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Pitt Meadows hosts open house pickleball event

The event feature professional pickleball players and several local government officials

The first major event at the new Pitt Meadows pickleball courts took place this past weekend as they hosted an open house for the community.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows tennis court reopens on Thursday

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Chris Ellis and the City of Pitt Meadows invited the community down to the Pitt Meadows Athletic Park where they provided attendees with lunch and had speeches by Mayor Bill Dingwall, mayor-elect Nicole MacDonald, recreation program services coordinator Jackie Senchyna, and more.

There was also a live match involving professional pickleball player Steve Deakin and several other pro members, followed by general community play.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows pickleball pro captures gold

Ellis is thankful to finally have a designated space to play pickleball in the community and credits the sport with helping his PTSD.

“I was a police officer for 15 years and broke my back on duty,” said Ellis. “When I went away for treatment, they had a pickleball court.”

“There’s a lot of challenges on the pickleball court, whether it’s someone calling something out or things like that. For a lot of these things, people might not consider that it’s a challenge for someone who has anxiety, depression, or PTSD. This is a very safe place to work on those skills that make general life better.”

“This has been instrumental in getting me back to a person who can contribute to the public again.”

During the open speeches, Senchyna spoke about the long journey it took for the community to get to a point where they could build their own set of pickleball courts.

“We started back in 2008 with two players, and now we have almost 250 people on the [Pitt Meadows pickleball] WhatsApp group and are still growing,” said Senchyna.

When it was MacDonald’s turn to grab the mic, she talked about what the future of Pitt Meadows pickleball and recreation.

“We have a new Parks, Rec and Culture Master Plan, so keep those emails coming, keep up that communication, show up to council meetings, and share what your needs are,” said MacDonald. “This is a true testament to the future.”

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows starts process of creating first parks, recreation and culture master plan

After the speeches were all wrapped up, Deakin took to the court along with fellow professional pickleball players Robin D’Abreo, Jeffrey Ho, and Gary Ho.

They played several games in front of the crowd before opening up the court for the rest of the attendees to test their pickleball skills.

This was one of the few public matches by Deakin since he underwent hand surgery. But after looking very healthy during his matches, Deakin is now ready to rejoin the Professional Tour of Pickleball in October, according to Ellis.

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Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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