In 1975, there were 3 organizations who represented squash in Ontario – the Ontario Men’s Hardball Association, the Ontario Women’s Squash Racquets Association and the Ontario Men’s Soft Ball Association. All three approached the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, asking for funding. The Ministry was very comfortable funding squash; however, it’s one condition was that there be one voice for squash in Ontario, one association. To bring three such disparate groups together needed someone who had good, sound business expertise, a love of and background in the game of squash and the wisdom of Solomon.
Enter Ian C. Stewart. His credentials to take on the role of the founding chairman of Squash Ontario were impressive. Ian joined the Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto in 1952 and was elected president of the club in 1976. He is now an Honorary Life Member.
Ian became a Jester in 1964 and was Chairman of the Canadian Jesters from 1978 to 1981, during which time the Jesters celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1980.
Ian was President of the Canadian Squash Racquets Association (now Squash Canada) from 1964 to 1967. During his Presidency, Ian chaired the very successful Centennial Squash Tournament to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.
Ian received the Government of Ontario’s Special Achievement award, being the first squash volunteer to be inducted into the province’s Volunteer Hall of Fame.
Ian then became Canada’s representative to the International Squash Rackets Federation and from 1981 through 1985 was the chairman of the world governing body. Ian hired the first full time Executive Director. Ian’s tenure with the world association was during a fascinating era, one where there were clear distinctions between amateur and professional squash. Ian is credited with persuading the professional game to adopt the point-a-rally scoring method and to lower the height of the tin. It needs to be said that these changes were not easily sold on the world stage, particularly as both had their grounding in the United States. Both of these changes were eventually made to the professional soft game on a world-wide basis, simultaneously making the game more understandable to the masses and reducing the length of the rallies that were both threatening the game’s marketability.
In every association Ian served, he led the only way he knows how – by doing.