The RDC Kings Volleyball program carved their place in CCAA history by winning eight CCAA national championships from 1999-2007 – the longest run of supremacy in CCAA history in any sport. What makes this steak even more remarkable is the fact that the majority of players were enrolled in 2-year Transfer Programs so the faces changed annually over the extent of the run of success.
During this extraordinary reign, the Kings’ established an astonishing win/loss record of 89-9 during ACAC regular season play, 23-0 in ACAC playoff and Championships play - which of course includes 8 ACAC Titles in succession- and 24-0 in CCAA National Championships play. For seven of the eight seasons during this amazing winning streak, the teams were led by Head Coach Keith Hansen while former Kings’ player Richard Schick jumped in to coach during 2000-01 when Hansen took a one year sabbatical.
Looking back, it’s understandable how the seasons and the Championships blend together but there were some teams that stood out for different reasons. One notable accomplishment during this run included the impressive 2002-03 team which won all matches against college competition along with non-conference victories over NCAA Division 1 silver medalist BYU and the CIS bronze medal winning U of Saskatchewan Huskies. Those Kings lost a grueling 5-set match to the eventual CIS National Champions from the U of Alberta during that season.
The 2005-06 team might have enjoyed the most memorable CCAA championship victory by defeating the host Limoilou Titans in Quebec who, at the time, shared the Kings’ record of six consecutive CCAA championships.The Kings overcame the pressure of a magnificent five-set match, an overflow partisan crowd, and the hometown announcer who enthusiastically led the cheers and jeers.Naturally the Kings went on to notch one more National Championship after that to emphatically make their statement about who held CCAA Men’s Volleyball superiority, in case there remained any doubt.
Of course, individual team members were recognized with awards throughout the years including Nicholas Cundy, Joey Martins and Brock Davidiuk who all were feted as CCAA Player of the Year for all sports. Coach Keith Hansen was honored as CCAA Coach of the Year for all sports on two occasions. Several team members were also selected as CCAA Men’s Volleyball Player of the Year as well.
Unexpectedly for a CCAA program where athletes usually transferred to larger university programs first, the Kings became established as somewhat of a feeder system for the Canadian National Team with no less than five former Kings players graduating to full-time status with the Canadian Men’s Volleyball Team. That list including recognizable Canadian volleyball standouts such as Gavin Schmitt, Nicholas Cundy, Brock Davidiuk, Mark Dodds, and Dallas Soonias. Joining the National B or Universiade team were Kelly Cherniwchan, Joey Martens, Tim Gourlay, Aaron Schulha and Tanner Nault. Chaim Schalk competed for Canada’s Beach Volleyball team in Rio as well.
Just as importantly however, a number of players became coaches and leaders in their communities or in volleyball circles abroad.
The success of these eight-in-a-row teams was forged by tradition, expectations and normative behaviors established by the coaching staff, and passed on by players from one team to the next. Hansen notes that the players held each other responsible, with veterans introducing new teammates to the program and modelling what it meant to be a Kings Volleyball player.
“As a coach, you hold them to high standards but there’s nothing as positive or powerful as players holding each other responsible. The veterans did a great job of taking the young players and introducing them to the program and telling them what it means to be a King.”
Safe to say, that message was received loud and clear.
1999-2007 Team Members