(Pictured above is a recent Great Lakes Regional Touranment in Canada)
Canadian schools have had a long storied history in the NCTTA (since the 1990’s). The first school from Canada to join NCTTA was Queens University. Schools from Canada also share a similar to history to that of their American brothers and sisters in the battle to make our sport more respected in the eyes of their respective Colleges and Universities.
Fast forward to 2016 and one can call it a veritable Canadian invasion of sorts with two NCTTA divisions and 8 to 10 schools in any given season. The Canadians are known in College Table Tennis to be excellent athletes and competitors and this year is no different as the event features four Canadian schools this year: McMaster, McGill, University of Toronto and Western University (Ontario). Each with a shot at putting Canada on the proverbial College Table Tennis map.
Western University of Canada is ranked #2 and could probably compete with most men’s/coed teams as well. Western University’s coach, Eunice Chan, states, “This year, the Women's team placed first in both the Divisional and Regional tournament, beating out tough competitors, such as University of Toronto.”
Speaking about the University of Toronto, this year’s team features present/past Canadian national team players. University of Toronto coach, Howard Ma tells us, “I believe we have a team that’s one of a kind and perhaps the best one we’ve ever had in school history.” Despite their strength they are aware of how strong their US counterparts are. Ma says, “As someone who has participated in this tournament on multiple occasions, the level of play in NCTTA has been ascending on an incredible pace.”
McMaster University Table Tennis has also shared in the success as Henry Chau, Team Captain, states, “McMaster Table Tennis club has really grown in numbers over the years.” McMaster’s club is run by Cedric Mosdell who plays on their B team and they strive to not only be recognized more by their school but become a Varsity sport.
This seems to be a common theme not only for the US schools but with the Canadian schools as well. Canada as a country invests in Amateur sports via the government so we can only hope that Table Tennis is next in line with that kind of support at the country’s Colleges and Universities.
Chau says, “Almost every dollar that my team pays for NCTTA are out of our own pockets.” McMaster, Western, Toronto and McGill have had to engage in outside help from local businesses, alumni and sponsorships. Western and Toronto raised money through gofundme.com and did incredibly and should be commended and we in NCTTA hope Canadian Recreational Administrators take notice.
One important aspect despite any challenges with funding or recognition is the mutual respect they have for one another. Coach Ma puts it into perspective, “No matter which school or country you are from, we are all brought together by the love of the sport. The sport allows a setting for everyone to come together regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, etc. in order to accomplish a common goal.”
Best of luck to our brothers and sisters across the border in Canada at this year’s College Table Tennis Championships!
The 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Round Rock CVB and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org