First Selectwoman Judy Neville
and Selectmen Paul Giusti and Johnny Potts were joined by
Recreation Department employees and representatives from
the Women’s, Men’s and Senior Men’s platform
tennis leagues for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Judy then
served the first ball, declaring the courts open for play.
The grand opening included a drawing for paddle equipment,
giveaways from local merchants, and refreshments. The highlight
was an exhibition featuring #1 Dave Ohlmuller and John Milbank
against #5 Mike Cochrane and #9 David Caldwell.
the festivities, Bob Considine and the Viking Academy held
an instructional clinic. Local pro Sheri Shea joined Bob,
John Milbank and Dave Ohlmuller in sharing their knowledge
of the sport with four courts of enthusiastic players.
Caccam, president of the platform tennis advisory board,
said that in addition to publicly thanking town leaders,
the event had two other objectives. “First, because
paddle is such a great winter sport for the entire family,
we really want to raise the visibility of the game and increase
the participation here in town. Having some of the world’s
best players here to conduct an exhibition will help us
attract new players to the sport. Secondly, many of the
current players in our leagues have told us that they would
like to improve their skills. With the help of local merchants
like Bob’s Sports, we were able to leverage their
relationship with Viking and bring some of their top instructors
here to New Canaan.”
work of Steve Caccam, Ann Lobdell and Susan Lovejoy made
the courts and the opening a reality. The entire community
is indebted to them. Raffle prizes were donated by Bob’s
Sports, New Canaan Ski & Sport and the APTA. Representatives
from Bob’s Sports, Viking Athletics and the APTA were
also on hand for the opening.
this year, the town’s Board of Selectmen, through
a recommendation of the Park & Recreation Commission
and the Recreation Department, approved the construction
of three new platform tennis courts on a new site in Waveny
Park. Park & Recreation Commission Chairman Dr. Mark
DeWaele said that the dedication was a celebration of the
collaborative public and private efforts of the last year.
“Many individuals and groups wrote letters to town
leaders and made presentations before various committees
which demonstrated a lot of town-wide support for the project.
The Park & Rec Commission and the Board of Selectmen
were very impressed by the size and organization of the
platform tennis playing community in New Canaan. These new
courts will help us fulfill our charter to promote long
and healthy lifestyles through active recreation.”
hotbed of platform tennis in Fairfield County, New Canaan
is enjoying a resurgence of the sport’s growth as
evidenced by the immense recent popularity of various leagues.
Ann Lobdell, Co-Chair of the New Canaan Women’s Platform
Tennis League commented, “In just a few short seasons,
we have grown to 128 ladies playing in eight different flights,
and we have a waiting list of teams wanting to join. The
Senior Men’s Club has always had an avid group of
players, and this year, the New Canaan Men’s Paddle
League is expected to have a record 72+ men playing. Also,
for the first time, New Canaan will field a “town”
team to compete against many private clubs in neighboring
Greenwich, Darien, and Wilton in the Fairfield County Platform
more information on New Canaan’s platform tennis courts,
call the New Canaan Recreation Department at (203) 594-3600.