The Yukon squash community gathered at Better Bodies in Whitehorse on Oct. 25 and 26 for the Andrew Bielz Memorial Tournament honouring Andrew Bielz, a fixture of the squash scene who died last season.
“Andrew played for as long as I can remember — as long as I’ve been involved with squash,” said Stephen Buckler, president of Squash Yukon. “He was always a very active member of our community.”
Buckler said Bielz was a nice guy to have around the club and would participate in everything.
The club wanted to do something this season to remember Bielz, so when Aaron Bielz — Andrew’s son — approached Buckler and company about a memorial tournament, it was a natural fit.
“We were totally on board with that,” said Buckler. “We thought it was a great thing to do.”
Slotting into the calendar roughly where the annual early bird tournament sits, the turnout of 50 for this event was quite a bit higher than other years.
“There were way more people that played in this tournament, mostly to honour Andrew’s memory, but people are really itching to play as well,” said Buckler, adding the tournament entry was by donation with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.
All told, the event raised $1,177.
The Bielz family donated a number of draw prizes for participants, which Buckler said reflected Andrew’s love for the camaraderie of the sport.
“Andrew loved the social part of squash,” said Buckler. “So it was important to the Bielz family to have a big social. We had a social at Earls, which is kind of like our clubhouse since we don’t really have a bar or restaurant attached to our club.”
On the court, the players were split into six divisions — a men’s open division, four mixed divisions and a novice division.
All of the divisions except for novice used a single elimination bracket to determine first place with consolation brackets happening concurrently. The novice division was a round robin format.
Ten players participated in the men’s open division, where Julien Revel beat Jeff Muirhead 3-1 in the finals. Third place went to Ehsan Idrees who beat Peter Mather 3-1.
The winner of the eight-person mixed “A” division was Terri Cairns, who beat Will Chetcuti 3-2 in the final. Lori Muir placed third after beating Alex Jobin 3-2.
Oshea Jephson won the mixed “B” division of eight players with a 3-1 victory against Sean Lee. Jason Pedlar finished third with a 3-2 win against Guurman Rai.
The largest division in the tournament was the mixed “C” division with 12 participants. The winner was Isaac Maddocks who beat Katie Mercier 3-0 to win the final. Third place went to Rannon Johnson who beat Muahammad Javed 3-0.
Carly Bohman won the eight-person mixed “D” division with a 3-1 win against Brian Pehora. Inga Petri won third with a 3-1 win against Darwin Murray.
Lastly, the novice division was a four-player round robin with Noah Kurzynski winning with an undefeated record. Martin Farrow finished second and Antoinette Greenoliph finished third.
The Tuesday and Thursday leagues start for the season on Nov. 5 and 7, and registration is still open although nearly full.
“Registration closes on (Nov. 1), but we have so many people signed up it’s kind of first-come, first-served,” said Buckler.
The next major tournament here in the Yukon is the annual Reservoir Dogs tournament on Nov. 29 and 30.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com