Saturday, September 17, 2011

SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE ARTICLE - FACT & FICTION

Hello Everyone:

There was a recent article in the Senior Living Magazine that promotes pickleball here in Canada. Unfortunately, Chuck Lefaive had a heavy hand in its creation so the facts may be a bit distorted.

A copy of the article can be viewed at the following link. http://www.seniorlivingmag.com/articles/a-passion-for-pickleball

I've written a response to the managing editor which outlines some of the longstanding issues we have had with Chuck and his organizations. I've copied my response here for you to view. It is quite a lengthy response so please forgive me for that.

Dear Ms. Reid:

As President of Pickleball Canada I’d like to comment on the attached news article by Jane Cassie.

While some of the historical information in the article was indeed correct there are a few statements that are inconsistent with the truth. It is understandable that there may be confusion due to the name of our long-standing organization known as Pickleball Canada which is run by a volunteer non-profit Board of Directors and the recently formed Canada Pickleball Association which is an organization for profit operated by Brent Johner of Calgary in conjunction with Mr. Lefaive. To my knowledge their organization is operated without a formal Board of Directors.

The article gives the impression that Mr. Lefaive was the sole founder of our national organization, Pickleball Canada. Mr. Lefaive was one of five original founding members that formed Pickleball Canada. To imply that he was the founder of the sport here in Canada does a disservice to the other founding members from various provinces who worked equally long and hard to promote the sport.

In fact, Mr. Lefaive is no longer a member of our national organization, Pickleball Canada. Over a year and a half ago Mr. Lefaive resigned from Pickleball Canada because our Board of Directors voted to join the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) and to adopt the global set of rules that govern the sport and outline equipment conformance requirements.

You may well ask why would Mr. Lefaive chose to do that if he is such a proponent of the game?

Mr. Lefaive has for the past few years had a vested interest in selling two specific paddles. He worked with a gentleman from South Surrey to manufacture and promote these paddles. Unfortunately for Mr. Lefaive and the paddle designer when the paddles were submitted for testing and approval to the regulatory group, USAPA (US Pickleball Association) they both failed the test and were subsequently banned from all sanctioned tournament play. Due to that ban Mr. Lefaive broke with the USAPA and continues to promote the sale of these paddles here in BC and throughout Canada.

When the Board of Directors for Pickleball Canada adopted the IFP & USAPA rules including standards for all paddles to be used in sanctioned tournaments, Mr. Lefaive chose to withdraw from Pickleball Canada and set up a partnership with Mr. Johner’s Racquet Network in Calgary. Mr. Lefaive and Mr. Johner formed their own association. They named it Canada Pickleball Association.

Earlier this year Pickleball Canada prepared and filed an Allegation of Confusion with Corporations Canada against Mr. Lefaive’s newly formed association Canada Pickleball due to the infringement and confusion that the name represented. That allegation was upheld by Corporations Canada and Mr. Lefaive and company changed their name to Canadian Pickleball Federation.

As your article mentions Mr. Johner and Mr. Lefaive promoted what they called a National Tournament. This tournament was not sanctioned by the national association Pickleball Canada. What Mr. Lefaive failed to mention was that the tournament was so poorly attended (less than 30 players) that they were forced to shorten the event. To put it bluntly, their national tournament was a bust.

Mr. Lefaive was quick to point out that he attends at elementary schools to share his pickleball pointers and passion. What he fails to share is that his organization, Canadian Pickleball Federation or Canada Pickleball in association with Mr. Johner’s Racquet Network charges for teaching pickleball in their area. See the fee structure listed on Mr. Johner’s web site.

http://clubhouse.racquetnetwork.com/proshop/products/category/pickleball-lessons-in-calgary/

Pickleball Canada does not charge for any training sessions and does not promote the sale of any specific paddles.

Your article lists web sites to contact for more information on pickleball. All of the noted web sites are connected to Mr. Lefaive’s many groups and online retail services. I was very disappointed to note that while reference was made to our national organization, Pickleball Canada, we were not referenced along with Mr. Lefaive’s links.

I strongly suspect that Mr. Lefaive did not point out to the author that he was not associated with Pickleball Canada. In fact the cover page picture shows Mr. Lefaive wearing one of our Pickleball Canada name tags. So I can see how Ms. Cassie could have been confused by Mr. Lefaive’s representations.

I’m sure it is an industry standard to check the accuracy of any story before publication. Our web site, which was quoted in your article, www.pickleballcanada.org has a contact link and it would have been a welcome courtesy to vet the article with us given the fact we were referenced in the article.

Mr. Lefaive is a passionate promoter of pickleball and certain paddles. But in my personal opinion he is promoting pickleball for a price.

Your magazine article has helped to promote our sport by providing much needed exposure in the print media. We at Pickleball Canada appreciate your effort but wish to point out that there were errors in content.

If you require any further information or clarification please feel free to contact me by email or by phone.

Regards,

Colin Caldwell – President
Pickleball Canada Organization

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