Support4Sport

Support4Sport program has helped fuel the desires, broaden the dreams and encourage the visions of athletes across the Province.

Ken Bagnell, President
Candian Sport Centre Atlantic

Guy Lavoie

guy
Lavoie
Come on in, the water’s fine
Guy Lavoie
Community Program

In 2004, Guy Lavoie became involved in water polo. At the time organized teams were pretty much non-existent in Nova Scotia, but Ukrainian immigrant Nickolay Shulga intended to change that. Nickolay wanted to introduce his beloved sport to Nova Scotians and he knew that children would be the most receptive audience. Guy's son Julien was one of the first to join the water polo team, which was comprised of only eight children.

“My son was a competitive swimmer. He was bored of doing laps but still loved swimming,” says Guy. “So we stumbled upon water polo.”

Within only a few months, Guy was working with Nickolay to head the team’s organization. He envisioned the sport spanning the whole province and had plans to make it happen. Some would have been surprised by Guy’s sudden passion for water polo, considering he had never played the sport in the past, but he had a special reason for becoming involved.

“My favourite sport when I grew up was soccer,” he explains. “When my son was young I tried to get him on the field with me, kicking the ball around. He was not really interested. I was missing out on the satisfaction of a father/son activity that we could both enjoy. There wasn’t really any sport activity that we both liked until water polo came along.”

Guy believes that water polo is one of the most rewarding games a person can play.

“Everything is earned in water polo,” he explains. “You just don’t get on a field and kick a ball, in water polo, you have to continuously swim, you have to propel yourself out of the water to shoot, to catch a ball or to evade an opponent. There is no greater feeling than the one you have after a game, thinking, ‘wow I can’t believe I just did that.’ You are tired but proud.”

Water polo quickly became the shared family passion. Both Guy’s son and daughter played on the recreational team in Halifax and they were becoming strong players, but without alternate teams to play against, they had no real goal to work toward or a means to measure their improvement.

Guy knew that expanding the sport would require funding, and fortunately he knew just where to look. The administrators of the Support4Sport program are proponents for all sports in the province; therefore, when Guy and Nickolay first addressed them with a proposal to further develop water polo in Nova Scotia, the Support4Sport funding committee was pleased to offer their assistance.

Once they received funding, Guy and Nickolay knew exactly what steps should follow. They formed the Nova Scotia Provincial Water Polo Association and over the last five years their numbers grew from eight youth playing, to over 200 players of all ages.

“The newly founded HRM league started last October and has four clubs competing,” Guy says. “Last year the 18 and under team won the first annual Shulga Cup – a trophy awarded to the league champion – and we are planning to expand with a fifth club this year.”

There are currently six clubs in the HRM and Truro area, with plans of expanding beyond these boundaries. Tentative programs are in the works for the communities of Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury.

Clearly, the sport of water polo has come a long way in Nova Scotia from its humble beginnings only six years ago, and Guy admits that, “without funding this would not have been possible.”

“From the early start of the programs to the establishment of the league, funding was essential in ensuring that we had a strong enough base to grow from,” says Guy.

But, the members of the Nova Scotia Provincial Water Polo Association realized that to continue promoting the sport successfully, that they would eventually need to become financially self-sufficient. Support4Sport funding is giving them the foundation to be able to do this.

“The league should be self-supporting by the end of the year,” Guy says proudly.

Surprisingly, although Guy has been an advocate for the sport for six years now, he didn’t immediately jump in the pool and join in the fun.

“My son started in 2004, and I started in 2007,” he explains. “In 2008, we played in the same team in our first tournament. The best moment was when I passed him the ball for a breakaway, and he scored! What else can a father dream of?”

The proud father is committed to sharing his passion for water polo with all of Nova Scotia.

For more information on the Nova Scotia Water Polo Association, visit www.pwpa.ca.

Location

Halifax, NS
Canada
44° 38' 7.278" N, 63° 35' 38.4612" W

Location

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