The governing body for squash in Yukon is serving up some big changes for the upcoming 2015/16 season.
Squash Yukon has opted not to renew its contract with Eng Khoon Chua, who took over as its head coach and program co-ordinator in 2010.
Instead, Squash Yukon has divided tasks such as coaching, tournament organization and marketing, in hopes of revitalizing the sport with an emphasis on junior development.
“We were looking at how squash has gone the last couple of years with court bookings, tournament participation and registrations, etcetera, and we felt we needed to do something to boost the numbers a little bit,” said Squash Yukon president Chris Toleman. “So the board decided, looking at the way we ran the business, to not renew Khoon’s contract.”
Squash Yukon has recruited four accomplished players to take over on-court instruction and coaching duties. Under the consultancy of long-time Squash Yukon instructor Marie Desmarais, Julien Revel, Cameron Webber, Adam Sippel and Jane Bell will take on coaching and instruction duties.
Revel is a multi-time and the current Yukon men’s champ and Webber won the Yukon Open in 2013 and 2014.
Sippel and Bell have both represented Yukon at past Canada Winter Games. As a junior player, Bell reached the top 10 in national rankings, said Toleman.
In addition to on-court instruction, the four will oversee the Junior Development Squad for high-level juniors to travel to Outside tournaments, and the Grassroots Development Squad for beginner and novice junior players.
“We had four young people who were interested in giving something back to squash, who all have a little bit of coaching experience, who have lots of playing experience, participated in the Canada Games,” said Toleman. “We were looking for something to reinvigorate squash, so we made the decision to go with these four young (coaches).
“When we told Marie about these four young people helping out, contributing and returning something to the sport, she felt it was a good opportunity for her. She coached them all as juniors.”
Desmarais, who was Squash Yukon’s head coach for more than 20 years before stepping down after the 2009/10 season, will take over the organization of tournaments and leagues.
Pixie Ingram, who used to work for the marketing business Outside the Cube, will handle Squash Yukon’s marketing.
Squash Yukon has reason to boost junior numbers. For the first time in years Yukon did not have a player compete at the Canadian Junior National Championships this past April.
Early this year Yukon was one player short of sending a full squash team to the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. Despite having just three female players instead of a full squad of four, which was a serious disadvantage, Yukon defeated Newfoundland and N.W.T. to place 10th out of 12 in the female team competition at the Games.
Squash Yukon will hold its annual general meeting on September 24 at 7 p.m. at the Sport Yukon building on Fourth Avenue.
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