Iain Cullen, board member of the Prince Rupert Racquet club, shows the pickleball court, ball and racquet on Dec. 5, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Iain Cullen, board member of the Prince Rupert Racquet club, shows the pickleball court, ball and racquet on Dec. 5, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Pickleball could be coming to Prince Rupert

Meeting for interested players on Oct. 4 at golf course

Pickeball is the fastest-growing sport in North America, Prince Rupert man Iain Cullen wants to make it the latest craze in Prince Rupert.

He is organizing a meeting on Oct. 4 at the Prince Rupert Gold Course to bring together residents who share his desire to start a pickleball league in the coastal city. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and open to those with any level of skill or interest.

Currently, there is nowhere in P.R. to play the popular racket game, but if enough people are interested, Cullen would like to explore location options, such as renting out a warehouse.

He suspects he needs 50 people to move forward.

Cullen first tried the sport when he was on holiday in Hawaii but he became hooked while playing in Mexico the past few years.

“We play every day in Mexico and there’s quite a contingent down there that plays,” he said.

Pickleball is often touted as a sport for seniors, but younger people are getting into it too and, for skilled players, it can be quite an intense and competitive game, Cullen said.

One of the reasons he likes it is because it is accessible and quick to learn.

It is played with a paddle slightly larger than a table tennis racket and a whiffle-style ball, which is slower and does not bounce as high as a tennis ball, Cullen said. The net is also lower than a tennis net.

It can be played as singles or doubles, which means up to four people on the court. This makes it quite a social activity as well, which Cullen thinks contributes to its popularity.

Two other northwest B.C. communities, Terrace and Telkwa, already have thriving pickleball scenes, Cullen said.

In Telkwa, a village of fewer than 1,500 people, there are about 80 participants, he said.

Cullen is asking people who are interested in a pickleball league to attend a meeting so that he can gauge interest and lead a discussion around preferred court hours.

READ MORE: Cancelled team sports have left a pickle – try pickleball instead


 
Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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