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The next Canadian squash champ
Humble tournament starts season, but club wants more

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Canada has been quiet on the world squash rankings for a number of years, and local player Grant Convey dreams of a new champion rising from the NWT.

NNSL photograph

Players gather giving their best "I'm a squash player" look. From left to right are Britney Selina, Grant Convey, Stacey Christie, Natasha Kulikowski, Anne-Marie Jennings and Katie Boyd. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

At one point, the country had a much larger presence in the international squash scene, but it has fallen off in recent years, said Convey.

"If we can produce the next champion out of the NWT, that would be fantastic," he said after a three-day tournament wrapped up last weekend.

Part of his hope to do so includes penetrating the youth market and seeing if he can get squash into a high school gym program in Inuvik.

"We still struggle with squash being on the radar locally in Inuvik," said Convey.

Sixteen players took part in last weekend's tournament, which was a decent number but the Inuvik Squash Club hopes for more. The transient nature of Inuvik means the club is always fluctuating, depending on if any squash enthusiasts come to or leave town.

Rather than rely on so many newcomers, Convey would like to see more youth get involved and grow with the sport.

"Locally, hockey still rules the roost, and swimming's a big draw for the kids in town," he admitted.

Players divided into three categories based on skill for last weekend's tournament.

Taylor Giffin won the top category, Pool A.

"He coaches badminton, so he's very skilled at racquet sports," said Convey. "He had a great tournament this time and beat a couple players he's never beat before, so he's showing a lot of improvement."

Four or five tournaments are planned for the rest of the squash season, which lasts from now until May 2018.

Another one is coming up shortly on the Oct. 20 weekend. Organizers hope to get more people out for that event.

For Natasha Kulikowski, last weekend's tournament was another tick on her ParticipACTION 150 list, which challenges Canadians to engage in 150 activities.

"I think I've completed 40 of 150 or something, and squash is of course one of those," said the chronic athlete.

With enough interest, the club hopes to start up league nights again and provide learning opportunities for beginners.

Anyone interested in the sport is encouraged to contact the Inuvik Squash Club page on Facebook.

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