When Harvey Mazerolle learned he was being inducted into the PEI Volleyball Hall of Fame in the Builder Category, he was initially surprised.
“My father would have laughed, because he said I’m not a builder,” he said. “I’ve never built anything in my life. They say it’s the pinnacle of all sports involvement in the province for volleyball, and I’m honoured to be part of that group.”
In terms of physical labour, Mr Mazerolle might be right, but others would disagree with his father’s statement. A coach for 50 years, and volleyball for 45 of those years, he’s led the M.E. Callaghan Cougars boys volleyball team to 10 PEI School Athletic Association (PIESAA) provincial championships, the most titles for a junior high boys team since the PEISAA was formed.
Mr Mazerolle has also led his teams to four gold medals at the elite Dalhousie Classic Volleyball Tournament.
Originally from Shediac, NB, Mr Mazerolle moved to West Prince in the early 1970s, teaching physical education, and French, at the Tignish High School. In 1977, he began at the newly constructed M.E. Callaghan Intermediate School, where he also taught physical education, French, and coached a variety of different sports teams.
“It is easy to see why Harvey is being inducted into our Volleyball PEI Hall of Fame,” said Peter Bolo, Mr Mazerolle’s friend, and fellow coach during the award ceremony earlier this month. “He has been a key reason for the tremendous growth of the sport in this province.”
Along with coaching, Mr Mazerolle wanted to expand the eight week school volleyball season. As a result, he co-founded the West Prince Islanders Volleyball Club in 1987, taking teams to many Eastern Canadian and National midget and juvenile club championships over the years. He’s also served as the men’s assistant coach at the 1989 and 2005 Canada Games. He also formed the Cougar Classic Volleyball Tournament for girls and boys in 1977, the longest running junior high tournament in Canada, and helped co-found the Seaside Volleyball camp.
In an administration capacity, Mr Mazerolle has served on the board of directors for Volleyball PEI since 1989 wearing many hats throughout that time, including president for four years, and a member-at-large. He currently serves as the board’s vice-president.
This isn’t the first time Mr Mazerolle has been recognized for his contributions to volleyball. He’s been a finalist for Sport PEI Administrator of the Year; twice for the PEISAA: Administrator of the year, Coach of the Year, Charlie Ballum Award winner, and Lifetime Contribution to School Sport award. He has also received the Volleyball PEI Administrator and Coach of the Year numerous times, and the PEI Physical Educator of the Year award.
Volleyball isn’t the only sport he coaches. He’s also been involved in coaching wrestling, baseball, basketball and track and field at the school, club and provincial team levels, and for many years was a certified Level 1 and 2 NCCP Theory instructor.
One of the things Mr Mazerolle enjoys most about being a coach is the interaction he has with his players.
“You see these players that have just started, and have no idea about the game, don’t know the rules, don’t know the details, nothing,” he said. “Just to be able to see the growth of the players right from the start, it’s pretty amazing. When I look back on the 45 years that I’ve been coaching volleyball, it’s just unreal.”
This is the third year Volleyball PEI has held inductions into its hall of fame. Mr Mazerolle feels this induction is a recognition he’s done his best not only for the association, but for the sport in the province, and the work he’s put into helping volleyball players on the Island grow.
Another honour for him was hearing his friend’s citation ahead of the award itself.
“Peter is quite a guy, he’s a great friend of mine, and him and I have gone through volleyball together,” he said. “We started basically around the same time, and he stopped coaching a few years back, but he’s still involved with Volleyball PEI. Just to have him read the citation, and the kind words that he said, it felt good.”
Mr Bolo said Mr Mazerolle isn’t one to ever look for recognition or glory. His goal is simply to turn youth onto the sport of volleyball and to give them an opportunity to play what he feels is an amazing game.
“It is scary to think that Harvey was looking to come to PEI for a year or two of teaching experience before heading back to New Brunswick,” Mr Bolo concluded. “What a loss that would have been to the youth he has coached, the adults he has mentored and inspired, and the sport itself. Harvey does not just teach sport, he teaches these young people about what is important in life, and the life skills they need to get there.”