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Selkirk looks to rebuild athletic program for next season

Saints in better days as Tory Zaytsoff spikes the ball.

By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports


The Selkirk College Athletic department is looking to reload after the school had its application for dispensation denied by the British Columbia Colleges’ Athletic Association (BCCAA) Executive earlier this week.

“We have to analyse where do we go from here,” Selkirk College Athletic Director Kim Verign told The Nelson Daily. “We have to try to start the rebuilding process right now.”

The college wanted the BCCAA executive to allow only the women’s volleyball team to participate during the 2010-11 season after it was realized that the men’s team could not fulfill its league requirements as some of the men’s student athletes could not fully commit to the league schedule.

However, the request was denied due to the fact that league schedules are based on both genders traveling and competing at the same time.

“The program is not completely gone,” Verigin explains. “We’re now going to play a season of exhibition to get back on our feet and establish what we do in the future.”

Verigin said the men’s team was down to six committed players, which was the reason for the sudden appeal to the BCCAA executive.

There was a time when the Saints volleyball program was considered one of the powers in the BCCAA.

During a three-year cycle Selkirk won three consecutive Totem Conference titles (the name of the league) in 1989, 90 and 91. Selkirk also fielded teams in soccer, basketball and hockey.

However, interest declined forcing the school to withdraw from the BCCAA.

In 2006, the volleyball program was resurrected. The teams played a season of exhibition games before re-applying, and being accepted, into the BCCAA the following season.

But according to Verigin, Selkirk saw a mass exodus of players from last year’s men's squad, mostly due to graduation and students moving on to further schooling at another institution.

Combined with a lack of varsity teams playing at the West Kootenay high school level, Selkirk now has a much smaller number of volleyball players to draw on playing in Castlegar.

“Absolutely,” exclaimed Verigin when about his concerns regarding the sport at the high school level. “The graduating class form this past year’s senior volleyball is very low in numbers and that significantly reduces our recruiting from the area.”

Joe Moreira, former coach of the women’s program at Selkirk College, believes low numbers is not the only concern.

“In my three years as the Selkirk College women’s coach I came to the disappointing realization that it was a huge task to keep local players at home and to recruit player from other areas of our region,” he said. “I considered this to me my own personal experience and challenge and believed that (men’s coach) Mike Perra would have more success.”

The bulk recruits at Selkirk generally come from West Kootenay schools, but Saints' coaches also finds players from outside the region.

Another hurdle facing Selkirk is the fact that some schools in the BCCAA, like UBC/O in Kelowna, are preparing to enter the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).

To make a smooth transition to the CIS, alumni are shelling massive amounts of money into programs to hire full time coaches and recruiters to ensure the best players in the province come to play.

The only team remaining at Selkirk playing provincially is men’s hockey, which toils in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League.

sports@thenelsondaily.com