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Calling all tennis newbies
Can't Skate organizer wants to start similar group for a second sport

NNSL photograph

Gene Jenks, who organized the Can't Skate hockey league, is taking another stab at starting a tennis club for people of all skill levels. He said he'll be taking names down for both the hockey and tennis groups at the town's community registration night on Sept. 22. - Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Thursday, September 14, 2017

It may be Gene Jenks' fourth year organizing Inuvik's Can't Skate League, but fellow hockey fanatics with more passion for the game than skill need not worry - he's still working on his technique too.

"The whole premise of the league is to support those who are just learning," said Jenks, who explained he couldn't stop at all when he first started playing hockey.

"I'd hit the boards," he said. "And there were a lot of people the same way as I was."

That's why members of the Can't Skate League play to the level of its most beginner players.

They hit the ice for an hour a week, said Jenks, with 20 minutes dedicated to skill development and the other 40 minutes for playing.

While the league used to attract about 10 people, past years have seen as many as 20 participants.

If more people get involved this year, the league could use any extra funds that don't go toward ice time to buy equipment for those who want to join, said Jenks.

"It's a lot of fun and it's just kind of grown from our first year," he said.

Jenks will be out at Inuvik's community registration night on Sept. 22, where other sports teams, organizations and community groups will be manning sign-up tables.

But it's not the only sport Jenks hopes to gauge interest in this year.

"I always loved playing tennis. And I know that there is tennis interest in town," he said. "We have nice new courts, but no one has really taken the initiative yet to form any kind of a club."

Jenks did try to get a tennis group going last year, but said it wasn't great timing for those involved.

When he tried to organize an open house with people who signed up at last year's registration night, only a few people turned out, he said.

"My plan is to once again put out calls for interest, devise a contact list," said Jenks. "Just like last year, one half of (the registration table) is going to be Can't Skate, one half of it's going to be tennis club."

He wants to encourage people of all skill levels to come together so they can organize laid-back games and possibly even a tournament.

"Much like the Can't Skate program, I want to open this up to anybody who's interested and has a racket and some balls," said Jenks. "And just get out there and give it a try, even if you're new."

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