Upstart pro pickleball league launches first season in Guelph |

Professional pickleball is coming to Guelph.

The Canadian National Pickleball League (CNPL) will launch its inaugural season with an event at Sleeman Centre July 29-July 30 featuring 32 of Canada’s best pickleball players, including some from the Guelph area.

League commissioner Mike McAninch is from Guelph and is excited to bring pro pickleball to the Royal City.

“This is a chance to be part of something big,” McAninch said in a statement. “We’re not just playing pickleball, we’re building a community.”

Sari Paje is the event manager for the league. She, along with fellow Guelph natives Eden Weiss, Ryan Thompson, and Cameron Taylor, see the sport of pickleball growing by leaps and bounds and wants to put the spotlight on some of the local athletes.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the pickleball community and the Guelph Pickleball Association,” Paje said. “Having that support and being surrounded by that, we really wanted to draw some attention to our city.”

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The league consists of eight teams from across Canada. One team features current NHL players TJ Brodie, Alex Kerfoot and Mark Giordano. Another team has Canadian curlers Glenn Howard, Brett Laing and Jennifer Jones.

The CNPL is Canada’s first national professional pickleball league. Its purpose is to showcase the country’s top-ranked pickleball players as well as develop the next generation of amateur athletes aiming to compete professionally.

“We want to bring that recognition to the talent that we have here in Canada,” Paje said. “Our athletes won’t have to travel down to the states to have to play in these leagues.”

The Guelph event represents the eastern portion of the league schedule. It moves to Edmonton for the western leg Sept. 1-Sept. 3. The season wraps with the playoffs and championships Sept. 29-Oct.1.

Tickets for the Sleeman Centre event can be purchased at Ticketmaster. It will also be live-streamed with links to be posted on social media and on the CNPL’s website.


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