Volleyball: making a living in smashant balloons

Volleyball: gagner sa vie en smashant des ballons

It is not an astronaut or a charmer of a snake, but Nicholas Hoag stands out certainly Quebecers by his unique work : a professional player of volleyball.

For the past seven years, this giant of 6 feet 7 inches to earn his living typing on balloons in Europe. Only Quebecers in the canadian team qualified for the olympic tournament next year in Tokyo, is now employed in Istanbul in the league of Turkey after six seasons in France and Italy, and the last in Poland.

“I know that this is a job very atypical, but well worth the effort. When I’ll have finished with the volleyball, I’ll go to zero. When I go back to the labour market, there will be a large age difference, with those who are going to come out of the university and which will go to zero. I know all of this, but I would not change my life today, ” says the youngest player on the canadian team at the Games of Rio in 2016.

We were at the beginning of the month of march, when The Journal met with him in the city of Rzeszow in Poland, less than 200 km from the charming Krakow. Even before the end of an average season, both individually and as a collective, Hoag questioned his return to the club to broke to crowds of 4000 spectators in the years to success.

Known in Europe

Served by the network of contacts of its agent, George Matijasevic — a Serbian plugged in the european leagues —, Hoag can now shop for the deals thanks to the experience acquired since he was immersed in the professionals after his years at college in Sherbrooke. The leagues of the highest caliber will never be lacking for the host, including those of Italy, Russia and even Poland, where televised matches are a testimony of their popularity.

“I’m not worried. I know the middle and I know my value on the market, especially in Italy, where I have experienced good seasons. My name is known there and there is also the fact that playing with team Canada, it makes a great showcase, ” says the Quebecer, who speaks fluent Italian.

Approximately 380 000 $

His job arouses curiosity : what is the salary awarded to a player in Europe ? No credible reference exists to give any figures with any certainty. In the crap on the internet, we learn that the exception of a few crossing the € 900,000 per season ($1.4 Million).

“After, in the top 10, each player should make about half a million euros (760 000 $) “, evaluates summarily Nicholas Hoag.

And him ? After a hesitation, his answer : “Without specifying, I would say around half of that, or about a quarter of a million euros (380 000 $). “

Apartment and car provided, shall specify, in as he later.

“I’m coming into the best years and this is where I make my money,” he says.

“My career will not be so long, then I must think of my future and my career post-volleyball where I’m going to need money. I don’t know yet what I want to do, then if there is a big difference on the financial side, I’m going to go with the best offer. “

Far from the end

This approach Hoag shared with us, it was several weeks before accepting the invitation of Istanbul. At 27 years of age, his physical maturity and his experience give the Québécois the insurance to attack the best years of his career. Then we will see what will become of his life after volleyball.

Of interest to oenology has planted some ideas in him. In the meantime, the sport will continue to take up all the space. His temperament nomad and the fun of exploring the serve as well, but live far away from his lover based in Ottawa will one day be the end of his career.

“I don’t know yet, because I’m going to take a package of factors into consideration. If there are any offers I can’t refuse each year, it’s going to be hard to stop. There is also my joint that is important. It should also be taken into account, but it is still too early to say when I will stop…”

Never far from dad

Nicholas Hoag was able to trace his route away from his father Glenn, but the industry of the international volleyball recently in charge of bringing them together.

The entrance of the son in Istanbul in the professional league in Turkey, next fall, will allow him to rejoin his family, including Glenn, who has directed for 10 years the team of Izmir, 500 km south of the metropolis. This is where live also the mom, Donna Kastelic, former player of the national team in the 1980s, and the eldest brother of the couple, Christopher, who pursues him as his career in this sport.

In preparation for the Tokyo Games, the coach of the canadian team will therefore monitor closely how his son refine his art in order to play its role as a important element at the time of the olympic tournament.

“In the beginning, mostly, I was the son of Glenn, but I’m starting to make my own name as a player. This is something that I have always desired. Of course, I am proud to be the son of Glenn and I am privileged to have been to help me in my development and to have acquired my work ethic, but I am happy, now, to make my name by myself “, made the 27-year-old, who considers her father as one of ” the coaches the most comprehensive in the world “.

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