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Junior squash tournament returns to Yellowknife Racquet Club

After a three-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NWT Junior Squash Championships returned on the weekend.

Twenty-nine participants — from beginners to high-performance athletes — battled it out at the Yellowknife Racquet Club.

“We’re really excited to be having this tournament again after so many years, and we’re really looking forward to continuing this tournament as a tradition, getting it going again,” said Jeff Hipfner, vice-president of NWT Squash. “It’s a fantastic time and opportunity for these kids to experience the same thing or something similar that the kids down south do.

“For some of the kids here, it’s their very first competition in squash ever, and so, that experience obviously goes a long way, and as long as they’re enjoying it, that’s what counts,” he added.

Ryan Connon, president of NWT Squash, said he heard positive feedback from the kids and their parents, who were happy to see their children competing and having fun.

“They’re having a blast. They making new friends. They’re learning new skills. They’re improving their game, and they’re cheering each other on,” said Connon. “It’s just a really positive atmosphere.”

Mickey Marshall, one of the coaches of the Learn to Play Junior Squash Program, said it was an opportunity for the athletes to compete in a different format. Each competitor was involved in three or four games, depending on their age and bracket.

“Squash is one of the healthiest sports in the world because it’s not only athletic, but it’s also cognitively difficult,” Marshall said. “And it’s nice to get them started young, to grow the sport. And that’s really how you grow the sport is to get them involved in the sport early on in their life.”