Squash Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Canadian squash fixture, Jamie Nicholls, to the position of Director of Athlete Development.
Nicholls will be responsible for the design, planning, and management of all national team programs, ensuring consistent performance excellence at the international level, as well as the development of a strong, sustainable feeder system through which the next generation of champions will be produced.
Nicholls comes to the organization with an extensive background in squash, having been involved in different capacities for the past 25 years, including as a national squad athlete, high performance junior and senior coach, club builder and owner, grassroots organizer, fundraiser, and most recently as the Executive Director of Squash Ontario.
He began developing his knowledge of the game as a player whose career met with a great deal of success. He is a former Ontario Junior Champion and Squash Canada National Junior Squad Member (1992-1997), three-time Captain of the University of Western Varsity Squash Team (1998-2002), and the current Canadian 40+ Doubles Champion and Ontario Provincial Singles Champion. He transitioned to an leadership role in 2015, when he accepted the position of Executive/Performance Director of Squash Ontario. There, he made significant contributions to the provincial association’s growing success. During his tenure, the organization saw an increase in participation from key demographics, including juniors, university players, women, and seniors. The Squash Ontario Provincial Training Center was launched to service some 90 junior and senior athletes while engaging 14 high performance coaches. Five regional training centers across the province were also launched, servicing 120 athletes and 15 additional coaches. Jamie also organized, fund raised for, and led an annual trip for 60 high-performance juniors to compete in the US Junior Open Squash Championships.
Nicholls has been a leader in many important squash initiatives over the years. This includes co-founding and building the National Squash Academy at Downsview Park in Toronto. The academy was a national treasure and helped foster one of the largest junior programs in North America in less than five years, with over 300 athletes annually, producing nine national and 24 provincial champions.
He was also the squash director of Urban Squash Toronto up until 2016, a charitable organization that leads disadvantaged youth from the Jane and Finch community in an after-school program that combines both education and athletic opportunities.
From 2002 to 2010, Nicholls was the Squash Professional at the Badminton and Racquet Club in Toronto, Ontario, focusing on developing its successful junior program.
“Every athlete and coach dreams of wearing the Maple Leaf and this appointment fulfills a long-time aspiration of being a part of Canada’s rich tradition as a global squash leader”, explained Nicholls. “I believe our national community of players, coaches, officials, volunteers and parents are truly special in their passion for our sport and I look forward to collaborating to achieve our unified goal of a sustainable and world class athlete development system from playground to podium”.
“Squash Canada is thrilled to welcome Jamie to this exciting role”, said Dan Wolfenden, Squash Canada Executive Director. “As Director of Athlete Development Jamie will be able to lend his expertise and infectious passion for squash to the entire athlete development system, from young, emerging talent nurtured by our provincial/territorial associations through to our highest performers at the international level. Ever versatile, Jamie’s skill set will also see him helping generate new fundraising and sponsorship dollars to pump more funding into athlete development programming.”
“Ontario players, coaches and clubs have benefited from Jamie’s building the value add that Squash Ontario now offers, for which we thank him profoundly,” said Squash Ontario President, Bob Mansbridge. “We look forward to building on his legacy in Ontario, and to seeing how his talents will positively impact squash nationally in the same way in this new role with Squash Canada.”
Nicholls will be based out of Toronto, assuming the role of Director of Athlete Development beginning on October 5th.