Sunday, June 17, 2018
Dear friends, members, fellow picklers throughout the sports fraternity, I tried to find a suitable time to retire from the sport I have loved and given so much to – but Fathers Day seemed appropriate. It is with a sense of pride that I have observed the
formation of the 4th largest program in North America – 430 + programs and 313 instructors certified.
As the first instructor in South Surrey rec – the largest program in Canada, Luba Jehovah and I trained some 350 players from may 2005 to December 2005. In May 2008, I founded, funded and ran Pickleball Canada for two years and the five founding members recruited 400 paid members – 100 more than the USAPA did in their first year.
In 2011 BC Pickleball assoc was formed and registered as a non-profit within the Province of BC as the official name for the province.
Now, this entity is being merged with the more recent Pickleball BC to form one provincial entity with Walter Knecht as the head. This will allow for continuity and for me to retire after 13 years at the helm of this non – profit “www.BCPickleball.com.
I believe that everyone will agree that the level of awareness of our sport has amazed many. How have they done it everyone says? No press – no newspaper coverage, no tv coverage but huge growth. Truthfully many played a big part especially those who took on the running of our many rec centers, outdoor facilities, private clubs etc.
Unlike other provinces, we have partnered with many sports and societies like badminton, basketball, lacrosse, curling, skating rinks, the dragon boat society, the dancing picklers tennis etc, to make new formations and welcome players from all walks of life. Also, we have invested 13 years teaching students in elementary as well as high schools. Our seniors have been key here as they came to the fore and helped us teach so that in one week of our time, one school was taught and had completed a tourney by Friday with some 500 attendees seeing the kids play amazing pickleball.
At this time, we will also join together the two national entities pickleball Canada and the Canadian Pickleball Federation to allow for funding to occur at the national as well as provincial level.
With our infrastructure almost complete we can now build the sport to a national and international level. I am very proud to see where the sport has come to and likely to progress to – so my departure will seem seamless – I hope.
I would like to thank all those (hundreds) who have helped to produce this result in and for Canada – including the snowbirds who were instrumental in getting it off the ground in 2008. Now our programs are self-sufficient and growing exponentially. Just yesterday
I was in Richmond teaching the golf and country club for the second year and learned that Steveston community center will introduce pickleball on July 11, 2018, at 6:15 to 7:45 pm. On the same day, little White Rock added four new courts to have 12 courts. Wow!
I shall always be available to those who wish to inquire, ask, or pick my brain for historical contexts or direction at my email address – It has been an honor to serve you all!
In this volunteer capacity. My retirement has been enriched by your involvement and acquaintance. I wish you all well!
Yours in sport and health,
founding director – www.Pickleballcanada.org (Ret)
founding director – www.BCPickleball.com (ret as of today)
ph – 604-536-9602
Harrison Hot Springs offered a special rate for a B&B layover last Sunday and Monday with all spa facilities included on April 29, 2018. So, the BC Pickleball dance club and friends attended playing Pickleball in Agassis at the community center with six courts . We were well received and the venue as well as the play was good. It was encouraging to see a newer venue so well run and with so much interest.
The dinner at the Copper Room was delightful with everyone attending and the dancing was special on the ballroom floor. It has been a few years since Rita and I had been here so a delightful return it was. The ladies were all ballroom dancers and the floor was full. How nice !
On the Monday we travelled to Chilliwack to a more structured venue, with disclaimer forms, raking and rating courts, nice bags for holding the balls and 4.5 and 5.0 players. We met lots of old friends and got caught up with how they managed to get the “ landing “ away from the tennis players ( 11 courts ) indoor. Everyone was very friendly and discussion ensued on how BC is trending in its development with two ( one registered provincial organization).
We had to leave early, but I did play three games and won 2 . Perhaps I should have told them they got beat by a near 80 year old . Plans were made for an upcoming tournament here and for meetups soon in South Surrey at the shared program with White Rock Curling Club starting on May 22nd clinics and May 28th start. They are taking registrations now.
Yours in Sport and Health,
Phone – 604-536-9602
Since 2008 – at the inception of BCpickleball.com – duly registered and official for BC, Authorized to use the British Columbia name in correspondence etc, we have looked for people who have worked with us and who have grown the sport. These are people who have not looked for recognition but have steadily, week after week, year after year have stood the test of time and increased their numbers in their local area. It is important in all sports that these people be celebrated and that all members and players know what they have accomplished . Below are those now being recognized and those from the past who also are and will be recognized on our Thank You page as well as the welcome page this year. Why has Pickleball grown so fast in Canada ? These people have played a big part. They are our heroes.
- TERRI FOKKER – programmer at South Surrey Rec, who helped get more times for Pickleball in the largest program in Canada when other sports were attempting to buy all the times. She was also key in keeping the Surrey Rec centers Recreational in their tournaments and play and Surrey not allowing the tournament players to take over play or tourneys.
- Ms Dorita Gaspar – P/E instructor at Star of the Sea elementary school in Surrey , who 13 years ago decided to offer pickleball and not badminton to her students. She has facilitated many seniors to come into her school and teach her grades 4-7’s for all those years. This school is now rated 4th in BC academically and 1st in athletics.
- Carol Bissell – for her role in communication in the Comox , Courtenay, Parksville area over several year making this area, one of the biggest hubs for Pickleball in the province. She also played a strong role in administration and teaching as well as tournament play.
- Lorne Landry – For his role as coordinator, organizer at 100 mile house , l08 mile house , Lac la hache in developing new courts, and teaching a good sized play group with instructors.
- Frank Kika – For his organizational role and teaching in Williams Lake and Quesnel in the school system, outdoor play , and indoor facilities while injured himself. He is certified instructor.
- Ray Cumberworth – For his role in Growing a Church – led group to over 200 players – Peace Portal Alliance in Surrey and starting a second at Gracepoint with over 100 players He is a certified instructor and has helped in our school teaching outreach program.
- Aki Takeda – For his administrative role as Vice President of BC pickleball and hands on role of facilitator for Coal Harbour Rec as well as the Roundhouse Rec in Vancouver and many hours playing and setup work in almost all the 24 Rec centers in Vancouver, most of which BC pickleball started. He has also taught in our school outreach program.
- Valentina Paasonen – for outstanding teaching effort over many years in Abbotsford, Centennial Sr Center new Westminister, in Port Moody Rec, in Hillcrest Rec Vancouver and most recently in Edmunds Rec center in New Westminister as their chief instructor. She has also taught in our school outreach program.
- Brent Johner – For his early role in adopting our sport into his school and his rec center teaching program as well as his racquet network – the fifth largest in the world. He has also been a strong supporter of BC pickleball and hosted the first Canadian National Tournament. He has been instrumental in growing the sport in Calgary and Alberta. He also run a retail store www.racquetnetwork.com and www.okpickleball.ca the oldest internet service in Canada.
- Brooke Siver – For outstanding service and energy expended in growing a retail presence in BC, and indeed throughout Canada and the USA. He is a certified instructor both USA and Canada, has played in more venues than surely any other player on the planet and is President of Manta Sports who have supported pickleball for the past several years.
- Bill Macgregor – For his communications skills as Surrey instructor , a seniors Representative in the largest program in Canada , for his help in giving back to the kids in out outreach program with the kids in the schools . He has taught in other Rec centers, is a certified instructor and , until recently, was President of the Canadian Pickleball federation.
- Stan Freyer – Stan’s recognition for his years of service to South Surreys Pickleball Association.
- Valentina Paasonen –
NOTE: Should you see deserving people who should be recognized and celebrated for their efforts, Please let me know – 604-536-9602
Please follow this link to read.
After many years absence, it was a delight to spend 10 days or so visiting relatives who had recently moved from Manitoulin Island to Stittsville a suburb of Ottawa and home of the Canadian Tire Center – the hockey arena that houses the Ottawa Senators . My brother – in – law and I took in a game – overtime and shootout which was quite entertaining in this beautiful venue for hockey. Also in another double rink facility, I saw my nephew Abe score his first goal of the season in the first game, shooting a rocket shot from the blueline. As we travelled from place to place it was nice to see the leaves turning following a fall heat wave experienced in Ontario. Ottawa has many sights to see , most notable was Rideau Hall home of JustinTrudeau and family. I was most impressed at the number of tourists from many countries there who had lots of questions about the history and traditions of Canada.
On the 2017 labour day Weekend , Rita and I found ourselves celebrating our 52nd wedding anniversary on Vancouver Island with friends. What a nice opportunity to check out Pickleball
on the Island . One of my friends Pat Orpen was nice enough to invite me to play with the well established program for Parksville run by the Bohms , husband and wife who teach in the two of three
potential outdoor venues. On the Lacrosse box venue where I played twice, the players were very amenable , Mrs Bohm giving me her husband’s card and welcoming me to the courts . Players were
new to intermediate and new players were moved to another court for instruction. The surface was unpolished concrete thus a little hard on the feet . The potential for alternating groups was there
with signs indicating “ who’s next “ , winners and almost winners. Some do this with paddle “ sox” or just on the fence. This program is free .
A short distance from here there was visible 8 courts on a tennis facility, fenced, and marked as overlay to the tennis courts. It contained eight tennis courts where the players were over 55 and were ranked and rated in a private club structure as found in the USA . A fee is paid per year as well a fee is charged per visit if one is not a member . This venue seemed well attended. In the aggregate is appears that the potential is being reached of 70 to 80 players per day, on the outdoor venues provided by parks and Rec. They also have an indoor facility for wintertime. Surrounding communities also have indoor and outdoor facilities ( Nanaimo , Courtney, Comox and Cumberland and Ladysmith. Further afield programs in Campbell River and Port Alberni , Miller lake are also growing .
While in Parksville we thought , that for novelty and to appeal to youth potential pickleball players that they could try Smashball on the large sandlot provided adjacent to the tennis courts . This sport is played in various ways ( beach pickleball, shinny pickleball , one on one , etc ) it is played with a small hard ball – no net and no court required – just distance from each other predetermined. If the ball is wide, you can dive for it ! Ho Ho . The sand here is light coloured and soft, so it would make an interesting addition to the Parksville landscape and I think it would bring many young people to the Smashball venue. This is also touted by the largest USA internet site for Pickleball as a a related sport to us and to Table tennis as well as tennis. They also advertise all the related paddles on their website namely, tennis, table tennis, and pickleball and Smashball. ( see link above )
Finally, as summer recedes and rain has finally arrived , many see this as a relief from the summer fires in BC and elsewhere – only to be replaced by southern floods . I find it a laudable trait that the last
two communities that BC pickleball has taught , namely Williams Lake and Princeton have both continued to play and grow their programs throughout the record fires and smoke in the province of BC. We
Picklers are tough eh. In the larger picture, more and more of our programs are achieving maturity status with both indoor and outdoor programs flourishing to overflow capacity. This begs the question,
what next ? Tony Casey. our new board member responsible for national and international as well as provincial relations is prepared to host a group who would address this question. INTERESTED ?
Please contact him at .
www.bcpickleball.com official and registered for BC
ph – 604-536-9602