Literary giant Mordecai Richler left us 13 years ago, however his work has lived on and it continues to impact his readers to this day. Patrick Guigui, President of Snooker Canada, was moved to such an extent by Richler’s book On Snooker when he read it two years ago, that it triggered a whirlwind of events that concluded in this weeks inaugural Richler Cup April 24-27, 2014.
Upon finishing the book, Guigui immediately decided he wanted to host an event in honour of Richler and contacted his family. As Mordecai’s son Daniel Richler eloquently described in his piece in the Globe & Mail last week, snooker was not just passion for his father but for the whole family. At the family cottage in Lake Memphremagog, his mother had an addition made to their cottage so that Mordecai could have a proper place for his table. For years this became the scene of the original Richler Cup which included family and friends and anyone who dared to participate.
Mordecai was not just a banger either; World Champion Cliff Thorburn dubbed him with the nickname “Captain Hook.” He is remembered by many in this way, as he took a great deal of joy in burying his opponents to a rail often leaving lots of green baize between the cue ball and object ball making the hit as difficult as possible. For Mordecai, Snooker was a way to be competitive, to spend time with friends and family and was an escape for the famed author in his down time between novels. This is the essence of the Richler Cup and it is what motivated Guigui to host a tournament to continue the Richler family tradition.
Over 100 people cycled through the stands during the final session, which was a race to 6 frames. Alain Robidoux met up with Gilles Boismenu to decide who would become the inaugural champion. Much like Saturday, Robidoux was off to a slow start missing shots early on. However Boismenu was a very game competitor and did not appear intimidated by the formerly ranked 9th player in the world and took the first frame. Boismenu, a grinder, was the more patient of the two and capitalized early to earn himself 2 out of the first 3 frames. Robidoux rallied and finished up 3-2 going into the break .
The break proved agreeable for Boismenu as he came back strong and easily took the 6th frame, getting Robidoux to concede with two reds left to tie the match up at 3. This is when Robidoux did what any world class player has the ability to do, and took over the match. His safeties got tighter and his potting crisper as he never really gave Boismenu another chance. He won the following 3 frames to become the first Richler Cup Champion claiming the $5,000 top prize. Boismenu received $2,500 for second and Bob Chaperon and Rodney Cullierier were rewarded with $1,000 each for their troubles. In total the top 16 players were paid.
What is Next for the Richler Cup
Guigui himself said, “this will definitely be an annual event” as he admitted he even exceeded his own lofty expectations for the first year. The support he has gotten from the Richler family as well as the players and fans has motivated the President of Snooker Canada even further. This has him thinking big as he would like to attract players like Ronnie O’Sullivan in the future and increase the already impressive $20,000 added standard he set this year.
The 2015 Richler Cup will be played in Toronto at a location to be determined at a later date. Guigui plans to take this event all over Canada in the coming years and chose Toronto next as he calls it the other “mecca” besides Montreal for snooker in Canada.
On a final note, something worth mentioning is that Guigui is attempting to get Snooker on mainstream television in Canada once again. At this time convincing RDS or TSN to fund a production team to set up for 4 days and film this event or any other cue sport is a tough sale. So Guigui is thinking ahead and has his own production team which filmed this entire 4 day event. They will be editing the video themselves for their website, Snooker Canada , and will attempt to sell the finished product to one of the big networks. Guigui has not only set a standard for the Richler Cup but also a standard that every other promoter in Canada should be trying to meet for their own events. I for one look forward to what he has in store for us next year in Toronto.