In its first World League match in five years, the Canadians made big comebacks in the opening two sets to defeat Finland 33-31, 26-24, 25-23.
Canada is in a tough pool with world number-one Brazil, number-four Poland – both countries are Olympic bound – and Finland which stands at number-27. Canada is at number-18.
Gavin Schmitt led the Canadian offence Friday with 19 points while Winters added 16 and John Perrin 14. Matti Hietanen led Finland with 12 points while Mikko Oivanen and Jukka Lehtonen added 10 apiece.
In Hamamatsu, Japan, Cuba sent out a message to Pool A rivals Serbia and Russia on Friday as they saw off hosts Japan in straight-sets (25-22, 28-26, 25-20) to seal their first win of the 2012 FIVB World League.
Leading Cuba was the dynamic duo of young captain Leon Venero Wilfredo with 19 points and powerful Fernando Hernandez with 15 points, three through blocks. Japan was carried on the day by Tatsuya Fukuzawa who scored 17 points, four of them aces, in a brilliant performance despite the loss. His captain Takahiro Yamamoto tallied 12.
In Florence, Italy, France began their campaign in fine style with a surprise 3-1 (17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-17) win over Olympic champions USA as Pool C kicked on Friday.