The Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association and Volleyball Manitoba are pleased to announce the 2023-2024 recipients of the Dr. Dale Iwanoczko Memorial Volleyball Scholarships. These $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually in memory of Selkirk, Manitoba volleyball player, Dr. Dale Iwanoczko.

Dale began his volleyball career playing for Lord Selkirk Regional and the University of Manitoba Bisons where he was named a five-time All-Canadian. He was selected as the CIAU (U SPORTS) Most Valuable Player in 1990 and led the Bisons to a national championship title in 1991. He also played on Manitoba's Provincial and Canada Games Teams. Dale was selected as Valedictorian, Governor General Award winner, and Athlete of the Year at Lord Selkirk Regional (Gr 11 & 12). He obtained his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in 1993 receiving the Family Medicine Award, then completed a specialty program of internal medicine and had begun a sub-specialty in infectious diseases.

Dale sadly passed away at the age of 30, after succumbing to Hodgkin's disease, a battle he had fought valiantly for 14 months. Several of Dale's friends have continued to raise funds for this scholarship which is named in his honour and memory.

To be eligible for this scholarship a student must be proceeding to a post-secondary institution and have a minimum 75% academic average. The individual must have proficiency in volleyball, while academic standing, and involvement in their school and community are also considered.

This year four student athletes have been selected:

Sienna Driedger, Steinbach Regional Secondary School (Steinbach) – This athlete started to play volleyball at the age of 13, and her love for the sport has grown to something much deeper than just the enjoyment of playing the game. A stellar season in 2023, this left side player led her 17U Jr Bison club to a Provincial Championship in May where she was selected as MVP, was a finalist at 2023 Volleyball Manitoba Varsity High School Beach Provincials and champions in the 18U Volleyball Manitoba Beach League and Beach Provincials, captained her school team to the MHSAA AAAA Provincial Championship where she was selected as the tournament MVP. After the high school season she selected as a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star, named to the All-Manitoba Team, and selected as the high school player of the year. Academically, Sienna maintains a 95% overall high school GPA, and will be attending Trinity Western University this fall with the intentions of a degree in Psychology, and considering a Master's degree afterwards, depending on career path and opportunity. Outside of her own volleyball and classroom pursuits, Sienna is also a volunteer Children’s Teacher at her church, has coaches mini-soccer and mini-volleyball, and is a Link Crew Leader at her school, welcoming new students into their school throughout the year and assisting with the orientation day for grade 9 students.

Maxime Vermette, Collège régional Gabrielle-Roy (St-Adolphe) – Dedicated to volleyball since he was about 12 years old and progressing from casual play to competitive involvement in junior high, high school and club volleyball, this athlete’s journey in the sport has been a significant and incredible part of his life. As the setter on his high school team, he has captured MVP accolades in his last three AA high school provincials. This past 2023 high school season he led his team in blocks and digs, claiming the MHSAA AA Provincial Championship, the schools second such title in the past 3 years. After the high school season, he was selected as a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star and named to the A-AAA All-Manitoba Team. Last summer he represented Manitoba at the North American Indigenous Games where his team claimed a silver medal in the 19U Men’s volleyball division. Excelling in the classroom, he maintains a 94% high school academic average and is focused on pursuing a post-secondary education in Business Administration or Commerce and compete at the U Sports level. Off court he has also found time for peer tutoring during lunch hours, was an assistant coach for his sister’s grade 8 team, while also coaching the grade 8 boys and junior varsity teams and has volunteered for the Main Street Project and the Bear Clan supporting and raising awareness for the homeless.

Reegan Aitken, College Jeanne-Sauvé (Winnipeg) – Growing up as a multi-sport athlete, sports have always been a core part of this athlete’s life. Encouraged to play volleyball by her parents, and wanting to follow in her older sister’s footsteps, she fell in love with the energy and atmosphere of the sport. This middle player and team captain led her the SCAC Conference Championship along with a final four showing at the MHSAA AAAA Provincial Championship. During the season she was selected a SCAC All-Star, and after the season was selected as a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star, while also being named to the All-Manitoba Team. Last spring her 17U Jr Bison club team won the Provincial Championship, and in the summer, she participated with Team Manitoba competing in the Canada Cup in St. Catherines, ON. In addition to playing volleyball, Reegan is also an assistant captain of her school’s girl’s hockey team, and played water polo as well, a sport she’s never played, finishing 3rd in the province. In the classroom this athlete maintains a 94% academic average and plans to attend Lakehead University pursuing a Science Degree and a career in research or biology. Reegan also finds time to be involved in the school’s leadership course, has volunteered for the Inclusive Soccer Tournament, and coached with the Bisons Mini-U volleyball program.

Everett Smith, Vincent Massey Collegiate (Winnipeg) – Growing up playing hockey and soccer, and although his dad was a U-Sport volleyball champion, this athlete didn’t know much about the sport. However, he praises his dad for stepping up and coaching a team with him and his friends in grade 7, and since then he has been obsessed with volleyball. Another athlete with an incredible year on the court on 2023, this left side player helped lead his 17U Jr Bison team to a National Championship in May and followed up with a gold medal with Team Manitoba at the Canada Cup in St. Catherines, ON in July. During this past school season, he was a crucial member of the core leadership group of his high school team that went undefeated at 49-0, capturing the MHSAA AAAA Provincial Championship where he was selected as the tournament all-star. After the high school season, he was selected as a Volleyball Manitoba Graduating All-Star and named to the All-Manitoba Team. Maintaining a high school academic average of 95%, Everett plans on taking Engineering at Queen's University with a career goal of either biomedical engineering or aerospace engineering. For the past 3 years, Everett has been involved with a program with a focus on providing food for people in need and last summer dedicated time coaching people new to volleyball.