A former Rama resident has been signed to play professional volleyball and follow a passion he has had since childhood.
Jordan Nowakowski, previously an Invermay School student, signed a professional volleyball contract with the team Sol Lucernari of the Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica (ASD) Volley Castellana, and will play out of Montecchio Maggiore, Italy.
Nowakowski began playing with Invermay School’s junior volleyball team in Grade 6, but was soon included with the senior roster.
“At 13 years old, he may have been the youngest player on the court, but he had the skill to compete against the 18-year-olds,” Nowakowski’s mother, Wendy, said.
When playing volleyball, he was coached by Ron Adair and Cary Franklin, who ran the junior team, and Marty Johnson, who ran the senior team. Nowakowski also played club volleyball with the Yorkton Bongos for two years and one year with the Winkler Aztecs, where he was coached by Darren Wandy and Pat Alexander respectively.
Upon entering university in 2010, Nowakowski spent the next six years competing as a University of Saskatchewan Huskies volleyball player and was coached by Brian Gavlis. He was also a member of Team Saskatchewan for five years. These opportunities allowed him to play in Toronto, Gateneau, Que. and Tucson, Arizona. He also represented Saskatchewan at the 2013 Summer Games. With his Huskies team members, Nowakowski hosted a game against a team from Budo, Japan, before being invited to travel there. A trip to California in 2015 offered an opportunity to play matches against both the Pepperdine and Stanford universities.
In 2015, Saskatoon hosted the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Tournament, in which the Huskies came in fifth place. The following year, the Huskies travelled to McMaster University in Hamilton for the next tournament, and with Nowakowski as captain, the team won fourth place.
During the 2016 CIS National Tournament, Nowakowski set a record with thirty kills in one game against the University of New Brunswick team. He was named a tournament all star “for his consistently exceptional play,” Wendy said.
During the recognition night for graduating volleyball players on February 20, a major achievement was announced to the crowd. Nowakowski was one of only eight players in the Huskies’ history to score over 1,000 points during his time competing.
As part of the recognition night, Nowakowski donned his Invermay Eagles jersey for a warm-up in order to pay homage to his school. After he changed into his Huskies uniform, he led the team to victory over the Regina Cougars for his last regular season game.
The win ended Nowakowski’s career as a hitter for the Huskies, but Wendy said one door closed and another opened for the player. He will soon be travelling to Italy to begin his new international career.
Wendy Nowakowski and her husband Ken currently live in Rama. They, along with Jordan’s grandmothers, Mary Nowakoski of Invermay and Jeanette Block of Winnipeg say that they wish him luck and safe travels as he begins a new career.