Canadian Squash Leaders Gather Virtually for 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards

The leaders of the Canadian squash community gathered virtually on Saturday June 18th for the 2022 Squash Canada Annual Meeting and Awards.

The delegates began the day by participating in three information sessions that were designed to help shape future discussions on how squash in Canada can continue to grow. Presentations included:

  • Coach licensing and club affiliation standards.
  • Harmonizing and creating efficiencies in safe sport policies and their implementation.
  • Sharing of best practices: Provincial/Territorial Association leaders presented one successful, new, or innovative program or initiative:
PT Presentation Topic
PEI Local media campaign
AB Alberta Jesters Junior Bronze Series
QC PT Communication Plan
NWT Ideas Being Explored in NWT
ON High School Squash
MB University of Manitoba Lessons
NB Long Ball squash tournament
BC Squash Starters program

After three very productive information sessions, our Provincial/Territorial member squash associations along with the Athlete Representatives (Danielle Letourneau and Shawn Delierre) 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.  Squash Canada is excited to welcome three new Board Members including: Ryan Morris (NB), Kim Watson (AB) and Martha Simmons (ON).

From getting my start in squash as a junior, to competing in university, to sitting on local and provincial squash boards this was the natural progression for me. With being nominated to the board of Squash Canada, my goal is to improve collaboration with all stakeholders and develop a national membership structure that is mutually beneficial for all levels of the squash community.” – Ryan Morris (NB)

“Being a member of the squash community has given me and my family so much – incredible life-long friendships near and far, incredible competition, opportunities to travel, lots of injuries and even a brother-in-law! I strongly believe it is the best sport that I have had the luxury of playing and I want to share that enthusiasm and grow the sport across Canada and the World – and ultimately get squash into the Olympics.” – Kim Watson (AB)

“Squash has been instrumental in my children’s lives. They have made friends, developed confidence, and learned fair play. I am happy to give back to the sport that has given our family so much. I hope to bring to the Squash Canada Board my expertise in dispute resolution, education, and governance.” – Martha Simmons (ON)

Squash Canada would like to thank outgoing Board members Carol Stewart (ON), Lolly Gillen (ON) and Steve Wren (QC) for the hard work and dedication to growing the game of squash in Canada.

“I’d like to thank all delegates for attending and supporting Squash Canada’s 2022 AGM – our third one held virtually. It is not an easy task to prepare for and hold an AGM, but I think in many ways it is harder to do so virtually – where we are not interacting with each other in person! There was an impressive level of engagement from our Provincial and Territorial delegates during our three webinars: Coach Licensing, Harmonizing Safe Sport Policies, and Sharing of Best Practices. Your questions and comments were very much appreciated and noted for further research. There was also great engagement during the Annual General Meeting. Questions and comments from our partners, especially during the Financial Report, are a good barometer on how we perform as an organization on engaging our partners. We appreciate your questions; our staff and board members work hard to craft an AGM and it is very gratifying when our partners want to discuss materials presented to them. We did not set a date for next year’s AGM or possible in-person get together in the Fall. We will be looking to pin a date, location, and format for next year’s AGM as per our By-laws, so correspondence on that will soon follow. In the meantime, thank you all for your time, questions, and feedback. Your enthusiasm is what moves us forward”, said Squash Canada’s President Sandra Thompson.

To close out the weekend, Squash Canada handed out some virtual hardware during the annual Awards Celebration. These awards recognize 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.

Northwest Territories – Spider Jones

Spider Jones has been an important person in the development and promotion of squash since his arrival in Yellowknife. His high standards towards coaching have influenced many new and established coaches in the North. Wherever you go in Canada, you will always meet someone that knows Spider and who will extoll his many virtues, his passion for squash and will recount their fond memories of their time with him.  Spider has an unforgettable personality and exudes an infectious passion for all the projects he undertakes.

British Columbia – Brian Covernton

Brian has been involved in many aspects of the sport over the past several decades. He has encouraged growth in doubles tournament registrations and has been influential in doubles officiating. He has been a tremendous supporter, builder, and ambassador not only for BC but across Canada for the sport of squash.

Manitoba – Mike Nesbitt

Mike is a longtime volunteer in Manitoba, which includes serving on the Board of Directors at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club. He was the tournament chair for the first Canadian Junior Open held in Winnipeg in 1974. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in building Winnipeg’s first public, co-ed international sized courts at the Court Sports Club and funded the installation of two glass back walls at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club. Mike is calm, unassuming, brilliant, and kind and continues to make significant contributions to squash for over half a century.

Ontario – Simon Chun

Simon Chun brought YouFirst Financial to Squash Ontario as a corporate sponsor. Simon began playing squash at the Mayfair Lakeshore in Toronto through a recreational drop-in program for several years. Simon and a core group of players eventually invested in memberships with the club when they recognized that it was time to get involved in more leagues, tournaments, etc., to play against different players and improve their game. Simon has transitioned from recreational to competitive player – this type of outreach strategy is what Squash Ontario hopes to instill other areas in Ontario through corporate investment such as YouFirst Financial.

Quebec – Sophie Joubarne

Sophie has been very active on Quebec’s squash scene for many years. She has played on provincial teams, has been a keen volunteer for events and on different Squash Quebec committees. Enthusiastic, passionate, she is a true people’s person. She has taken the role of developing junior female squash players in the province, one area where lots of work and dedication is needed. She is also the Quebec coach for Canada Winter Games 2023.

New Brunswick – Peter Comeau

Peter has been involved in Squash for a long time – first as volunteer and more recently as Squash Moncton’s general manager. With his passion and devotion, Squash Moncton has seen its membership increase by a hundred members.

Nova Scotia – James Wiseman

As one of the teachers in the Afrocentric Cohort at Horton High school, James plays a key role in supporting the program’s goals. James has built a community of excellence for these high school students, not only in a math class, but through the sport of squash. He has introduced the sport to a group of people – students of the Afrocentric Cohort – that traditionally don’t play squash.  He has, on his own time, driven them to the local courts, the Kings County Squash Club in Kentville.

Prince Edward Island – Ajit Balasundaram

Ajit has been representing junior athletes as the ‘Junior Rep’ on the Squash PEI Board of Directors for two years and has been playing Squash since moving to PEI as a newcomer when he was 11. He is now 19 and coaching several athletes as PEI prepares to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Squash PEI recently held their awards ceremony where he spoke to the audience about how when he moved here, he did not feel any sense of community until he became involved in the squash community, where he was welcomed him with open arms. Now he is a leader in the Squash PEI community, and a role model for others to join.

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.

  • Yvon Provencal – Recognized by CAC with NCCP Community Coach Developer Award
  • Matt Easingwood – Tournament Chair, 2021 Canadian Junior Open
  • Ben Uliana – Tournament Chair, 2022 Canadian Junior Closed Championships
  • Viktor Berg – Tournament Chair, 2022 Canadian Squash Championships
  • David Howard – Tournament Referee, 2021 Canadian Junior & Senior Championships
  • Les Homme – Tournament Referee, 2021 Canadian Junior Open
  • Christina Yap – Tournament Referee, 2022 Canadian Junior Closed Championships
  • Steve Atkins – Tournament Referee, 2022 Canadian Squash Championships
  • Members of the Female Engagement & Gender Equity Committee
  • Members of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
  • Sponsors – Sunshine Squash Club and Oxford Properties

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 #16)
  • Danielle Letourneau – career high PSA Ranking (World #18)
  • Nicole Bunyan – career high PSA Ranking (World #44)
  • David Baillargeon – career high PSA Ranking (Work #61)
  • 2021 Junior Pan Am Games – Bronze Medal
    • Women’s Team (Hannah Blatt, Sydney Maxwell and Iman Shaheen)
  • 2022 Pan Am Senior Championship Team
    • Women’s Team (Hannah Blatt, Amal Izhar and Maria Min) – Silver Medal
    • Women’s Individual (Hannah Blatt) – Bronze Medal
    • Mixed Doubles (Hannah Blatt and Liam Marrison) – Bronze Medal

View slideshow – Click Here