Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

LENGTHY LEAP – Gurmaan Rai leaps up to return the ball during his match with Jake Muir. Rai triumphed in the end on the strength of three cups to none.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

CUP CONUNDRUM – Katie Mercier reacts to a drive by Ethan Lang that hits the cup.

Squash Yukon hosts Reservoir Dogs Tourney

Squash Yukon had overwhelming interest in this year's edition of the Reservoir Dogs tournament.

By Morris Prokop on November 29, 2022

Squash Yukon had overwhelming interest in this year's edition of the Reservoir Dogs tournament.

The tourney was held Nov. 25-26 at Better Bodies in Whitehorse.

The Star stopped by Saturday to check out the action.

Squash Yukon coach Gyanendra Singh explained how the tourney is designed to improve shot accuracy.

"This is a different kind of format so it's basically the target practice – so there are cups inside the court. If you hit the cup, you get an extra five points so it helps to motivate to hit the target. So these are the points where if you hit a nice drive, the probability of getting the points are higher."

Six teams of six players competed in the tournament. Matchups were based on a ranking system.

"They are all well-matched teams," explained Singh. "They are arranged from one to six. All the ones in each team will be playing with the ones of the different teams. Twos will be (playing with) twos, and threes will be playing with threes.

"They are playing in a round-robin format, so everybody's going to play with everyone on the teams."

Singh said the tournament was going well so far.

"It looks amazing. There was a big competition to take part in the tournament because we have just 36 people that can take part … so there was a big signup lineup for taking part. There are plenty of good and new players that are taking part in the tournament. And it's fun; everybody's loving it.

"It's more athletic. We play straight for 25 minutes."

The 25 minutes straight makes for a marathon match.

"25 minutes is quite long and you don't have any break, so you really get challenged on your stamina and quickness," related Singh.

Each player gets five games in the round-robin only format. Whoever has the most points at the end of the match wins.

The emphasis in the tourney is on fun, not winning.

"It's one of our big tournaments," said Singh. "People really enjoy doing this because it's a competition but it's not a competition like the regular matches … so the cups lower down the fear of competition, so it really allows players to participate and enjoy – to have more fun than the (regular) competitions."

Gurmaan Rai and Jake Muir had a spirited match.

"I think I could have played a little better," said Muir. Gurmaan was obviously the better player today."

"It comes down to cups, too, cause cups can change the game in a matter of seconds. I got three cups and I don't think you (Muir) had any, unfortunately," recalled Rai.

The final score was 86-52, indicative of the marathon aspect of the 25 minute match.

"This is the most intense tournament we have, for sure – 25 minutes straight," said Muir, who has played in the tourney three times.

"Fantastic. It's a great time," he added.

"100 per cent agree with that," said Rai. "It's a great weekend, lots of fun, lots of exercise."

Muir added "I need some water."

Katie Mercier was breathless after a super energetic match with Ethan Lang.

"I was outclassed. Game four, it feels hard to bring energy back. We're doin' our best."

Mercier said it was a great match.

"Ethan is really good and I think my goal is just to try to keep it as close as possible and I feel OK with how I did."

This was Mercier's third Reservoir Dogs tourney.

"It's a killer of a tournament every year, unlike any other kind of squash that we play … in game one, you can hit. In game four, your body just doesn't quite respond the same way. It's a lot of fun, though and a great group of people."

The final score in the game was 66-49.

"A good little match, but never in doubt," joked Lang.

He said, "The actual tournament itself has been really good. It's a super good workout. I'm only just getting back into squash. I feel like in over two days my conditioning has doubled. It's just like, honestly, a really good squash community in the Yukon, which is a really nice surprise."

Regarding the match with Mercier, Lang said "I feel like it was the first one that may have been a little bit calmer; everyone's running out of gas but that's a bit of the fun of it … it's been a lot of fun."

Lang said competition in the Yukon is tough.

"It levels up with Nova Scotia, where I'm from, that's for sure."

Lang was told his opponent thought he did well, to which he jokingly replied, "I won't be humble. I did extraordinarily well. 4 and 0 in the tournament at the moment, an absolute asset to the Green team."

More seriously, Lang added, "It really is a great squash community out there, for anyone that wants to come out and try out a new sport. It's a great winter sport … every single skill level is here. Check it out if you're interested."

Sam Penner hit the mosts cups during the tourney, 29.

Gurmaan Rai dropped 15.

Lori Muir and Ethan Lang got 14 each.

Ericka Joubert hit 12 and Alyson Trembley got 10 cups.

In team results, the Purple team of Peter Mather, Lori Muir, Andy Brown, Jake Muir, Erika Joubert and Arielle Meynen-Boyd finished first with 2052 points.

The White team, consisting of Stephen Buckler, Carly Bohman, Katie Mercier, Jasmin Diagnetic, Ross Keith and Alyson Trembley came in second with 1878 points.

The Blue team of Sam Penner, Daniel Reti, Trevor Mead Robins, Gurmaan Rai, Chantal

Emond and James Macmillan finished third with 1806 points.

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