Notre Dame Cougars hitter Shynelle Woroniuk hits past Hunting Hills Lightning blockers Erich Greenshields and Megan Burnett on Wednesday in Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association senior girls volleyball play. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Notre Dame High School set to host 2020 high school Volleyball Provincials

It was a random thought that permeated into a big idea for two volleyball coaches at Notre Dame High School.

A.J. Mahoney, the senior boys coach and Dana Woroniuk, who guides the senior girls wondered about the volleyball future at the school and how to push it to new heights.

They settled on a grand gesture, an attempt to be the dual host school for the 2020 Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A Volleyball Championships. Over the next seven months, they worked slowly to put a bid together and had to resubmit a new bid just a few months ago. That included a video submission and even an endorsement from the mayor.

After an ASAA meeting Friday, Mahoney said they finally got the news Saturday that they were going to host the championships in 2020.

Notre Dame hasn’t played host to anything ASAA volleyball related since the 20o6-2007 boys 4A Provincials and the championships most recently were hosted by Lindsay Thurber in 2016.

“We looked at each other and said our teams are doing well provincially, we’re ranked in the top 10 every year and we want a chance to show off our school and the city again,” said Mahoney of the conversation with Woroniuk.

“(Lindsay) Thurber did such a good job a few years ago, we thought why can’t we do the same thing?”

Now, the wheels get turning in a big way, even if the tournament is still more than a year and a half away.

Venues need to be finalized, fundraising and sponsors have to be lined up and game-day logistics need to be settled on, just to name a few.

Mahoney said they gathered information for a number of sources about how to do all that, so now they have to put it all in place.

“It’s really exciting. We know that it’s going to be a lot of work. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into updating our gym. We have a bunch of new facilities in Red Deer we can show off, too,” Mahoney added.

“Kind of getting that volunteering bug from the Canada Winter Games and the college had men’s nationals here. I think we looked at each other and said, we can do this, too. And we want to do a good job with a big event.”

With the undertaking of such a large event, which will include accommodating 12 teams on both the girls and boys side of a draw for at least three matches each plus playoffs, is a large undertaking.

The approach at Notre Dame is an interesting one, as they are hoping to throw all the school’s resources at that conundrum. That includes inviting more than just the athletic department to be involved in hosting the event.

“We don’t necessarily want it to be a sports focus. We want our entire school community to get involved,” Mahoney said.

“How do you involve the fine arts department? How do you involve the math department? How do you get people to rally around this and come together and build some community, too.”

Much like the Canada Winter Games left a lasting legacy on the city and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Volleyball Championships looked to inspire a younger generation of athletes – so too will Notre Dame when the ball hits the floor at 2020 ASAA 4A Volleyball Championships.

We’re looking forward and seeing what can we do to set us apart as a school and how can we give back to the volleyball community,” he said.

“We thought this was a good time and opportunity to host something and give back and show what we can do.”

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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