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‘An important outlet’: Long sought-after pickleball facility opens in Regina

A new 12-court facility is finally ready to start serving the Regina’s growing pickleball community.

The Queen City Pickleball Hub held its grand opening celebrations Saturday. The facility is located in the Canada Centre at Evraz Place and is locally owned by pickleball-enthusiast Phil Greenwood who approached Regina Exhibition Association Limited with the idea for the facility during the pandemic.

The festivities kicked off with a local celebrity-filled match featuring the likes of Regina city councillor Lori Bresciani and mayor Sandra Masters.

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Regina city councillor Lori Bresciani and Regina mayor Sandra Masters await the return ball at the Regina Pickleball Hub.

Regina city councillor Lori Bresciani and Regina mayor Sandra Masters await the return ball at the Regina Pickleball Hub.

Connor O'Donovan / Global News

“Every town hall with the city as well as during my time here at the Exhibition, the pickleballers always came out,” said Masters, a former board member with Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL).

“Hats off. When we put partnerships together this is what they can look like.”

REAL CEO Tim Reid said the facility will prove valuable in utilizing a city-owned space that has sat largely vacant in recent years.

“This doesn’t happen without private investment. We’ve talked about bringing pickleball here since my very first meeting. We’ve had more talks, meetings and phone calls with the pickleball community than any other. In 2017, they said, ‘can we build a space for pickleball?’ We started with some taped lines for courts and look where we are today,” Reid said.

“Since 1982, this facility has been a part of our community and, like all of us around since then or longer, every now and then we have to reimagine our wardrobe. We hosted about 20 events in this facility in the past. Thanks to the vision of the ownership group and the pickleball community, we can now activate this space 365 days a year.”

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Pickleball Regina VP Allan Carpentier said the facility is a long-time coming as the sport has seen tremendous growth over the last four years.

“In February of 2017, we had like 30 members. That’s when we inaugurated as a non-profit organization. Today we have over 850 members. And there are some other players out there who aren’t registered members. So I’m guessing we probably have around 1,000 people who play pickleball,” Carpentier said.

“So we need a facility like this in Regina.”

Carpentier said that while the sport is immensely popular with older adults, Pickleball Regina has plans to try to grow its popularity among all age groups.

“We’re going to be starting a youth program probably within the next couple months, to be able to go into schools, teach them the game of pickleball and also get them out to use this facility.”

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Pickleball Regina Director Randy Dove, who is also board President with the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, said that the facility will provide a space for older adults to stay physically active, and it also offers mental health benefits.

“It’s really become an important outlet for older adults, in terms of recreation and the social side,” Dove said.

“We just love the idea that people get out, play, meet people and build up their relationships. Coming off the pandemic, it’s so important.”

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