Temperatures rising, table tennis rocks in the Northwest Territories

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Long winters, daylight at a premium, short summer months with the midnight sun shining; currently the temperature about minus 30 degrees Celcius and quite possibly in the next few weeks even lower, the North West Territories of Canada presents a Christmas card setting.

However, in more than one area of region, the thermometer is rising; it is the thermometer that measures the rise in the sport of table tennis, from zero the reading is now plus 30 degrees.

Table tennis is the 30th Territorial Sport Organization and newest member under the Sport North umbrella. Now 16 months old, Table Tennis North has reached 11 communities and introduced over 2,500 children in the region to the sport.

In the next sixth months the aim is to increase that number to 20 communities. 

The man turning up the heat is Thorsten Gohl, Executive Director Table Tennis North, perhaps better known as the highly professional photographer at events organised by Table Tennis Canada; he believes the number will be reached and most probably surpassed. 

In September 2015, he moved to live in Fort Providence in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories; somewhat different from his former home in Toronto. The census in 2011 recorded the population of Greater Toronto as 6,054,191 inhabitants; Fort Providence, slightly less, a grand total of 734 hardy individuals. 

One year later in Yellowknife, the capital of Northwest Territories, an Open Championships and a highly successful Schools Championships was staged on Saturday 26th November. 

“It has been an amazing event, everything worked out perfectly. The kids got to play a lot of matches, even the parents used the opportunity to play on the tables that were available. The kids actually improved a lot in just that one day. Table tennis rocks!

”Thorsten Gohl after the North West Territories Schools Championships. Recently Thorsten Gohl visited Łutsel K’e and Whati for a Table Tennis Youth Tour in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories; the effect is that the two areas are expected to send players to the Territorial Championships to be hosted from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th January in Fort Providence. 

A notable visitor in support of Thorsten Gohl has been Doug Rentmeister, Executive Director of Sport North. He watched various coaching clinics. 

“Table tennis is a great sport for smaller communities, so easy to set up, young kids can play it, elders can, beginners and professionals. I love to see the kids’ smiles, especially the younger ones when they try to balance the balloon or challenge each other in teams doing relays. There are already so many kids with some amazing Table Tennis skills already!” Thorsten Gohl after visiting Łutsel K’e and Whati”, Thorsten Gohl.

Furthermore, written by April Hudson, the Dehcho Drum in Fort Simpson included an in-depth article on the 2016 North West Territories School Table Tennis Championships; whilst the Up Here magazine not only reported on table tennis, it was the front page headline: “The other northern paddle sport”. Canoeing was upstaged! 

Progress and players can look forward to representing their region; Thorsten Gohl will be the Sport Chair for table tennis at the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games.