Squash club prepared to let its secret out

NANAIMO: Club gears up for busy winter season.

Tucked away in a little corner of Wallace Street in downtown Nanaimo is one of the best-kept fitness secrets.

And that’s much to the disappointment of members of the Nanaimo Squash Club who want to get the message out they are doing well and welcome new players.

“It seems like a lot of people don’t know we’re here,” said Omi Fontaine, club president. “We try and get the word out, but we’re hidden down here.”

Operating out of  256 Wallace St., the NSC first opened in 1981 as a private business, but changed to a members-run club in 1985.

The sport continues to grow in popularity worldwide – there’s a push to get squash into the 2020 Olympic Games – and the numbers at the Nanaimo club have remained steady over the years with between 140 members in the off-season and close to 180 in peak season.

But there’s room to grow.

“We have a steady number of squash enthusiasts in town but I believe we could support more than 200 members,” said Fontaine.

With summer coming to a close, the club is entering its busy season and is offering something for players of every age and ability.

The big news this year is the hiring of Andrew Birks, a world-ranked player from the Professional Squash Association tour, as the club’s new pro.

“We’re really excited about Andrew working here,” said Fontaine. “It’s not often you get an opportunity to get lessons from someone of that calibre.”

The club runs a series of programs for children, including a five-lesson introductory package to the sport through Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture.

The first package begins Sept. 15 and then again Nov. 3 and Jan. 12.

For those children already enjoying squash, the junior program, run by club pro Greg Vanderkoi, runs concurrently with the school year and begins Monday (Sept. 10) for children ages seven to 15 on Mondays and Fridays.

“It’s really good for a lot of the kids who don’t play team sports. They come down here and have some success at an individual sport,” said Fontaine.

Adults can take lessons as well, and an in-house league matches players with similar abilities.

“It’s a sport that can be quick to learn once you get the hand-eye co-ordination, but it takes a lifetime to master,” said Fontaine. “It’s also an incredible workout in a short time. I’ll get out on the court and run my heart out for 45 minutes.”

The club is marking World Squash Day Oct. 20 with an open house and one-day tournament, and  hosts a stop on the B.C. Squash Association tour in February.

For more information, please go to www.nanaimosquashclub.com or call 250-754-3123.

Just Posted

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser raises money for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Most Read