University of Victoria Vikes squash club president Ian Sefton was awarded the prestigious President’s Plate by Squash BC as the best supporter of the game and association for 2016-17. Sefton has been the president of the Vikes squash club since his second year, in 2013, and is now only one year away from finishing his degree in Mathematics. Squash BC president Nancy Thompson presented Sefton the award at the organization’s AGM on Jun. 3.
Since 2014 Sefton has worked as a squash instructor teaching beginner, intermediate and advance classes at least once a week, while also running sessions for after school programs and gym classes. The squash club itself had over 50 regular members in 2016-17 alone, a huge growth since 2014 when there were just 20 members.
“Ian is a true enthusiast,” said Scott MacInnis, a long-time squash player who has worked alongside the UVic Squash Club to develop programs and promote the sport. “He plays at the Open level which requires significant skill, determination and training, yet Ian also puts considerable effort into the development of players at all levels.”
“The President’s Plate is intended to honour someone who is a recognized leader of, and supporter of, the game of squash. In the few years that I have known Ian he has always struck me as someone who is constantly looking for ways to advance the game. His unbridled enthusiasm also serves to motivate others, including myself, to get more involved in squash and to work toward expanding participation and finding ways to meet the various needs of the many levels of players.”
The squash club meets every week during the school year, committing two hours every Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as early Saturday afternoon for competitions and social activities. Sefton has also offered free trial lessons outside of club time to encourage people to learn squash or to give tips on how to elevate their game.
As if he hasn’t given enough of his time, Sefton has also run several tournaments including the UVic Open that happened in the fall of 2015 and 2016 and saw over 75 people compete over both years. The Squash BC Post-Secondary championship has also been hosted at UVic every other year since 2013. Sefton also helped organize the first-ever Canadian Western Squash Championship, hosted in Calgary, where the Vikes men’s club team went on to win the event winning 15 of 16 matches, while the women finished second overall.
Sefton himself competes in the top division at squash tournaments logging multiple third, fourth and fifth-place finishes. In 2017, Sefton finished second at the BC Post-Secondary Championships.
“Ian is a student at UVic who has put in great effort, with success, in supporting squash at Uvic and running the BC Post Secondary tournament, pretty much all on his own,” added Anna Kirbyson, member of the board of directors for the post-secondary portfolio at Squash BC.
As his final year draws nearer, Sefton has already started building his legacy plan. In January 2017 Sefton and team mate Jenna Sherven started a ladies night that happens every other week to boost the participation of female squash players. Sefton is hopeful that Sherven will step up to fill his shoes as club president the following year.
The Squash BC President’s Plate was donated in 1978 by then B.C.S.R.A. President, John Cartmel. The “great supporter” trophy went to the wife of the Association President for her many hours of dedication at courtside and tournament functions. In later years, “supporter” has encompassed a broader spectrum of squash enthusiasts and is now awarded for the best supporter of our game and our Association in a myriad of different ways.