As B.C. teachers battle with the government and schools remain closed, student-athltes’ development has stalled.
“It really impacts the development of kids,” said Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball coach Patrick Hennelly, said of the strike.
With schools closed, it has allowed Grade 12 students that Hennelly wants to visit the Kamloops campus to do so. However, he said it will have a dramatic impact on his ability to see guys play. One of those ways is with the junior tournament they host, which is also a fundraiser for the team, which last year attracted 76 teams.
“This year will probably be zero because it’s early October,” said Hennelly of the tournament which also attracts schools from other provinces. “I don’t want to cancel it until the week of.”
Hennelly said he may have a camp that involves private schools.
As for the strike still going on, he said, “It’s unfortunate.”
UBC-O Heat women’s volleyball coach Steve Manuel said his recruiting hasn’t been impacted at all. With club volleyball so well developed, they already have a shortlist of players. The Heat has also already met with Grade 11 players they hope to sign for 2016.
“Grades 11 and even 10 are our main priority,” said Manuel in an email. “Of course the school season is a good way to track the progress of these athletes as well as evaluate anyone that we may have missed, or any late bloomers.”
Manuel said they have their eyes on some athletes from the South Okanagan, but they have been watching them for awhile now and have a good sense of where they fit on the recruiting depth chart.
“Once the school season resumes we will have another opportunity to monitor their progress,” he added.
Nothing will change once school resumes. Currently the Heat are running a few programs that keep them in touch and working with local athletes.
“Having Okanagan athletes in our program is one of our priorities, so we work to continually provide development opportunities to the local players,” said Manuel. “We run a Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence all year and a series of Heat Development Camps throughout the fall.
“Honestly, I believe that the strike is much more difficult on the student athletes than it is on me as a university coach,” he continued.
Manuel has had several players contact him for advice and with questions. Among them are how they can get scouted or if they should send old videos of their play, despite having improved since that time.