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Pickleball: A Sport Growing in Popularity in Manitoba

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Easy to learn, competitive play and positive social interaction. These factors are pushing more Manitobaans to pick up a paddle and try out the sport of pickleball.

Winnipeg West Pickleball Club President Kevin Harrison said:

The Winnipeg West Pickleball Club is so far the only club in the city and one of the few in the state.

Harrison said he knows more people are enjoying the sport, even though it is now Winnipeg’s only club.

Pickleball is similar to tennis, but uses a small court, uses large paddles instead of racquets, and uses a lightweight perforated “wiffle ball”.

Harrison estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 people in the state enjoy the game.

Pickleball is already pretty prominent among the over-55 crowd, but younger people are starting to enjoy it, he said.

“For example, our club now has 30-year-old members who are 30, 40 and 50 and still working and want to play more night time.”

He added that even children are interested in sports.

“I was hanging out with my grandchildren, and the 8- to 10-year-olds are starting to go crazy.”

According to Pickleball Manitoba, Manitoba has about 1,000 members, up from 400 members last year.

Ted Fardoe, Vice President of Pickleball Manitoba, said they are working to offer more shows due to their growing popularity among all age groups.

“We want to start developing youth programs in the state,” said Fardoe. “We want to partner with groups that run youth camps, youth sports camps, etc. to introduce pickleball to the younger generation.”

Prairie Pickleball, a local pickleball supply company in Winnipeg, has noticed firsthand the growing popularity of the game.

Don Kropla, Sales Manager for Prairie Pickleballs, said:

Klopra said he and his wife first encountered the game in the United States and eventually began offering clinics for beginners in Winnipeg, and said the need was considerable.

“After a while, people started saying, ‘Well, where do I get the equipment from?’ None of the major retailers carried the equipment.”

This led the pair to start prairie pickleball and now sell equipment from their home in the St. James area, as well as participate in statewide tournaments.

“We need more”

With the sport’s growing popularity, Fardoe, Harrison and Kropla all said more space needed to be made available to meet the demand of those who wanted to play.

“From tennis to tennis to pickleball, facilities are being developed or converted. We’re a little behind other facilities, the state, but we’re catching up as quickly as we can,” Fardoe said.

The City of Winnipeg understands the game is growing and has already begun upgrading and building new courts, such as four courts at Jill Officer Park and eight courts at St. James Park.

A city spokesperson said, “Going forward, as more existing courts are renovated and new facilities are built, more pickleball courts will be installed throughout the city to meet increased demand. I hope that.

Harrison feels the game is growing rapidly and will eventually require a pickleball complex in every quadrant of the city of Winnipeg.

Kropla added he hopes the trend of opening new facilities will continue, adding that other prairie cities in Canada are one step ahead in offering pickleball programs and having adequate space. It says there is

Ultimately, Harrison says the sport is very important to the community, and its importance will continue to grow with its popularity.

“It keeps us active, especially for seniors … It’s also important for older tennis players, even younger tennis players entering the sport, as a good transition.”

All three men hope that the game of pickleball will continue to fascinate Manitoba and encourage more people to take an interest in the sport.