Fiechter and Wall claim the title in Calgary
Finals day started with a beautiful brunch to get everyone comfy, happy, and ready to sit in their seats for two action-packed hours. Folks were thrilled all week to be seeing such gorgeous squash in a stunning public venue. The anticipation and excitement for the finals was palpable. Tons of kids were in attendance soaking up the atmosphere and basking in the glow of such amazing role models.
Both the men’s and then the women’s finals saw the higher seeds pull ahead straight out of the gates, but both Canadians put in valiant efforts to pull back a game. The quality of the squash and the spirit and athleticism of all four players was inspiring. The higher seeds shone at the tail end of each match, and gracefully pulled off their wins while respecting the Canadian crowd and their opponents. Congratulations to Olivia Fiechter and Nick Wall on their titles! And congratulations to finalists Hollie Naughton and David Baillargeon on an incredible week of squash.
An unbelievably well-attended, exciting squash spectacle that wouldn’t have happened without the support of the Squash Canada Team, Dean and Darren and the Bow Valley Athletic Club, the wonderful staff at the BVAC and Lilley lounge, crucial partners Oxford Properties and AirSprint Private Aviation, and a host of other wonderful partners who have all gone above and beyond, and also enjoyed each and every day of the event!
It was great having everyone around the court! Kudos to our PR team, ParkerPR, our team of referees led by Jack Dale, the volunteer crew led by Kim Watson, and legendary commentators Jackie Moss, Jonathon Power, and Sam Cornett, if I do say so myself! Finally, thank you to the incredibly passionate, welcoming, vibrant Calgary squash community for fully supporting and attending this event. The players appreciated the great crowds!
Let’s do this again sometime, Calgary!
Round Two sees Five-Game battles
Day 2 and the matches are getting tighter. With 8 Canadian players in action, the crowd was pumped to cheer them on.
Just before the pro action started, the Corporate Challenge began. Top partners in the event are playing off to be Corporate Champions – Oxford Properties, AirSprint Private Aviation, Tourmaline Oil, Hemisphere Energy, Sano Stante Real Estate, Birchcliff Energy, McDaniel and Associates, and Renfrew Chrysler.
The squash intensity went up a notch today. BVAC Court 5 matches were fighting for the right to play on the Power glass court in the quarterfinals in the presence of Jonathon Power himself who arrived today to see all the action.
The Bow Valley Athletic Club watched Tom Walsh pull off a tight upset win over Martin Svec, Saskia Beinhard come back from one game down to beat higher seed Sarah Cardwell, Canadian on the rise Liam Marrison lose a spirited, great fight by a couple of crucial points to Chi Him Wong, and the final match of the night went the distance between Marina Stefanoni and Margot Prow. Great quality squash for the last keen fans to enjoy, with Stefanoni coming out on top.
In contrast, the glass court didn’t see a single five-gamer. These matches were straightforward with sharp play from the higher seeds. Two outliers were long four-game matches between Henry Leung and Owain Taylor, with Taylor pushing the first seed, and an all-Canadian affair between recent roommates and doubles partners Nick Sachvie and David Baillargeon. Baillargeon took the win in a tight fourth game.
The action continues! Wednesday matches begin at 2:15pm MT with the last match at 7:45pm MT, with all the quarterfinal action taking place on the glass court on Day 3.
The draws are now set for the return of the Canadian Squash Open on the all-glass Power Court, which will be erected in the atrium of Bow Valley Square in downtown Calgary Alberta from 11th to 15th April.
With thanks to Oxford Properties, Airsprint Private Aviation, The Bow Valley Athletic Club, the Government of Canada, Calgary Tourism, and a host of sponsors, officials, volunteers, supporters and patrons, world class squash will be front and center in downtown Calgary in a few short weeks.
The female event will be the first Women’s Canadian Open in over 30 years and the largest purse ever at $30,000 USD purse. The draw is headlined by Danielle Letourneau (WR 20) who hails from Calgary and will also feature Canadians Hollie Naughton (WR 16), Nicole Bunyan (WR 48), Nikole Todd (WR 96), Hannah Blatt (WR 150) and Iman Shaheen. The event will also feature Olivia Fiechter (WR 10) from the United States and Lisa Aitken (WR 35) from Scotland.
The $12,000 USD Men’s event is deep and talented with #3 seed David Baillargeon (WR 64) leading the Canadian contingent of Nick Sachvie, Connor Turk, and Calgarians Andrew Schnell, Noel Heaton, and Brett Schille. They look to upset top seeds Henry Leung, Tsz Kwan Lau and former WR 12 Max Lee of Hong Kong and #4 seed Nick Wall of England.
The All-Glass Power Court will not only host the event but will be erected in the Bow Valley Square Atrium for three weeks where it will be used for a variety of community, junior development, corporate and media activations. In partnership with Squash Alberta and the Calgary community, hundreds of players new and old will have the opportunity to play on the iconic court and the dynamic and diverse sport of squash will be exposed to the masses in a downtown public setting.
“The glass court is a unique and exciting tool to grow our sport from grassroots to high performance and all stops in between”, said Executive Director of Squash Alberta, Ken Cross. “We are excited to use the glass court to run junior development programs, amateur events and the 2022 Alberta Open, which will run April 15th and 16th while the Power Court is in the Bow Valley Square Atrium.”
Squash Canada has been welcomed with open arms by the Alberta and Calgary communities and has been particularly supported by Calgary Tourism.
“We are thrilled to host the top ranked squash athletes of Alberta and Canada for the 2022 Alberta Open and 2022 Canada Open this April,” said Carson Ackroyd, Senior Vice President of Sales with Tourism Calgary. “The exhibition court presents a unique opportunity to engage Calgarians and profile the sport, and we are proud to support the growth of the squash community in our city. This event also allows us to showcase Calgary’s versatile hosting capabilities to athletes and fans from across the country.”