Tristan Dexter found his way home … well sort of.
Dexter was born and raised in Red Deer, living here until moving north after Grade 9.
While his home has been in Sherwood Park the last four years he’ll be back in Red Deer this fall, joining the RDC Kings volleyball squad.
“My parents moved to open a business (Chatters and Tommy Guns) after Grade 9,” he explained. “But it will be good to return … I’m looking forward to it. The Kings have a great program and I’m excited to be part of it.”
The six-foot-five Dexter will fit in nicely with the Kings, giving them depth on the left side alongside Regan Fathers and Matt Lofgren.
“Tristan is a nice addition, giving us the depth once again on the left side,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “With Matt and Regan we have two guys with experience but we showed last season you need that depth.”
The Kings showed that depth at power last season, capturing the CCAA national title. But they lost Riley Friesen and Kashtin De Souza.
Dexter is primarily a left side player, but could be used on the right side, or even he middle if need be.
“When I was younger I switched around, as a lot of guys did, but when I got into Grade 11 I switched strictly to the left side,” Dexter said.
It’s a position he not only enjoys because of the offensive side, but the defensive as well.
“I like the skill involved in the position, but I also focus a lot on the defensive side and the passing. I feel I have a balanced game.”
Schulha likes all aspects of his game.
“He’s a strong blocker and hits the ball with a lot of pace,” he said. “Plus he’s solid on defence and passing. We need that from out left side players in getting the ball up to our setters in a good position.”
Dexter became involved in volleyball in Grade 6 and started with the Kings Club program in Grade 7. He also played basketball, hockey and ran track. But once in high school he concentrated on volleyball.
After leaving Red Deer, he played for Bev Facey in Sherwood Park and reached the provincial 4A championships in Grade 11, losing to the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the gold medal game.
“The other years we weren’t quite as strong, but had good teams,” said Dexter, who played with the Edmonton FOG Club in U16 and U17 and joined the NAVC program for U18.
It was there that he was recruited to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
“My life long goal was to play in the CIS and jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “Coach Pat (Hennelly) had a good program and it intrigued me, so I committed to go there last season.”
He was looking to get a sports psychology degree, but the program was dropped. He played half of last season with TRU before returning home.
“It was good while I was there and I got a lot of court time, but because of the academics I decided to leave and look elsewhere,” he explained.
After he returned Schulha contacted him about attending RDC.
“It worked out perfectly,” said Dexter. “I’m going to take kinesiology this year and then look at getting into nursing.”
If it works out Dexter could be with the Kings for four years.
“It could work out that way, which would be great for us,” said Shulha. “We’ll just have to see.”
Dexter will train with several members of the Kings during the summer.
“It gives me a chance to get to know the guys, but I do know some of them from before.”
Dexter played minor hockey with Kings veteran Daimyn Belistsky and also played club in Edmonton with libero Michael Sumner.