At the Volleydome, volleyball is more than just a sport – it’s a life experience.
The founders, Don and Mylene Saxton, have been involved in the world of volleyball for decades. They were once top athletes who competed at the highest levels of the game. Today, they’re busy coaching the next generation of Canadian volleyball pros at the Volleydome.
Don Saxton’s journey began at the University of Saskatchewan in 1974, where he started as a varsity basketball player. Shifting gears in the fall of 1976, Don made the move to volleyball. He then went on to compete with Canada’s National Team, representing Canada on the world stage. Meanwhile, Mylene hit the courts at the University of Ottawa, making MVP in 1980. She spent a year on the Junior National Team before joining the Canadian Nationals.
That’s where Don and Mylene met. By 1983, they were married.
Volleyball has been around since the late 19th century, but volleyball only became an Olympic event in 1964. Canada first played a team at the 1976 Olympics, having qualified as the host nation, but much of Canada’s history in the sport was yet unwritten.
That changed in 1984, when Team Canada got another shot at the podium. Don helped the team qualify, for the first time in the normal process, and travelled with them to compete in Los Angeles. There, they landed a hard-fought fourth place. The fourth place finish is still the best Olympic performance in Canadian men’s volleyball.
After making a bang on the world stage, Don and Mylene turned their attention back home. They moved to Calgary and started a family. Wanting to promote the sport they love, they set to work building a club that offered the ultimate volleyball experience. In 1998, the pair founded the Canuck Stuff Volleyball Club in Calgary.
Enter the Volleydome. Built by the Farley Group 20 years ago and still standing strong, the Volleydome is Don and Mylene’s vision brought to life. The sprawling facility houses six world-class indoor volleyball courts. Under the Saxtons’ guidance, the Club’s teams have won seven Canadian Open Championships and one U.S. Open Championship.
Now, Don and Mylene are training the next generation of Canadian volleyball elites. The Club is dedicated supporting young players and fostering a life-long love of the game. Their efforts have paid off. Their youth teams have earned their way to National Youth Championship titles and dozens of Provincial Championship titles.
The future is bright for Canadian volleyball, in no small part thanks to Don and Mylene Saxton. Former Canuck Stuff kids have won volleyball scholarships and competed all over the world. A select few even made it to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
That’s where Ben Saxton, Camille Saxton, and Graham Vigrass come in. Next week’s chapter will discuss Olympic experiences and dreams for this volleyball family.