Oar for pickleball | local sports

Once again, the Lakehead Pickleball Club (LPC) is hosting an exciting weekend of pickleball action in Thunder Bay this Canada Day weekend.

The action began Friday at the Lake Boulevard Pickleball courts with singles and doubles exhibition matches, as well as a series of teaching clinics.

Today, the first nationally sanctioned pickleball tournament will take place in Thunder Bay. Thirty-eight players are vying for top honors in the men’s, women’s and mixed events.

Spectators are invited to see some of Thunder Bay’s best players, as well as a player from Southern Ontario and participants from Grand Marais, Minnesota. Matches will be played from 8:30 a.m. this morning until 5:30 p.m. will take place on Sunday.

Pickleball is a racquet/paddle sport created in 1965. It was created by combining elements of several other racquet sports such as tennis, badminton and table tennis.

Two or four players use strong paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net. It’s a game that can be played by all ages and skill levels with simple rules and lots of fun. It can be played indoors or outdoors on different texture surfaces.

Ryan Hanes of True North Pickleball is hosting the event this weekend. Ryan is an established 5.0 player from Southern Ontario who travels to many cities across North America to run, play and officiate high level provincial and national tournaments.

This weekend’s activity represents another significant accomplishment for the PLC since the club’s inception last August. LPC is promoting and growing Pickleball in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario at a rapid pace.

“It’s exciting to be a part of bringing North America’s fast-growing sport to Thunder Bay and watching it grow,” said Founding Director Jason Horychuk. “We’ve seen a real shift in player demographics and attitude. There is huge interest among young players changing the game to fast-paced competitive play. This is partly due to professional tours being regularly televised and dominated by fewer than 20 players. This is no longer an old people’s game.

Most of North America’s top players are between the ages of 15 and 29. The sport sees many tennis, badminton and table tennis players crossing over to try Pickleball.

LPC has worked hard to develop programs and opportunities to grow the sport by hosting events and clinics for members and community groups like the police force, schools and other community groups.

They hope to expand the programs to Indigenous groups, those with special needs and elsewhere in the community.

“We are also thrilled to be the only club in Thunder Bay to affiliate with Pickleball Ontario in order to champion the Thunder Bay community at the provincial and national program level,” said Horychuk.

“By doing so, we can access Pickleball Ontario’s resources, equipment and expertise. For example, we recently started a pickleball paddle loaner program with Pickleball Ontario to get equipment that we can use to host community events.

The LPC recently organized its first clinic for children under 18 which received very good feedback from parents.

“We can also access expertise on behalf of the city to support player programming, planning, facilities and events,” he added. “Our growing membership base and collaboration with Pickleball Ontario should continue to expand our effectiveness in representing our sport.”

The group continues to expand gaming opportunities to its more than 100 members since launching its membership campaign last November. They play at current locations like Moose Hall, Boulevard Lake, Thunder Bay Boys and Girls Club, and various school venues. They also have access to funds to support Community Pickleball in the city and have demonstrated our commitment to participate.

It really is a game that anyone can participate in and it looks like a great choice to get involved in as soon as possible.

For more details on membership and involvement, please visit our Facebook page, Lakehead Pickleball Club, check out the Lakehead Pickleball Club webpage accessible through the Pickleball Canada website (pickleballcanada.org), or send us an email. email [email protected]

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