Inducted in 2019
Roald Thompson is a true pioneer of the sport. His contribution to the sport in Canada was rooted in his accomplishments as a player and as a mentor of other players through his approach to training, his competitive acumen and his true love of the sport. He is known as a strong, quiet leader – a leader by example. The more racquetball rewarded Roald, the more he felt compelled to give back.
Thompson began his almost 30 year racquetball career in 1966 and became a top player by 1969 as the sport became more popular and competitive. He trained religiously all year playing and practicing several hours a day. As a former boxer, he knew that to excel in any sport, cross training before tournaments was imperative and would step up his workouts to build strength and stamina. Roald was known by most as a soft-spoken gentleman on and off the court, having respect for his opponents and officials. Being a “shoot and kill” player, Roald let his racquet do the talking. Roald’s nickname “Ace” by his friends and opponents was well earned.
As one of the first racquetball players in Saskatchewan, Thompson spent considerable time growing the game. He gave of his time in an official coaching capacity, working with both recreational and competitive players hone their skills. Those who wished to become successful studied Thompson’s methods and style of play and took advantage of any opportunity to learn from him. In 1979 Roald was recognized as the premier coach in Saskatchewan and was named as Head Coach for Team Sask at the Canada Winter Games. He was also on the courts often in an unofficial capacity, mentoring fellow players and sharing his love of the sport.
Thompson served Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Racquetball Association for more than fifteen years, including several terms as the President. In his capacity of President, he was influential in establishing the association as one of the provincial sport governing bodies funded by Sask Sport and laying the legacy that ensured the growth of the sport provincially and nationally.
At the national level, Thompson sat as the Saskatchewan representative on the Racquetball Canada Board of Directors. He was also a member Racquetball Canada’s Coaching Committee and was instrumental in the development of the National Coaching Certification Program Coaching Manuals and the Racquetball for Beginners publication. In addition to providing coaching expertise, Thompson also worked extensively with the instructional photos included in the manuals and their related content to ensure they were technically correct.
As a winner of twelve gold and two silver medals in master events at the national level, Thompson embodied the concept of “competition for life”, helping to ensure the continuation of skill and age events at the Canadian Championship level.
Over the years Thompson has received high recognition for his contributions. He received the Ivan Velan Award from Racquetball Canada in 1990 in both the builder and athlete categories. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and was inducted as an Honourary Member to the Regina Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Click here to see a video of Roald Thompson’s Hall of Fame acceptance remarks.