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Hay River bows out of hosting Canadian Table Tennis Championships due to wildfires

The wildfires in the southern NWT have forced more than half of the population to evacuate.
Sadee Walden balances a ball on the racquet during a clinic at Yellowknife’s William McDonald Middle School in March. The NWT was set to host the Canadian Table Tennis Championships in Hay River next month, but the wildfire situation has caused it to be cancelled, according to Table Tennis North. Photo courtesy of Thorsten Gohl

The wildfires in the southern NWT have forced more than half of the population to evacuate.

And it’s now caused a major event to be called off.

The Canadian Table Tennis Championships, which were scheduled to happen in Hay River from Sept. 22 to 24, have been cancelled in light of the ongoing situation. Table Tennis North made the announcement in a late-night press release on Wednesday.

Marny Twigge, Table Tennis North’s vice-president, stated in the release that the local state of emergency and ongoing wildfire situation were the main reasons.

“While Table Tennis North and its partners are very disappointed to have to cancel this event, we believe this decision is in the best interest of everyone,” she stated.

“It is indeed devastating to witness the havoc caused by the wildfires, and we hope everyone is keeping safe and in good health,” she wrote.

Hay River was evacuated on Aug. 13, along with the K’atlo’deeche First Nation and Enterprise, as the Kakisa-Enterprise wildfire, classified as SS-052 by the Department of Environment and Climate Change, was bearing down on the town and reserve. It’s believed Enterprise suffered damage to around 90 per cent of the town when flames reached the community earlier this month.

Table Tennis Canada stated on its website that its board would be meeting at a later date to find a new host for this year’s championships.

The release from Table Tennis North indicated that the organizing committee is looking to regroup and determine the next steps to take, which includes asking Table Tennis Canada to host the event in 2024.

“Table Tennis North and its partners look forward to showcase their capabilities to host a very successful edition of the Canadian Table Tennis Championships next year,” read the release.

Hay River would’ve become the first community North of 60 to host a national table tennis championship had the event gone ahead.