Sarnia-area pickleball group hosting ‘Spring Smash’ in May

Sarnia area pickleball group hosting Spring Smash in May

The newly formed Sarnia Lambton Pickleball Club is set to hold its first tournament May 3-5 indoors at Lambton College.

The newly formed Sarnia Lambton Pickleball Club is set to hold its first tournament May 3-5 indoors at Lambton College.

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The “Spring Smash” will feature men’s, women’s doubles and mixed doubles competition indoors at the Sarnia college campus Cestar Group Athletics and Fitness Complex, said Mike Barron, a director with the club.

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Registration is available online at

“The club really only started in November,” and already has about 350 members, Barron said.

It already had a successful recent partnership with DeGroot’s Nurseries in Sarnia where members could play indoors for several months on temporary courts in the greenhouse on London Road, he said.

“We introduced over 100 new players” to the game, Barron said.

“We’ve grown and things have happened so quickly,” he said.

Mike Barron, left, a director, and Mike Van Hemmen, president with the newly formed Sarnia Lambton Pickleball Club, are shown in December at temporary indoor courts at DeGroot’s Nurseries in Sarnia. Photo by Paul Morden /The Observer

The sport, described as a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis, has been growing in popularity in Lambton and elsewhere.

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More than one million Canadians play the sport, according to a survey for Pickleball Canada.

Communities in the Sarnia area have been adding courts in recent years, including a six-court pickleball “hub” that opened in 2019 at Blackwell Park.

Other outdoor courts have been added in the city and other Lambton communities, and the Sarnia group began working a year ago to form a club under Pickleball Ontario.

It’s stated aim is to be “Lambton County’s prime pickleball club focusing on the development of the overall game and enjoyment of pickleball for residents of Lambton County of all ages.”

Tournaments, like the one planned for Sarnia, are a big part of the world of pickleball, Barron said.

“I only took up the game up in the spring of 2022” and attended a few tournaments that year, he said.

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“I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing but then you play, you learn from your experience,” Barron said.

“Last summer, I think I played in five tournaments” in communities around Ontario, he said.

“They’re competitive but it’s also a way to meet new people,” Barron said. “It’s such a social game.”

The Sarnia event will offer several levels of play, from introductory up to “almost to the top level,” he said.

The college’s gym and fitness facilities are “excellent,” Barron said.

There are plans to have four courts in both of the college gyms and “the main gym is where we’ll have all of our gold medal matches so the community can come out to watch,” he said. “It will be free all weekend.”

Attracting 175 competitors “would be great,” Barron said about the club’s expectations. “If we can get to 200, that would be really good.”

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It’s hoped players will come from around the region, stretching from Windsor to Kitchener.

Because it’s the club’s inaugural tournament, “we want to give people a great experience,” Barron said. There are plans for a reception at the college’s “Lion’s Den,” as well as a welcoming package for the players, he said.

Barron said some sponsors are already on board for the tournament, and the club is looking for more. “We’ll take all the support we can get,” he said.

The club can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected].

Funds raised at the tournament will help support the club’s plan to create a permanent local home with indoor and outdoor courts.

[email protected]

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