Pickleballers exceed capacity on the Coast

Last Saturday at Sechelt arena, the Sunshine Coast Pickleball Association (SCPA) celebrated National Pickleball Day by inviting people to give the game a try for the first time. The club provided paddles (racquets) and free instruction from four SCPA coaches. By the conclusion of the event at the Sechelt arena, several “newbies” became enthusiasts of the fastest growing sport in Canada.

Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers, who dropped in to check out the action, did not require an introductory lesson. Turns out the mayor had already played the game on a couple of occasions.

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“I had a great time playing pickleball,” she said, “and right away I saw the positive elements of the game. Beyond fitness and fun, I’m impressed by pickleball’s effect on the community. The game has a way of bringing people together from all ages and all walks of life.”

The mayor’s assessment rings true for Tom Pinfold, a 10-year veteran of the game and chair of SCPA. Though Pinfold is delighted with the exponential growth of pickleball within the community, he points to a dark cloud hovering over the 250 to 300 who play the game here.

“The bad news is the loss of indoor play from September through April when the ice goes onto the arenas’ floor. This year, our dry-floor season ended at Gibsons in July and we’ll be finished here [at Sechelt arena] on Sept. 7.”

SCPA’s vision is year-round play on the Coast. Apparently, communities across Canada are recognizing the need to address this rapidly growing sport by building permanent facilities. Pinfold says that time has arrived for the Sunshine Coast.

“A permanent indoor structure is now our club’s number one strategic priority,” he said. “We are committed to do all we can to bring this initiative to fruition.”

Pickleball news, club events, skill development, play schedules and membership information can be found at sunshinecoastpickleball.com

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