Medicine Hat Water Polo
was founded in 2008 as an adult recreation program. In 2009 it expanded to an all-ages club with exhibition games played in Calgary and Swift Current. Mini Polo (U12) was created in 2011, which was the first program in Alberta dedicated to pre-competitive development, leading to the AWPA “I ♥ Water Polo” initiative. 2013 saw the first competitive team exclusively made up of Medicine Hat players, leading to three years of excellence in provincial and Western Canadian competition. As with any niche sport in a smaller community, participation numbers will drive the success of the program. While we do not have our own competitive travel team at the moment, our players still practice locally, and participate with other clubs at the provincial level.
About the Coach - Jason Williams
Jason picked up Water Polo in the Edmonton high school league between his Football (Cornerback) and Soccer (Goaltender) seasons. He didn’t find the passion right away but entering Grade 11 he realized it was the only sport he wanted to pursue. He went on to be named the All-Star Goaltender the next two seasons, with both the scoring title (yes, as a goalie - that’s a lot of breakaway assists!) and the city championship in Grade 12. He also played on the city Club team, recognized as the top Junior goalie in Western Canada until an injury side-lined National Team hopes.
After a two year hiatus, Jason returned to the sport playing with the Edmonton Travel Team. He participated in events in Seattle, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. At the same time he also coached defensive tactics and goaltending to Edmonton youth players and sat on the Board of Directors for 3 years before moving to Calgary.
In Calgary he held the same role as a youth mentor and playing in the Adult City League. He spent 6 years there including two with the Alberta Water Polo Association Board before moving to Medicine Hat to start the club, using equipment purchased for the Alberta Summer Games.
Our first travel team was an all-girls U12 squad and after a nervous start in their first ever games, came out with a near perfect record in provincial play. They eventualy took silver in the province in the U12 Co-Ed category losing only to an all-boys rep team from Calgary. The succes continued in U14 Girls where they again dominated provincial league play before losing the semi-final to a Calgary team made up of local All-Stars from area clubs, then taking bronze. As second year U14, they once more achieved silver with a heart-breaking 4-5 defeat in the gold-medal game. Changes to the competition structure at U16 made it difficult for small community clubs to participate and unfortunately the team disbanded.
Several girls and boys from the program have received individual accolades as well as being invited to join rep teams in Calgary and Edmonton for travel, including events such as the Junior Olympics in California, Florida, Montreal, Regina, Vancouver and Washington.
Local play is at the Family Leisure Center. Mini Polo uses the vaiable depth area which is typically set at 1m (3’) or 1.3m (4’) depending on the group they play in. For competitive play, most events take place in Calgary at the Repsol Center across from the Stampede grounds. There are also provincial league games in Edmonton and Okotoks as well as locally. There is often an annual trip to Regina for the Saskatchewan Open.