Manitoba's male and female volleyball teams are bringing similar weapons into the 2009 Canada Games which open in P.E.I. this weekend -- each of them has a Pischke.
Dane Pischke, 19, and Taylor Pischke, 16, are siblings from Manitoba's most celebrated volleyball family -- the children of Garth and Cindy Pischke, both former elite players themselves.
"It was an honour for me just to try out for this team and when both me and my brother made our teams, I was really excited. To have someone from my family there, too, for support, it's going to be really great," said Taylor, Manitoba's player of the year for her age class and also a scholar/athlete award winner at Fort Richmond Collegiate.
"It's going to be a great experience for both of us. I was also in the Western Canada Summer Games and it was one of the best experiences I've had in sport, so I'm sure this will be just as good or better," said Dane, who played for his father Garth with the University of Manitoba Bisons men's volleyball team last season, was named to Canada West conference all-rookie team and was a Canadian Interuniversity Sport academic All-Canadian. "My sister is quite a bit younger, but I'm glad she's going to have the chance to do this. It's a nice thing that we'll be there at the same time and I'm just really looking forward to it."
Garth was named Manitoba's athlete of the century in 2000. He competed in the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games in addition to playing professionally. Garth also served as the head coach of Canada's national men's volleyball team. Mother Cindy is a former national junior women's team player who won three straight national championships with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Cindy is in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Garth is in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
"People know who I am because of my parents and there is a bit of pressure in that, but it's fun, too," said Taylor, who competed in rhythmic gymnastics prior to taking up volleyball. "I'm so happy to be a Pischke. Having volleyball, this special thing, with my family is really good."
A classic family tale stems from a few years back when Garth and his Bisons team went to Hawaii to compete in a tournament during Christmas break. So, Garth took his family as well. As soon as the team arrived at the hotel, the players rushed to the beach but the Pischke family didn't show up. Some time later the Bisons players found the four Pischkes playing beach volleyball against each other -- Taylor and Dane against Cindy and Garth.
"If we get the opportunity to play, it doesn't really matter where, we'll use it for sure," Dane said, laughing.
"I remember we wanted to play right away because that was the only chance we were going to get while we were there, since we could only watch (the Bisons) play."
Other siblings competing for Manitoba at the 2009 Canada Games include:
Carly and Megan Paracholski, athletics
Josh and Amanda Gundrum, athletics
Alice and Tom Sherwin, canoe/kayak
Blair, Cameron and Megan Hunter, canoe/kayak
Jayne and Lena Shepard, canoe/kayak
Amanda and Vanessa Jones, canoe/kayak
Kyle and Nicholas Humniski, canoe/kayak
Claudia and Paul Blandford, rowing
Jocelyn and Jessica Plant, swimming
Allan and Reginald Turnbull, rugby
Rory and Dylan McMorris, sailing
Sarah-Anne Brault, triathlon; Eric Brault, swimming
Ben Allen, soccer; Alexandra Allen, athletics