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PURPOSE:  To provide a recreational opportunity for adults 55 and over to enjoy the game of volleyball and to provide advocacy for the promotion of the sport.

WECSVL History:

In the mid-90s a group of retirees got together to play recreational volleyball in the basement of Lincoln Road United Church. The group mainly consisted of slowpitch players who were members of WRSA “Windsor Retirees Sports Association”. Notable “regulars” were Dave Brockbank, Frank Edwards, Wes O’Grady and George Allen. When volleyball was introduced into the Ontario Senior games the Windsor co-ed team [captained by Blaise Gillis] consisted of members of this group [at that point it was male players only]. 

The Founders

In 2001 the group moved to the Sandcastle Recreation Centre. The Ontario Senior Games expanded their volleyball to include a men’s only grouping at that time. It was realized that an organized league was needed to raise the level of play to be more competitive at a provincial level. A formal league was set up, headed by Jerry Ulman [Pres.], Gilles Gauthier [Sec.] and Jim McMartin [Treas.]. 

The league rapidly expanded and soon morphed into two divisions “A” and “B”, with the “A” division having more stress on competition. Both divisions had regular weekly games, playoffs and championships, a format which is followed to this day. A women’s team was made part of the league [“B” division] in 2002 and today there are now two women’s teams plus a few individual players in our league. 

The value of the league was made more evident by the fact that almost every member of the Windsor men’s volleyball teams [55 yr. and 65+ yr.] competing in the Ontario Senior games were members of our league. It is safe to say that the Windsor – Essex men’s team has garnered more medals in volleyball than any other district in Ontario.

The venues have changed as well as the players and style of the game but the philosophy has always remained the same for us as participants in this league. The goals are of course to have fun first and foremost, to promote maximum participation, to develop skills, and to create social interaction which extends beyond the bounds of the gyms where we play as senior athletes.

The league started at Sandcastle which has disappeared and been replaced by roadways and the avenue to the new Gordy Howe Bridge. The old rubber floor taped and painted saw many of our original players competing for league supremacy against each other in epic battles that played throughout the fall and winter months.

The teams enjoyed celebrations right at the Sandcastle. Christmas Turkey deep fried and Apple Pies with fruit from Newman’s own orchards. A bar in which we as patrons’ simply served ourselves and then left the money on a servers’ tray.

We hosted tournaments inviting our arch enemy London as well as teams from the USA. Each year the league culminated in a playoff format and then the end of the year celebration with beer, chili dogs and stories of past failures and victories.

The players that remain have developed wonderful new friendships, watched old colleagues disappear and said prayers or those who have passed away during this time. The closing of Sandcastle changed our morning routine of watching the senior exercise program, playing our games and making way for basketball, badminton and pre-season baseball practice in this all purpose venue. And now off to Riverside.

Riverside ushered in a new era and with the addition of new faces and an infusion of new ideas and style of play. The game began to change and evolve. The Windsor Teams started to play at a much higher level and the out of town teams and our American Neighbours saw this positive direction with each new tournament. The Senior Games began to be a showcase for the new talent as well as the Huff and Puff which became envious of our new found success.

The problem now became with the fragmentation of our groups as one had moved to Atkinson and another to the WFCU Arena. The solidarity of the league was at stake as well as the cohesiveness that was essential for WECSVL to succeed. The stay at Riverside was short and sweet but the changes made to our league and the quality of play has developed a new sense of pride in what has become a league envied across Ontario.

The executive made a dynamic choice moving to a wonderful venue like St. Clair College. It has enhanced the quality of play and brought together a fragmented league again under one roof. The Ladies now were a wonderful breath of fresh air and the Thursday Group was back in the same gym.

Again the sounds of play can be heard, the stories continue and the joy is evident. This is all part of the tireless efforts of those who began this process and those who have taken over to continue its success today. Along with the actual league play WECSVL has become a leader in volunteer work in the community, fund raisers for those less fortunate and a group always ready to help with the individual needs of its participants. The executive members whose energy and tireless efforts have made this venture a success. They need to be applauded as the prime force in this leagues continuing growth and development.





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