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OVA Hall of Fame: Builders (Bruce Stafford)

Posted on 06/12/2018

Bruce has been coaching and promoting volleyball since 1975 when teacher strikes would result in him assuming the role of coach for both senior boys and senior girls volleyball teams while still a student at Earl Haig Secondary. Bruce went on to coach the Ryerson Women's varsity program from 1979 to 1986 before retiring to help his wife, Sharon, raise their two daughters Kristi and Robyn. He still did a little coaching with a couple of adult teams including a "ladies" team that featured Diane Wood.

In 1992 Bruce started to get back into coaching again and helped coached a Region 5 Boys team in the Ontario Summer Games. He enjoyed the experience of working with different athletes and coaches so much that he coached in several Region Games and Summer Games programs over the years.

In 1998 he started the Aurora Volleyball Club, now known as Storm Volleyball. Growing the Club involved recruiting "volleyball parents" and mentoring them to become coaches. In 2001, his wife Sharon suggested he follow his passion and devote all his time to building Storm Volleyball for the benefit of the community. Bruce retired from his full-time job in 2002, the day before his 45th birthday, and to this day manages all aspects of the Club so his coaches can concentrate on helping athletes. Storm Volleyball has become one of Ontario's most successful community-based volleyball clubs as a result. Athletes that Bruce and his staff have developed have gone on to be very successful for their colleges, universities and even national teams.

A true developer of people, Bruce never wanted to discourage a player who didn't have the skills to make his rapidly improving teams, so he created a development program, Storm League, to help build skills and have children enjoy the game. This program now runs at three sites in Aurora and has almost 300 participants from ages 5 to 18.
Bruce was the OVA Youth Competitions Chair for several years, playing an instrumental role in the format and growth of volleyball in Ontario. He was a member of the Volleyball Canada Domestic Competitions Committee which coordinates the National events. He was also the OVA Region 5 Financial Coordinator and Athlete Development Chair for several years.

In addition to multiple OVA honours like the Volunteer of the Year, OVA Recognition Award, Achievement and Special Achievement awards, Bruce also received the Aurora Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to the community and in 2014 he was inducted into the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame in the Coach Category. To add to his list of accolades, the OVA is happy to induct Bruce Stafford into the OVA Hall of Fame for 2018. Congratulations Bruce.