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New squash court floors a long time coming

Fort Frances squash players are getting used to the new court floors at the Memorial Sports Centre, which were replaced for the first time in over three decades.

FORT FRANCES – It’s been a period of adjustments for members of the Sunset Country Squash Club.

For the first time in over three decades, two brand new court floors have been installed at the Memorial Sports Centre for local players to compete on.

“It takes a bit of getting used to,” said Bob Tkachuk, who has been involved in various roles with the Sunset Country Squash Club over the last 45 years.

“The bounce is completely different and people have said ‘It sounds a lot better in there now’, which is because the other floor was basically dead pretty much.

“It’s a lot like driving a new car. Your old car may not have steered right, but you get used to it over time.”

A normal squash court floor has a 30-year lifespan. Both of the courts in Fort Frances had been in place for the last three-and-a-half decades.

“It was time for a change,” Tkachuk said. “The floor was moving around a bit and we nailed them down about six years ago to keep things in place.

“An older court is something that the players would notice a lot more than someone watching the games. They're dead boards so you get (odd) bounces and the floor was starting to give way underneath you in the far corners.”

The installation process was done over the course of 10 days at the end of May.

“I actually went in to watch them do it and it was quite a process,” Tkachuk said. “The two guys had come up here from Toronto and they were floor specialists who have done floors all over Ontario.

“This wasn’t their first rodeo.”

The new squash court floors are part of a big refurbishment project at the Memorial Sports Centre. The weight room has brand new equipment and the expansion of the swimming pool is currently in progress.

“When you walk into that area of the building, it’s pretty much all brand new,” Tkachuk said. “It’s going to be all ready to go for everyone to use over the next 30 years.”

The Sunset Country Squash Club has been a club in Fort Frances for the last 40 years.

Tkachuk and his wife Mary-Beth have been running the junior program there for 25 years but are starting to step back and plan to run a program for six-to-nine-year-olds to get them involved with the game.

“It’s a niche sport, but it’s one with a lot of ex-athletes,” Tkachuk said “When people are finishing their high school sports or their hockey careers, they still want that rush of sport.

“We’re open to everyone and accept everyone with open arms.”

Anyone who wants to learn more about playing squash in Fort Frances can do so by contacting the Memorial Sports Centre.