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.