The History of Pickleball In Riverview
Thursday, Feb 16, 2012 was the first time pickleball was played in Riverview! The Town of Riverview Recreation Department organized by Ash Arrowsmith, hosted a workshop run by Ray Doiron from Saint John in the Riverview Community Hall, 145a Lakeside Drive as a part of the Silver Cafe program for ages 60+
Ash had to come in the day before to put down the lines using masking tape.
In the spring of 2014, Bill Dunlop, (a.k.a. The Founder of Pickleball in Riverview), spent some holiday time in Sarasota, Florida. This is where he discovered pickleball. There was a long line of players waiting to take turns on the 8 available courts. Even though he had double vision due, to a small brain aneurism, he felt that he would be able to play this sport. So he took lessons and discovered he actually could play pickleball.
When he returned to Riverview, he tried unsuccessfully to find pickleball clubs in the Greater Moncton Area which made him determined to start pickleball in Riverview. He approached the Town’s R & P Department to see if they support his plans to start a club and they welcomed him with open arms. He then committed himself to implementing plans to start a pickleball team for seniors.
Bill’s dream was realized when he committed ten of his friends to promise to attend an introduction to pickleball. The original Pickleball Club consisted of 9 males and one female. The town gave the new group a reduced rate to rent the gym at the Coverdale Recreation Centre on Monday and Wednesday mornings for a one and half hour session. One of those involved was Michel Legault, who ended up getting pickleball started in the Greater Moncton area and who ended up as President of Pickleball New Brunswick and an ambassador of Pickleball Canada.
In order to give the club a better chance of success, Bill requested a $2 per person fee for each session. He agreed to collect the fees, supervise play, keep attendance records, recruit new members and determine the progress. Bill wanted the club to be a welcoming club, respectful of others and encouraged a fun environment and established that as the club’s motto.
To help spread recognition of the game, he welcomed players as far away as Peticodiac, Bouctouche and Albert County towns and villages. He convinced the town to allow pickleball to be played the year round.
The first sessions of play began in the spring of 2015 and by 2016, he had 24 members from Southern New Brunswick. Then the club was able to encourage new clubs in Dieppe, Moncton, Shediac, Grande-Digue and other outlying areas.
Pickleball was so new to our area that none of the Sporting Goods Stores stocked paddles, nets or balls. So the Town provided the club with wooden paddles, portable nets and pickleballs.
The Town of Riverview for the next year handled all the registration for play. You had to drop in or go online to register for pickleball at the centre. It was around $30 for a 10 week session (two sessions a week @ 3 hours). A plastic tag could be attached to your court shoe as proof of registration. Bill would be looking for this.
As more and more players started to register and show up for play, it was getting more difficult to control play and some members were complaining to Bill and the Town that others were dominating the courts too much.
Eventually, the Town decided to try to hand over that part of the game to an organized club. Bob Betts heard about it and asked Bill if he would mind if he tried to organize a club to do just that. Bill said “Go For It!”.
The Riverview Pickleball Club was established on January 31, 2017 when about 20 Riverview Pickleball Players voted to start a new club and elect an interim executive to handle taking over administration of pickleball in the Town of Riverview by April 1, 2017 with intentions to have a general meeting the first week in June to elect a permanent executive.
The First Annual General Meeting was held on June 4th, 2017 with 17 people present who elected the executive and board members for a year. Each year after that, more and more people signed up to learn and play and eventually become members of Pickleball Canada, Pickleball New Brunswick and the Riverview Pickleball Club.
As of April 7, 2022, we have reached Member #350. Member numbers, like that with Pickleball Canada, never expire in case players want to rejoin at a later date. There are presently over 200 active members and 50 beginners waiting to join the club.
As mentioned before, it is a very inclusive club. We have members from all over Southern New Brunswick including Peticodiac, Hillsborough, Salisbury, Shediac, Grande-Digue, Memramcook, Dieppe, Moncton, Bouctouche and even as far away as Saint John, Grand Manan and even a man from England who comes to stay for long visits.
We have expanding play at CRC to five hours a day, Monday to Thursday and 3 hours Sunday night at the Riverview East School. At present, there is no indoor pickleball during the summer but the club got a grant close to $30,000 to build two state-of-the- art outdoor courts at an old tennis court on the Old Coach Road in Gunningsville.
The club is also very social as we have club tourneys, fun nights, golf tourneys and a Christmas Party.
As our motto on our logo goes, “Serving Up Fun Times!”
PLEASE CHECK THE SCHEDULES PAGE FOR WHERE AND WHEN TO PLAY.
And occasionally, you may want to check for changes on the CANCELLATIONS page.