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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wayne Hollander celebrated for 50 years of coaching

Coaches Wayne Hollander and Mattie Wright
T. Lucas photos
Toni Lucas

The Junior A Hawks Girls Basketball team held their season wrap up party on Wednesday evening.  There were some very poignant moments, as this was when they part as a team and Coach Wayne Hollander said goodbye not only to the team but to being a coach.  Hollander has coached girls basketball at Matthew Halton High School for 26 years.  Additionally he has coached other sports in the area.  "There comes a time for everything, and I'm going to be 73 this year.  I think it's time to move on, to transition,"  he said.  He is going to still help out with coaching at Canyon School for their mini basketball program, he is involved with driving for Care Bears, and has 5 grandchildren to keep his time occupied.  "It's been a real blast, coaching you kids,"


2014/15 MHHS Junior A Girls Basketball team
"Thank you girls, for a very good season."

The team finished second in the League, and second at Post Season.

The team, family members, and Co-coach Mattie Wright  met at Luigi's for pizza, and for fun, laughs, memories, and farewells.  The side table had photos of some of the teams that Hollander coached over the years, and trophies and medallions.

Slow pitch, early 1980s


Hollander listed off his coaching career including: Basketball - 26 years, Youth Bowlers of Canada - 4 years, Little League Baseball - 3 years, Peewee, Bantam or Midget Hockey - 10 years, and Junior girls slow pitch - 7 years.

"That took up 50 years."

He spoke fondly of some of the teams that were pictured, and some of the kids he coached that have kept in touch with him.  "Every team that I coached and been involved with have, for that particular year, been the most important thing to me, and I kept it that way."

Both Hollander and Wright were focused on the current team in attendance and addressed each member of the team to give praise, encouragement, and gentle ribbing.  Moments of personal achievement and humorous gaffes were relived.  Afterward the team captains gave out quirky certificates to each team member and a medallion to each of the coaches. Hollander  received "Most Dedicated".  During his replies to the group he said, "You are all nice girls."

Coach Wright shows off the hoodie
"He is an amazing coach, and he is amazing to coach with," said Wright, who is in her second year of coaching.  Wright was expecting throughout the season, and had her baby only six days before the dinner.  Young Harper Wright stole some of the limelight, being cooed over by a nest of young Hawks that had their first meeting with their new and honorary teammate.  "The girls have been waiting all season to hold the baby," said Coach Mattie, who was also coached by Hollander during her high school career.  She was delighted when she was presented with a tiny Hawks hoodie, emblazoned with the number '00'.  The team also cheered Wayne's wife Irene Hollander for her support of him throughout all the years of his coaching, including their own.


Hollander said that his Senior Girls Basketball teams won Southern Alberta Zones 4 times, went to Provincials 4 times, and some of the children he coached went on to play at a higher level of the sport, and some went on to coach themselves.  "All in all, some have gone on to play more basketball, but they all had the enthusiasm that comes with youth."  He is sharing with the community his commitment toward mentoring, garnering from some of the students at the wrap up party the promise that they will mentor upcoming teammates, and extending an invitation to them to join him in helping Canyon students with their basketball program.

One more time!
Coach Wayne Hollander

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