As the seasons change, it means some sports will bid us a fond farewell for another year.

That includes squash as the NWT Squash Championships, which wrapped up on Sunday at the Racquet Club, brought the curtain down on the business of competitive squash for 2017-2018.

Melina Turk leans in to return a shot during action in the Women’s Exhibition division of the NWT Squash Championships at the Racquet Club on Sunday. Dylan Short/NNSL photo

Several divisions were in play over the course of the tournament and that included the Men’s Open division, where Devin Madsen once again proved he is still the player to beat as he won the title over a very plucky opponent in the form of John Clarkin from Edmonton.

Madsen usually wins his matches in three sets when it comes to tournament play but he was taken all the way by Clarkin in the final before claiming the fifth and final set, 11-8, to win the match by a score of 3-2 in sets.

“It was a battle out there, for sure,” said Madsen. “He has a very similar style to me and he loves to rally like I do. It was lots of fun.”

Clarkin drew first blood by winning the opening set before Madsen won sets two and three but Clarkin ensured the drama of a deciding set by winning the fourth.

Because Clarkin had a similar style to his own, Madsen said he approached the match a bit different than normal.

“There’s two ways you can play: you can either get him out of his comfort zone make him make the mistakes or you can push the envelope,” he said. “I decided down the stretch to push the envelope and he made a couple more mistakes than I did.”

Going the distance in a match means fitness becomes a factor and Madsen, who is one of the fittest squash players in the city, said all of his training that he’s done became a huge asset for him as the match went on.

“I was getting tired but at that point, you can’t get so tired that you lose,” he said. “You can either bow down or push through and I pushed through it.”

It’s been a season of great success for Madsen as he won pretty much everything there was to win in terms of singles squash. There was also his run in the Men’s A division at the Canadian Squash Championships in Calgary, where he came one match short of winning the consolation title.

“I had a great year,” he said. “It reassured me that all of the hard work I’ve been putting in has been paying off. If I didn’t have the results I had, I would be debating whether it was worth getting up at 6 a.m. each morning and going in to work out and get better.”

In other action, Jonathan Hawkins of Whitehorse took the Men’s A title back to the Yukon capital thanks to his win over Stephen Messier while Brad Mercredi defeated Momo Elserafy to cop the Men’s B division crown. Julien Le Guen beat Max Rossouw for the Men’s C title and Randy Caines got past Alexandre Larouche for the Men’s D title.

On the women’s side, Lori Muir of Whitehorse downed India Edwards for the Women’s A title. Charmaine Wilson defeated Jeanette Carney for the Women’s B crown while Jenna Cook won the Women’s C title over Katie Mercier and Alden Tumoth took down Veronica McDonald for the Women’s D division win.

There were two junior divisions in play and it was Loic Hipfner who won the Junior A thanks to his win over Isaac Maddocks while Darwin Murray defeated Will Kanigan for the Junior B crown.

There was even a doubles event tucked in between the singles action and Madsen ended up winning that with his partner, Mark Warren, over the duo of Claudio Ardiles and Mahen Manickum, 2-1 in sets; doubles squash is played under best-of-three rules.

Each year, the tournament features some of the best professionals from around Canada making the trip in to show how the big kids play the game and they didn’t disappoint. Nick Sachvie of Toronto ended up winning the Men’s Exhibition division by beating Connor Turk – brother of Melina Turk, the Racquet Club’s head squash pro – in that final.

The Women’s Exhibition final featured Nikki Todd of Calgary, a frequent visitor to the tournament, beating out Danielle Letourneau of Calgary to win that division.

“It’s all fun for the pros who come up,” said Madsen. “They all want to win, of course, but it isn’t like the nationals where it’s all pressure. This is more laid-back for them and they enjoy it.”

FACT FILE – NWT Squash Championships results

Men’s Exhibition

  • Champion – Nick Sachvie (Toronto)
  • Runner-up – Connor Turk (Winnipeg)
  • 3rd – Ibrahim Elserafy (Edmonton)

Women’s Exhibition

  • Champion – Nikki Todd (Calgary)
  • Runner-up – Danielle Letourneau (Calgary)
  • 3rd – Jamie Laird (Calgary)

Men’s Open

  • Champion – Devin Madsen
  • Runner-up – John Clarkin (Edmonton)
  • 3rd – Stephen Messier

Men’s A

  • Champion – Jonathan Hawkins (Whitehorse)
  • Runner-up – Stephen Messier
  • 3rd – David Bokovay

Men’s B

  • Champion – Brad Mercredi
  • Runner-up – Momo Elserafy
  • 3rd – Chic Callas

Men’s C

  • Champion – Julien Le Guen
  • Runner-up – Max Rossouw
  • 3rd – Fabien Rioux

Men’s D

  • Champion – Randy Caines
  • Runner-up – Alexandre Larouche
  • 3rd – Ken Eng

Women’s A

  • Champion – Lori Muir (Whitehorse)
  • Runner-up – India Edwards
  • 3rd – Nikki Radzminski

Women’s B

  • Champion – Charmaine Wilson
  • Runner-up – Jeanette Carney
  • 3rd – Jill Alain

Women’s C

  • Champion – Jenna Cook
  • Runner-up – Katie Mercier
  • 3 rd – Gale Payne

Women’s D

  • Champion – Alden Tumoth
  • Runner-up – Veronica McDonald
  • 3rd – Lianne Plamondon

Junior A

  • Champion – Loic Hipfner
  • Runner-up – Isaac Maddocks
  • 3 rd – Colton Tumoth

Junior B

  • Champion – Darwin Murray
  • Runner-up – Will Kanigan
  • 3rd – Anhad Seth
source: Racquet Club

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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