Small Town has Big Aspirations of Reaching Canadian Opens

Dawson City is not a Canadian volleyball hotbed by any stretch of the imagination, but they would pay no attention to you if you told them that. Last year, the tiny community up in the Yukon rallied together to send a group of their boys to the Western Canadian Open in Abbotsford. The city has a population of only 1,500 people, making it that much more difficult for the 14U boys' team to raise the $15,000 they needed to get to Abbotsford and compete. But these boys would not give up on their goal of reaching the championships.

The boys worked hard to raise money through odd jobs such as shovelling snow, stacking wood, babysitting, and recycling; as well as seeking donations. Their tireless efforts paid off when they reached their $15,000 goal. “They raised all the funds to pay for their registration, airfare, van rentals, fuel, hotel rooms, and meals all within two months!” said Heidi Bliedung, the very proud president of the newly formed Dawson Volleyball Association.

It’s no coincidence that more volleyball clubs in Dawson City have their sights set on the Western Opens this time around. Three teams are in the process of raising funds to make their way down to the championships; the same team of boys who are now in the 15U category, a 14U girls' team, and a 16U girls' team. While this is very exciting news for the small community, it also makes it that much more difficult to raise the funds necessary to compete. All three teams need to raise $15,000 for training, registration, travel, accommodations, and meals.

So far the teams have raised an average of 25% of their goals and fundraising efforts are in full swing. The teams are seeking out any and all opportunities to raise funds including bake sales, grocery bagging, bottle drives, etc. These young volleyball players are determined to get to the championships.  "I am blown away at how well the parents and team players have come together to pull off the fundraising.  It makes me so proud," said Bliedung.

The Canadian Open Championships continue to grow year after year. This year’s number of registered teams has reached 824, up from 772 in 2013. This is an excellent illustrator of the growth of the sport across the country, especially in younger age groups.

If your team has an interesting story about your road to the Canadian Opens let us know!

To help the Dawson Volleyball Association in their fundraising, contact Heidi A.E. Bliedung by email at or by phone at 867-993-3556 (mobile)/867-993-6669 (home)


Story by Mason Beveridge