Top international squash players hit Chilliwack this weekend for a fundraiser organizers describe as “chess at 100 miles an hour.”
Running this Friday and Saturday at the Cheam Leisure Centre, the inaugural Chilliwack International Squash Exhibition and Fundraiser brings high-end athletes from Ireland, Mexico, the United States and Canada.
“We’ve got some of the best young players in the world coming out to play in Chilliwack,” says Shawn Zwierzchowski, the event’s organizer and the lone Canadian participant.
Joining him in a series of matches and training opportunities are: former U.S. #1 junior Zane McGee-Lowdermilk; Irelands’s Scott Gilanders, who recently finished second in the European Junior Championships; Mexico’s Emilio Carillo, a junior now living in B.C. and ranked sixth in the province; and Zwierzchowski, Alberta’s former No. 2-ranked player.
“It’s two guys locked in a box for a bloodless, gladiatorial spectacle,” Zwierzchowski explains. “Squash at this level is one-on-one combat with an incredible combination of physical exertion and cerebral tactical strategy. There’s a lot of action.”
About half of the proceeds from the event will benefit the sport’s growth through Squash BC’s Junior Development Fund, which has already provided the racquets that allows Chilliwack’s junior squash program to function.
“A lot of us enjoy sport, but don’t have the money we need to train and compete,” Zwierzchowski says.
As an added bonus, each competing player has made himself available for limited training and practice sessions with locals, an opportunity Zwierzchowski calls “extremely rare.”
He adds that even those not familiar with the sport will enjoy the spectacle.
“It might take you a little while to get used to it, but just like if you’re watching any other world-class sport that you’re not familiar with, it’s easy to catch on fast. Plus, we have a great community here and the players, both men and women, are happy to answer any questions.”
Matches are set for Friday (June 15), from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday (June 16) from 12 to 2 and 4 to 6 p.m. Only 40 seats are available, but some tickets for individual rounds are still available for $20, or $50 for all three rounds.
For more information, contact Zwierzchowski at email@example.com.