This weekend The Stratford Pickleball Association. and Pickleball Ontario are hosting the Southwest Regionals.
Pickleball Ontario has more than 10,000 members.There are also probably well over 150,000 recreational players in Ontario. The sport is truly exploding with about 300% annual growth in North America.
Here in Stratford this weekend there are over 300 competitors in Men's, Women's, and Mixed Doubles, and both Rating, and Age related Categories.
The tournament is being held at the lovely Burnside Agriplex, with 12 indoor courts.
Ryan Hanes, Tournament Director of the Series said “The Stratford Pickleball Association has put an incredible amount of effort into this, the 2nd Regional Tournament this year, the first having been in Kingston. a few weeks ago.
Having volunteers in here in Stratford put in so much work in advance has been a a true godsend. We really do want to thank them publicly.”
Doug Diplock, President of the Stratford Pickleball Assoc. said “pickleball makes us all feel like kids again, and we are really excited to be able to promote the game, and help its popularity, by having the tournament this weekend.”
As well as the actual tournament this weekend, the organizers have arranged a referee clinic, a playing clinic, which I participated in, a promotional event with local mayors, and a Pro Player demonstration event.
Local City officials, including Mayor Martin Ritsma and the Director of Community Services, Tim Wolfe, from Stratford as well as St. Marys Councillors participated in exhibition matches.
I'll be reporting more throughout the weekend.