With the combination of badminton, tennis and ping pong into a low-impact sport designed for players of all ages, what’s not to like?
That’s where Pickleball Moose Jaw comes in, with the recently formed local governing body set to hold their first tournament in the city this Saturday, Feb. 1 at Cornerstone Christian School.
“We have about 36 registered participants, so we thought that was pretty successful for our first time,” said Lori Haukass with Pickleball Moose Jaw. “We’re just running a for-fun tournament, so we’re trying to make it as welcoming as possible for all types of players here in the city… It is growing year over year, pickleball is still the fastest growing sport here in North America so it’s great to see it catching on here as well.”
The game looks instantly familiar to anyone who has played the three sports it draws from. Played with large ping-pong like paddles and a wiffleball on a badminton-sized court, the game features far less joint-pounding movement while maintaining the use of hand-eye coordination seen in other racquet sports.
“It’s quick to pick up, and it’s a little easier on the body than tennis. It’s good for all skill level abilities and ages,” Haukaas described.
The sport has been growing locally, too. Pickleball Moose Jaw was formed in late 2019 and hopes to bring players from the three main playing groups under one banner. Currently, around 30 players play three nights a week at Palliser Heights school, 20 or so three times a week at 15 Wing and more than 50 going seven days a week at the Timothy Eaton Gardens.
The tournament on Saturday will feature a unique format in that all games will feature doubles teams put together by a random draw. Games will go to 11 or 15 minutes, and players will keep track of their point totals for each game. At the end of the round robin, the top four point-getters will play a best-of-three match, with the winners taking first place.
“We wanted to make it a social event, too, for people who hadn’t met players from the other club,” Haukaas said. “I hadn’t met any players from Timothy Eaton until I went down and visited with them. So it’ll be a nice opportunity to join with all the other clubs and have a fun day.”
Players will be broken down in three categories: beginners, intermediate and advanced, with the latter two categories already full. Any beginners looking to sign up late can still do so but are asked to do so as soon as possible by contacting Donna at email@example.com or 306-631-1543.
The tournament begins at 9 a.m. at Cornerstone and runs until around 4 p.m.