Nearly 50 of the Yukon’s squash players took part in the Yukon Closed Squash Tournament on Jan. 12 and 13 in Whitehorse.
The tournament, which was open only to residents of the Yukon, was the first of its kind for Squash Yukon, according to president Stephen Buckler.
“This was the first time since I’ve been on the board that we had a closed tournament,” said Buckler. “We never really have an actual territorial championship, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to do that and it was extremely successful, so I think next year we’re going to keep doing it.”
Players competed in seven categories, including a wooden racket “classic” division, over two days.
In the men’s open division, Julien Revel defeated Grayson Peters in the final match 11-2, 11-5, 8-11 and 11-5. Ehsan Idrees finished third, defeating Jonathan Hawkins in three straight games during the bronze medal match.
Erik Jacobsen bested Mackenzie Cameron in three straight games to win the mixed ‘A’ division, and Daniel Reti took third with a victory over Serge-André Comeau in five games.
Kevin Smit won the mixed ‘B’ division on the strength of a five-game victory over Brian Healy in the final. Lara-Rae Trotter beat Thibaut Rondel in five games to finish third.
Oshea Jephson defeated Aaron Bielz in three straight games to win the mixed ‘C’ division with Mike Stanton finishing third following a three game victory over Angus Clarke.
Brenna MacPhail won the women’s ‘B’ division with a victory over Erin Loxam three games to one. Katie Mercier placed third after her victory over Erika Joubert in five games.
In the junior division, Kaelen Holowaty was the winner. Holowaty went 4-0 in the round-robin format.
Although it only took up a fraction of the weekend, the wooden racket tournament on Friday evening might just have stolen the show.
“I think the idea has been floating around for a while, just no one had really implemented it,” said Buckler. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to dress up kind of ‘60s, ‘70s style and get your wooden rackets out.”
It required a different kind of play, where placement trumps speed.
“It was great. People dressed up and we’ll do that again, probably during the closed next year,” said Buckler.
Next year the hope is also to include players from the communities.
“We’ll put a big emphasis on trying to get Watson Lake and Faro players,” said Buckler. “I think if I make an information brochure and a poster and send that all down to the [recreational] leagues in the communities, we will have some people coming. That’s what I’m aiming for anyways.”
The next tournament for the Yukon’s squash community is the Yukon Open Squash Championship in May.
As the name suggests, that tournament is open to players from both the Yukon and Outside, typically drawing participants from British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
“It’s going to be a pretty big tournament,” said Buckler. “There are not many bigger in western Canada.”
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com