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Canada wins 10th Anniversary Can-Am Cup

For the first time in its 10 year history, Canada won both the men’s and women’s trophies at the 2018 Can-Am Cup. The overall Can-Am win was cemented late Saturday afternoon, even before the start of Sunday’s mixed doubles matches.

The Can-Am was hosted entirely on the Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club’s 3 courts the weekend of October 26 – 28 with the generous support of Slaight Music and Ridley Windows & Doors. Canadian team members hailed from Vancouver, Calgary, London, Toronto and Montreal.  US players came from Portland Oregon, San Francisco, Denver, St. Louis, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore.

The weekend was initially shaping up to be a cliff-hanger.  At the end of Day 1 and 30 matches, the U.S. and Canada were perfectly tied with the men at 9 matches each and the women at 6.  Friday’s biggest surprise was the upset win by the #2 American open women’s team of Maria Elena Ubina & Katherine Tutrone (NYC) over Canada’s #1 pair Seanna Keating & Stephanie Hewitt (Toronto) 15-12, 9-15, 15-11, 8-15, 15-6. On the men’s side, the match of the day was the narrow win by the #1 US open pair Alex Domenick (NYC) & Will Hartigan (Boston) over Canada’s #2 team Fred Reid Jr. & Brian Hong (Toronto) 12-15, 15-9, 12-15, 15-11, 15-10.

The Saturday schedule of 30 matches began with the teams trading wins, albeit with the US women streaking ahead winning the first 4 matches while the Canadian men notched the equivalent number to stay square. Starting with the open matches mid-day, the Canadian women went on a dominating run of 4 consecutive 3-0 matches to pull back to even in the Women’s competition and go on to win the Gillen-Pierce Trophy for women’s play.

The men’s teams swapped wins as the day wore on and the score remained close. With 4 matches remaining, Canada was just a win away from locking up the sweep.  The US fought back taking the next 2 before the Canadian men’s 45s pairs of Scott Dulmage & Rich Thomson (Toronto) beat Ryan O’Connell (NYC) & Doug Hoffberger (Baltimore) 15-11, 15-8, 15-12. Next, Scott Stoneburgh & Eric Baldwin (Toronto) blanked Doug Lifford & Scott Poirier (Boston) 15-6, 15-9, 15-10 to close out the Men’s Bernheimer/Bell Trophy and secure the Can-Am Cup for Canada.

Day 2 highlight matches included the early morning Men’s 70 #1 match up of Dave Potter & Chris Wheeler (Toronto) edging John Brazilian (Boston) & Clark Amos (St. Louis) in a marathon 5 gamer 11-15, 15-12, 9-15, 15-14, 15-12. Shortly after that Dawn Gray (Philadelphia) & Amy Milanek (Philadelphia) snuck by Paula Jenkins (London) & Heather MacLean (Toronto) 15-12, 11-15, 15-11, 14-15, 15-12.

The Sunday Mixed Doubles pairings were announced at the Saturday dinner and although the Can-Am outcome was known, there was an opportunity for the US team to narrow the margin of victory to be reflected in the permanent record. In the end, Friday’s theme was restored and the matches were split 3-3.  The outstanding match of the day occurred when Canada stole the 50’s match as Paula Jenkins (London) & John Hall (Toronto) defeated Phoebe Trubowitz (Portland OR) & Ed Chilton (Wilmington) by the seemingly impossible score of 15-14, 15-14, 9-15, 11-15, 15-14.

A review of the 2018 Can-Am Cup would not be complete without recognizing the generous support of Slaight Music and Ridley Windows & Doors which made the weekend possible. Gary Slaight of Slaight Music and Jon LeHeup of Ridley Windows & Doors have been outstanding patrons of squash in Canada for many years.

The next edition of the biannual Can-Am Cup matches will be in Baltimore in 2020.

2018 Can Am Cup – Toronto

The 10th Anniversary of the Can-Am Cup Doubles Squash Matches will be hosted by the Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club October 26 – 28, 2018. 10 years of memorable matches, each played at the standard of the Canadian or U.S. Championship finals, has built the reputation of the Can-Am as being one of the handful of most important doubles fixtures on the schedule.

The Can-Am Cup began in 2008 as a biannual doubles squash competition between Canada and the United States.  Although the weekend exemplifies the very best spirit of sportsmanship, the Can-Am Cup is at its core a competition-based event. Team Captains are selected more than a year in advance and charged with bringing leadership, and the ability to recruit and motivate their country’s top doubles players, with the goal of producing a successful team result.

The Can-Am is divided into 3 competitions:  the Men’s Bernheimer/Bell Trophy, the Women’s Gillen/Pierce Trophy and the overall Can-Am Cup.  Canada and the U.S. field their best 2 pairs in 15 categories from Men’s Open to 75+ and Women’s Open to 60+. The North American rankings are used to identify the top ranked right and left wall players in each category, each who receive an invitation to their country’s team.  The Canadian and U.S. Doubles Championships are recognized and any player winning their own country’s most recent championship receives an invitation to their country’s team.

Remaining selections and team pairings are made by the Captains based entirely on merit.  A player that has teamed exclusively with the same partner may find themselves invited but not their partner.  A player that has always successfully competed in younger age categories may be assigned to play in their own age division to ensure their team wins those matches.  The Can-Am Cup is not about matching opponents to create competitive games. The Can-Am Cup is about winning convincingly and establishing their country’s dominance of North American doubles.

Day 1 of the Toronto 2018 matches will pit the #2 team from each country against the #1 team of the other in each division. Day 2 features the #1’s and #2’s facing off against their counterparts.  New this year and a return to the original Cup format, Day 3 will feature 6 Mixed Doubles matches: one from the Open, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+ and 60+ categories.  The Mixed match results will only apply to the overall Can-Am results and not the Men’s and Women’s competitions.

The inaugural Can-Am in Boston 2008 saw the U.S team win convincingly.  Two years later at Toronto 2012 the US team retained the Can-Am Cup despite the Canadians winning the men’s division. Buffalo 2012 saw Canada finally taking the Can-Am Cup by a mere 3 points but in Montreal 2014 the US recaptured it. At Wilmington 2016 the US retained the Cup despite losing the Bernheimer/Bell Trophy.  The US has held the Cup for 8 of the 10 years it has existed, surrendering it only in Buffalo and hinting Hurricane Sandy somehow tilted the balance in favour of Canada.

The Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club is looking forward to hosting the best doubles players from Canada and the U.S. for 3 days and 66 matches under one roof.  Canada is overdue to hoist the Cup!


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