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Sunday, June 4, 2023
Massage therapy students will ease pickleball players’ aches and pains
Mary Coleman, Olivia Hinks-Russell and Taran Kular are associated with Niagara College's massage therapy program. Students will be helping to ease the pains of pickleball players and tournament volunteers. STEVE FERLEY

Niagara College program part of huge community involvement in NOTL Classic tournament


Stephen Ferley

Special to The Lake Report

Look behind the scenes at any successful sporting event and you’ll see committed local community support.

That’s exactly what’s happening with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Pickleball Club’s June tournament – the NOTL Classic. It is receiving considerable support from many quarters of the community.

Hugely visible, hands-on support will be provided by Niagara College’s massage therapy program, a three-year diploma program with 43 students spread over the two years since its inception.

Olivia Hinks-Russell, field placement officer for the college’s clinical outreach program, explains that it exposes students to a variety of working environments.

“The students have worked at community events such as the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, the Barrelman Triathlon in Niagara Falls and several local Dance Competitions. And they’ve also been helped with practice days for the Niagara IceDogs.”

With more than 280 players from age 17 to over 70, both the players and the tournament’s 100 or so volunteers will have access to massage therapy facilities.

“At the same time our students will be gaining valuable experience out in the community,” said Hinks-Russell.

“Partnering with the NOTL Classic tournament becomes a classic win-win situation.”

The students will be supervised at the event by three registered massage therapists responsible for ensuring compliance with the standards of practice of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.

Players will have options for pre-game and post-game sessions with the students. And supervisor input will help the students to assess the extent of sore muscle issues and suggest possible remedial work. 

Tournament committee member Vince Serratore adds, “We’ll have a huge number of volunteers working very long hours. It’s terrific to know that the massage therapy support will be available to them as well as to the players.”   

Also under the heading of community involvement, Cogeco Your TV will be covering the professional pickleball competition from 7 p.m. on Friday, June 9, and matches at the tournament proper on the Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11.

Jack Custers, Your TV’s manager of programming and community relations, says the broadcast will be shown across the province.

“Our coverage won’t be only in the Niagara Region. We plan to extend the coverage to several communities across Ontario such as Guelph, Kingston, North Bay, Sarnia, Peterborough and Windsor.”

Niagara businesses also have stepped up to sponsor the tournament in various ways.

The Lake Report is the prime print media sponsor of the event and the sponsorship list includes Quinn Wealth Management, the Virgil Stampede, Eye Wellness, 124Q Hotel and Spa, Sandtrap Pub and Grill, Kymberley McKee of Sotheby’s, One Earth, Audrey Wall Nursing Professional Corporation, Bella Terra Vineyards and Regal Floral and Garden Centre.

Life in The Lake recently was named the tournament’s social media sponsor.  

An undertaking such as this requires a lot of temporary equipment. Last but certainly not least in community support is the help received from the NOTL United Mennonite Church, which has kindly donated the 24 tables needed for the court-side scorers.

Maybe less glamorous, but equally important.

The weekend-long event begins with a professional pickleball prize-money exhibition featuring eight pros from across Ontario on Friday, June 9, at 7 p.m. in the Meridian arena complex in Virgil.

Tickets for the evening are $10 per person. Children under 12 are free. Admission is payable by e-transfer to classic@notlpickleball.ca.


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