LANGLEY — If Ben Josephson didn’t have a history with his star recruit, then the head coach of the powerhouse men’s volleyball team at Trinity Western University might have been surprised with what he saw at the recently-completed Big Kahuan B.C.senior boys AA volleyball championships.
After all, how does a player who missed virtually the entire season rehabbing from a broken foot re-join his team in time for the stretch drive to provincials, and despite a decided lack of reps, repeat at tournament MVP while helping his team repeat as provincial champions?
“He’s always had great hands, great range and a ton of velocity,” said Josephson of Langley Christian’s 6-foot-5 superstar outside hitter Brodie Hofer. “But he’s also got this great court vision, and that is something that never gets rusty. They say in baseball that speed never slumps. (In volleyball) decision making doesn’t get rusty.”
Such was indeed the case earlier this month when Hofer, who broke a pair of toes just before the start of the season while chasing the family dog through their house, returned in time to grease the skids which ultimately carried the Lightning to a straight sets win over Abbotsford Christian in the championship final match of the B.C. senior boys AA volleyball tournament staged at the Langley Events Centre.
It capped a youth career in which he not only won everything up for grabs at the high school level, but a career in which his club team — Force Volleyball — won four straight national titles, including the most recent, the U018 nationals this past May, in which he was named MVP.
With a resume like that, it’s no wonder that when the poll points were tallied between the coaches of B.C.’s four U Sports programs, that Hofer was picked Varsity Letters’ 2017 B.C. boys high school Player of the Year.
Hofer picked up three of the first-place votes to finish just ahead of Michael Dowhaniuk of Surrey’s Semiahmoo Totems, the B.C. Quad A champions.
BORN TO PLAY, BORN TO BE A SPARTAN
Oh, about that shared history between player and coach?
This one goes back a long ways.
“When I was a player,” remembers Josephson, who became the school’s first-ever all-Canadian when he graduated following the 2002-03 season, “Brodie was just a toddler hanging around in our gym.
“As we’ve gotten to know each other over the years, his toughness is something I have just appreciated more and more.”
Back in that 2002-03, Hofer was a two-year old, brought to TWU’s Enarson Gymnasium by dad Ryan Hofer, now the head coach of the Spartans’ women’s team, but back then an assistant with the men’s team.
Brodie’s mom Carol, the head coach of the senior boys team at Langley Christian, was all those yers ago, the head coach of the TWU women’s team, and Ryan eventually replaced her when she took maternity leave.
“Brodie has grown up in the game,” continues Josephson. “And now, how cool has it been to recruit him to our program.”
For his part, Josephson loves the entire package of mental, physical and spiritual which Hofer will bring to the team this coming fall.
“He has been playing volleyball since he was two years old and of course he has the ability to make shots from lots of different places,” begins Hofer’s head coach-to-be. “But he also has something that is invaluable and that is volleyball IQ. He misses the entire season, then jumps in right at the end and what he was able to do, that all translates to the next level.
“Now, the demands are higher, but he just has this ability to gather information and then make the right decisions.”
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