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NEWS

She Takes The Cake Café

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Table Tennis North was on the road to Kakisa on January 25th 2017 to bring Aerobic Table Tennis​ to Kakisa Lake School.

BUT, both Executive Director Thor and Aerobic Table Tennis Steve​ decided to first have a coffee in Hay River at She Takes The Cake Café. “We love the coffee here and thought it is definitely worth while taking a little detour.” It was great and definitely made our day.

Executive Director Thor “If people ask why we ended up in Hay River, we just say that we missed the Kakisa exit.”

Table Tennis North on the front page of the International Table Tennis Federation

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A huge thank you to Ian Marshall and the International Table Tennis Federation for putting Table Tennis North and Team NWT on the World map. A great article on the many things we are doing in the Northwest Territories.

True North strong and free!

Table Tennis North made it onto the front page of theInternational Table Tennis Federation, how cool is that. Being next to Ma Long 马龙 Official, Xu Xin 许昕 and FAN Zhendong 樊振東, the TOP 3 Table Tennis Players in the World!!!

http://www.ittf.com/2016/12/21/raising-temperature-table-tennis-rocks-north-west-territories/

4 Regions, 7 communities, WOW, 2017 Territorial Table Tennis Championships

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Deh Gah School in Fort Providence hosted the 2017 Territorial Table Tennis Championships. A two day event featuring different age groups, singles and double events from January 27th to 28th.

“This was an amazing event, a huge success! We are a very young Territorial Sports Organization still and competing with sports like Hockey, Volleyball, Soccer and Basketball in the Northwest Territories. BUT, we are getting out there, one day at a time and one kid at a time. Really, this was amazing!!!” says Executive Director Thor Gohl. He continous with a smile on his face “Even when there was no matches to be played or umpired, the kids found a free table to play. That says it all!!”

The tournament is definitely growing. From three Regions and four communities, to four regions and seven communities. Participants came from Yellowknife, N’Dilo, Fort Resolution, Hay River, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson and Tulita. We also split the School Championships from the Open Championships, so we have two tournaments a year in two different communities.  

A huge thank you to all our sponsors and partners, without you, this would not be possible. Therefore, a big MAHSI CHO to the Mackenzie Recreation Association, Aerobic Table Tennis, Rowe’s Group of Companies, Butterfly North America and Deh Gah School. 

All awards received a Mackenzie Recreation Association package with  backpack, hat, and t-shirt. They also received t-shirts from Olympic Team Canada and professional Table Tennis rackets from Steve Rowe’s Aerobic Table Tennis.

A great weekend of play and competitions!!

Here are the results:

Men’s Open: 1. Jeremy Kielstra (N’Dilo) 2. Mike Mathison (Yellowknife) 3. Robert Heath (Fort Resolution)

Women’s Open: 1. Shirley Zhang (Yellowknife) 2. Teresa Vandell (Fort Providence) 3. Slavica Jovic (Yellowknife)

Open Double: 1. David Sangris / Jeremy Kielstra (both N’Dilo) 2. Riis Schaub (Hay River)  / Christopher Canadien (Fort Providence) 3. Zachary Mathison / Shirley Zhang (both Yellowknife)

Girls Junior (U18): 1. Tamara Jovic (Yellowknife) 2. Aurora Fraser (Yellowknife) 3. Shannon Bonnetrouge (Fort Providence)

Boys Junior (U18): 1. Brian Liang (Yellowknife) 2. Riis Schaub (Hay River) 3. Zack Horton (Hay River)

Girls Cadet (U15): 1. Aurora Fraser (Yellowknife) 2. Shannon Bonnetrouge (Fort Providence) 3. Starr MacLean (Fort Resolution)

Boys Cadet (U15): 1. Zachary Mathison (Yellowknife) 2. David Sangris (N’Dilo) 3. Isaac Bonnetrouge (Fort Providence)

Hopes Girls (U13): 1. Taneisha Franki (N’Dilo)

Hopes Boys (U13): 1. Zachary Mathison (Yellowknife) 2. Jude Simon (Fort Resolution)

Junior Doubles: 1. Jude Simon (Fort Resolution) / Zack Horton (Hay River) 2. Riis Schaub (Hay River) / Chase Yakeleya (Tulita) 3. Adam Nadli (Fort Providence) / Zachary Mathison (Yellowknife)

Zack Horton (Hay River) received the Fair Play award for his amazing attitude. Winning or not winning he was always cheerful. When someone else made an amazing point, he would cheer for them and tell others about it. When there was a free table he would want to play with all different players. Very great to have that kind of energy around.

David Sangris (N’Dilo) received the Most Improved Player award with winning a Silver Medal in the Cadet Boys category and a Gold Medal in the Open Doubles. We have seen much improvement, just during the tournament. He is a dedicated player, coming with the school to Table Tennis clinics and tournaments.

Starr MacLean (Fort Resolution) received the Most Improved Player award and bronze in Cadet Girls category. We were in Fort Resolution recently and we can see fast improvement. When she was not playing in the competition, she was looking for others to play with.

Great article in News North about the Youth Tour in North Slave

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“Thorsten Gohl is becoming one of the busiest sporting personalities in the NWT.”

 

What a great way to start the article, written by James McCarthy from News North. And very true, Table Tennis has been very busy over the last 16 month and getting more and more attention in the Northwest Territories. With only 13 month to go to the Arctic Winter Games, it is definitely a good sign!

Get your copy of News North or check it out right HERE.

A fun way to learn Table Tennis

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After playing Table Tennis with over 2,500 kids, you can definitely see a pattern. Not that it is a lot of fun, but also an it’s an amazing learning experience for students, teachers and myself.

It all starts off with the introduction. “Good Morning everyone!” and right there is the first indication on what the next 30min to 1.5 hours will look like. Most of the time you will hear a very loud “GOOOOOOOOOD MORNING” and we are ready to go. If not, it will definitely come after the full introduction. “So, my name is Thorsten, but you guys can call me THOR” and you can see the smiles on the kids faces. Of course some random comments of “Where is your hammer?” or “How is your dad Odin doing?”, but that is good, that enables them connect right away. And they bring their attention!

If you ask the questions “Who can play Table Tennis?”, 95% of the kids of all ages will say “Me!” and they raise their hand. If you ask, “Who can beat me in a match to 11 points?”, guess what? 95% of the kids will still say, “Me!”

Having experienced and played many international competitions, I can tell the kids that I will play them with one eye closed, hoping on one leg, my dominate arm behind my back, playing with my non-dominate hand and singing the German National Anthem, all at the same time. It is always fun to see the kids getting excited about it. Guess what? 95% of the kids still say that they can beat me!

Day 1 | eye-hand coordination

We begin to get the kids used to the table, the balls and the environment that Table Tennis can provide them. There is no need for any rackets at this point, as they need to work with eye-hand coordination first.

Some fun activities include, try to bounce the ball from one side to another, hitting targets or keeping control of throwing and catching the ball. There are hundreds of possibilities to set this up. Keeping the kids engaged, excited and competitive. Learning while playing, playing and learning!

table-tennis-set-up

Day 2 | Racket Skills

First off, how to hold a racket. There is 2 different kind of grips, can you guess them? If you said Shakehand and Penholder, you are right.

We are building a little “parkour” for the kids that will get them moving. Again, the competitive part plays a big role. Going through the ladder, side stepping around the cones, jumping over the hurdles and back into line up.

If that sounds too easy, let’s try that with balancing the ball on your racket. Then bouncing. Still easy? Let’s try forehand, backhand, alternating from one side to another. Still too easy? You might be a professional free style Table Tennis Athlete! So, you can see where this is actually going and how many varieties you can add to this. A great way to learn some eye-hand coordination, this time with the racket.

For the younger ones we use balloons instead of Table Tennis balls, always a lot of fun to see the kids get excited about it and even better, a wonderful photo opportunity!!!

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We can also work on more skills like rolling the ball on the floor, first against the wall by yourself, then adding a partner, …

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Playing games, competing together, is always a great way to get the kids interactive. Relays are the best way, if you include a few teams and make some obstacles!

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Day 3 | Target Practice

We are going back to the set up from Day 1, but this time we add the racket. To begin, one person will throw the ball, like a serve, to the other side and then, we hit it back. Working as a team to practice together. 

Let’s make it easier in self bounce the ball before hitting it back to the other side. When the ball comes to you, try and hit it to yourself, let it bounce one time on your side, and then over. So again, there are ways to make it easier and harder, depending on the experience the kids already have. 

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Day 4 | Play Time

Everyone worked very hard and now it is play time. We have good basic of skills. Yes, we hear, “When can we finally play at the table?”, but most of the time, the kids are not ready. The skills training may seem like a waste of time, but if you include a challenge, combined with a competition, you will be the winner! So, it’s time to play now!

“Around the world” with an obstacle! You have to run through the table. Everyone has a few lives and you loose them if you are unable to play the ball on the the table. BUT, you always loose a life when you actually get hit while running through the table. That definitely adds a fun “kick” to the game.

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Champions Table is well known among many sports and a favourite for most. The winner moves up a table, the other person moves down a table. At the end, we can see who will achieve the top table. To make it a bit harder, we can add obstacles on the tables, where you can only play on one side or maybe over a higher net, and so on.

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If you do this for 19 days long, 4 to 9 classes a day, then yes, it is getting repetitive. On the other hand, you are building the foundation blocks for those kids in fundamental basic skills. Table Tennis will score 8 out of 9, because it includes agility, balance, co-ordination, catching, throwing, hitting, running and jumping (Paul Noel, Saskatchewan Table Tennis Technical Director). The only one that is not included is kicking. So, not only are we teaching the skills of Table Tennis, we are also supporting skills for overall athletic skills, with a fun sport to play. 

It always amazes me on how fast everyone can learn. Seeing them being excited about something new is great, actually being able to control the ball for a few bounces for and back, is absolutly amazing. The most important thing of all is to keep them accoupied with competitions and challenges, create obsticles and you are golden. As an experienced coached, you already have 100 different scenerios in your head, but if you start of, be prepared to adjust your plan.

The best part of  Table Tennis clinics for me is always afterwards. You go shopping, into the restaurant, or just walking on the sidewalk and there is always one kid that says “Hi Thor!” and you just cannot help it, but SMILE … makes my day!

 

Story & Images by Thor

New Years Greetings

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As the new year approaches, it is appropriate for us to take a look back at the year that has just wrapped up. Table Tennis North has been busy growing and promoting our sport throughout the Territory this year. We began the year with trials for the Arctic Winter Games team in Fort Providence. Between the trials and the AWGs in March, several warm-up tournaments and clinics were held in Hay River, Yellowknife and Fort Providence. The team that was chosen had a great time in Nuuk, Greenland in March and one of our girls doubles teams brought home a silver medal!

After returning from the games, we invited Steve Rowe to come to the NWT to introduce Aerobic Table Tennis to our youth and coaches. We coupled his training with another tournament in April.

In November and December we were able to run clinics in several schools in Yellowknife, Lutsel’ke and Gam’eti. We also hosted a Middle and High School tournament and an Open tournament in Yellowknife in November.

Our initiative to get a mini-table into every community in the North is on-going but going well. In the upcoming year we plan to continue to visit communities in the NWT to administer clinics and have mini-tournaments. We are also looking ahead to the 2018 AWGs which are being hosted in Hay River and Fort Smith.

I’d like to thank outgoing Board member Mike Johnston and outgoing President of the Board, Jim Snider for their dedication and direction over the past year. Jim, in particular, has been instrumental in building the sport over the past few years. Thank you also to Thorsten Gohl. He is the brains and the brawn behind Table Tennis North. If not for his hard work organizing, securing funding, training athletes and coaching, none of the work I mentioned above could have been done.

Jeremy Kielstra, President
Table Tennis North

2017 Territorial Championships

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The 2017 Territorial Championships will be hosted from January 27-29th 2017 at Deh Gah School in Fort Providence.

Timeline

Friday, January 27th 2017
J18 Doubles
C15 Doubles
Junior Mixed Doubles

Saturday, January 28th 2017
J18 Singles
C15 Singles
Senior Open Singles
H13 Singles
Senior Open Doubles

Sunday, January 29th 2017
J18, C15, H13 Single/Doubles Play Offs and Finals

Categories

Junior 18 Boys, Girls Singles/Doubles (J18 – born 1999 or later)
Cadet 15 Girls, Boys Singles/Doubles (C15 – born 2002 or later)
Hopes 13 Boys, Girls Singles (H13 – born 2004 or later)
Senior Open Singles Women/Men
Senior Open Doubles

Each athlete can participate in 2 single and 2 double events.

Fee

There is a $15 per category fee to participate in the tournament. That does not include accommodation and food for the weekend.

Accommodation & Food

If you like to stay at the school, please contact us. There will be no additional fee. We can arrange food at the school, what will be an additional $75 per person for the full weekend (Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday breakfast, lunch).

Table Tennis Rules

Depending on participants, we will play best out of 3 or best out of 5. We will follow the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation. If you have any questions, please contact info@tabletennisnorth.ca and we will be happy to help you.

ITTF Rules: http://www.ittf.com/ittf_handbook/hb.asp?s_number=2

Deadline for registration is January 20th 2017. For registration, please send and e-mail to info@tabletennisnorth.ca with the following information: First Name, Last Name, Community, Birth Date and mention what 2 single categories and 1 double category you want to participate in. Also, please let us know if you want to stay at the school and/or want to eat at the school.

If you have any more questions, please contact info@tabletennisnorth.ca. Thank you! We are looking forward to seeing you in Fort Providence on January 27th 2017!!!

North Slave Youth Tour

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Table Tennis North visited Łutsel K’e and Whati for a Table Tennis Youth Tour in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories. Colinda Blondin, North Slave Youth Coordinator for MACA took Table Tennis North and Thor into the communities.

Thor, Executive Director Table Tennis North, has definitely been excited about this and says “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 others in teams doing relays. AND, there are already so many kids with some amazing Table Tennis skills already!!! A huge thank you to MACA and Colinda for having us.”

Lutsel K’e will try and bring some kids to the Territorial Championships hosted January 27-29th 2017 in Fort Providence.

Colinda Blondin, MACA Regional Youth Programs & Volunteer Officer for the North Slave Region, “I enjoy seeing an interest build in the kids. A big curiosity factor with anything and I love how Table Tennis can play a part of that. So great to have another way of reaching the kids.”

We want to say a big “Thank You!” for having us on this tour to the NWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and their North Slave Regional Youth Coordinator Colinda Blondin.

Łutsel K’e

Whatì

Ava Erasmus paddles to gold at tourney – Dehcho Drum

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Another beautiful article in the Dehcho Drum by April Hudson about the participants from Fort Simpson in the 2016 NWT School Table Tennis Championships. As a bonus, we got the front page!!! A huge thank you to everyone involved, without the effort of many, this would not be possible. 
 
Aside from playing, students were also responsible for scorekeeping during the tournament, which Gendron said helped to immerse them more in the game. “They were smiling and having fun. They’re all good sports, so they went and tried their best,” she said.
 
“The highlight for me was seeing the (students) trying a new sport and meeting other kids, and building positive relationships.” Gendron also had high praise for Thorsten Gohl, the executive director of Table Tennis North, who she credited for the students’ experience. “It’s thanks to his hard work, and (he) makes it fun,” she said.
The championship was co-hosted by Table Tennis North and Weledeh Catholic School.

“The Other Northern Paddle Sport” – Up Here Magazine

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First of all a big thank you to Elaine and “Up Here” magazine in featuring us in their December issue. A wonderful article to support our vision to promote and develop an active, healthy and fun environment with the sport of Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories.

One huge supporter of Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories is Principal of Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, Lois Phillip. “It’s about creating opportunities and creating a safe space,” says Lois. “A safe space where kids can be kids.” And that is what we are trying to do with Fort Providence, and also bring our multi seasonal sport into other communities, creating those same opportunities and fun, safe spaces. 

Once we reach the communities, it is about keeping involved. One hopes by being constant, being the role models that we can be, it will make a difference in their lives.  “I must say, I’m a dreamer and crazy sometimes,” Gohl says. “I said when I came here, in a year’s time, I want to do 20 communities.” He made his move to Fort Providence in September 2015, and while 20 may have been a lofty goal, he’s already hit 11.

We will definitely hit 20 communities by the end of our 2 year anniversary as a Territorial Sport Organization, but more important, we want to go back to those communities as much as we can, support them how ever possible, and see the sport grow in participation, with increased health and focus with time for all ages. 

HERE is the full article. If you want, pick up a hard copy and/or order the magazine on UP HERE’s website.

 

Story by Elaine Anselmi
Photography by Thorsten Gohl

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