Coaches & Instructors

COACH  LORNE  SAWULA  (BPE 1967, MA 1969, PhD 1976) - Co-Founder ASPIRE

This Sports Wall of Fame inductee is generally known as "Dr. Sawula" but for many he is called "Dr. Volleyball" for he has been called upon regularly to diagnose and prescribe treatment for volleyball programs across the country and around the world. 

Lorne entered the University of Alberta in 1964 and won a spot on the Golden Bears volleyball team until 1969. During these years, the Bears won the WCIAA championship in 1965 and were silver medalists in 1967 and 1968. He earned a spot on Alberta's Canada Games team in 1967. After a brief time away from the University of Alberta, Lorne returned to coach the Golden Bears for the 1971 - 1973 seasons.

Lorne later rose to the challenge of coaching national women's teams: the Canadian Women's National Team (1982-1988 and 2001-2005); the Swiss (1990-1993) who won a FISU bronze medal in 1993; the Australians (1994) and the Swedes (1997-1999). In between these duties he returned to the University of Alberta to provide coaching support to the Pandas during the 1996-1997 season, the 1998-1999 season, and the 1999-2002 seasons. Lorne was their interim head coach in 1999-2000 when the Pandas won their sixth consecutive National Championship. Further away from home, he assisted in the training and development of the Costa Rican Women’s team during the 2006 World Championships in Japan. The records of few volleyball coaches can approach "Dr. Volleyball's" numerous appearances at international competitions.

Today Lorne serves Canada's volleyball communities as a Level IV Canadian Certified Coach for Volleyball Canada and also is a Level III FIVB Coach and Instructor who is in demand around the world.   

2007 - 2009       Head Coach, Great Britain's National Women's Volleyball Team
2009 - present   Volleyball coaching educator/speaker and Co-Founder of ASPIRE Volleyball

Coach Sawula was inducted into Volleyball Canada's Hall of Fame in 2012. Click PHOTO for celebration photos.

Coach Sawula's Summer 2013 Blog - Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia: SUMMER 2013

Coach Sawula's Fall 2013 Blog - FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship, Mexico: FALL 2013

Coach Sawula's Fall 2014 Blog - FIVB Women's World Volleyball Championship, Italy: FALL 2014

Coach Sawula's Summer 2015 Blog - FISU Universiade Games in Gwangju, Korea: SUMMER 2015

(source: University of Alberta folio - 2004)

COACH  CHRISTY  HANSEN  nee: Torgerson  (BPE 2000, BEd 2003) - Co-Founder ASPIRE

Christy has been involved in volleyball over the past 22 years at varying capacities.

She has experience in many different aspects of volleyball including athlete (click to see playing experience), Program Director at the Alberta Volleyball Association (AVA), AVA's Jasper Volleyball Director, the University of Alberta Volleyball Camps Director, and coach.

Her love and passion of the sport continues to grow and it is important for her to stay involved and give back to the growing volleyball community.

Christy was inducted into Alberta Volleyball's Hall of Fame in 2012. Click HALL OF FAME for award details.



From early years as a volleyball player in the Philippines (on their Junior National Team), Grachella continued to hone her court skills in her high school years in Ontario, later playing for Lake Superior State University in Michigan, Cambrian College and the University of Guelph. Edmonton area athletes are fortunate that Coach G now calls Edmonton home as she has tremendous volleyball playing and coaching experience, and a great rapport with athletes.
  • Volleyball Alberta Development Coach of the Year 2016
  • TImmin's Ontario Sports of Hall Fame Inductee 2016


Olympian - 1996 Atlanta Games - Volleyball
Team Canada Volleyball Member 1989 - 1996
Professional Volleyball Germany 1996 - 1997
University of Alberta Pandas Volleyball - Coaching Staff
Volleyball Canada Center of Excellence - Coaching Staff
Volleyball Alberta Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee - Athlete



Nicole Ban played for the Grant MacEwan Women's Volleyball team from 2005-2007. After playing with the Griffins, Nicole moved from college to the university level where she played for Brandon University. Nicole always dreamt of playing professional volleyball and was able to fulfill that dream, playing in Norway on team Oslo Volley. Since then she has come to realize that while she loves playing the game, her true passion is to share her knowledge and experiences as a coach. She is pursuing this coaching career as Assistant Coach for the MacEwan Griffin's Women's team and Team Canada's National Sitting Team.
(bio from CAAWS website


Greg is an Assistant Coach of the NAIT Ooks Men's Volleyball team and is a former NAIT libero and team captain (ACAC League). Greg knows about on-court leadership and communication. He also understands why developing the ability to receive serves and to pass accurately are important to a volleyball athlete's fundamental skill set. Greg looks forward to working with Aspire athletes, whether introducing new skills or improving upon existing ones, and will endeavour to develop game play confidence and a strong work ethic in emerging athletes.  For the 2016 year, Greg will be the U18 Men's Team Alberta assistant coach.

Jen began playing indoor volleyball at Jasper Place High School and on Edmonton area club teams. Her summers were spent playing on Team AB and in the Summer Games (1997-2001). Jen moved on to playing for Grande Prairie Regional College and then the U of A Pandas (Middle Position). Professionally she played for Engelholms Volley in Sweden (Swedish National Champion, Nordic Region Champion, and led the league in blocking 2006-07). Jen has received many accolades throughout her volleyball career. 
Jen was Head Coach for King’s University College Women’s Team, Assistant Coach with U of A Pandas, has coached for NAVC and Pandas clubs, and has been a Team Alberta coach. She holds a B.Sc. Kinesiology, M.A. in Coaching, and is a NCCP Level III Coach. She is a Sessional Instructor at the U of A – Volleyball Introduction and Advanced Volleyball. Jen brings a wealth of knowledge to ASPIRE.


Kelsey is a long-time ASPIRE athlete who played for 2 years as an Outside-Hitter with the NAIT Ooks Women's Volleyball Team (2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons) and now plays for the Red Deer Queens. She knows that dedication to volleyball training pays off and enjoys inspiring young athletes to give it their ALL.


Derek Thiessen is the founder of Daily Athlete and he is on a journey to help athletes discover their own ability to course correct towards a path that drives them and provides a greater sense of meaning. The goal of Daily Athlete is to provide people with an understanding of why the small daily actions matter so much and how they can give them the value they truly deserve. Derek believes that when someone has a clear understanding of why they do what they do, the obstacles no longer present a problem, but rather they become necessary a part of the journey. The purpose of our journals and our workshops are to ensure each athlete understands this and chooses a path that is value-driven, intentional, and worthy of a relentless effort.

Jordan recently completed a Masters degree in coaching from the University of Victoria and is NCCP level 2 certified. He also holds an undergraduate bachelors of kinesiology degree from University of Alberta: Augustana Campus, where he was a member of the Augustana Vikings men's volleyball team during that time. Head coaching club since 2012, Jordan has seen his teams succeed, including four straight provincial finals appearances, two back to back provincial championship golds, two top 4 finishes in Division 1 Canadian National Championships, as well as having over 90% of his graduating athletes receive scholarships to play post-secondary volleyball at either the CCAA or U-Sport levels. Jordan has also been involved with Volleyball Alberta's provincial team programs, coaching on the men's side on 4 separate summer campaigns. At the post-secondary level, Jordan has served as an assistant coach for NAIT OOKS MVB from 2014 to 2019, and will be joining the Macewan University Griffins as an assistant coach for the 2019-2020 season. For employment Jordan is the owner and lead strength and conditioning coach for Goliath: High Performance Training, specifically working with over a 150 volleyball athletes across the city and province both in person and online to further enhance their physical capacity and abilities. Click HERE for ASPIRE's involvment.


Former U of A Panda Meggie Moir (6’1” Outside/Setter) is originally from Cold Lake AB. She played one year of NCAA volleyball at Boston College before joining the Pandas. Meggie relates well to club and junior/senior high school volleyball athletes - she has won numerous club and school athletic awards in addition to playing on AB provincial volleyball teams. Meggie brings great court skills to ASPIRE and has the ability to break skills down to introduce/correct/refine their execution. Meggie is currently coaching club volleyball for the Panda's Volleyball Club.

After much success in high school and club volleyball in Edmonton, Ashley focused on her studies and played volleyball recreationally. She returned to the competitive volleyball court as a University of Alberta Panda in 2009-2010 and as a NAIT Ook in 2012-2013 where she helped bring home their very first Women's Provincial Gold in the ACAC. Ashley is an accomplished setter and outside hitter, and recognizes that strong fundamental skills will take you far in the sport. She is a testament to the fact that volleyball is a life-long sport and is eager to share her love of the sport with aspiring volleyball athletes. She has worked with the NAVC Griffins as an assistant coach and is currently assistant coaching with Pandas Volleyball Club.


Abby is a long-time ASPIRE athlete who is now a post-secondary student-athlete (NAIT and Capilano University, BC) who plays as a libero. She enjoys assisting our coaches as they train ASPIRE's "next crop" of young athletes.


Hailing from Penticton BC, Tammy is a professional beach volleyball player and former indoor player with the UBC-Okanagan Lakers. Catch all of Tammy’s news at her website:


Camille comes to ASPIRE with an extensive background in volleyball both as a player and coach.  Originally from France, Camille played on several teams beginning his professional experience for the Youth French National Team from 2000-2004.  Since then, he has played in Paris, Poitiers, Cambrai, Rouen and Saint-Brieuc in various leagues (2000-2015).  Since arriving to Edmonton, Camille's passion for coaching continued as an Alberta Volleyball Drill Coach as well as affiliating with programs at the Volleyball Canada Center of Excellence.  Camille's knowledge and expertise is key to ASPIRE and all the athletes who come through our doors.

Camille has moved back to his home country of France but whenever he visits, he ensures he drops by at ASPIRE!


Over the years, Chelsea Hobbs has been involved in volleyball in a variety of different capacities. As an athlete, she played for both the Grande Prairie Regional College and the Mount Royal College Women’s Volleyball Teams. As a coach, she has been involved with both the Dinos and Northern Alberta Volleyball Clubs, as well as assistant coached with the Mount Royal Women’s Volleyball Program. Currently, she is an Assistant Coach for the MacEwan Griffins Women’s team. Chelsea also holds and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and completed her Master of Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta in 2015. She is an advocate for positive mental health for children, youth, and their families, not only in sport but in their lives as a whole. Although an avid learner herself, Chelsea is passionate about equipping others with the same skills and tools. As such, Chelsea is excited to collaborate with Aspire athletes to develop their mental tools, not only to positively impact their game but to positively impact their lives as well.