- 1994 Ivan Velan Award Recipient
(from Racquetball Canada Archives. Source: First Serve, vol. 8, no. 4)
Racquetball Canada Archives. Source: Cliff Hendrickson of Calgary, Alberta was named the 1993/94 recipient of the Ivan Velan Award for his outstanding contribution to Canadian racquetball. His contributions to the sport span many years and many areas – clinician/instructor, club manager, tournament organizer and National Drawmaster. His enthusiasm for and knowledge of the sport along with his outgoing personality made him a great ambassador for racquetball and resulted in many people becoming involved in the sport and striving to improve their level of play.
The Canadian game’s most obvious late-bloomer, Cliff Hendrickson, first started playing racquetball four years ago when he took over as manager of the Court House in Calgary. Prior to that he had played hockey religiously and squash once in a while. Hendrickson credits his conversion to racquetball to Bob Daku and Bill Woodell. It was at a clinic put on by these two players that Cliff became, in his words, “inspired.” He has won the Calgary City Singles championship for the last three years; the Alberta Closed in 1980; the Alberta Open and Lethbridge Open in 1981; and he’s made it to the quarterfinals of both the Canadian Nationals (open division) and the U.S. Amateurs (veteran division). Hendrickson favors the pinch shot and plays “a basic, straight, aggressive game – nothing fancy.” He dislikes being confronted with high lob serves, particularly in the United States where the “five-foot rule” prevents the receiver from attacking the ball before it bounces. In four years of play, he hasn’t missed more than six weeks due to injury. Hendrickson says his rise into the top ten is not so much because of his innate skill as an athlete, but more because of the great level of competition and the number of tournaments in Alberta. His fondest moment in the game so far? When he beat Bob Daku for the first time two years ago at the O’Keefe Saskatoon Open.
- Hendrickson was inducted into the Racquetball Canada Hall of Fame in the Builder category in 2017