FEATURE ARTICLE:  Squash Canada unveils new corporate identity

FEATURE ARTICLECelebrating the life of a Canadian Squash Legend: Barney Lawrence

FEATURE ARTICLE: Driving Excellence in our Sport:  Reshaping the future of squash in Canada

PERFORMANCE NEWS:  “Training Canadians to dominate the T”

PERFORMANCE NEWS:  “Squash Canada nominates team for 2011 Pan Am Games”

COACHING NEWS:  “Squash Canada hires former Malaysian National Coach as new performance director”

EVENTS / RANKINGS:  “National Championships & Harrow Canadian Rankings Top 10”

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT NEWS:  Hardball Doubles Squash: The History & Legacy of the Game

OFFICIATING NEWS:  What’s ahead for Squash Canada’s Officiating Department 

PROVINCIAL NEWS:  Growing the game across Canada: Building Squash in PEI

THE REVERSE ANGLE: Hardball Doubles Exhibition…a WSF perspective  (written by: Andrew Shelley)

Squash Canada unveils New Corporate Identity

Written by: Danny Da Costa,
Executive Director
Squash Canada

Squash Canada completes its organizational rebranding with the unveiling of a new corporate identity and website.

Squash Canada has completed its organizational rebranding exercise with the launching of Squash Canada’s new website, accompanying the recently unveiled corporate identity.  The logo and website was designed by Ottawa based ACART Communications, one of the country’s premier marketing and communications companies.  Some of ACART’s clients include the various departments and agencies of the Government of Canada, NHL’s Ottawa Senators and OHL’s Ottawa 67’s.  “We chose to work with ACART because they were very experienced working with non-profit organizations, and have very strong ties to sport marketing and branding projects”, said Squash Canada Executive Director, Danny Da Costa.   Some of ACART’s recent projects include designing the current logo and conducting marketing projects for both the Ottawa Senators and Ottawa 67s. 

In addition, the new website will allow for greater exposure and visibility for partners, athletes, coaches, officials and while at the same time, promoting the sport of squash.  Squash Canada also plans to embrace the world of social media with greater use for media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  “We have done a lot of research reviewing various national and international sport association websites, and various squash website’s and we are confident that this is one of the premier national sport organization websites in Canada”, said Da Costa.

To read the complete article click here...

 

CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF A CANADIAN SQUASH LEGEND: BARNEY LAWRENCE

Mike Costigan celebrates the life of Barney Lawrence a man who has done so much for the sport of Squash…
Written by: Mike Costigan

Barney was larger than life itself. No one will argue that.  So imagine Barney standing at a podium in front of St Peter at the pearly gates. He is dressed in his green plaid pants with the yellow stripes, Blue Blazer with a crest, white shirt and one of his many squash ties….his classic squash attire.   He is standing there, in front of a microphone, his “Horny helmet on his head, squash racquet in one hand, glass of scotch in the other, reciting a poem he had written, asking for permission to enter.   St Peter is so impressed that he not only lets him in but makes him an “Honorary Life Member”!

Barney will be remembered as a man who touched so many people in so many ways because he gave of himself to so many different causes.  Fortunately for many of us, squash was one of those causes that Barney cherished, and he spent much of his life contributing to it… right down to his final day!  A fiercely competitive player, club founder, coach, volunteer, financial supporter, Barney will be remembered as one of the most unique and generous persons one could ever meet and one of the greatest ambassadors of the game of squash. 

Barney’s contributions and passion for squash are unequalled, and is evidenced having helped “build the game” as a player, club founder, coach, volunteer, financial supporter, and for many years as a guest speaker.

As a player, Barney first hit a squash ball in 1934, at the Ottawa Squash Club. After returning from the war in 1946 and attending the University of Toronto, he bought a racquet and went to the Hart House squash courts.  His competitive nature compelled him to try out for the Hart House undergraduate team. (as there was not a team at U of T at the time) He played for Hart House as an undergraduate from 1947-1948 and later as a graduate in 1949 and 1950.  In 1951 he joined the Toronto Racquet Club as a student and played for them until graduating from Osgoode Hall in March 1951.  While keeping his membership at the TRC he joined the Hamilton Squash Club (a small two court club in the downtown) in 1952.  The club no longer exists and Barney was the club’s last singles champion. 

In 1953 he joined the Hamilton Thistle Club.  There he met Don Leggat and together they formed a 5 man singles team that won the Ontario Team Championship from 1953-1961.  They would later form a doubles partnership and in 1956 competed in the first Buffalo Squash & Tennis Invitational.

He became a Jester in 1959 and in 2006 the title of Life Jester was bestowed upon him.  This honour is bestowed upon an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the game, not necessarily as a champion, but rather to a person who has “built” the game in this country.   Barney and Peter Landry are the first and only two to hold this designation in Canada in the 55 years of the Canadian Jesters.  He has participated on three Jesters Touring teams, England 1961, Western Canada in 1964, and South Africa in 1967.  Barney has also represented Canada at the annual Lapham - Grant Matches.  This competition is one of the most prestigious amateur events in squash and a symbol of the spirited rivalry and sportsmanship for which the sport is known.  In fact he has participated 52 times over a period of 58 years and has twice captained Canada’s team, in Wilmington Delaware, 1968, and later in 1981 where he also played host in Kitchener. 

In 2001, the Lapham –Grant Matches introduced a special division to honour those squash “legends” who have contributed over the years.  “Legends” players compete for the Lawrence-Wilkens Trophy, named for Barney Lawrence of Kitchener Ontario and Howard Wilkens of Wichita Kansas who epitomize leadership and sportsmanship and who have served and supported the matches over numerous years.

 Barney’s playing accomplishments are numerous:

Club Championships

1962-1965 Singles Champion KWRC
1967, 1968, 1973, 1974 Doubles Champion KWRC
2 Time Doubles Champion TRC
9 Time Singles Champion TRC

Provincial and National Championships

1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 Ontario Open Doubles Champion
1967 Canadian Veterans Singles Champion
1970 & 1971 Canadian Veterans Doubles Champion
1971 & 1973 Pacific Coast Doubles Champion with partner Clive Caldwell
1978 Ontario 50’s Doubles Champion
1988 & 1989 Ontario 60’s Doubles Champion
1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 &1996 Ontario 65’s Doubles Champion
1998 – Ontario, Canadian & U.S 70’s Doubles Champion
1999 – Canadian 70’s Doubles Champion

Barney founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club in 1962.  The initial idea came to him in 1956 after playing in the inaugural Buffalo Invitational. His love of that club and its crest were the beginnings of what would later become the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club. Modeled after the oldest squash club in Canada, the Toronto Racquet Club, Barney acknowledges that KWRC was spiritually created on an Air Canada flight to England in 1961 in a conversation with his doubles partner Don Leggat.  Don’s support of the idea culminated in the comment that if the club’s founding resulted in getting his partner in shape then it would be worth the effort.  Barney held the club’s singles title from 1962-1967 and was the doubles champion on 4 occasions.  Barney was also President of the club from its inception until 1968 when he had the foresight to build the first doubles court in Ontario outside of Toronto at the KWRC.  Today the KWRC is alive and well having undergone recent renovation and membership growth and is looking forward to celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012.

Barney’s invaluable assistance in starting up squash clubs has not been limited to Kitchener.  Membership at other clubs, donations to fundraising campaigns, speaking at an event, or playing an exhibition, Barney would graciously give whenever asked. Barney is a founding member at the Richmond Hill Racquet Club & London Squash Club.  He is a Life Member at the Toronto Racquet Club, Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club, and the former Hamilton Squash Club.  In addition he was a member of both the Cambridge Club and Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club for many years.  Barney has also lent his playing services to the opening of the TCS&C club’s first hardball singles and doubles courts with partner Don Leggat and to the opening of the Stratford Racquet Club in 1979.

Barney’s way with words and his natural penchant for a microphone kept him in demand for years at squash events all over North America.  On one very memorable occasion, Barney held a poetry recital at the Arts Lecture Hall of the University of Waterloo.  That night he recited poetry for an hour and a half as a fundraiser for the University Team.                                                                                                                                        He has even been known to sometimes speak when he wasn’t asked.  Accepting trophies, speaking at tournaments, club openings and anniversaries, his speeches were always memorable.  As he himself admits, “Don would take the trophy and I would take the microphone!”

Squash at the University of Waterloo played a significant role in Barney’s life.  Barney started teaching at the University in 1967 as an adjunct professor.  His passion for squash eventually found its way to the University squash courts.  An informal team had been in existence since the late 1960’s but it wasn’t until 1978 that the team was formalized under Barney’s tutelage.  From 1980 – 1990 he acted as Resident Counsel and special lecturer for the University which was a full time position.  During this same period Barney was twice chair of the President’s Committee responsible for the University’s fundraising campaigns.  His increased involvement in the University proved to be significant to the squash program as well.  His investment in time on the courts and the financial support he was able to garner resulted in a respectable squash program in a short period of time. 

In 1982, his fundraising efforts saw the university campus get its first two international singles courts, supplementing the 4 North American courts it also had.  For the next 12 years Lawrence’s teams would compete in the OUAA squash tournaments, the NCAA squash championships, Provincial and National Championships, the Western Region league and experience several memorable tours to the Barbados. 

Barney fostered his passion for life in his players using squash to build their character. Commitment, the importance of friendship, and “giving back” to things that you got so much from were exemplified in Barney as a coach.  Today many of Barney’s 

players continue to be involved in squash, remain good friends, and are giving back to the game, symbolizing the influence that he had in their lives.

Barney coached at U of W until 1995 and today the program continues under the guidance of good friend and fellow Jester Clive Porter.

Notably, as a volunteer, Barney was twice President of the Ontario Squash Racquets Association and he chaired and hosted the 1984 Canadian Junior Squash Championships jointly at the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club and University of Waterloo. Barney has also voluntarily donated two Provincial Championship trophies – Ontario Open Doubles Trophy in 1965 with partner Don Leggat, and the Ontario 65 Doubles Trophy with partner Gord Guyatt.

Whenever anyone called looking for financial support for a squash event Barney could always be counted on to contribute. He always had “100 bucks” in his pocket for something related to squash.  Many U of W players would attest to the regular patronage of the campus pub after practice and later to the Faculty Club for a meal they were not accustomed to as a student - all of course on Barney’s tab! He himself attests to the fact that he has likely given more money to squash over the years than to his banker.

Finally, Barney’s contributions to squash have been previously recognized.  In 1984, he was inducted into the Waterloo County Sports Hall of Fame, in January of 2001 he was inducted into the University of Waterloo Athletic Hall of Fame, and most recently into the Ontario Squash Hall of Fame in 2009

The bestowing of this final honour is very fitting for a man who has given so much of himself to the game of squash.  We will no longer see him in the galleries but know that he will still be keeping score!

Sincerely,
Mike Costigan

DRIVING EXCELLENCE: RESHAPING THE FUTURE OF SQUASH CANADA

New Squash Canada Executive Director talks about his first year on the job and what lies ahead…

Since joining Squash Canada in the fall of 2010, the new Executive Director has been busy reshaping Squash Canada. 

Q.  How has your first year on the job been?

A.  At times it has been challenging, but overall it has been a very good year for the organization.  We have completed a lot of tasks and we feel that we have taken the organization to a new level. We have worked very hard to build positive relationships with our provincial & territorial squash associations, corporate partners and building awareness for the organization.  It is a lot of hard work, reshaping an organization, but I have been fortunate enough to work with some great individuals and have a very supportive Board of Directors.

Q.  How difficult was it for you to transition from tennis to squash?

A.  The transition has not been too difficult for me because I have been around squash for a number of years. I have worked in a number of clubs that had squash courts and programs, such as the Fitness Institute – Willowdale Club, Donalda Club and White Oaks. My administrative experiences as the Coordinator for Player Development for Tennis Canada, Technical Director & Canada Games Coach for Tennis Saskatchewan and as Executive Director of Tennis Newfoundland & Labrador, has helped prepare me well for this position.  Having worked with some of Canada’s top sport and business professionals, I feel that I bring a unique set of skills to Squash Canada. It was very difficult to leave the sport of tennis because I grew up with the game and tennis has been so great to me over the years, but I do not regret the decision to leave.  Many people have asked, why I left tennis?  Its difficult to walk away from something you love, but I did not want to be a teaching professional for the rest of my life and I felt that I could make a greater impact for the sport of squash.  I also love change and I like experiencing new challenges, this job marks a new era for me both personally and professionally.

Q.  What are some of the things you are most proud about this year?

A.  It’s hard to pin point one specific thing with the many positives from the past year, but if I have to narrow it down to one thing then I would say I am most proud of the recent hires of Jamie Hickox, Squash Canada’s Performance Director and Whitney Fuller, Squash Canada’s Sport Development Coordinator.  For this organization to move forward, it is imperative we have great leadership and staff capable of taking the organization to a new level, and we feel that we are now in very capable hands of Jamie Hickox and Whitney Fuller.  Jamie Hickox was a world-class squash professional, among the best 12 players in the world, and what he has done to build Malaysian Squash is incredible. Malaysia has been, over the past 10 years, one of the top 4 or 5 countries in the world in the sport of squash.  Jamie brings world-class experience, professionalism and great people skills to the position.  Whitney was the top graduate from Brock University and she has done a tremendous job in her previous positions with the Niagara Sports Commission and I feel she will achieve great things in our sport.  Whitney’s transition to Squash Canada has been seamless with her great ideas and passion for sport.

Q.  There has been a lot of changes within Squash Canada over the past year, perhaps you can tell the reader some of the organization’s undertakings in the past 12 months. 

A.  Squash Canada’s Board of Director’s and staff have really worked hard to improve relations with the Provincial & Territorial Squash Association partners and our funding agency Sport Canada.  In addition, we completed our Long Term Player Development Manual – Beyond the Nick have completed an implementation plan for the LTPD; launched the new Squash Canada National Rankings; completed two comprehensive competitions & high performance reviews; re-wrote all the national team selection criteria’s and updated the majority of the organization’s policies; hired two new staff members; established a partnership with the National Squash Academy to be the official training centre of Squash Canada; created new member value discounts with Flight Centre, Budget Rent-a-car and Delta Hotels; signed an endorsement deal with Harrow Sports to become our Official National Team Clothing Sponsor and Official Sponsor of our Rankings program, organizing the World Squash Federation to visit Canada for the first time and re-branding of Squash Canada’s corporate properties: new logo and website. 

Q.  What does the future lie ahead for Squash Canada and what areas need addressing?

The future is good for Canadian squash.  We have some good up and coming players, whom we feel can break through and become world-class players.  As we continue to evolve as an organization, we will continue to look at different avenues for future success.  The area we need the most addressing in is to increase the organization’s financial capacity, and in the near future we will begin launching a new fundraising campaign and in addition, seek more corporate sponsors and support.  Without this support it is difficult to achieve what we want as an organization.  Without corporate support, it is increasingly difficult to accomplish everything we need to do and may find ourselves in the position of prioritizing fewer areas of Squash Canada.  We also need to address the high performance side of the organization; its important for Squash Canada to develop world-class players who are capable of podium finishes in international competitions.  I am hopeful that we will be a much stronger squash nation in the next 4 or 5 years; developing a winning program takes time, and commitment from staff, our players and of course their parents and sponsors.

“TRAINING CANADIANS TO DOMINATE THE T”

Written by:  Danny Da Costa
Executive Director, Squash Canada

Squash Canada today announced an agreement with the National Squash Academy (NSA) as Squash Canada’s National Centre of Excellence.  The facility is located in Downsview Park in the heart of Toronto. The agreement provides a centralized training base for Canadian National Team members to train under the tutelage of former Malaysian National Coach and Squash Canada’s new Performance Director, Jamie Hickox. The partnership gives Squash Canada’s athletes access to some of the best coaches in the world, including former World #1 Jonathon Power, and former World #12 singles and World #1 hardball doubles player Gary Waite, as well as their team of dedicated coaches. Jonathon Power commented, saying "this is the realization of a dream for myself and all Canadian squash players.  Through this partnership with Squash Canada and the vision of the National Squash Academy, we can now pool all of our resources nation-wide and give our athletes the best chance of competing on an International level”.

Squash Canada’s Performance Director, Jamie Hickox will conduct training sessions each week for national team / squad athletes.  National Squash Academy coaches, Jonathon Power, Gary Waite and Jamie Nicholls will continue to provide coaching support as well.  “This is a major step forward for our athletes. The NSA provides a dedicated facility for our national team athletes to train and excel on the international stage”, said Jamie Hickox, Performance Director.  

To read the complete article click here…

CANADA NOMINATES TEAM FOR PAN AM GAMES

Written by:  Danny Da Costa
Executive Director, Squash Canada

Squash Canada nominated a 6 person Squash Team to the Canadian Olympic Committee for the upcoming 2011 Pan American Games taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico October 15 – 20, 2011. 

This year’s nominated team features the 2003 Gold Medal winner Shahier Razik of Toronto, Ontario, 2007 Bronze Medalist in Men’s Singles Shawn Delierre of Montreal, Quebec and first time member Andrew Schnell of Calgary, Alberta.   The Women’s team features three new team members: Miranda Ranieri, of Waterloo, Ontario the reigning 2011 Canadian Squash Women’s Open Champion, Samantha Cornett of Ottawa Ontario and Stephanie Edmison of Toronto, Ontario. The Canadian Team will be lead by coaches: Yvon Provencal of Montreal, Quebec (Men’s Coach) and Shauna Flath of Vancouver, British Columbia (Women’s Coach).

To read the complete article click here…

Events

2011 Canadian Junior Open                                  December 10 – 13, 2011                    Niagara on the Lake, Ontario
2012 Canadian Men’s Team Championships         January 6 – 8, 2012                             London, Ontario
2012 Canadian Women’s Team Championships    January 6 – 8, 2012                             Halifax, Nova Scotia
2012 Canadian Masters Team Championships      January 13 – 15, 2012                        Gatineau, Quebec
2012 Canadian Junior Doubles Championships      January 13 – 15, 2012                        Toronto, Ontario

Rankings

Squash Canada Men’s Open Rankings (Top 10)                    Squash Canada Women’s Open Rankings (Top 10)
As of August 19, 2011                                                               As of August 19, 2011

1.       Shahier Razik, Toronto, ON                                               1.  Miranda Ranieri, Waterloo, ON
2.       Shawn Delierre, Montreal, QC                                           2.  Sam Cornett, Toronto, ON
3.       Robin Clarke, Toronto, ON                                                3.  Stephanie Edmison, Toronto, ON
4.       Andrew McDougall, Calgary, AB                                       4.  Carolyn Russell, Vancouver, BC
5.       Andrew Schnell, Calgary, AB                                             5.  Alex Norman, Montreal, QC
6.       Dane Sharp, Toronto, ON                                                  6.  Susie King, Calgary, AB
7.       David Phillips, Montreal, QC                                              7.  Melanie Jans-Burke, Vancouver, BC
8.       Graeme Schnell, Calgary, AB                                              8.  Marnie Baizley, Toronto, ON
9.       Fred Reid, Ajax, Ontario                                                     9.  Julie Hisey, Brooklin, ON
10.     Victor Berg, Vancouver, BC                                                10.  Seanna Keating, Toronto, ON

Squash Canada hires former Malaysian National Coach as performance director

Written by:  Danny Da Costa
Executive Director, Squash Canada

Squash Canada announced the hiring of former Malaysian National Coach, Jamie Hickox as the new Performance Director for Squash Canada.

Hickox's resume includes coaching top athletes from Malaysia's National Squash Team such as, Nicol David, Mohd Azlan, and Ong Beng Hee among others.  Malaysia is regarded as one of the leading squash nations in the world producing World's #1 ranked female player Nicol David, Low Wee Wern #15, Delia Arnold #23, Siti Munirah Jusoh #47 and male players Mohd Azlan Iskandar #10, Ong Beng Hee #29, Mohad Nafizwan Adnan #45.  Under Hickox's leadership as National Coach, Malaysia has also finished as high as #3 in the World at the 2006 World Junior Men's Team Championship, 3rd at the 2006 World Women's Team Championships, 2nd at the 2007 World Junior Women Team Championships and 5th at the 2007 World Men's World Team Championship.  He also coached Ong Beng Hee to a world junior squash championship and British Junior Open in 1998

To read the complete article click here…

HARDBALL DOUBLES SQUASH:  THE HISTORY & LEGACY OF THE GAME

Hardball Doubles widely played in North America is a fast pace, exciting game. Learn all about it in this issue…

Written by:  US Squash & Squash Canada

Background

Squash Doubles was invented in Philadelphia in 1907 and standardized in the 1930’s. Today there are four major doubles organizations overseeing the sport in North America, including more than 165 courts and more than 15,000 players: Squash Canada, U.S. SQUASH, the ISDA (International Squash Doubles Association) and the WDSA (Women’s Doubles Squash Association). The four groups organize and oversee the management of all aspects of doubles including junior and adult play, from beginner to elite professional competition. In addition, the four organizations collaborate in efforts to grow and promote the game.

Squash Doubles has been played in Canada since the early 1930’s. There are currently 36 courts in the country, (plus one under construction), located in the 5 Provinces with over 90% of Canada’s population. Our National Championships were first played in 1934 and, with the exception of 1938, have been played every year since then. Provincial Championships are held in 4 of the 5 provinces, and over 1100 players participate in Doubles Squash leagues every week across the country. It is estimated there are now over 4,000 players in Canada who play doubles regularly.

Structure

In Canada squash is administered collaboratively by Squash Canada, founded in 1913 as the Canadian Squash Racquets Association, and the 12 provincial and territorial squash associations. Squash Canada Doubles Committee reports to the Squash Canada Board of Directors and is made up of three sub-committees; the Doubles Competition Committee, the Doubles Development Committee and the Doubles Officiating Committee. All of the doubles playing communities in Canada and the professional doubles organizations, the ISDA and the WDSA, are represented on these committees.

The Canadian committees collaborate closely with the United States Squash Doubles organization in all aspects of the game, especially international events, tournament schedules, rules and officiating.

National & International Competitions:

National Championships

Squash Canada holds National Championships every year with open and age group divisions in five year intervals from 40+ to 80+ for men, women and mixed doubles. In 2010 over 300 players participated in these events. Starting in 2012, we will hold a National Junior Squash Doubles Championship.

World Hardball Doubles

Canada hosts the World Hardball Doubles every four years; the most recent event was held in Toronto in May 2011, with teams from 10 different countries.

The Can Am Cup

Canada and the United States compete every second year for the Can-Am Cup. The cup is a doubles squash competition between the United States and Canada in a Ryder Cup type format.

The first event was held in Boston, MA in October of 2008. It brings together the best men and women’s doubles squash players from across North America in a team format in open and age class categories.  October 2010, in Toronto, over 50 players from each country participated.

WHAT’S AHEAD FOR SQUASH CANADA’S OFFICIATING DEPARTMENT

Like athletes, coaches, and facilities, officials are an integral part of any sport. Ensuring officials are properly trained and certified is, therefore, a top priority to Squash Canada. Canada has one of the top officiating programs in the sport — a reputation we are proud of and aim to maintain.

In upcoming issues, this section will be filled with relevant information to uphold that reputation and further your development as a squash official. Here, you will find the latest on Squash Canada’s officiating program, including postings on certification clinics, program standards, and calls for officials. Our articles will touch on rules updates and officiating innovations, and become an area for discussion on the trends that interest you most. Check back each month to stay up to date with all things in the area of squash officiating!

GROWING THE GAME ACROSS CANADA: BUILDING SQUASH IN THE NORTH WEST TERRITORIES

 

Written by:  Shara Coady
Squash PEI

  Just as in other provinces in Canada, squash in PEI is played by men, women, and children of all ages, but with just over 100 active players in the small province, the community is a tight group of squash addicts. Two clubs in the province’s capital of Charlottetown boast the majority of the island’s players: the Spa Total Fitness Center and the University of PEI (UPEI). At the western end of the island, the courts at Mill River Resort bring together many players from that area, as well as turn out some of the fiercest competitors on the island, including PEI’s top male athlete, Mike Buchanan. The island’s top female squash player, Mary Andrews, also resides in the western end of the island and plays out of Summerside, the second largest city in PEI.

Tournaments in PEI are run by Squash PEI almost exclusively. Our association is made up of a small group of very hard working and dedicated volunteers who coordinate with the clubs and manage all aspects of tournament play.  Most tournaments are hosted in Charlottetown, major ones include the “UPEI Open” in the fall and the “PEI Open” in March, both of which attract players from surrounding provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for great competition with a touch of fun that only islanders infuse. However, the favourite tournament for young and old, for competitive and “just for fun” players alike, is the “Mill River Invitational”. The tournament takes place at Mill River Resort in the western end of the island and all participants and their families travel to the resort and stay the weekend while competing. Almost the entire membership heads to the Mill River Resort and recently, the tournament has been attracting other regional players as well, who enjoy the stronger social component that staying all together in a hotel brings. Being at Mill River tournament brings players closer together in competition, in friendship, and in life.

The PEI girls’ squash team had their best ever finish this year at the 2011 Canada Games, and the boys’ team, although on the younger end of the spectrum, performed brilliantly. Squash PEI has been putting a lot of effort into expanding their junior programming and junior recruitment. The annual Sports Fair, hosted by Sport PEI, provides children in grades 4-6 from every school on the island with exposure to new sports. Squash PEI has gained many talented new juniors with the connection the Sports Fair provides. Other junior recruitment initiatives that have been working well are the free mini-tournaments with how-to-play clinics provided prior to the tournament. Mini-tournaments, specifically those targeted at groups of kids who play other racquet sports, have also achieved good results.

In order to engage players of all levels and ages within the community, Squash PEI organizes league play and drop in nights at the facilities in Charlottetown. A great example is the newly expanded and highly competitive “Monday Night League” at the Spa Total Fitness Center. The Monday Night League brings together half of PEI’s membership with 54 players spanning all ages, from masters to those just entering the double digits, and involving players of every skill level in an evening of great competition and team fun.  

There is a buzz happening in the PEI squash community right now that is attracting new and old players. An energetic, devoted, and focused executive committee and volunteer base has been sweeping up everyone in their path to get on the court, for the socials, on the website, and rejuvenate their own love of the game. The result has been a renewed hunger for learning and competition within the membership, and increased networking with other Atlantic provinces to satisfy the development needs. Our website, www.squashpei.org, will give you a glimpse into our friendly community, but we invite you to contact us if you are in the neighbourhood or better yet, join us for a tournament this season and let us treat you to a squash social the island way.

Come play on our island!

THE REVERSE ANGLE: “WORLD SQUASH CEO, Andrew Shelley examines a largely North American Phenomena: Hardball Doubles

Written by: Andrew Shelly
WORLD SQUASH, Chief Executive Officer

The WSF Management Committee (ManCom) scheduled for Canada in early September gave those ManCom members who had not been exposed to Hardball the opportunity to watch some action. While I had done so several times, seeing matches on adjacent courts while squash events were taking place in US clubs, not everybody had done so.

As a Brit, seeing the cricket pitch when we arrived at the Toronto club of that name was reassuring. Now, that is a real sport! But we were here for an inside game, albeit one with a pretty big playing area too. We were ushered in and given a real treat. No, not the sport but an extensive supply of beer vouchers - something much less of a system elsewhere, mores' the pity.

Into the seats, and warming up in front of us were four greats. Well, maybe only three as Shahier Razik had let on to me in Germany a couple of weeks earlier that he was inexperienced, but as a splendid softballer it would hardly show. Knowing Willie Hosey, Jonathon Power and Gary Waite while they played the squidgy ball game I was intrigued to watch them as top exponents of the North American game……and to ensure a WSF viewing to support the tub thumping that Gary had done on its behalf.

After mistress of ceremonies, Lolly Gillen, narrowly lost the battle between her voice and the general hubbub to introduce the match, we were underway.

Somewhere in the distance were four people swishing around, perhaps fly catching, with accompanying sound effects of rifle shots. Mental note, get glasses immediately.

No, that was irreverent and entirely wrong. The size of the court and the pinging of the ball are very different (more of that in a moment), but the pace, the inventiveness and action generally make Hardball good on the eye, enjoyable to watch, and perhaps easier to enjoy for the uninitiated. It is a great sport in it's own right.

Of course, I hardly need to outline the issues it faces if it is to expand. There is the chicken and egg situation of prospective investors, especially on other continents, being unwilling to do so without it being a proven commercial success, yet how do you do so without the investment in courts? And while a white ball and coloured court walls would be a requisite to make the sport attractive televisually, will the sheer pace of the ball make it difficult to film successfully?

Questions rather than answers, but WSF were very grateful to Squash Canada, ISDA, the players and organizers for the opportunity to link with the hardball community and in a small way reinforce the fact that hardball is very much part of the squash family. Hopefully the relationship will grow ever closer.       

Andrew Shelley
Chief Executive Officer
World Squash Federation

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