The volleyball community mourns the passing of Wezer Bridle

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Volleyball-Canada

Clarence (Wezer) Bridle (1926 – 2015) passed away on Friday January 09.

In Volleyball, Wezer Bridle has done it all, from playing and coaching, to officiating and being an administrator. He was an ambassador, an icon and a founding father of the sport of volleyball in Manitoba and in Canada.

Wezer was a star player with the Winnipeg Redskins volleyball team from 1957-1962 that were consistently ranked amongst the top teams in Canada.

Wezer continued to play on the Bandits with his sons into his seventies in the Winnipeg Men’s Volleyball League, an organization he was instrumental in starting in the 1960s. Although his role with the league had declined in recent years, he was still listed and recognized as their ‘Executive Director.’

From early on Wezer worked tirelessly to promote the growth of volleyball for the youth of Manitoba and Canada. His wish was to make it more than just a school or recreational sport. In the late 1950s, he organized a group of kids from the high school program and created the Central Y Kids. In 1965 he coached them to Manitoba’s first Junior National Championship. From this group came the Age Class Development System used today. Wezer was also involved with the development of high school volleyball, and is a ‘Legend’ on the courts at Grand Beach where he introduced the game and encouraged so many to play.

In 1968 he was hired as the head coach at the University of Winnipeg, where he led the team to their first Canadian Inter-University Athletic Union (CIAU) titles.

Wezer was perhaps most well known as a referee, officiating in Canada before the Canadian Volleyball Association was formed, or even had a national certification program. Well-versed in national and international volleyball etiquette, he was recognized as one of Canada’s top officials, was Canada’s first International Referee, and officiated domestically at too many national championships (including 26 consecutively) and CIAU matches to count. On two different occasions he was Volleyball Canada’s National Officials Chairperson. He was also involved with the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, at NORCECA Championships, along with many other international events and matches.

Wezer is also recognized as being instrumental in the forming of the Manitoba Volleyball Association, being one of its first presidents, along with the development of the Manitoba Volleyball Officials Association. Through all his accomplishments and achievements he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame in 2000.

There will be a celebration of his life on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.

Article courtesy of Volleyball Manitoba

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