The sport has been called “jet-propelled chess”, “the healthiest sport to play” and “the world’s most dangerous sport”.
With a range of monikers like that, it’s no wonder that at the age of 18 Khoon Chua decided to give squash a try.
“I was a competitive badminton player when I first tried the sport,” explains Chua, Squash Yukon’s head coach. “I fell in love with the game!”
He adds, laughing, “I took part in my first tournament after only playing twice and ended up third, even with my ‘badminton stroke’.”
Chua climbed the ranks of squash players in his native Singapore, eventually ranking within the top 20 players in the nation.
He moved to the west coast of Canada where he spent a decade playing in the Vancouver area before making the trek north two years ago to take on the head coach role for Squash Yukon.
Chua highlights why Yukoners should give the sport a try.
“Squash is a great sport which can be played 365 days a year, regardless of the weather. It is especially appealing when it’s cold and wet outside.”
He explains that the game is great for everyone regardless of age.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re five years old or over 90, you’ll get a great workout in a short period of time while doing something that is truly enjoyable.”
He adds, “The walls (used to bounce your ball off) make the sport more interesting because you can make use of a greater diversity of shots than in other racquet sports like tennis and badminton. Once you try it, you’ll never want to stop. It’s a game for life!”
Squash Yukon has made it easy for everyone to engage in their sport. The diversity of the programming they have on offer is impressive.
It includes after-school lessons; private and group lessons; drills for intermediate and advanced players; league play; tournaments; drop-in sessions; physical education programs for schools; dingles (doubles playing in the singles court); junior development training for elite junior players; and out-of-town trips.
If any of this list appeals to you Chua has some suggestions on how to get involved.
“Squash Yukon organizes a league every season, beginning in October,” he explains. “We also hold local tournaments every six weeks or so in Whitehorse, which will begin on the second weekend of October.”
If you aren’t quite ready to throw yourself into the fray without testing the waters first you can stop into Squash Yukon’s open house event, which will take place later this fall at Better Bodies, or during any Friday drop-in session that take place from 6:15-8 p.m.
In these settings you can get some tips from other players about how to hold the racquet and hit the ball to help you get started. Better Bodies also offers two week free trial memberships and can provide racquets, goggles and balls for anyone wanting to get themselves started in the sport.
If you live outside of Whitehorse, you can make use of Squash Yukon’s courts in Watson Lake (two courts) and Faro (one court).
Squash Yukon currently has approximately 200 members.
“Many of our members play regularly in our league, or just for fun socially,” says Chua.
“We also have about 40 young players taking part in after school lessons, private lessons, and the junior development training squad. We are considering starting a full junior league if there is enough interest.”
The interest and passion of these young Yukon players is evident from their performances to date. Junior player Mustafa Syed, recently ranked within the top 20 in Canada for the under-15 category.
If you would like more information or to get involved in Squash Yukon you can contact Squash Yukon at email@example.com 867-335-8922 or Better Bodies at 867-633-5245.
Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.