Canadian Squash Leaders Gather Virtually for 2021 Annual Meeting and Awards; Sandra Thompson (BC) elected new Squash Canada President

OTTAWA, ON (June 21, 2021) – The leaders of the Canadian squash community gathered June 18-19 for the 2021 Squash Canada Annual Meeting and Awards. The meeting was again held virtually due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The delegates began the annual gathering by attending several informational sessions by sport industry leaders to help shape future discussions on how squash in Canada can continue to grow as well as bounce back from COVID. Presentations included:

  • Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Sport of Squash by Sue Douglas, President of Vital Solutions Management
  • Survey Says…Reporting on the results of the First Ever National Squash Canada Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey by Rick Nadeau, President of Quorus Consulting Group Inc.
  • Presenting and Implementing the Squash Canada 2021-2024 Strategic Plan by Tanya Noel, Enhancing Results Facilitation
  • Touring the new World Squash Officiating Program by Dave Howard, Canadian National Referee/Assessor and member of WSO Advisory Board
  • A Player Perspective: Athlete Well Being and the Challenges of Return to Play, Panel Discussion with Danielle Letourneau, Shawn Delierre and Amal Izhar and moderated by Steve Wren
  • Legal and Human Rights Considerations around establishing proof of vaccination requirements as a condition of sport participation of club access by Steve Indig, Sport Law
  • Return to Play Marketing and Communications, Panel Discussion with Paul Barrett, Director of Membership & Customer Experience – England Squash, Lynsey Yates, Executive Director – Squash Ontario, Nancy Thompson, Executive Director – Squash BC, and moderated by Jamie Nicholls
  • Resources, Resources….A tour of the sampling of programs, best practices and materials in the Canadian Squash Resource Hub presented by Jamie Nicholls and Dan Wolfenden

To close out the weekend, our Provincial/Territorial member squash association along with the Athlete Representative, Danielle Letourneau, took part in the formal Annual Meeting. This legally required meeting allows our membership to gather to discuss and approve several formal motions such as annual financial reports, appointment of auditors, elections to the Board and more. The key highlight from this portion of the weekend was the election of Sandra Thompson (BC) as the new Squash Canada President as well as the re-election of Alan Fern (SK) and Steve Wren (QC) as Directors at Large. Stephanie Edmison (ON) was re-elected by National Team athletes as Athlete Director.

Statement from new Squash Canada President Sandra Thompson:

I am very honoured to step into the role of President of Squash Canada. Having worked collaboratively with our member provinces and territories on several initiatives, including our new Strategic Plan, we have an exciting time ahead of us while we Return to Play, and we will build at every ability in squash. I would like to thank outgoing president, Steve Wren, who very ably captained our ship through the unprecedented stormy waters of Covid-19. Looking at Steve’s term, he set Squash Canada history as nearly 50% of his term was spent rising to the challenges that Covid-19 threw at us. Positively, he ensured we used our down time to move forward with Coaching, Officiating, Safe Sport, Equity, 2023 & 2027 Canada Winter Games submissions, and many other key foundation building initiatives.

We have the same hardworking and enthusiastic team of directors, committees, and staff to ensure a smooth transition, thus allowing us all to focus on getting the job done. We have provincial and territorial presidents and executive directors who are not only deeply committed to building squash in their own regions, but keen to work with other regions to ensure everyone’s success.

I am greatly touched by the emails from abroad that I received from the WSF and FPS which reminded me that Squash Canada, too, is a part of a greater whole. I know the worst is behind us and from our AGM and Planning Sessions over the past few days, it is clear we are all deeply committed to working as ONE FOR THE SUCCESS OF SQUASH.

Thank you, now we start implementing the new Plan.

Squash Canada Hands Out 2020/2021 National Awards

Squash Canada handed out some virtual hardware on Friday June 18, in the annual Awards Celebration that recognizes some of the great achievements and incredible volunteers who gave their time, effort and passion to growing the game across the country, while recognizing the on-court excellence achieved by some of our most talented athletes on the international scene.

Certificate of Achievement Award: Recognizing significant ongoing contribution to squash at the Provincial/Territorial level.

New Brunswick – Paul Doiron
Paul’s leadership and tireless work allowed members of Squash Moncton to be able to play squash during this pandemic.

Prince Edward Island – Jean Francois Vincent-Rocan
Has been with Squash PEI for two years and now sits as Vice President on the Board. Jean Francois brings his ideas, dedication, and enthusiasm at the courts and off the courts. His passion for the sport is easily evident during events and most definitely vocally during play.

Newfoundland and Labrador – Patrick Linehan
Patrick has actively volunteered for 10+ years whereby he has increased participation in his club, spearheaded the Roseanne Linehan Memorial Tournament in support of Alzheimer’s and has served three years on the Squash NL Board.

Ontario – Bob Mansbridge
Has been with the Squash Ontario Board for six years (President for 2 years) and will leave the organization completely different from when he first was elected. Bob has also been heavily involved with the Squash Ontario Officiating Committee and as a Tournament Ref.

Quebec – Alexandra Norman and Trevor Bowes
Both had a tremendous impact on the Quebec squash scene, before and after they got married. Alexandra Norman brought unparalleled success to Quebec in numerous championships and on the international scene. Trevor Bowes was a member of the Squash Quebec Board for 10 years (President for 5 years), served as Director of the Montreal Squash League and the Squash Director at Midtown for many years.

Yukon – Marie Desmarais
Has been Head Coach for Squash Yukon for 20 years including its coach at seven Canada Winter Games. Marie has volunteered thousands of hours to Squash Yukon and still serves on the Board as a Director. She is described as the ‘Heart of Yukon’s Squash Community’.

Alberta – Paul Gutteridge
Paul has been involved for 7+ years, supporting every major squash event in the city of Edmonton on both a Junior and Senior level and is the owner of the Edmonton Squash Club.

British Columbia – Andrew Lynn
Andrew is retiring this year as the Chair of Squash BC’s 2020 Fund Committee, which he joined in 2005 and has chaired for the last 11 years. He volunteers regularly on Squash BC committees and most recently was a member of the Officiating Task Force. He is also the current President of the BC Jesters and a longstanding, active member.

Manitoba – David Glass
Has represented Manitoba at multiple championships and on the international scene and has been an inspiration to the many juniors that followed him. David is currently the Head Squash Pro at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club where he has hosted numerous events including the 2014 and 2020 Canadian Men’s Team Championships.

Certificate of Appreciation Award: Squash Canada paid special recognition to several individuals who have made a significant contribution over the years to the sport of squash in Canada.

  • Mike Letourneau – Stepping down as Doubles Committee Chair
  • Brian Covernton – Stepping down as Doubles Officiating Committee Chair
  • Nancy Thompson – Retiring as Squash BC Executive Director
  • Steve Bachiu – Stepping down as Saskatchewan Squash Executive Director

Award of Excellence: Squash Canada paid tribute to those who have achieved excellence in squash internationally. These athletes were honoured for finding a way to carry-on high-level training despite a global pandemic and competing in elite Professional Squash Association (PSA) events that continued their steep rise in world rankings.

  • Hollie Naughton – career high PSA Ranking (World #19)
  • Danielle Letourneau – career high PSA Ranking (World #21)
  • Nicole Bunyan – career high PSA Ranking (World #57)