A familiar face in Central Alberta’s volleyball scene has passed away.
Robert “Skip” Meckling died unexpectedly at his Red Deer home on April 17 at the age of 61.
Meckling has been an assistant coach for the Olds College Broncos for a decade. The Broncos said in a statement that the team and volleyball community are “heartbroken” following his passing.
“We have not only lost a coach and colleague, but also a devoted friend and mentor who dedicated the last 10 years of his life to the Broncos volleyball program,” the statement said.
“Above all else, Skip loved his daughters unconditionally, and they meant the world to him.”
Meckling was born in Quebec, but spent much of his childhood in Northwest Territories. He grew up competing in several sports, including volleyball, basketball, baseball and cycling. His nickname “Skip” originated through basketball due to the way he would skip down the court.
After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary, where he co-captained the 1982 CCAA National Championship volleyball team, he returned to Northwest Territories.
There he became active as a volleyball coach, official and administrator. He was head coach of the Northwest Territories men’s team for the 1987 and 1989 Canada Games, and was head coach for the women’s team at the 1993 and 1997 Canada Games.
After moving to Alberta in 2008, Meckling quickly implanted himself into the Central Alberta volleyball community. He coach the Notre Dame JV team to three straight zone titles and was active in the Queens Volleyball Club, which won the U16 provincial championship in 2010.
Meckling was also involved with the Team Alberta U16 program beginning in 2010 – the team won gold medals in 2011 and 2012, and followed that up with a bronze in 2013.
The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference said in a Facebook post it was “deeply saddened” to share the news of Meckling’s sudden passing.
“An assistant coach with the Olds College Broncos Men’s Volleyball team for the past decade, Rob was a respected ACAC colleague, coach and a mentor to many. He will be greatly missed. The ACAC extends sympathies to Rob’s family, friends, and colleagues,” the Facebook post said.
Meckling is survived by his daughters Bree and Abby; his sister Michele; as well as Marika, Charlie and Taylor.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Meckling’s honour are asked to be made directly to KidSport Canada at www.kidsportcanada.ca.