The Mill River Open squash tournament marks its 30th anniversary this weekend.
Many of Atlantic Canada’s top players will be in attendance to mark the milestone.
The Jan. 24-to-26 tournament achieved maximum capacity two weeks ago and, with more than 70 players competing, it will be the highest-attended event on the Maritime Squash Circuit so far this season.
“The Mill River Resort provides a unique experience that very few sports across Canada get the opportunity to be a part of, which always makes the event a must attend for athletes all over the Maritimes” says Andrew Avery, Squash P.E.I. promotions director. “The squash courts and your accommodations are all at the same building, which is something you don’t get anywhere else.
“It takes longer for players to get their gear on and tie their shoes in their hotel room than it does to walk to the playing venue.”
The event features competition in men’s A through divisions, women’s A to D divisions and a junior event to showcase future stars, some of whom could have their sights set on the 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I.
There will be a new men’s A champion this year as an on-court injury sustained last spring is preventing West Prince native and
Charlottetown resident Mike Buchanan from going after a 10th straight Mill River Open title.
Stratford’s Liam Jinks, 18, is one of the top contenders for the men’s A title, having already won two Maritime tournaments this year, on the heels of a Squash Canada Junior Gold event last fall in Ontario. He will have James Wiseman of Wolfville, N.S.,, and former nationally-ranked tennis player Phil Anderson of Halifax as top competition in the 15-player division.
The women’s A event is wide open. Megan Nearing and Ashley Cullis from Halifax are two of the top contenders, but are in for stiff competition from local player Nicole Blanchard of Fortune Cove, as well as from Arlene Brooks from Moncton and Beth Cole of Halifax.
Play gets underway Friday at 5 p.m. There is a full day of action Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The payoffs commence Sunday at 8 a.m.
Spectator admission to the event is free of charge.