ZORAN BAZDAR

 

 

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays? Very Busy! Live in Edmonton, married, father of 3 boys; (12 Luka, 3 Dusan & 3 Kosta). Professional Accountant CPA/CMA; Owner of Accounting, Tax & Financial Business Consulting Service.

 

How did you first get into your current career track/profession? After immigrating to Canada from Ex-Yugoslavia in 1993 I completed Accounting Degree through NAIT and subsequently completed my professional CPA/CMA designation. My choice was based on previous education, mostly in mathematics and computer science.  Although I was a professional team handball player in Europe there was no such opportunity in Canada and my path had to be different from that point on.

 

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates? Presently I am involved as a handball parent/coach for my son’s U-13 club and participant in social events such as ATHF golf tournament.  However, I always contemplate various opportunities from veteran play to club, national and provincial teams coaching, which I have done in the past.

 

 

 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?   It’s really hard to say what my favorite competition was with the Alberta team. I mean winning nationals in Quebec is pretty high up on the list. But also the international competitions I have played in in Europe are also pretty special. At a young age, it was these trips that showed me how popular handball really was and it was what gave this young player from Ardrossan a dream to one day play professionally overseas. It was also at one of these tournaments that I got noticed by a Norwegian club and what started my career playing handball.Although there were many great moments playing for Canada my favourite must be my first Pan Am Games competition in Winnipeg 1999. Nothing can compare with the national anthem before the match, in front of the home crowd, full house singing along!

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life? Absolutely, every day! Commitment, loyalty, discipline, relentless pursuit of excellence, teamwork, relationship building.  I was fortunate to complete NCCP Level 3 coaching certificate, which touches on many levels of organizational structure and behaviours from individuals to groups, which I use every day in my work with clients and family life.

Shannon Musyowski  / Shannon Proskow

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

My life has changed quite a bit since my handball years. My husband and I got married in 2015, we have a home in Beaumont. We also have beautiful fraternal twin (spontaneous twins) girls. I have worked really hard to own and start my business DYNAMIC THERAPEUTICS WELLNESS CENTRE from the ground up. I like to live a healthy active lifestyle with my family. I am 29 but still feel much younger and my handball days don’t feel as though they were that long ago even though time has four-year-old past.

.How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I got into my profession as a Registered Massage Therapist and Acupuncturist by being injured from sports actually. I always thought and still do think the body is pretty fascinating and have always enjoyed biology and science. I originally thought I would pursue physiotherapy but then wanted to spend more time with people and have a more hands-on approach overall. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and choose when I wanted to work. I knew I needed a job that provided flexibility since I have always wanted children. I only considered careers where I could be moving throughout the day, I wanted something that was different and unique. So I researched other options. I found massage therapy which then leads me to acupuncture after receiving great results from treatment for my low back. I completed both in five years (ten months each year) at Grant MacEwan. I have worked for almost ten years in my profession and have treated all kinds of athletes to whom I can relate and people of all different walks of life over the years.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I’m really not too involved with the handball community much these days. I did go back and play league for a year but found it really hard to balance life and fit that in since I work six days a week (by choice) and my husband works out of the city a lot. So often I am doing a lot on my own such as housework, cooking, taking care of my daughters and running my business. Often all at once. Every day is busy and there are endless tasks to complete. So Sunday’s my day off are all about my children. I miss handball and would love to go back again someday but I honestly found league boring after playing at a higher level and it just lacks the competitive side of things for me personally and I felt frustrated with not being able to practice and improve before games as a team but my current schedule doesn’t allow me to either. I occasionally talk to old teammates but not often at all, even my regular non-handball best friends I have a hard time fitting into seeing. They are great and are completely understanding and also lead busy lives themselves too.

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?
My favourite competition for Alberta would have to be the finals at nationals against Quebec it was what we trained for, was intense and such great competition. For Canada, my favourite would have to be really any at Pan-Am Championships since it was such a neat experience being there and seeing other countries play and how different the sport is there compared to here. Also, any competition we had with different countries or training in different countries was a huge favourite of mine too.

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

I do feel that many parts of my handball training, as well as the many other sports I played, do and continue to apply to my life now. There are many aspects where it applies such as being up every hour and a half with newborn twins after surgery, the courage, risk and leadership to leave a stable job to open a business as an entrepreneur, to be hardworking enough to put in the hours I had to, to enable my business to continue to grow and succeed, to even being able to perform in practical testing to pass university. Juggling time as a mom, business owner, and wife. Being a part of a team creates a well-rounded person and builds essential life skills in my opinion. Building qualities for you in and out of the sport(s). Here is my list of why I know being a part of a team growing up is so important for an individuals future, it builds: social skills, work ethic, perseverance, leadership, teamwork, commitment, time management skills, discipline, confidence, goal setting, physical and mental strength, prioritization, problem-solving, self-motivation, analytical skills, more opportunities, quick decision making, communication, relatability, reliability, personal performance, also people who are well travelled enhance their own creativity. Lastly, it creates physical fitness with major health benefits not only physical ones throughout one's adult life. These attributes though are not just earned by showing up either, what you put into it is what you get out of it, as with anything in life. Can’t wait to see my children start there athletic adventure (one is a lefty!).

Thank you to Alberta and Canada Team Handball for the wonderful memories and experiences I have had. I am so
grateful I got to be a part of it!

Teddy Juliussen

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

  I am enjoying retirement and taking care of the kitchen (cooking) and walking a lot with my dog Jack.

  Also I am walking Karens dog Guss every day while she is working.
 

 

 

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?

 I got my education in the Danish Air Force as an Aircraft Mechanic.

 Got my first referee licence when I was 14 and never stopped until I turned 72
 

 

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

   Still keep in touch with several colleagues from Pan-Am, IHF and off course from Canada.
 

 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?  

 I have a lot of favourites. Most are the Men's WM in Prague with Svend Nielsen

 Also the trips with them Men to Tunisia and the Women to Brazil.

 Not to forget the last with Alta Jr Men to Japan 

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

   There have been many changes (not always for the better) but I have learned to respect and treat my fellow friend and enemies the same way. I am rich in memories of sport/work/families. I am always looking for a chance to watch handball when I do travelling.

  My hobby now is taking pictures of wildlife especially bears

ALEXIS SICKLER / ALEXIS BALTIMORE

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

Well, married for almost 11 years with a daughter (Brady 8) and son (Ben 6). I’m an RN working at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Between work, family, kids school, kids activities and trying to stay active myself- life is busy! 

 

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?

I always loved the sciences in school, biology in particular. I went to the Faculté St. Jean (French faculty for the U of A) and got my BSc with a minor in Spanish and then did the Nursing After Degree. I did my

preceptorship at the Grey Nuns and have worked there in different areas ever since ( 13 years split between Medicine, ICU, CCU, PARR and DI)

 

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

Some of my handball teammates I met 20 years ago are still my best friends! Three out of four of my bridesmaids were people I met playing handball and many former teammates have kids who are friends now too. Some of us even still play! We have a group of ex provincial team players from many different generations who have put together a team and compete in the Women’s division for league. We are actually still pretty competitive too! In past years I’ve reffed and coached but the last few I’ve just stuck to playing. 

 

 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?  

So many to chose from! For Alberta I would have to say playing Quebec. It’s always a huge rivalry and the first time we beat them on their turf for the national championship was incredibly sweet! 

For Canada it is hands down the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio. What an incredible experience that was! From the opening ceremonies to the venues, athletes village and the games themselves, they are memories I will forever cherish

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

Work hard. Work as a team but be flexible. So much of the game of handball relies on creativity and adaptation and these qualities are values I use in my personal and professional lives. I’m grateful for all that handball gave me and hope to be able to keep playing for a while yet! 

JOSH SICKLER

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

 

Working full time, my wife and I have two kids, life has obviously been altered with Covid. May and June are usually filled with activities for kids and getting ready for the summer. I spent last year training for my first triathlon and this spring is no different, I’m still training but assuming the event will be cancelled.

 

 

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?

 

Started working out of high school, my job allowed me to make enough money to play handball and time off to commit to provincial and national teams.  After I stopped playing handball it has turned in to a career for me.  

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

 

Very much so, talk with the guys on almost a daily basis. And some of my oldest and closest friends are people I met playing handball. 

 

I had taken the last couple of years off from coaching but I am hoping to return once the next season gets started up again. 

 

 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?  

 

This is a tough one, the feeling I had in the can ride to the first game of my first nationals will never be forgotten. My first and only Gold Medal with Alberta as a player is hard to beat, much like Zoran it took a long time to get there so it was extra special. 

 

My first National team competition in Atlanta was special as well, the feeling you get the first time they play the anthem and you are wearing your colours is difficult to forget.  World Championships of 2005 in Tunisia is probably the most memorable. The journey it took to get there and the experience of the event was an experience of a lifetime. 

 

Transitioning to coaching also has some special memories.  Back to back championships, the first one at home. But the latest Gold medal at home was also special. That team had sacrificed a lot and for me to have my kids there was quite memorable as well. 

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

 

Teamwork, leadership and a strong work ethic are things that I developed in handball.  I carry those with me and use on a daily basis whether at work or home

TYLER SOUTHALL


Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

Life for me now is the hectic time of moving into adulthood. My girlfriend Christina and I are learning all the challenges and excitement of being
first time homeowners. I am currently a Peace Officer with Alberta Health Services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in downtown Edmonton. I am always looking to further advance my career in law enforcement, and plan to apply to the Edmonton Police Service in the future. My job can be challenging and is quite diverse, but I really enjoy what I do. Maintaining a work life balance is important to me, and I enjoy spending time with my colleagues outside of work as well as with family and friends. I also enjoying working out and pushing my limits, something I definitely developed from handball.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?

To be honest I kind of stumbled into my current career. Back in 2015 I was working in carpentry and wasn’t satisfied with my job and wanted to find a career. I was looking for something new and happened to see a recruitment billboard for the police. After thinking about it for
awhile I applied to EPS and made it about halfway through their application process before being turned down and told to come back after I gained some more experience. The recruiter who handled my file suggested I try working security. I got a job with the mall in downtown Edmonton as a security guard and worked my way up there which eventually lead me to a successful application to become a Peace Officer with Alberta Health Services. I enjoy working in the community and have gained valuable experience. I still have aspirations to join EPS and plan on applying in the future.
 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?

This a tough question for me, as I was very lucky to compete at so many competitions and levels. Representing Alberta at nationals was always special and winning 3 junior nationals in a row was a great accomplishment. It was a fantastic group of players every year and everyone had a role on the team. 2014 was the first gold for most of the players and was special to win at home. 2015 was an extremely competitive competition, and probably the hardest to win. It was great to defend our gold medal. In 2016 we were really dominant. The other teams weren’t as strong as in past years, but we really pushed ourselves and played well as a team. I’ll always feel like those three years were the best of my handball career.

Playing with Canada on your back and listening to the anthem before games are something that I will never forget. Playing at the junior level winning the IHF Challenge Cup in Puerto Rico was a huge victory and one of my favourite memories. I competed at one major competition for the senior national team, which was the Pan American Championships in Argentina in 2016. I will never forget playing the hosts, the atmosphere was incredible and there were so many fans. It was broadcast on national tv which was really cool. Playing at that level was something I never imagined doing when I began to play handball, and it was a surreal experience.


Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

Yes of course. To play handball at a high level you need to be dedicated and learn to push yourself, these traits develop through hard work. I really feel that I developed a strong work ethic through handball, and learned the importance of being a part of a team. In my profession teams are important, and need to be able to work together at all times.

I’m thankful for my handball
experience, and happy to be part of this great community.

Kristen Kitagawa

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?
Life these days is a busy mix of work, raising a family and sports (before the pandemic of course).
Currently, I work as a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive care unit at the Stollery, looking after all different ages of kids with all differing ailments.
When I’m not looking after children at work, I’m raising my own 3. They keep me busy with basketball, skating, bike riding, swimming and many play dates! Oh and running and running and running. They have lots of energy. I’m also hopeful that one day soon they will also enjoy handball as much as I have!
I also continue to enjoy my own sporting events playing old lady handball, volleyball and slowpitch
.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I started in university doing a combined physical education/education degree, and then one day I decided maybe I didn’t want to be a teacher. I started looking into different career
paths and wasn’t sure what would suit me. I always knew I wanted to work with people. A friend suggested maybe a nurse, and it seemed to fit! When I first began my nursing career in 2006 I worked with adult surgical patients in all different areas (ortho, neuro, trauma, thoracics, general surgery, urology and plastics). I transitioned to children a decade or so after that, and have definitely felt it has been a great fit! 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?
Each year I coach junior high handball. It has always been such a wonderful experience and I love how much the kids enjoy it! I have helped coach high school here and there, but junior high is definitely better suited for me! When I first started coaching, I coached with Arnie Loxam, he was not only the first person to introduce me to handball he was also my first handball coach, showing so many things, and ultimately changing my life.

Through
handball I met lots of teammates, as well as opponents, coaches and spectators. I am so lucky that many of them have become my best friends!! We have grown up together in life and sports. We hang out, talk, go on play dates and continue to enjoy each other’s time, growing our families along side each other.

I still dabble in the Edmonton handball league, trying to keep up! It has now become more of a hobby. I no longer can be the best and have had to accept defeat more times than I thought possible!



What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?
Choosing one favourite memory is so difficult, there have been many championships that stick out, wining my first Canadian championship, winning the first time in Montreal, winning the USA national championships, flying overseas and playing against some amazing Norwegian teams.
Playing for team
canada I also have many memories, including the pan am championships, and so many other worldly competitions in places like the USA, Dominican Republic, Norway and Martinique.

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

So many aspects of handball have
spilled over into my life including discipline, teamwork, commitment, loyalty, comradeship, desire, dedication, motivation, aggression, competitiveness. I have always been a passionate person, but working with teammates taught me the importance of working for and with them. This is something that translates to my every day, at work, playing other sports and in my home life. So many of these values have shaped me as a mother as well, working hard to teach my kids to be well-rounded, open, kind people, and respectful but I’m still competitive and don’t just let them win. (I hate to lose, that hasn’t changed). So I suppose I’m also teaching them to be competitive, to persevere and to believe that they can always strive to be the best, even if it’s just in the warm up game!

Dan Devlin

Life has changed quite a bit over the last few years. I’ve lived in Newcastle England, Grenada, Detroit, and I am now currently living in Kelowna, BC. I finished medical school and am completing my residency at the Kelowna General Hospital. I’m still pretty active and Kelowna has offered lots in terms of being outdoors. In the summers if I’m not in the hospital I’ll be out for a bike ride, a run, or golfing. In the winter, I spend a lot of my free time snowboarding. Kate has put up with me this whole time as well somehow and at some point, next summer we will be getting married.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?

Previously I had worked as an ER nurse for about 9-10 years and I wanted a new challenge. Medicine seemed like the natural progression when I finished with the national team after the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

I’m still in touch with a lot of my old teammates from both the provincial and national teams. Unfortunately, the places that I have lived over the past few years haven’t had handball teams so I haven’t played much since 2015. I did play at the 2018 national championships, but that was the last time. Eventually once I am done residency I’ll be able to find a spot where I can be involved with it again.

 

What was your favorite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?

It’s hard to pick a favorite when there have been so many. I think two of my favorite competitions for Alberta were the national championships in Edmonton in 2010 and then Vancouver in 2011. We were back to back champs for the first time and the win in Vancouver almost didn’t happen. We were down 26-22 with less than 4 minutes in the game and came back to tie it 26-26 and then win in OT. That team from top to bottom was so focused, determined and refused to give up, so it was something special! As for representing Canada it’s tough to hone in on exactly what was my favorite competition. The three Pan Am games in 2007 in Rio, 2011 in Guadalajara, and 2015 in Toronto had so many amazing and different memories. I think I would say that Toronto is my fondest memory because we were able to actually play in front of our home fans for the first time in a big competition like that. Although we didn’t perform like we wanted to, it was still awesome. The opening ceremonies from Guadalajara was amazing as well, just being able to walk in to a stadium with thousands of fans cheering while representing Canada is something that I’ll always remember.

 

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

I think a lot of everything I do can be attributed to athletics and handball as it was such a big part of my life for so long. Just being able to focus on the task at hand and probably having mental toughness to manage worries or stressful situations that happen on a day to day basis. The ability to be a leader and work as part of a team also helps immensely in the hospital.

Darryl Lakusta

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

-Lately, I have been working on becoming a Firefighter/ Paramedic. I received my Firefighter 1001 certification and currently work as a Primary Care Paramedic with Alberta Health Services in Edmonton. This fall, I will be participating in a Firefighter/ Paramedic recruitment process. 

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

Handball has surrounded me with the greatest teammates someone could ask for. It gave me a group of best friends that share so many memories. I do my best to keep in touch with my teammates and always cherish the times we get together.

 

 

What was your favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?  

-My favourite competition with Team Alberta was the 2018 Pan-American club championships in Taubate, Brazil. This tournament will always be special to me because this was the highest-level tournament we had qualified for as a team. This was also the last tournament I played in before I started on the next chapter of my life. There is a sense of pride about earning the right to play at that tournament with your teammates. We entered the tournament right after dominating Senior Canadian Nationals in Sherwood Park. After the tournament was over, I was able to fly down to Rio De Janeiro with Dusan and Josh. It was always a blessing to be able to travel around after tournaments. 

-With the national team, my favourite tournament was the IHF Trophy in Mexico City 2012. This was my first experience playing for Canada. As an athlete, listening to your national anthem for the first time at an international tournament is a pretty fulfilling feeling. 

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

-The experiences, opportunities, and values that handball has given me will always play a huge role in my life. Handball taught me the value of sacrificing and committing to something you believe in. We were a group of athletes that loved the game of handball and sacrificed so much. These sacrifices were worth the memories. I learnt the true importance of training and how it relates to confidence. I apply this every day as I embark on becoming a Firefighter/ Paramedic. The most important value that handball gave me was the value of teamwork. Being part of something bigger than yourself and playing for the person standing next to you is special. Knowing that these same people would do anything for you as well is what it's all about. I thank my teammates and coaches for having such a profound impact on my life.  

 

 

-Thank you, Mike, for the opportunities you have created, not just for me, but also for every kid that looks to play handball in Alberta. It is incredible to see how far ATHF has come since I started playing a decade ago.  To Josh Sickler and his family, I appreciate what you have sacrificed for me. You shared the importance of enjoying every part of the journey; whether it is running conditioning until we dropped, or enjoying a cold beer with your teammates.  And to the men I had the honour to compete beside, thank you.

BRAD CANN

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?

I’m living in Edmonton working as a project manager and engineer for a natural gas utility company. Other than work, I spend most of my time hanging out at home or with friends and trying to stay in shape. I live near the river valley so it’s nice going for walks, runs, bike rides or down to Kinsmen for a workout. I’m also fortunate in that I get a fair amount of vacation time with work so I’ve been able to do a lot of exciting trips in the last few years (Indonesia, Japan, Costa Rica). I left handball because of injuries and it’s taken a few years to get healthy again so lately I’ve been experimenting with some old man sports like squash (which is actually real fun). Tragically, hours dancing per year has been dropping at an alarming rate.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I went into engineering after high school because it seemed like it suited me and there would be good opportunities in Alberta. Beyond
that, I had no real plan and it was really just random chance that I ended up where I’m at. I did an internship during school, liked the company, went back to work there after graduation, and have been there ever since in one job or another.

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?
It’s been a few years since I’ve coached or played but some of my best friends are handball players, and I don’t see that changing. Even when I run into old teammates I haven’t seen in a long time it feels effortless to
pickup right where we left off, even if it’s been years. I guess that shouldn’t be a big surprise when you’ve travelled the world and battled for national championships together.

What was your
favourite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada? 
For Alberta, it’s hard to beat winning nationals in front of the home crowd against Quebec. I was lucky enough to be on two teams (one in juniors and one in seniors) that managed to do that so those are my favourite moments.

I also have to mention playing in the feature evening game in Teramo in 2005 against a Swiss team that I believe ended up winning the tournament.
Actually, I just looked it up, they were called the Cerutti Crash and they’ve won the tournament 8 times. It was really cool playing outside in this church square, under the lights, with a big crowd, as an underdog, in a very physical game. We lost, but it was an amazing experience.

I only officially played for Canada once so that’s easy, the Pan Am Championships in Brazil in 2003. We didn’t do great, but we did manage to win a game and keep a few others close
.

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?
Definitely. Teamwork, perseverance, and growth to name just a few. I look at a lot of resumes at work and team sports like handball jump off the page at me because I know that person has had the experience of working as a team, experiencing failure, picking themselves up and becoming better. Handball’s not the only way to do that, but it’s a real good one, and it worked that way for me.

I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to play such a great sport with such a great group of people for so long. Thanks to everyone who was a part of the journey!

JENNIFER RANDOLPH/ NOW ANDERSEN

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?
Busy! Married with two beautiful babies. Working full time as an X-ray technologist at the RAH in Edmonton. Living on a acreage in Strathcona County, where we garden and have a small beekeeping business.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
After playing handball in Norway I decided it was time to find a career back home. I didn’t want to go to school for a long time so I looked into the options available at Nait. I wanted to get into the health industry. I first applied to the ultrasound program but needed to upgrade a few courses. With some life experience gained, The next year I applied for the X-ray program and succeeded in receiving my diploma. I’ve worked in the CT and angiography department at the Royal Alexandra hospital for over 6 years. Just recently my husband and I started our own business selling beekeeping equipment and honey from our hives. 


Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates? Unfortunately with school, work, and personal life, I stopped playing handball recreationally. I try to keep in touch with my teammates as best as anyone can. Maybe one day I will be able to coach my own kids if they choose to play!



What was your favorite Competition  that you competed in for Alberta and Canada? 
Any games at nationals against Quebec, the passion from both sides of the court is really an amazing experience. Finally winning that gold medal after a year of hard work and training is priceless. I will
Never forget where my handball journey started with the first trip To Brazil to play in the juvenile pan am championship. My world was blown and I fell in love with the game. I am very fortunate to be able to have memories of travelling the world playing handball with my teammates. Memories I will always cherish.


Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?
 Always. There are too Many values to list! I have learnt so much! A few main ones are teamwork, resilience, and determination. Playing at a high level of competition creates a strong work ethic. All of which I apply to my personal and professional life. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend on the court with my teammates, and I know that handball has helped shaped who I am today.

Kimberley Ewanovich-Bleivik

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?
Life has in these past few months changed for me drastically. I have decided to retire from playing handball professionally after 14 years playing in Norway and France. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but with a hubby, new house, two jobs and a one year old running around, I no longer have the extra time it takes to be a top athlete. So now (especially with Covid) my days consist of work, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying Norwegian nature.

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I currently have two jobs, the first job is a receptionist at the head office of a bank in Stavanger. It was a job that worked well with playing handball and gave me the time off I needed for trainings and games.

I am also an administrative director for a girls handball club with about 300 members here in Stavanger.



Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates? 
Since moving to Europe I have been involved a little bit with the handball community back home. I have played at a few Nationals representing Alberta and have arranged some trips for teams from Alberta to come to Norway. A few of my best friends from home I met my first year playing handball and we still stay in contact to this day (two of them were my bridesmaids).


What was your favorite Competition  that you competed in for Alberta and Canada? 
Dronninglund cup in Denmark has to be my most favorite competition with the Alberta team because it’s the tournament i played in that got me noticed and gave me the opportunity to move and play in Norway. And with team Canada it has to be hands down the Pan am games in 2015 in Toronto.


Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?
 I feel like I apply what I have learnt with handball in my everyday life for sure. Team work, leadership, and hard work are just to name a few.

Mike Schaar-Ney

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?
These days I'm an electrician, learning new things every day. 
 

How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
On the advice of a friend, I applied to the electrical unions starter program and was accepted. Here I am, 13 years later.

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates? 
I still chat with a few of my former teammates who live all over the world.



What was your favorite Competition  that you competed in for Alberta and Canada? 
My last Alberta experience was coaching the senior women to gold in 2010 (we crushed Quebec in the final).

My favorite competition for Alberta was always going to Regina. We didn't have as many options back then to travel as Alberta, but it was always a fun trip.

For Canada, my first experience was amazing, it was beach handball in Rio, but playing in the World Championships is something I'll always cherish. The whole year leading up to Worlds was amazing, we went to 7 different countries on 3 continents (or something like that, Josh will know...😆)


Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?
Today, I use the same drive and attention to detail every day that helped me achieve my handball goals.

"Whether you think you can or can't,
you're right."

Matthew Ruff

Brief overview of what life looks like now- 

Married with a 10 month old daughter. Have been living and teaching at an international in Shanghai, China for the last 4 years and will be moving to Nashville TN, as soon as border restrictions from Covid-19 are lifted. I am looking forward to moving closer to Edmonton and getting involved in sports programs in Nashville. 

 

How did you first get into your current career- 

After graduating university with a degree in education, I went to Doha, Qatar to be a PE teacher at a gender separate school. I taught PE to boys aged 5-15. In Doha I met my wife and after coming back to Edmonton for 6 months for surgery, I was offered a teaching position in Shanghai at the same school as my wife. Coaching and playing handball helped me realize that teaching as a passion for me and helped me decide what I wanted to pursue once I started university. 

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

Being abroad it is sometimes hard keeping in touch with people, but I am still close with former teammates and even had Surroosh in my wedding party. Playing and traveling with the handball community and my team are some of my best memories. When I was living in Doha, I had the opportunity to travel to Norway to watch Kim train and play a few games during in 2014-2015 season. 

 

My favorite competition- 

It is really hard to pick a favourite competition, each one has so many distinct memories. One that will always stand out to me was going to Italy with the Alberta Elite program. Another favourite competition for me was traveling to Chile with the Jr. National team. Always a great experience to represent your country. 

 

Do you feel like you apply any parts of handball values in your current life?

I think everyday I use the values from handball such as, teamwork, and hard work. Coaching internationally at high school level in China has given me the chance to instill these same values during international sports team trips. 

                           Mike Rott

Brief overview of what life looks like now- 

Most of my days now are filled with working and hanging out with friends and family. I am a police officer in Edmonton, which I have been doing for almost 9 years now. My wife and I use to enjoy going to Oilers games, hopefully one day we will again. In the summer I just enjoy being outside and going for rides on my motorcycle. We have 2 labradors that take up lots of our time as well.

 

How did you first get into your current career-
I entered my profession after my brother became a firefighter. I saw what he did and was immensely proud of him to be involved with giving back to community. So I gave both a good thought and joined the police service instead of the fire department as it better suited my skill sets. I am proud to be a police officer, I enjoy helping people, and I feel honoured to be able to serve the beautiful communities of Edmonton.

I no longer play handball or ref it, which were my 2 passions with handball. I think as we all know handball can be very hard on your body like most other sports and it just came a time for me to retire, as I call it.

 

Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

I stay in touch with many of my friends from handball. When you go through growing through a team sport with such a tight knit group the relationships that you build are genuine and long lasting and I couldn’t be more proud to have the friends I have from the handball world. I fact I’m married to the best one.

 

My favorite competition- 

My favourite competition... man there are 2 I think. The first playing in Sweden and Denmark. Mainly Denmark, and playing in front of a large crowd, well what I think is a large crowd. That feeling was invigorating. The second and probably closest to my heart was Nationals in Sherwood Park. I don’t remember the year, maybe 2009 or 2011, but we were playing against one of the Quebec teams in the semis and Dan got an iffy at best red card. We were down at that point, but in all of our minds after that card we all knew we were going to come out winning that game, which we did.


Do you feel like you apply any parts of handball values in your current life?
All sorts of skills from handball translate to my life and career. There are so many comparisons I don’t even know where to start. You learn teamwork skills and communication skills, you build friendships that will last a lifetime, and as a ref I built confidence to keep a game running smoothly and efficiently.

RICH RYLL

Give us a brief overview of what life looks like for you nowadays?
Life nowadays is quite different from retiring from handball. I work shift work at the refinery as a process operator, play softball when I can, working out working my way into a possible bodybuilding show.
How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
I was hired on as a contractor which gave me the freedom to play handball and stay training with the team for most of the time. As I progressed through the years, I got hired on fulltime but then my responsibilities grew and shift work became more prevalent.
Are you still involved with the handball community and in touch with your handball teammates?

I promote the sport through coworkers who have kids in school. Dropping names of the federation, places played, adventures had and awards/championships we had won. I stay in touch with quite a few guys from the many generations I played with. Erik Lange works with me, hangs out with Mackenzie Gleave, runs into Noah Parmiter at the gym/discuss tactics, Garrett Matthews is at my gym as well and we talk a bit...

 

Josh Sickler and the younger gents (Courtney S, Tyrell, Kraig F, Parker L) from the past 5 years still connect often on events/old times/life ... etc. Many former teammates from other provinces as well as touch base every so often. Great having those long-lasting friendships.

What was your favorite Competition that you competed in for Alberta and Canada?
Favorite competition - there are a few but my first nationals in 1994/95 in Manitoba ( we got rolled), playing against the Denmark team in 2001/02 in Montreal, or my first gold in Vancouver.

Do you feel like you apply any parts of your Handball values in your current life?

I continue to be a team player with my coworkers and fire response team. Still hold true the values of hard work, pushing past barricades that hold me back, determination to achieve more, leadership, and trusting the ability and believing in my team.

Thank you for this opportunity and being apart of such a great association that grew me and this sport into the powerful community it has become today.

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