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2024 Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame Inductees

The ceremony, which is presented by NOTHERS – the Award Store, will take place at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, on June 5 at 8 pm. Please contact Lucie Leclerc to purchase tickets to the ceremony ($20 each).

This year’s Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. 

The VC Hall of Fame includes athletes, builders, coaches, referees or teams who made major contributions to the development of the sport in Canada and beyond. This year, the list consists of five individuals, a mix of builders and athletes.

In some instances, their impact on the game dates back to the 1950s. Others were competing as recently as the 2016 Rio Olympics. But they all have one thing in common: these individuals exemplify the winning Volleyball Canada spirit, leading on and off the court, bettering the sport for all Canadians. Here are the 2024 Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame inductees. They’ll be honoured later this year, at a ceremony on June 5th in Ottawa.
Robert Wright – Builder
In his early days, Robert (Bob) played volleyball at the Central YMCA in Toronto. That’s where he met his friend –  and fellow HoF nominee – David Tweedley. After years at the Central Y, Bob and David started the men’s volleyball program at Balmy Beach Canoe Club.

In 1965, Bob helped bring beach volleyball to Canada. Inspired by a trip to California, where he saw plenty of beach volleyball, Bob built a bunch of sand courts and hosted the first-ever international tournament at Balmy Beach, with the help of his friend David.

As it turns out, Bob did a lot in the 1960s. He served on the executive board of the Canadian Volleyball Association (CVA) from 1962 to 1968. In 1967, he coached the Canadian men’s team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg. He also played and refereed the game at the international level.
David Tweedley – Builder
Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, David played for the varsity team at George Williams College in Chicago in the 1950s. During his time there, he won the Eastern Collegiate Championship and earned All-American honours, among other achievements.

In 1958, David graduated and got a job as the director of the Toronto Central YMCA. From there, he moved on to the Balmy Beach Canoe Club, helping grow the game indoors and on the beach, alongside Bob Wright.

In the 1960s, David played for Canada at two separate Pan American Cups, in Brazil and Manitoba. He also served as secretary for the CVA. David passed away in 2021, but his legacy lives on.
Doramy Ehling – Builder
Back in the day, Doramy managed her high school volleyball team at Point Grey Secondary School in Vancouver. Her lifelong involvement with Volleyball Canada started in 1980, when Sandy Silver invited her to manage the Junior National Women’s team in Ottawa, alongside head coach Michel Gagnon.

From there, she worked as the Technical Coordinator for Volleyball Canada; the Director of High Performance for the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (now U SPORTS); and in the Team Sport Unit for Sport Canada.

In 2004, Doramy moved back to Vancouver, where she volunteered for Volleyball BC and assisted on the campaign that moved the Women’s National Team Centre (WNTC) from Winnipeg to the Richmond Olympic Oval. Nowadays, she’s the CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation and serves as a Chair for the WNTC.
Gavin Schmitt – Athlete
Standing 6’10” with a powerful right arm, Gavin is among the most dominant attackers in Canadian history. But he might have never played volleyball, if not for an observant coach.

In eleventh grade, Gavin was working at a local burger joint, when the Saskatchewan provincial team coach noticed his height. The coach eventually convinced Gavin to take up the sport. Gavin played at the University of Saskatchewan for a year, before moving to Red Deer College (RDC), where he helped the program win its eighth-straight national title.

Gavin played for the National Team from 2007 to 2016, one of the most successful eras in the history of the program. Among the highlights, he led the team to a seventh-place finish at the 2014 World League; a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto; and a best-ever fifth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Gavin also enjoyed a successful pro career, playing in Greece, France, Turkey, Russia and South Korea, where he starred for the Daejeon Samsung Bluefangs. He retired in 2016. A year later, he was inducted into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, for his contributions at RDC.
Michelle Sawatzky – Athlete
In 1987, Michelle led the Steinbach Regional Secondary School Sabres to a AA championship. From there, she just kept on winning. As a setter at the University of Manitoba, she helped the Bisons win three straight CIAU championships, from 1990 to 1993. During that time, she took home National Player of the Year honours twice. 

Michelle had a stellar international career. In the early 1990s, she played for the Canadian junior team and competed at the World Student Games. Michelle joined the senior national women’s team in 1995, winning bronze at the Pan American games that year.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Michelle guided the Canadian women to a ninth place finish. In their final game of that tournament, Michelle led the team in a 3-2 win over Peru—the first Olympic win for the women’s program. Michelle is now a motivational speaker and coach.

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