Another sure sign of things turning around is the tournament calendar at the Racquet Club returning and the first event of the new season wrapped up late last week.

The Freeze-Up Open saw close to 50 players hit the courts for four evenings of action that began on Dec. 6. The finals for all seven divisions of play happened on Dec. 9 with the top division — men’s advanced — featuring Devin Madsen take on Garrett Hinchey in the best-of-five final.

Madsen would come out on top in three straight over Hinchey but it wasn’t an easy three straight.

Walker Redshaw prepares to hit a forehand as Bharat Sethi waits during the men’s intermediate final of the Freeze-Up Open at the Racquet Club on Dec. 9. Redshaw would go on to win. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hipfner

“Garrett always makes you work for it,” said Madsen. “The Hinchey boys have been doing for so long — squash is in their blood — and it’s never easy. They’ll make you move and they’ll put the ball into all the corners. If you don’t get the ball deep, they’ll make you pay for it.”

That’s where fitness comes into play, he added, and not making too many unneeded moves.

“It’s all about efficiency, making no more steps than you have to,” he said.

Garrett Hinchey stretches out for a backhand return as Devin Madsen awaits the shot during the men’s advanced division final of the Freeze-Up Open at the Racquet Club on Dec. 9. Madsen would go on to win the best-of-five in three straight games. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hipfner

This is the first tournament at the club since the NWT Squash Championships this past May and Madsen said it was a very nice feeling to be able to play other players instead of the same group over and over again.

“We’ve done bubbles for almost the last year,” he said. “We started with groups of six, then it went up to 10. It’s good that we were able to play but you always want to play someone new, someone who maybe you haven’t played in a while.”

In the other divisions, Walker Redshaw took the men’s intermediate title by beating Bharat Sethi while the women’s intermediate champion is Cassandra Trevisani thanks to her win over Gale Payne. Sofia Ardiles defeated Andrea Sidler to win the women’s novice division while Kael Enns and Logan Doll are the junior B and junior A champions respectively with Enns beating Nate Larade and Doll winning over Leo Ehrlich. In the junior girls division, Mairin Campbell beat Melanie Messier to win that.

The top four in the Freeze-Up Open’s junior girls division were, from left, Mairin Campbell, Kaylee Andrews, Elise Auld and Melanie Messier. Campbell was the champion as she beat Messier in the final. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hipfner

Jeff Hipfner, the club’s head squash pro, said one of the things he liked seeing over the course of the tournament was the amount of new faces on court.

“It was fun to see people new to the game trying their hand at competition and really enjoying themselves,” he said. “I’m looking forward to squash continuing to grow, here in Yellowknife.”

Hipfner also pointed out some juniors from the club’s Sunday program trying their hand in their first tournament as well as two women’s divisions.

“Women’s squash continues to grow and we really saw that with this tournament having two divisions, 15 participants between the two of them,” he said. “Some of the players also participated in out ladies clinic that took place five weeks prior to the tournament and for some, it was their first-ever tournament.”

The next scheduled event is the Tournament in February but Hipfner said there could be a junior tournament in January with the hope of some players from Fort Smith making the trip up the highway to take part.

FACT FILE PLEASE

Here are the full results:

Junior Girls: 1st – Mairin Campbell, 2nd – Melanie Messier, 3rd – Kaylee Andrews

Junior Boys A: 1st – Logan Doll, 2nd – Leo Ehrlich, 3rd – Cooper White

Juniors Boys B: 1st – Kael Enns, 2nd – Nate Larade, 3rd – Jayden Hwata

Women Novice: 1st – Sofia Ardiles, 2nd – Andrea Sidler, 3rd – Edyta Ratajczyk

Women Intermediate: 1st – Cassandra Trevisani, 2nd – Gale Payne, 3rd – Mickey Marshall

Men Intermediate: 1st – Walker Redshaw, 2nd – Bharat Sethi, 3rd – Loïc Hipfner

Men Advanced: 1st – Devin Madsen, 2nd – Garrett Hinchey, 3rd – Claudio Ardiles

source: Racquet Club

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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