Christie Van Hees
- 1999 Women’s Award Recipient
(from Racquetball Canada Archives. Source: Canadian Racquetball, vol. 1, no. 10, by Penny Pratt)
Christie Van Hees picked up her first racquetball racquet when she was 3 years old. Her family was very involved in the sport and it became a very big part of her life. Her family vacations revolved around racquetball tournaments, and every summer her family would head off to the U.S. Junior Nationals no matter where they were. When she was 6 years old, the family drove to Davison, Michigan from their home in Kelowna. Her two older brothers were playing and she was going along for the holiday. Upon arriving in Michigan, she filled in for a no-show in the 8-and-under division and won the event! From that point on, if there was an event for her, she would enter. She still remains the only participant in the U.S. Junior Nationals to win an entire event without an opponent scoring a single point against her. She bounced around the court with a big smile on her face, a smile that remains even today when playing.
Her list of accomplishments include many Canadian Junior titles in both singles and doubles, and many individual titles in women’s events from the time she was 10 years old. Her teenage years found her competing at the senior level in the Canadian Nationals, and winning 3 World Junior titles. She was the youngest player to be named to Canada’s Pan Am team in 1995 and she won the silver medal in the individual women’s event. That was the beginning of many wonderful trips to fascinating places with the Canadian team. She literally grew up with most of the team members knowing her as Mark and Todd’s “little sister.” Her parents always felt she was with “family” when she was with the team, with never any fear that she wouldn’t be safe.
The accomplishments of our award winner are many and outstanding, from trophies to acclamations, not only as an athlete but as a fine young woman. She is a Canadian champion, and an active participant on the International Professional Racquetball Tour (where she has been ranked #2). She is a student at Simon Fraser University, works part-time at a fitness centre, and, to top this all off, at 21 years of age, is the current Women’s World Racquetball Champion.
Ladies and gentlemen, unless you have been living under a rock lately, I think you will have already concluded that this year’s winner of the Racquetball Canada Women’s Achievement Award, recognizing contributions to women in racquetball, is Christie Van Hees.