Team Canada Announcement
Racquetball Canada has announced its team for the 2009 Pan American Championships in Cali, Colombia, April 1-10. The 8 player team is a mix of veterans and younger players, including a rookie.
Michael Burgess is on the team for the first time based on his 2nd place finish at the selection event last weekend, and fourth place finish at last year's Canadian Championships. He'll play singles with Kris Odegard.
Sixteen year old Frédérique T. Lambert will make her second appearance for Canada in Colombia. She was also on the Pan Am Championship team last year, when she played doubles with veteran Josée Grand'Maître, but this year Lambert will play singles along with Jennifer Saunders.
The doubles players are two double G pairs, as Grand'Maître will play women's doubles with Véronique Guillemette, and Vincent Gagnon and Mike Green are the men's doubles team.
On the coaching side, for the first time since the 2004 World Championships Loren Prentice will be one of the coaches for Canada. Ron Brown will join Prentice in coaching the team in Columbia.
Team Canada 2009 Pan American Championships
Michael Burgess, Michael Green, Vincent Gagnon, Kris Odegard
Josée Grand'Maître, Véronique Guillemette, Frédérique T. Lambert, Jennifer Saunders
Ron Brown, Loren Prentice
Dave Ellis's Resignation
Team Canada will be facing a new USA coach in Columbia, as Dave Ellis has resigned as the head coach of Team USA. Ellis had been head coach since 2004. The USA had considerable success during his reign, most recently sweeping the 2008 IRF World Championships in Ireland, winning all four individual competition medals (men's & women's singles & doubles) as well as the three team competitions (men's, women's & overall). So, Ellis is going out on top.
Ellis cited conflict of interest as the reason for his resignation, as he coaches some players - most notably Veronica Sotomayor - who compete on the pro tours against US team athletes. There have been rumours of unhappiness from some of US team athletes about this situation. Thus in resigning, Ellis is quashing such unhappiness, and doing the best thing for the team.
There's no word on Ellis's replacement, but with the Pan American Championships less than two months off, USA Racquetball will have to act quickly to name a replacement.
Follow the bouncing ball....