PEI

Tennis a great way to 'get outside and enjoy the winter,' says Tennis P.E.I.

A dozen children and adults came out on a freezing cold day to Charlottetown's Victoria Park to play tennis in -12C.

A dozen hard-core tennis enthusiasts volley in the snow on Islander Day

When most Canadians think of winter sports, their minds might not automatically turn to tennis.

But Tennis P.E.I. wants more Islanders to think of tennis 365 days a year — so they organized a fun afternoon at Victoria Park's tennis courts in Charlottetown.

About a dozen tennis enthusiasts braved the chill.

"So we said, 'It's Islander Day and it's a perfect idea for us to get outside and enjoy the winter,'" said Beth Cullen, Tennis P.E.I. board member.

'It's awesome out here'

The P.E.I. fun was part of Winterfest, a national effort by Tennis Canada to encourage people to get outdoors to enjoy the Canadian winter. They organized groups of players in every province to play outside.

"It's awesome out here. The forecast was –21 chill, and it's just gorgeous. It's sunny, it's not too windy," enthused Cullen. 

The popularity of tennis has ballooned on P.E.I. in the past few years, Cullen noted. Several of the players who came out Monday were ranked nationally. 

"The people who play tennis love tennis," Cullen explained. "It's a beautiful sport. It's a sport for all ages. It's experiencing incredible growth in the country."

"We have some pretty impressive players on the national stage right now, which is really helping our growth."

Cullen and some of the other board members and tennis parents tramped down the surface of the tennis courts, which were covered in about a foot of snow. 

The temperature displayed on Cullen's phone ended up being a mere –12 C. 

The kids and adults aimed several baskets of balls at a snowman they'd built on the court, receiving a point for a shot to the body, five for the head, and 10 to hit his racket. 

Then they enjoyed some hot chocolate and donned free hats and scarves sent by Tennis Canada for the event.
A group of tennis enthusiasts enjoy a volley Monday at Charlottetown's Victoria Park. (Sara Fraser/CBC )

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