Chico's Bowl In Hanmer Hosts Junior Boys National Championships

Every seven years the National Youth Bowling Championships make their way to the Greater Sudbury Area. This year 318 young bowlers converged on seven bowling centers in the GSA vying for national titles .

Valley East held the Junior Boys and Girls championships, with the boys at Chico's Bowl in Hanmer and the girls at Bonaventure Lanes in Val Caron.

Shown above in the photo are Pierre Chenier, owner of Chico's Bowl; along with Sheilagh Mayers, Executive Director for the Youth Bowling Canada / British Columbia, and; Marlene Hyatt, Southern Ontario Youth Bowling Council Chair, from Hamilton.

Junior bowlers range in age from 11 to 13. The Nationals brought teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland, Southern Ontario and Northern Ontario to Chico's Bowl. The teams arrived on Saturday, May 5, and attended an opening ceremony at the Sudbury Arena on May 6. During the three days of the competition, teams play a round robin of three games against each other team. 


By the end of the three days, all teams will have played a total of 21 games. Points are awarded for wins and ties. The team with the highest point total is declared champion. All bowling is done by "scratch" rules - there are no handicaps in this tournament.

The Nationals are the fourth step in a four step process which begins with a team being selected as the "House Champ" at the local bowling alley level. From there they advance to compete at the Zone level. Then comes the Provincials and finally, the Nationals.

According to Sheilagh Mayers, "This is the best of the best. It is all about scratch bowling with no handicaps. What you score is what you get."

A total of 320 hotel bedrooms were booked for the tournament this year. Many of the teams arrived by bus because of the lack of available air transportation.


Besides an excellent 8-lane bowling centre, Chico's also offers a beautiful lounge just off the bowling alley. As you can see from the photos here, it is a very relaxing place to sit after bowling or just to hang out and watch the hockey game.

Two young participants from Manitoba took in a little bit of pool while waiting for their turn to bowl.

Chico's has plenty of room for small or large parties and indeed, every Saturday evening the place is hosting some sort of group function.




"Bowling is facing the same kinds of challenges that most other youth sports are facing," explained Sheilagh Mayers. "The numbers are going down, but the enthusiasm of those who remain is increasing."

When asked why they thought the enrolment is decreasing, Marlene Hyatt replied, "There are just too many options for young people today. They have so much to do and keep busy with that bowling just doesn't seem to fit."

Sheilagh went on to explain, "Parents today work all day, and many have to travel for an hour or more from work to home. Once they get home, they often just feel like sitting in the house and relaxing. The last thing they want to do is go out to a bowling league. Nevertheless, we find that the smaller communities are holding their own with respect to league enrolment. It seems as if bowling is still very much a social activity in smaller communities."

Indeed, when one looks at the cost of bowling, it is definitely one of the most economical forms of recreation around. But when deciding to commit to a 30 week bowling season, many people are simply not willing to set aside one night a week every single week for on activity. Most need some flexibility to adjust to work or personal schedules.

"Everyone you talk to has bowled at some time in their life," stated Sheilagh. "And it seems as if the seniors are coming back to the game in huge numbers. This will certainly have a positive impact on the numbers of Young Bowlers in future years as they model their grandparents. Today's young parents, however, are finding it difficult to sign up for a league."

Despite the hectic schedules, most people do find time to participate in open bowling, attend the odd bowling party, and/or take part in a "Glow In The Dark" bowling fun event. It seems as if more and more people are turning to bowling as a form of entertainment instead of a form of recreation or competition.

On a positive note, Sheilagh has noticed that more parents seem to be getting directly involved with their children in the Youth Bowling League environment. They are helping with coaching or just being there to watch their children participate. This parental involvement is good for any organization.

To find out how the bowlers fared in the Nationals, go to


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