KAMLOOPS–The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team are poised to say goodbye to three of their players this weekend – including one who arguably has been the best ever.
The ‘Pack will honour fifth year players Brad Gunter (outside hitter, Courtenay), Graham Stoliker (setter, Surrey) and Brandon Hewwing (outside hitter, Calgary) at their final home Canada West match on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the TRU gym. The opponents this weekend will be the Trinity Western University Spartans.
Gunter enters the weekend with career stats of 1,452 kills, 1,680 points, 687 digs, 4.20 kills per set, 105 service aces, 43 blocks, 160 block assists, and 4.20 kills per set. He recently became the Canada West and unofficially the CIS leader in kills and points. Those stats were in 94 matches and 346 sets.
A starter since his first year, Gunter has been injured almost every season. It would be amazing to see what his stats totals would have been if he were healthy the entire time.
“It goes fast when you look back at it,” said Gunter, who was the CIS and Canada West player of the year in 2013-14, a two-time Canada West all-star, a second team CIS all-star in 2014-15, won the Ray Lepp Scholarship (Volleyball BC), was Sport BC’s University athlete of the year (2014), and the Kamloops Sports Council University Athlete of the Year (2014).
“I have enjoyed my time here and glad I stayed. Obviously the CIS MVP stands out the most,” the G.P. Vanier grad stated. “Also the Canada West records I just broke (points and kills). That will follow me for quite a while.”
Gunter chose TRU after playing for head coach Pat Hennelly for Team BC for two years including at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games which were held in Kamloops. “Team BC was hosted In Kamloops as well and I liked the city and the campus.”
He felt it was an easy transition going from Courtenay to Kamloops and that helped make his student/athlete experience that much smoother. Gunter liked the chance to meet people from outside the community through the team’s community work and enjoyed the family atmosphere that the WolfPack athletic program emphasizes.
Gunter represented Canada twice during his time at TRU: with the Junior National and the Senior “B” team. “Those experiences were awesome. I got so much better as a player. Going to the World Junior Championships in Turkey was an amazing experience.”
His future goals are to play professional volleyball and to someday join fellow TRU alumna Gord Perrin (Creston, BC) with the Senior National Team.
Stoliker was Gunter’s teammate on the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games team which won a bronze medal at the Tournament Capital Centre. After a year at Douglas College in New Westminster (PACWEST), Stoliker took up Coach Hennelly’s offer to join the TRU program.
Hewwing—like Stoliker—was one of the team captains on the WolfPack this year. He joined TRU three seasons ago after going to college in Calgary (SAIT).
The three will be honoured before the match on Saturday. Game time will be 6:45 p.m. at the TRU gym.