Jeremy Tracey and his friends hosted the Elmira Winter Classic Crokinole tournament on Saturday.
Tracey builds crokinole boards as the owner and operator of Tracey Boards.
Usually around this time of year, there is a National Crokinole Association tournament in Hamilton, but this year, the organizers decided not to run it. So Tracey and his friends decided to step in and run their own NCA tournament: the Elmira Winter Classic.
“Elmira deserves to have a fantastic crokinole tournament,” Tracey said.
The results tallied at the Elmira Winter Classic count toward the National Crokinole Association’s championship.
The event drew people throughout Ontario and even the United States with nearly 90 players in total.
There was a round robin in the morning and a second one in the afternoon to determine the day’s champions for each division. The winners took home some prize money and a trophy from Westmount Signs, a co-sponsor of the event.
The event attracted people of all ages, from pre-teen to seniors in their 80s, said Tracey. While most of the attendants were men, Tracey hopes to attract more women to the sport.
He also mentioned that Willard Martin, who taught him how to build crokinole boards, also came to the event as a guest for lunch. Tracey was grateful to be able to honour his mentor.
Simon Dowrick of Westmount Signs also participated.
“I started playing in 2019 and then COVID hit, so this past year I entered all of the NCA tournaments across Ontario and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
“(Crokinole) offers everything that other sports do – skill, strategy, competitiveness and believe it or not agility. The game is so basic but is also very rewarding to play at any level. The skill required to send messages to your brain to flick the disc where you want it to go at the right speed and direction under pressure is a lot harder than it looks.
“Everyone that plays crokinole is also super nice and intelligent. The game appeals to those who just want to have fun but also to those who want to take it seriously and compete with the best in the world, who happen to live in this area. So we are lucky to have this tournament here on our doorstep in Elmira.”
Tracey spoke with The Observer on his way to Florida and South Carolina to attend some crokinole meet and greets.
Tracey says he believes more people are being drawn to crokinole, and he really loves the community.
“I’ll put it in there that crokinole is the greatest game on Earth. And a big part of that is because it’s the greatest community on Earth. It is just, it’s the nicest people.”
He’s excited because one of his goals for the event was to bring new people into the game. He counted 23 people who had never attended a tournament before.
“I hope that people read this article, and it inspires them to dig out the crokinole board they already have, or reach out to their grandma that they used to play with, and play with her again. And maybe someday find their way to a tournament.”