Snooker tournament honours Mordechai Richler
Written by: Jack Borenstein – Correspondent
Patrick Guigui, 44, has increased the awareness of snooker in Canada, a sport he has loved and enjoyed playing for many years, since last speaking to the Jewish Tribune (Nov. 6, 2012).
As president of Snooker Canada, the Cote St. Luc resident has coordinated and created the inaugural Montreal International Snooker Festival to be held Apr. 26-27 at Le Skratch on Montreal‘s West Island.
Guigui said the festival will include a snooker tournament involving 24 players “who survived a series of qualifying rounds in each Canadian province. They will be competing for the Richler Cup in honour of the late Canadian author, screenwriter and essayist Mordecai Richler with $20,000 in prize monies up for grabs. Mordecai’s stepson, broadcaster and writer Daniel Richler, will present the Richler Cup to the top snooker player.”
Guigui said a portion of festival proceeds will be given to the West Island Community Shares (WICS), a 17-year-old non-profit organization which Snooker Canada has partnered with, beginning in February.
“I read a book written by Charles Bronfman, whose general message was ‘everything is useless without giving back,” said Guigui. “I gave that idea some thought and decided that giving back to my local community was important to me. There are 28 different charities in West Island and WCIS is the best source for raising significant dollars and sending it back to local groups serving critical needs of people living in that section of Montreal.”
The idea for the cup came to Guigui after reading Richler’s book, On Snooker, which he wrote in 2001, shortly before his passing.
“Mordecai Richler was always a passionate fan of snooker and played the game in his youth. His book detailed the sport’s history and personalities,” said Guigui. “When I finished reading Mr. Richler’s book, I wanted to do something to honour his memory and remarkable legacy. After many conversations and meetings with the Richler family, the festival and the Richler Cup became a reality.”
Guigui said a variety of special guests were expected to attend the festival, including former NHL player Chris Nilan. He added there will be a special awards evening to honour the legends of snooker.
“Montrealer Leo Levitt was the first amateur player in the world to record a maximum ‘break’ score of 147 in 1948, at (now defunct) Windsor Bowling Alley in the Snowden neighbourhood. His nephew will be at the festival to receive an award honouring his uncle’s snooker achievement.”
Guigui said regarding the global growth of snooker, “with about 300 million people watching the 2013 World Snooker Championships, it’s the third most watched sport in Europe. We’re in discussion with TSN to create a reality snooker series; a documentary film on snooker’s history will be produced during the festival. The Richler Cup will be streamed online through the International Snooker Federation to over 50 countries.”
Snooker Canada is developing in terms of scope and reach, said Guigui.
“When snooker hopefully becomes an official sport of the Olympic Games, our organization will be involved. We are in early discussions with Golf Canada as our games are a bit similar in specific ways such as etiquette, even though played in different seasons. Their ball is hit into a hole and our ball is hit into a pocket.”
He talked about Israeli national snooker champion Shachar Ruberg (competing at press time at the European Billiard Snooker Association U21 Championship in Romania).
“Ruberg is a very good player who competed at the 2011 International Billiard Snooker Federation U21 World Championships at the Sheraton Hotel in Dorval and reached the quarterfinal stage.”
Guigui is planning to create snooker clinics for junior players ages 13-17, along with programs for referees and coaches starting autumn 2014 in Montreal, Mississauga and Vancouver.
For more information on Snooker Canada’s developments email firstname.lastname@example.org, access their Facebook page or tweet@snookercanada1.