The truly great ones are those who invariably give back to their sport. Mary Dempster was one of those. She was not only as fine a volleyball player as Manitoba has ever produced, she went on to become one of its best coaches of young talent, never tiring of the game which took her to the ultimate competition, the Olympic Games.
Dempster began her volleyball career at Bruce Junior High and went on to play at Silver Heights. Dennis Nord recalls Dempster as a dominant player at the high school level. Her spectacular high school career mirrored that of Manitoba’s top male player, Garth Pischke.
Her university career began at the University of Manitoba in 1973. From there it was on to the University of North Dakota. At UND she lettered twice and was All Conference and MVP in both 1977 and 1978.
While still at UND she began her tenure as a member of Canada’s National Team. Dempster played in some 150 international matches wearing the Maple Leaf. She helped Canada to an 11th place finish at the World Championship in Mexico in 1974. Canada went on to the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976.
Following the ’76 Games, in which Canada placed 8th, Dempster remained with the National Program, travelling to Texas for a series with the USA in 1977, and then followed up in 1978 with an eight-week European tour, culminating with the World Championship in the Soviet Union.
Dempster continued playing at the senior club level for several more seasons, always enjoying the game she loved and still providing leadership both physically and emotionally. She was on four consecutive provincial championship teams from 1980- 1983.
After her National Team career had come to an end Dempster began to coach. Her passion for the game of volleyball and her desire to give back to her game saw her spend over 20 years coaching young men and women at Kelvin, Ness, Fort Richmond and Vincent Massey.
b. February 12, 1955