Our Coaches

 

Nishant Damani: Mavericks Director and Head Coach

Nish Damani joined the Mavericks in the fall of 2009 and was named head coach after one year. Since his arrival in Toronto, he has coached seven different Mavericks teams to podium finishes at National Championships.

As a player growing up in Montreal, Nish was nationally ranked among the top 20 players in his age group. As a coach Nish has been a consistent member of the National Team staff for a decade. He has lead two of Canada’s Youth National Teams to historic Pan Am gold medals and then World Championships.

Nish has received most valuable coaching awards four times in his career to date. A teacher of the sport with tremendous knowledge and broad coaching experiences, he continues to develop programs that introduce young athletes to the sport of water polo and help them fulfill their potential as players.

Danko Bjelica: Head Coach, U16 Boys 

Danko Bjelica has been a fixture with the Mavericks Water Polo Club for almost a decade. He  joined the Mavericks in 2004 as a senior player and a coach. During that time he has coached boys in all age categories from Atoms (U10) to Youths (U18), including the Mavericks Senior team in 2012/2013. Danko has coached teams through numerous provincial and national championships. He helped developed the team of players born in 1994/95 to U18 National Champions.

Danko’s passion for the game, technical and tactical experiences as a player and coach, coupled with his personable nature and ability to connect with the athletes, coaches, parents and officials make him a valuable contributor to the Mavericks.

Danko’s own water polo career started in 1975 in the former Yugoslavia with WC Jadran from Herceg-Novi. As a founding member of WC Bosna from Sarajevo, he participated in numerous domestic and international water polo tournaments, and captained the team that won six Republic Cups in a row.

Hrvoje Vukic: Coach, 16U Boys

Hrvoije has a wealth of experience playing professional water polo in Croatia, his home country. His experience includes both time as a center forward, and a goalie, two integral positions of our sport. After moving to Canada, he slowly was introduced to the Maverick’s Water Polo Club where he began to play for their Senior squad, and coach the younger generations.

Hrvoje’s technical and tactical experience, coupled with his bubbly personality, allows him to guide our athletes down a pathway that he once walked. Having been around water polo his entire life, he has no shortage of ideas to pass down.

His strong presence is tremendous to have on the Maverick’s pool deck. While exemplifying excellence, Hrvoije demands only the best from his athletes.

Fedja Avlijas: Head Coach, 14U Boys and 12U Coed

Fedja Avlijas joined the Mavericks coaching staff in September 2014. He comes to us with a wealth of experience working with athletes of all ages, as well as working in various cities across Canada. He has been the face of the Edmonton Water Polo Club for the past 4 years.

Coach Fedja has been an integral member of the Canadian Men's National Team staff since 2007. His positions with the National Team have ranged from being the Assistant Coach of the Canadian Senior National Team, the Assistant Coach of the 16U and 18U National Team, and the Head Coach of the Capital Region National Development Centre.

Fedja's foundations as an athlete and coach are in Gatineau, Quebec, where he played for the Canadian Youth National Team.

The Mavericks are extremely excited to welcome Fedja to Toronto!

Andrew Muir: Head Coach, 19U and Senior

Andrew is the most recent addition to the Mavericks Water Polo Club, having moved to Toronto in the fall of 2016 after an 8 year tenure with the Men’s National Team Program. After coaching for Torpedoes, establishing the Wild Water Polo Club, and being a regular on the National Team pool deck in Calgary, Andrew embraces the new challenges ahead of him with the Mavericks.

Andrew’s experience includes 8 years as an Assistant Coach of the Men’s National Team, 3 years as the Head Coach of the 15U National Team, 4 years as the Head Coach of the 1998/99 National Team, 4 years as the Head Coach of the Wild Water Polo Club, and countless other assistant positions.

With his international experience as his strongest asset, Andrew looks to build strong relationships with athletes through the medium of coaching. As a strong believer in the value of education, he hopes to guide our athletes to excellence in all walks of life.

Bogdan Dubrovsky: Head Coach, Women

Bogdan Dubrovsky has been a Maverick for life. With his water polo upbringing predominantly took place at the Etobicoke Olympium, he has transferred his knowledge into the art of coaching. Bogdan has quickly solidified himself as a stable force on the Women’s side of the club, spearheading the development of all of our female age groups 14U and up.

Bogdan, a Kinesiology student at U of T, infuses practical theoretical knowledge into his practice plans on the daily. A top performer in academia, his post-secondary education often trickles into his routines and approach of our female athletes.

Bogdan’s experience has taken him much farther than only the club, assisting a National Team Program in 2015, and leading team Ontario this past summer.

Adam Klc: Assistant Coach

Adam is also a Toronto native, playing originally for Scarborough Shadow before completing his last age group years with the Mavericks Water Polo Club. Adam is a passionate individual who prides himself in his ability to build rapport with his athletes, and learning the intricacies of their personalities.

Adam’s playing experience includes time with National Team, team Ontario, and Mavericks teams who stood on the podium at National Championships. His playing experience, along with a strong ability to think critically, allows Adam to lead our young athletes as he continually evolves.

As a Kinesiology student at the U of T, Adam has the opportunity to take his theory and learning instantly to practical application with our young athletes. Adam hopes to lead by example through balancing coaching and his academic pursuits.

Blake Carnevale: Assistant Coach

Blake is another product of the Maverick’s Water Polo Club. He currently plays for both the 19U Men’s team as well as the Senior Men’s team, and has demonstrated his talent and abilities time and time again this season.  Serving as an assistant coach to the 14U girls and 12U programs, he aims to pass some of his experience onto our up and coming athletes.

Blake’s playing experience includes several National Championships, provincial team caps, and most impressive, a long-standing presence on the 1998/99 National team. He most recently competed at Youth World Championships in Montenegro.

Blake’s has a tremendous ability to build trust with young athletes as he teaches them the game.

 

Nyden Kovachev: Head Coach, LikeaFish

Nyden has been in and around water his entire life. He came from a swimming family, his sister a synchronized swimmer, and his brother a national swimmer. He is proud to say that he’s competed at a national level for competitive swimming, and broke into the OUA Water Polo with the Carlton Ravens.

Currently, Nyden is the head coach of the Mavericks Like A Fish program on Wednesday and Fridays where he teaches the new comers to the sport the foundations of aquatics. His background in both water polo and swimmer compliment each other nicely in this role.

Nyden outside of water polo, is a full time business owner with his company Sport Displays. He is a strong and positive personality, who self proclaims that his destiny is to be part of sport and it’s culture.

 

HUMANS ARE 75% WATER. (AND ABOUT 25% POLO)