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Despite rain, director ‘thrilled’ with Open

Greg Timm praises volunteers for efforts during challenging week
Team Australia coaches wait while the grounds crew works to remove water and mud from the the main diamond at Softball City

At the close of the Canadian Open Sunday, tournament director Greg Timm, speaking from the podium, said the tournament would be remembered for two things: great performances on the field, and decidedly less-than-great weather.

And two days after the tournament ended, Timm was quick to add one more memorable thing to the list: the volunteers.

“What a great group of volunteers we had. Because of the weather, we had to reschedule the tournament four times in one day (on Thursday), and do it again on Saturday, and that meant we needed everybody,” he said. “When we needed them the most, they were there, all of them. They were resilient, high-spirited – lesser people would have packed it in and went home.”

The weather was OK early in the tournament, which ran July 9-17, but got ugly by playoff weekend, as rain pushed the schedule further and further back into the night, and washed out entirely the consolation games in the Futures (under-19) and Showcase (under-16) divisions.

“It was 24 out of 324 games we had to cancel, and every championship round game got played,” Timm said.

While tournament organizers would not release attendance numbers for the event – “We don’t do that anymore, not like we did (when it was the Canada Cup),” Timm said – the figures were no doubt affected by the inclement weather. For most games, the outfield bleachers – packed in previous years when Team Canada played – were sparsely populated.

Still, Timm said he was “thrilled” with the way the tournament played out, and was equally as excited to say with certainty that it would be held again next year. In 2012, the Canadian Open will be held June 30 to either July 8 or 9, and will serve as a lead-in to the women’s world fastpitch championships, which are in Whitehorse next year, and begin July 13.

“We hope to be able to add more international teams next year, as they funnel their way through Vancouver and up to the world championships,” Timm said.