Former national level pro squash player Michael Thompson stopped by Prince Rupert’s Racquet Club last week to help players sharpen their games.
Thompson joined the club on May 29 as a part of a tour of the Northwest with Squash BC to spread the word about squash and help grow the game.
In a five-day trip — which, in addition to Prince Rupert, included stops in Terrace, Smithers, and Prince George — Thompson ran the region’s players through drills and provided insights on the subtleties of the game, including strategy, position and technique.
“Everyone has had a good time and was smiling. Hopefully they all learned something,” Thompson said.
Steve Hawyes, the communications rep for Squash BC in the Northwest, as well as an active player in Terrace, said while squash is immensely popular, the remote locations of northwest communities means the players can sometimes be “starved” for quality competition and instruction.
He said having a quality professional, such as Thompson, take the time to tour the north has been a boon for the game.
“It’s been great to have the opportunity to develop squash in our particular region,” said Steve Hawyes, the communications rep for Squash BC in the north.
“He’s full of energy, full of vibrancy, and is showing people can be done with the ball,” Hawyes said.
Thompson said the reception he has received so far on the tour has been positive. Originally hailing from Vancouver, the 22-year-old earned a birth at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Windhoek, Namibia. He currently attends Drexel University in Philadelphia where he has twice been named the Most Valuable Player for the Drexel men’s varsity squash team, and is currently ranked #26 for the 2016-2017 season with the College Squash Association.
After spending the afternoon with Prince Rupert’s players, Thompson said he was happy to come and play because of all the lessons he received from his mentors during his development.
“Squash has given me so much,” he said. “I’ve had so many people just be generous with me with their time and effort.
“I just want to give back to the squash community in B.C.”