Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Trails Brian Istace!

At last year's US Open we were talking to a fellow from West Virginia, who was there as a spectator. He said he'd watched a player who was drive serving like a cannon and it was so impressive that he thought seeing that alone was the worth the trip to Memphis.

He was describing you, Brian Istace.

You retired from racquetball following this year's Canadian National Championships, but as today's your 36th birthday, we're marking your retirement.

You played on Team Canada 14 times, beginning in 1997 at the then Tournament of the Americas and ending with this year's Pan American Championships (which is what the Tournament of the Americas is now called). Those appearances included 5 World Championships and the 2003 Pan American Games. But perhaps the highlight of your career is the Gold Medal you won in singles at the 2004 Pan American Championship.

Renown for your strong backhand, you played left side doubles with Mike Green the last several seasons, winning the Canadian National Doubles Championship three consecutive years from 2005-2007. You also won that title in 2001 with Kane Waselenchuk, though we assume you didn't play the left side then. You never won the Canadian singles title, but were runner up four times, in 1998 to Sherman Greenfeld, in 2001 to Waselenchuk and in 2002 and 2004 to Green.

Like many Canadian players, you didn't play the pro tour very often. Your best win on tour was at the New Jersey Pro-Am in February 2001, when you went through qualifying and beat Alvaro Beltran, Rocky Carson and John Ellis to reach the semi-finals against Sudsy Monchik. You even took the first game against Monchik, but then lost in four, and Monchik went on to win the event.

All in all you had a fine career. We wish you all the best with your future endeavors.

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