Barney Lawrence


1925 - 2011

To be considered a “builder”, suggests that one’s contributions to the game of squash are many faceted.  Barney’s contributions and passion for squash are second to none, and is evidenced having helped “build the game” as a player, club founder, coach, volunteer, financial supporter, and for many years as a guest speaker.

Barney founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club in 1962.  The initial idea came to him in 1956 after playing in the inaugural Buffalo Invitational. His love of that club and its crest were the beginnings of what would later become the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club.  Barney held the club’s singles title from 1962-1967 and was the doubles champion on 4 occasions.  Barney was also President of the club from its inception until 1968 when he had the foresight to build the first doubles court in Ontario outside of Toronto at the KWRC.  Today the KWRC is alive and well having undergone renovations and membership growth and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012.

Barney’s assistance in starting up squash clubs has not been limited to Kitchener.  Membership at other clubs, donations to fundraising campaigns, speaking at an event, or playing an exhibition, Barney would graciously give whenever asked. Barney is a founding member at the Richmond Hill Racquet Club & London Squash Club.  He is a Life Member at the Toronto Racquet Club, Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club, and the former Hamilton Squash Club.  In addition he was a member of both the Cambridge Club and Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club for many years.  Barney has also lent his playing services to the opening of the TCS&C club’s first hardball singles and doubles courts with partner Don Leggat and to the opening of the Stratford Racquet Club in 1979.

Squash at the University of Waterloo played a significant role in Barney’s life.  Barney started teaching at the University in 1967 as an adjunct professor.  His passion for squash eventually found its way to the University squash courts. In 1982, his fundraising efforts saw the university campus get its first two international singles courts, supplementing the 4 North American courts it also had.

Barney fostered his passion for life in his players using squash to build their character. Commitment, the importance of friendship, and “giving back” to things that you got so much from were exemplified in Barney as a coach.  Today many of Barney’s players continue to be involved in squash, remain good friends, and are giving back to the game, symbolizing the influence that he had in their lives.

Barney coached at U of W until 1995 and today the program continues under the guidance of good friend and fellow Jester Clive Porter.

Notably, as a volunteer, Barney was twice President of the Ontario Squash Racquets Association and he chaired and hosted the 1984 Canadian Junior Squash Championships jointly at the Kitchener-Waterloo Racquet Club and University of Waterloo.

Whenever anyone called looking for financial support for a squash event Barney would always contribute. He always had “100 bucks” in his pocket for something related to squash.  Many U of W players would attest to the regular patronage of the campus pub after practice and later to the Faculty Club for a meal they were not accustomed to as a student – all of course on Barney’s tab!

Finally, Barney’s contributions to squash have been previously recognized.  In 1984, he was inducted into the Waterloo County Sports Hall of Fame and in January of 2001 he was inducted into the University of Waterloo Athletic Hall of Fame.

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