After receiving this honor in 2020 as a builder, Howard Gange of Prince Albert was officially inducted in Saskatchewan. Volleyball Hall of Fame last weekend.
“I was quite flattered by the designation,” Gange said. “It was almost a delayed reaction since the original induction was supposed to take place in 2020. When we finally decided to do it last weekend, it was almost anti-climactic. But it was still very pleasant. »
Howard has been involved in athletics his entire life and has left a big mark on the world of volleyball in Prince Albert. While attending the University of Saskatchewan, he played Huskie Football and was a member of the Men’s Athletic Board. His coaching career began when he started teaching, including football, basketball and curling. He coached high school football for 17 years, then turned to coaching women’s volleyball.
The game had changed since he was playing, with nine players on the pitch, so he needed a mentor coach and chose Mark Tennant. He began attending Tennant’s coaching clinics and enrolled his players in its annual spiker and passer camps.
“After realizing where the game was at in Prince Albert, I realized the bigger centers also had volleyball clubs, not just school programs,” Gange said. “To try to be competitive, I put together a club team in 1982. As you develop skills, that’s when you see the level of play improve.”
The first year, his team went to provincials, only to learn that the game was played very differently at that level. Back in Prince Albert, he began, with the help of some undergraduate coaches, to form a volleyball club. The PA Optimist Club agreed to sponsor the new club, and the PA Optimist Toppers Club was formed in 1982, with two teams, a bantam team and a midget team. Howard coached and organized the Toppers for 12 years with up to 12 teams in all three divisions per year.
With the help of other local coaches, the Toppers had quite a bit of success, winning several provincial age class championships. While this was very rewarding, Howard found that the number and quality of players coming to his high school team had improved a lot. His high school team represented the PA at SHSAA Provincial Championships for 11 of the 12 years he coached, appearing in 4 provincial finals and winning two, 1986 and 1989. Howard retired from teaching and coaching. training in 1994, but the Toppers Club has continued to this day.
Gange says that while he is now enjoying his retired life, he still feels a sense of pride to see Prince Albert’s volleyball clubs continue to emerge as some of the best in the province.
“I’m proud of what the youngsters have done, as well as the coaches and organizers,” he said. “When I started the club it was almost a selfish thing to improve the level of my high school team at Carlton. The club has continued to do well and it’s good to see it’s going in the right direction. direction.
Howard was a member of Sask. Games Council and was the Sports Co-Chair for the 1992 Sask. Pennsylvania Summer Games He led a campaign to create and equip the Harry Jerome track for the city of Prince Albert. For this, he received PA’s Sportsman of the Year award.
In 1995, he agreed to chair the board of directors and be the general manager of the 1999 Western Canada Summer Games, also held in Prince Albert. The games were very successful, and the town benefited from millions of dollars worth of upgrades and new facilities. The city chose him Citizen of the Year in 2000. In retirement, Howard continued to curl and golf and spent part of the winter in Mesa, Arizona, where he played pickleball, golf and at petanque.
-with files from Saskatchewan. Volleyball