Squash Canada is proud to acknowledge NWT Squash’s Coach of the Year Award winner, Jeff Hipfner, and their Female Athlete of the Year Award winner, Sofia Ardiles. Squash Canada would like to thank both Jeff and Sofia for their dedication to and enthusiasm for the sport of squash. Their engagement and passion are contagious and has greatly benefited the greater squash community.
Youth Athlete of the Year – Sofia Ardiles
Although Sofia is still very young in her squash career, she has shown amazing promise and is on her way to becoming competitive in squash at the regional and national level. She is currently the top-ranked female squash Junior in the Northwest Territories. Over the past year, she has shown vast improvement in her squash and a great dedication to the sport.
Early on, Sofia has shown a strong aptitude for squash having placed quite high in competitions in Alberta and BC and coming in 1st place of the Silver Draw at the 2022 Canadian Junior Closed Championships held in Victoria, BC. She also was the only Junior from the NWT in 2022 to travel to the Canadian Junior Open, an international event that sees players from around the world. The experience she gained at that event motivated her to work harder at improving her technical and tactical skills. This hard work and her achievements have not gone unnoticed as she was chosen to be flag bearer at the 2023 Canada Winter Games (CWG) in PEI.
Sofia is also a major influence on younger, female Juniors as she helps with the Sunday Junior Squash program, assisting coaches with the youngest group of children aged 4 to 6 years.
Coach of the Year – Jeff Hipfner
Jeff first started coaching squash as a volunteer when homeschooling his soon-to-be high performance squash-playing children, Simone and Loic. Subsequently, he began assisting fabled Racquet Club coaches Al Cook, Ozzie Vallejos and Melina Turk. In 2017, Jeff was recognized nationally when awarded Squash Canada’s prestigious Certificate of Achievement – Recognizing Significant Ongoing Contribution to Squash in Canada at the Provincial/Territorial Level. In 2019, Hipfner assumed the coveted role of Racquet Club’s Head Professional.
Jeff Hipfner has been an invaluable asset to NWT Squash, and to developing and supporting the sport of squash across the Northwest Territories and Canada. Jeff has volunteered his time as an assistant coach with both our high performance and recreational Junior programs, giving up his evenings and Sundays to coach our Juniors, and travelling to out-of-territory tournaments to support previous head coaches, often at his own expense. Jeff attained his Club Coach certification in 2021, and auspicious Provincial Coach certification in 2022, in time for Jeff to attend his first Canada Winter Games (2023) in the coveted head coach role, where the Boys placed 9th and the girls placed 8th, one of the most successful results for NWT Squash at the games.
Jeff has consistently worked to grow squash both as the pro at the Yellowknife Racquet Club, but also Territorially, as current Vice President of NWT Squash and past TSO Treasurer. His guidance and attention to detail around the revision of our 2023 CWG’s selection policy was instrumental. His structured and inspired Junior programming continues to produce strong candidates at CWG’s selection time, while creating a love of squash to last a lifetime for those fortunate enough to spend time on court with him. Squash has vastly benefited from his skills as a master photographer and graphic designer.
Most recently, he has embarked on the selfless journey of becoming a Coach Developer, diving into Squash Canada’s new Community Squash Instructor Learning Facilitator training.