What started as a summer program and a bit of a test-of-the-waters of sorts will soon evolve into a brand-new highly competitive volleyball club in Moose Jaw.
The Golden Ticket Volleyball Club will hold their first set of tryouts throughout the day on Sunday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 23, with the goal of forming seven teams from 14-and-under to under-17 boys and girls that will see action throughout the Sask Volleyball competitive season.
The new venture has already drawn plenty of interest, says Golden Ticket Sports Centre owner Tanner Brightman, something that is hopefully a sign of positive days ahead.
“I’m shocked, surprised and very, very happy with how it’s going,” Brightman said of how popular registration has been in the early going. “We’re at just over 100 for tryouts right now and if people want to come out and aren’t sure about it, we’ll have full information at the tryouts and they can see what we’re going to be all about.”
The genesis of GTVC was initially simple demand -- while Golden Ticket had a hard focus on basketball, volleyball teams and coaches were constantly inquiring about the use of their facility. That led to the creation of well-received summer programming, and from there came the inevitable question: ‘why don’t you form a club?’
“I was hesitant because it’s not my area of expertise, but I said if you can find people to lead the on-floor involvement, we have the infrastructure to support it, and it’s worked out well,” Brightman said. “Now the goal is to get things together and provide an incredible experience for everyone involved.’
The GTVC has taken a quality-over-quantity approach, with a focus on developing solid team mechanics right from the get-go. The teams will be playing on the Sask Cup circuit in addition to taking the floor at provincials and nationals, all with the goal of finding success at every level.
To that end, the club has no shortage of experienced coaches on board. Corey Nyhagen (17U girls), Nathan Morhart (16U girls), Marcie Simpson (15U girls), Mirela Rotaru (14U girls) and Bailey Braun (15U/16U boys) have all signed on as head coaches and are complimented by a host of high-school level bench bosses as assistants.
“I think that’s one thing when we were thinking whether or not we should do it, the whole idea is not to [take it easy] on anything,” Brightman said. “With the coaching standpoint, there’s a lot of good synergy and harmony between the people who are doing it, so why not open it up and see what the response is going to be?”
A major component early on for GTVC was the development of boys programs, which haven’t seen serious growth in Moose Jaw in recent years.
“It’s a really good opportunity for the guys,” Brightman said. “As far as I know there hasn’t been a consistent or steady program of this nature for the guys' side in Moose Jaw, so it’s going to be a good option for competitive volleyball players who maybe don’t want to have to drive into Regina or something like that.”
Players will also be able to work their way up through the age categories over the years, creating a pipeline program of experienced and talented players as time passes.
“That’s the reason why we’ve gone from the 14U all the way to the U17 age group,” Brightman explained. “We can provide an experience for the kids where if they come in as 13- and 14-year-olds, they know that for the next five years there’s a plan, a development pathway with the way the teams are being coached and taught.’
Overall, the plan is to get off to as good a start as possible, provide as quality a program as possible, and grow only when it’s time to grow.
“This is the first year, and the goal isn’t to have 50 teams going, the goal is to have five or six teams going really, really well,” Brightman said. “If we have the capacity to add another team in the future then we will, but for right now, we just want to focus on what we have planned and do what we can to build from there if we need to.”
For more on tryout times and everything you need to know about the Golden Ticket Volleyball Club, be sure to visit their oft-updated Facebook page at www.facebook.com/goldenticketsportscentre/ and check out their website at www.goldenticketsportscentre.com.