Huntsville Muskoka Pickleball

Huntsville, Ontario

Our Story

Jim and I retired in the year 2013 and decided to move to the Lake House on Bella Lake. Jim was sure of this plan, but I was not 100 percent sure if I wanted to leave my friends and family to live at the lake. I thought I would give it a try, but there was one stipulation, there had to be Pickleball. When we retired we discovered this new sport in Florida. I told Jim, I wanted to play this game. I took him to watch and he said, no way am I playing this game. Needless to say, he became addicted too. This sport has a way of doing it. We wanted to get better, so we would drill and we did the tournament circuit for two years in Florida, if there was a tournament, we were sure to register. It was actually a good way to see Florida.

We started seeking out Pickleball in our town of Huntsville. What was sadly offered, was one room in the Summit Centre, with 8 feet ceilings and alot of lines on the floors for shuffleboard etc. This was not going to work, so we continued to look at different buildings that we could possibly play Pickleball in. We could not find a place anywhere. We met with the Director of Programs and also our town Councilor to see if they could offer us any options. We were so frustrated. We went to see the Director of Programs again and she had no news as to where we could play. So with our sad faces we left her office and made a wrong turn to exit and came out into the arena. Jim looked at me and I looked at him and we both said, why can't we play in the arena, when the ice is out. We did a quick U Turn back to Simone and told her our idea and before we knew it, we had access to the Jack Bionda Arena.

They ordered 4 nets, 20 plastic paddles and balls. For two years, Jim and I would go to Canadian Tire buy green painter's tape and tape the lines. We had to tape the lines everytime we were scheduled to play and take the tape off each time, because the arena got used by the Lacrosse Players at night. The sport was slow in taking off, we would be lucky to have 4 to 6 players show up. I remember one time, we had all 4 courts being used and we were so excited. After a couple of years and many trips to Canadian Tire to buy the tape, we asked Simone if we could get the lines painted. They put it in their budget, it got approved and we got lines painted.

The sport was slowly growing, our next request was to have the lines painted outside on the Tennis Courts. Now we were outside playing and the sport was starting to pick up. We offered clinics free to promote the sport. Mary Spring asked us if we would consider doing a youth camp and we did this for two years during Covid. Sharon Huckle, Mary Spring, Jim and myself ran it. We were starting to see interest and growth, so it was time to ask for dedicated courts. When we first approached Council, we were asking for 1 tennis court to be converted into 4 Pickleball courts. To our surprise, they came back to us and said you should have your own courts. I think the Tennis Players might have helped in this decision. Then the process started and we met with the council and long story short, we got approval for 4 Pickleball courts. A few hip cups on the way, but we got our new courts in the forest. We have grown to 150 members expecting 200 by this year.

For me, I can't see myself anywhere but Huntsville. I have met so many new friends and I love our Pickleball Community, you can't ask for a better group. They all helped us along the way.

Thank you, Huntsville Muskoka Pickleball.

Lorna & Jim