The Racquet Club’s high performance squad got the weekend off and that meant the next wave of junior squash players coming through got the chance to show their stuff.
The NWT Junior Squash Championships wrapped up at the Racquet Club on Sunday with a total of 20 players from Yellowknife and Fort Smith battling it out for one of the big prizes in territorial squash.
Jeff Hipfner, the club’s head squash pro, said there were plenty of good matches in all three divisions of play.
“This was the first tournament for a lot of the kids and they all had lots of fun,” he said.
Fort Smith had three players competing across all of the divisions and Jason Jones came close to hitting the top of the A division. He ended up finishing third but impressed Hipfner with his play all weekend long.
“Jason’s result wasn’t a surprise to me,” he said. “He went with us to the Jesters tournament in Alberta back in November and he played really well down there so it was great to see him have that type of result here last weekend.”
Carter Robertson ended up on top as he beat Loic Hipfner in the final.
Hayden Murray won the B division as he defeated Nik Koe in the final and coach Hipfner said it was a dominating performance.
“He’s come a long way very quickly – he hasn’t been playing for a long time – but it’s exciting to see how much progress he’s made,” he said. “He will be playing up a division the next time and he will definitely be a future high performance player.”
The C division final was a battle of the Peter’s as Peter Staples overcame Peter Kanigan for the title.
“Both of them were playing in their first tournament and had a great final game,” said Hipfner.
In addition to the tournament, there was also a chance to get in some extra practice with Colin Whitney, who coaches at the University of Calgary.
Whitney worked with all of the players for the duration of the weekend and Hipfner said the message Whitney got across was one of work ethic.
“He really pushed the idea of working hard to reach a goal,” he said. “If you want to be at the top, you have to put in the time and it was good for the kids to hear that from someone who’s training some of the top junior players out there. When we go down south to play, we’re playing kids who are putting in 10 to 15 hours per week and that’s what you need to do if you want to be a really good player.”
Seeing the kids active, though, is the big goal, he added.
“Seeing kids playing other sports is great because you’ll be in good shape but it’s all about putting in the time,” he said. “If you put in three to five hours a week, you’ll be average but if you do 10 to 15 hours, you’re going to be good.”