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For­mer pro­fes­sional vol­ley­ball player help­ing shape Gan­der ath­letes

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­dell@the­cen­tralvoice.ca

In a come full cir­cle fash­ion, Max Burt is back to where it all started.

The for­mer Gan­der Col­le­giate stu­dent, turned pro­fes­sional vol­ley­ball player, has since re­tired and has turned his at­ten­tion to­ward his old court.

Burt, a 6-foot 9-inch mid­dle blocker spent nine years with team Canada, in­clud­ing a ca­reer high­light of win­ning gold at the North, Cen­tral Amer­ica and Caribbean Vol­ley­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion - NORCECA – cham­pi­onship in 2015 in Mex­ico. He has also played vol­ley­ball pro­fes­sion­ally in Europe.

Step­ping away from the sport was a life de­ci­sion, said the 30-year-old.

“I had planned on play­ing longer, but a job op­por­tu­nity came up (in Gan­der) that was too hard to turn down,” he said. “I have a young kid, 10 months, so it was also a chance to come back home and be around fam­ily.”

Hav­ing a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence coach­ing provin­cial pro­grams in the past, he de­cided to vol­un­teer his time to work with Gan­der’s youth.

“When I knew I was mov­ing back I de­cided rather quickly I would like to con­tinue be­ing in­volved in vol­ley­ball,” he said.

His fo­cus will be to help grow the sport in the area and pass on his knowl­edge of the court from a high-level per­spec­tive.

But most im­por­tantly he wants to be there for the stu­dents.

“I didn’t know what I was able to ac­com­plish in this sport, but through good coach­ing I was able to re­al­ize my po­ten­tial,” he said. “I al­ways felt very for­tu­nate to have that and I want to try and give that back.”

Deon Gould­ing, who over­sees the Gan­der Col­li­gates boys vol­ley­ball pro­gram, is elated to have Burt’s ex­per­tise.

“This is where his foun­da­tion was built, so it’s in­spi­ra­tional for the kids,” Gould­ing said. “It’s re­ally nice to see him come back pay­ing it for for­ward.”

ADAM RAN­DELL — THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

Re­tir­ing from pro­fes­sional vol­ley­ball and mov­ing back to Gan­der, Max Burt has de­cided to pass on his knowl­edge of the sport to lo­cal youth.

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