List of Inductees 2017
For almost 30 years, Lawrence Flynn has been instrumental in the development of volleyball programs for athletes with a physical disability in Canada. In the spring of 1988, he was invited to the first Canadian Amputee Sports Association national team tryouts. As a member of that squad, Lawrence competed in the 1989 World Championships in Las Vegas and the Forester Games in Richmond, BC as well as the 1990 World Cup in Saint-Etienne, France.
Lawrence then turned his attention to the governance and administration of the sport and served as the President of the Ontario Amputee Sport Association from 1992-96 and the Vice President of the Canadian Amputee Sport Association from 1994-98. But it was in 1996-97 that Lawrence would begin his work to integrate the CASA Volleyball program with Volleyball Canada National Teams program. This started with a call to Sylvie Bigras to discuss the possibility. Within two years an MOU was ratified by both Boards of Directors and the Disabled Volleyball Committee of Team Canada was a reality with Lawrence as the founding chair of the Committee as well as the volunteer Program Coordinator/Team Manager.
Lawrence continued to play a very active role in the organization of the sport and chaired the Hosting Committee for an International Exhibition Tournament at Variety Village in Toronto prior to the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. He also chaired the Hosting Committee for two competitions in Montreal in 1997-98.
Lawrence was pressed into service as a player on the 2000 Canadian National Standing Team that competed in the Paralympic Games in Sydney Australia. This young team took the Games by storm, losing a close match in the gold medal final to add a silver medal to the Team Canada total. One of Lawrence’s proudest moments was when he was selected to present a team jersey to Senator Joyce Fairbairn who was attending the Games as the official Government of Canada representative.
Following the 2000 Games, it was learned that the International Paralympic Committee was dropping the discipline of Standing Volleyball from future Games. In January, 2001 Lawrence officially retired as an athlete but would continue his efforts to have Standing Volleyball reinstated to the Paralympic program. In 2001 Lawrence chaired the Disabled Committee of Volleyball Canada that hired the first Co-ordinator for the Disabled program. This hiring meant that Lawrence was no longer responsible for team management and administration as he had been for most of the previous decade.
Undaunted by the lack of success in having Standing Volleyball reinstated to the Paralympic Games, Lawrence turned his attention to starting a Sitting Volleyball program in Canada. From 2006 through to 2017 he has conducted Sitting Volleyball clinics to promote the sport in schools, clubs, Governor General Games, Variety Village and at various events. Lawrence also assumed the important role of chairing the Sport Organizing Committee for Sitting Volleyball at the 2015 ParaPan-Am Games in Toronto. Sitting Volleyball programs in Canada have enjoyed some competitive success as a result of Lawrence’s leadership, passion and commitment, with the Team Canada women qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
For many years Lawrence has been an active club coach with the Durham Attack club having coached 14U, 15U, 16U and 17U boys. He is the driving force behind a new Sitting Volleyball program at Durham Attack, the first integrated sitting program in the country.
For almost 30 years, Lawrence had been the driving force in the development of volleyball programs in Canada for athletes with a physical disability. His was the voice of these athletes as he championed their inclusion in the program of Volleyball Canada and at the Paralympic Games. Canada would go on to become a world champion and powerhouse in Standing Volleyball and now is increasingly becoming a competitive force in Sitting Volleyball. None of this would have been possible without Lawrence’s efforts to promote the sport and provide the passion and commitment to ensure that our athletes continue to have opportunities to train and compete on the world stage.
It is with great pleasure that we induct Lawrence Flynn as a Builder into the Volleyball Canada Hall of Fame.