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Pickleball gaining more momentum during pandemic

'Council needs to know there are enough people that will support it locally'
20200709 pickleball
John Halliday (right) rallies during a fun game of pickleball early Thursday morning at the North Bay Granite Tennis Club. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

A new pair of pickleball courts are gaining some attention at the North Bay Granite Tennis Club these days.  

John Halliday, a North Bay area pickleball enthusiast, took the initiative to work with the local tennis club to see about setting up a pair of badminton-sized courts at their facility this summer.  

"I asked the pro, Francois, who is very keen on getting pickleball into his club and we could paint two courts and operate it as a demonstration," explained Halliday.  

The unique racquet sport has been gaining momentum pre-COVID-19. Last summer Canadore College was a host location for the provincial championships after the sport only got its initial start in North Bay back in 2017.  

"This sport has really grown throughout the world and specifically Canada and the U.S.," he said.

"It is huge with the older demographic but there are a lot of younger people are being brought in. It is being taught in schools so they are getting exposed to this great sport again and for anyone that has played a racquet sport and you played one of those sports as a young you can become proficient at it in a really short period of time." 

See related: Interested in trying pickleball?

See related: Pickleball provincial championships in North Bay this weekend

Pickleball combines squash, tennis, badminton and ping pong skills in a fast-paced game enjoyed by people of all ages.

"It is easy to learn, great for all ages and you can play right here in North Bay. If you played tennis, squash or racketball but find it's hard on your knees, ankles, and hips you've got to try Pickleball. It is just as fast-paced and challenging without the pressure on your body," said Halliday.

With many communities struggling to find Pickleball facilities, Halliday hopes municipal leaders here will recognize the value of the growing sport. 

"Council needs to know there are enough people that will support it locally," said Halliday.  

"You get it big enough you will get people coming from out of town for tournaments so sports tourism and these multi-purpose courts go a long way to helping with that."   

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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