RODE: Goal for Red Deer’s Tate Howell was to play for MRU Cougars

Tate Howell’s first contact with the Mount Royal University Cougars volleyball team fueled his desire to attend the Calgary post-secondary institution.

“I attended a camp going into Grade 10, met the coach and I loved the campus and the atmosphere,” he said.

Although he knew that’s where he wanted to end up after his high school career at Notre Dame was over, he wasn’t sure he’d ever play there.

“Really at that point, I wasn’t the best player but I grew into the perfect body for it and everything else developed into where I am today,” said the six-foot-eight outside hitter, who did receive several offers including one from the RDP Kings.

Tate had his biggest growth spurt after Grade 10.

“It was a lot to get used to being longer and having more body to move around, but I seemed to overcome it quickly which was nice,” he said.

That he did which eventually led to a berth with the Cougars and Team Alberta at the Canada Summer Games.

Howell caught the attention of Team Alberta last summer.

“I attended a Team Alberta tryout camp, but because of Covid it never went any further,” he said. “But last Christmas I got an email asking me to attend a tryout for the Game Games team. We had a couple more tryouts during the winter and I was told I made the team in the spring.”

The Alberta team placed second, losing to Saskatchewan 3-1 in the Gold Medal game.

“That wasn’t the outcome we wanted but overall it was a good experience and a good time,” said the 17-year-old.

Tate played left side with Team Alberta.

Over his career, which began in Grade 6 at St. Francis, Tate has played a number of positions.

“I started out as a setter, played some middle then recently moved to the outside … so I feel comfortable in all positions,” he said. “I played left side in high school and both right and left side with the Kings Club team.”

Tate also played a number of sports as youngster, including football, baseball and basketball. He played football up until Grade 8, baseball up until Grade 7 and basketball until Grade 10.

“I started to concentrate on volleyball as it took a lot of time, especially when I started playing club,” he said.

But he does feel football and baseball helped him develop.

“I think both helped my arm swing. I think my attack is my strongest asset and they helped with that.”

On the other hand, he sees defence as something he needs to continue to work on.

“Being a little bigger means I have to work harder on that, which I will,” he added.

He also added he credits Club coach Geoff Trentham and high school coach AJ Mahoney for his development.

“They both played a key role,” he said.

Tate will take Heath and Physical Education at MRU and indicated he’ll concentrate on getting his degree and his time with the Cougars before worrying about the distant future.

Although he does have an idea where he’d like to end up.

“I’d love to make the junior national team or even the senior national team,” he said. “But that’s down the road.”

Playing with Team Canada is something that part of the RDP Kings history as they’ve had a number of former players play for the National team.

Former Kings head coach Keith Hansen was instrumental in those players development and while Tate knows the Hall of Fame coach he hasn’t talked with him yet about what it would take to reach his ultimate goal.

Tate is living on campus at MRU and started practice this week.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at

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