From inspired but humble beginnings the Bluenose Squash Classic has now crowned four champions and is on its way to celebrating a fifth anniversary in 2010.
The 2009 Bluenose Squash Classic was held in early February and the high of six days of successfully staged professional squash still hangs in the memory of the local squash community in Halifax. There is a traditional anxiety ahead of any event like the BSC that has been built from scratch but the confidence of enthusiasm has always been a proven antidote.
Zal Davar, Organizing Committee Chair, has said on more than one occasion that the generosity of the sponsoring companies and contributors has, from the first year in 2006, made the event possible. It is, however, the volunteers who have made it happen. The idea of bringing professional squash to Nova Scotia, hatched amongst a group of long time friends from the squash community, would be given purpose in memory of Zal's wife Marcella who passed away in 2004. Humble beginnings and the mandate to allocate anything raised during the event to the Canadian Cancer Society have kept the effort intimate and focused, with any improvements in budget and scale being recognized primarily in the prize pool offered to the competitors. This accounts, over the years, for the rapid growth the Bluenose has enjoyed, from a Super Satellite ($6,000 US) to Four Star ($40,000 US) event.
On the operational front, cooperative venues in the form of the local squash facilities in Halifax, particularly Saint Mary's University's Tower Athletics Complex, and those aforementioned volunteers have given volumes of time and effort, leading up to and during the event, and made players and fans as comfortable as possible. Of particular note Halifax enjoys the efforts of a disproportionate number of qualified national referees, and is home to the World Squash Federation Referees and Rules Committee Director, Graham Waters. Their cumulative donated work ensures that the professional event is as well officiated on court as it is enthusiastically run off of it.
Positive feedback has been appreciated from the players every year and this last was no exception. 2009 returnee and quarter-finalist Cameron Pilley summed up the player's general perspective saying "Thanks again for a very well run tournament. I thought you guys did a great job." while a number of attendees echoed the sentiments, commenting on the intimate feel of the event as something worth preserving.
So, as the possibility of a fifth year is anticipated the memory of past experiences are enjoyed and appreciated. If the companies and individuals who have so consistently kept the event alive are able to raise the bar again we'll look forward to 2010 to add to a growing bank of positive experiences and fantastic squash.
Bluenose Squash Classic Champions / Runner Up
2006 - Shawn Delierre (CAN) / Bernardo Samper (COL)
2007 - Shahier Razik (CAN) / Borja Golan (ESP)
2008 - Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) / Borja Golan (ESP)
2009 - David Palmer (AUS) / Peter Barker (ENG)
2010 - Thierry Lincou (FRA) / Daryl Selby (ENG)