Posted on: December 4, 2018
The province of Alberta has proven to be a great area for recruiting for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball program. This coming season is no different.
Head coach Pat Hennelly and the WolfPack are pleased to formally announce their first recruit of the 2019-20 Canada West season. Brody Kopec of Red Deer, Alberta is a 6’4” outside hitter. Kopec will be graduating this June from Notre Dame High School.
“I loved how scenic and open the valley was with all the beautiful hiking trails and outdoor activities to do,” says Kopec, who will be enrolling in a new program at TRU called software engineering. “ I have always liked smaller communities with more interaction amongst people. TRU looks very easy to get around.”
Kopec was also impressed with the WolfPack program, “ I loved how determined they were (the other players) and how hard working they were with their workout routines and practices. They know what they need to do in order to be successful. I was also impressed with how integrated and close they were.”
He believes he is joining the TRU program at a great time with a lot of the veteran players going into their third and fourth years in 2019-20. “ For a first year, I will get to play with a lot of the vets and learn more about the game, the league and being a student/athlete. It will give me a year or two to adjust and be able to step in when they graduate.”
He knows two current members of the Pack—Sam Elgert and Ryan Adams—from playing Team Alberta with them in the past.
His coach the last three years with the Notre Dame Cougars senior boy’s volleyball team is Allan Mahoney. “Brody is a composed and focused player at all times. Offensively, he had our highest point total and kill percentage for the entire season and at the net was one of our best blockers as well.”
Notre Dame was 37-9 on the season (80 % winning percent), won two tournaments, the Central Alberta Zone championship and the consolation trophy at the Alberta 4A provincials.
Mahoney says Kopec is a winner both on and off the court. “ Brody is an exceptional student, achieving high marks in all of his classes and he recognizes that academics are a priority if you want to be an athlete. As a person, the last three years with Brody have been incredible. He is such a genuine person who has a great group of friends, a funny and engaging personality, and he is a person you can count on to be there for you when times get tough. He has been though a lot this year specifically, and he’s come out on the other end a stronger person as a result.”
He adds that Kopec has unlimited potential, “I think for Brody the sky is the limit. He will take a little bit of time to get adjusted but I think his main motivation for transitioning into Canada West/U SPORTS is he wants to challenge himself to see what he can do. Canada West is traditionally a powerhouse conference among U SPORTS. So he is choosing to dive right in and tackle that head on. He has mentally and physically prepared himself to perform from day one. I think he could be a contributing member of the WolfPack right away if he keeps up his training over the next year into the regular season.”
With the WolfPack very involved in community activities including ‘School Visits, Raise a Reader and Terry Fox Run’s in elementary schools, Mahoney believes Kopec will welcome being a ‘role model’. “ Brody will be excellent in this aspect. Our school has a great culture of giving back already built into our day-to-day operation. He has, from an young age, been touted as the ‘next big player’ to come out of our community and has had to live up to monumental expectations for a long time. I think the media attention is going to be fine for him because he has been under scrutiny for most of his high school/club career.”
Says coach Hennelly, “Brody Kopec Is a big signing for the WolfPack. Brody is a very dynamic athlete and has all the tools, quick feet and fast arm, suited for the offense we want to run. Brody can hit the quicker sets and will be a force out of the back row. Brody can play either left or right side and will fit in very well with the vision we have for our offense moving forward. Brody is a solid student athlete and has the potential to be another great outside hitter for our program. I think offensively he reminds me of Kevin Tillie, with his arm speed and quickness. I think Brody can have an immediate impact on the court and will develop into a top outside hitter in Canada West. This is a big signing to start our 2019 class and Brody is an excellent cornerstone for the future of our program. We are looking to load up a bit in this recruiting class and Brody was a player at the top of our list. “
Kopec adds, “ I would just like to thank TRU for giving me the opportunity to come and play and I am looking forward to being a part of the WolfPack.’
The men’s volleyball program plans to announce some more high school recruits in the coming weeks.
SIDE OUTS: Mahoney’s favourite Kopec anecdote, “My favorite memory of Brody was actually from Grade 11. He had been struggling for the first half of our season, and I had my Grade 12 players take him aside to give him a pep talk before one of our tournament games. The four of them pulled him aside in the gym, pointed at his chest, and said to him “You are Brody-freaking-Kopec and it is time for you to start showing people what that means!” He played absolutely incredible for the remainder of the tournament, and really the rest of our season. That game was the turning point for his season and from that point on he was such a huge performer for our team. I think with Brody he needed just a spark of belief to start flying, and he’s never looked back.
And he adds, “ Brody has been such a huge part of my life for the last three years. From a wide-eyed Grade 10 to the confident Grade 12, he’s grown so much and has given me every reason to be a proud coach. I am so excited for him as he approaches the next leg of his journey, and I can’t wait to see how he does at TRU!”