OTTAWA, ON, January 14, 2019 – Team Ontario has won the 2019 Canadian Masters Team Championship in a come from behind match winning 4-3 over Team Alberta. The tension filled final hosted by Squash Outaouais (Sporthèque) in Gatineau, Quebec capped an eventful weekend of high-level squash and comradery amongst the 63 competitors from the nine teams from across Canada.
Going into the event, Team Ontario and Team Alberta were seeded number one and number two, respectively, and clearly demonstrated why to the rest of the field. Both teams went undefeated in round robin play and strolled easily through their respective semi-final matches by scores of 6-1 against the host province Team Quebec’s two entries. As these two powerhouse teams got set to clash for the Championship, it is fair to say no one would have expected it to start and finish the way it did making it an instant squash classic for those in attendance.
Alberta began the encounter taking the first three matches for a commanding 3-0 lead in the best of seven matches and put themselves on the brink of a National Championship. But in true Ontario form they fought hard to stay alive and began what seemed like an insurmountable comeback winning the next three matches to even the encounter. In the final and deciding match between Ontario’s Don Lee and Alberta’s Mike Brook, Ontario came out strong winning the first two games but could not quite finish it off as Alberta battled back to win a tight third game bringing the match to 2-1 going into the fourth game. In what was the eventual final game both players went back and forth until Ontario pulled out a 14-12 win to capture the National Championship.
“The Canadian Masters Teams event remains one of the most difficult events to win as you need all seven people to contribute and fight to the end”, said Team Ontario member David Sly. “We played 42 matches this weekend and the tournament was not won until the fourth game of the 42nd match. To be 0-3 down in the final and to come back to win 4-3 makes it that much sweeter.”
In addition to the squash, this event has as much to offer off the court as it does on it. The camaraderie displayed by the players throughout the weekend shows why this event is a staple in many players’ calendars. Ontario Captain Elka Markus, who has competed in this event multiple times had this to say, “The event is probably the best event in a Team Category. It is a yearly reunion when we catch up on how our provincial squash friends are doing in squash and in their personal lives. This is the time to welcome the new players on-board and to set-up a high standard for them by example so that they know what to expect in the years to come. It is a colourful, exciting and nail-biting event. The camaraderie among the teams exemplifies the best of the master’s life experiences on and off the court.”
Squash Canada would like to recognize the efforts of Tournament Director Maxym Leclair and his Squash Outaouais committee for hosting a first-class event at Sporthèque. Their time and dedication given to this event did not go unnoticed by all those involved.
“We were pleased to host the 2019 Canadian Masters Team Championship and would like to thanks Squash Canada for their confidence”, said Tournament Director Maxym Leclair. “The level of play showed by the athletes was great and we were thrilled to see an amazing final between Ontario and Alberta.”
Gold: Team Ontario
Nicole Garon, Lisa Bogdan, Elka Markus, David Sly, Don Lee, Scott Kemp-Gee, Walter Bently