams took part in the official run at Riverside Park on Sunday.
And on Wednesday, WolfPack men's basketball and men's volleyball players helped out with Raise-a-Reader, which raised money for local literacy groups.
The teams often compete with each other, and it was Hennelly's team that came out on top, raising $1,716.08. Scott Clark's hoopsters raised $1,006.63.
It is a friendly competition and this time around Clark's squad will be buying pizza for Hennelly's team.