Athletes of the week

Amr Hamour
Amr Hamour
Kelsey Thomson
Kelsey Thomson

Amr Hamour
Men’s squash

Down, but never out, Amr Hamour came from behind in both of his matches to secure victory for the Gaels at the Men’s Squash East Sectional at Queen’s this past weekend. Hamour defeated opponents from the McGill Redmen and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues to help Queen’s win the team tournament.

Hamour is a rookie and the matches were his first taste of OUA squash, but head coach Eugene Zaremba said Hamour acclimatized with relative ease to the level of play.

“In his first match he was kind of nervous,” Zaremba said. “It was his first as a university student. He had to settle down a bit. Once he did that, he pulled it out.”

Zaremba said he wasn’t surprised with Hamour’s talent on the court.

“He’s played junior squash from a young age,” Zaremba said. “I think it’s the fact that he’s had coaching the past. He’s a good athlete that moves around the court very well. His technique is pretty sound.”

Now that he’s got his feet wet at the university level, Zaremba said it is up to Hamour to work on improving himself and to continue to elevate his game.

“He definitely will improve a lot, I think,” Zaremba said. “He’s a young guy and doesn’t have quite the strength as some of the older players who have matured more. As he develops, he’ll be able to put more pace on the ball and be a bit more aggressive and forceful.”

To that effect, Hamour said in future it would be essential to start his matches strong, so as not to get caught too far behind.

“I’d like to improve on coming out right off the bat and bringing my all, not working into it throughout the match,” he said.

Hamour grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake and excelled in racquet sports. Ultimately he reached a point where he had to choose which sport to continue with in the future.

“I used to play tennis when I was young, then I got into squash about the age of 13,” Hamour said. “My dad played squash before. He asked me if wanted to continue in squash or tennis, and I picked squash. It’s worked out.” Hamour cited the fast pace of the game was what kept him hooked on the sport.

“I find it better physical activity and cardio work,” he said. “I just find it more entertaining to watch and more fun to play than a lot of other sports.”

OUA men’s squash has been dominated by the Western Mustangs, who have taken the last 25 titles in a row. Over his time at Queen’s, Hamour has his sights set on breaking the Mustangs’ streak.

“The goal is to do the best and win the OUA title,” he said. “Within the four years it may happen. You never know.”

—Anand Srivastava

Kelsey Thomson
Women’s hockey

Last weekend, the Queen’s women’s hockey team broke a losing slump and took home two strong wins against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks and the Guelph Gryphons. Four of the Gaels’ six goals were scored by third-year forward Kelsey Thomson.

Head coach Harold Parsons said Thomson’s scoring touch makes her stand out.

“Kelsey is one of the few pure goal scorers we’ve seen in our league,” he said. “Her shot is something that separates her from most of the players.”

Parsons said her success comes from her accuracy and her ability to create chances.

“Most of the players in the league have a hard shot, but not all of them can pick corners and have some voice with the puck,” he said.

Parsons said Thomson has always been a talented hockey player, but continues to improve year after year.

“From her skating to her stickhandling to her shot, I think it has all improved,” he said.

Thomson said she has developed her hockey talent during her time at Queen’s.

“In first year I didn’t see lots of ice time and then I kept working and training in the summer,” she said As a seasoned veteran on the team, Thomson said the best part about playing for the Gaels is the camaraderie between the women.

“You get really close with your teammates,” she said. “You get to hang out with the team and travel with them on the weekends. You form really close friendships.”

Growing up with two older brothers who played hockey, Thomson spent long hours on the pond at her farm as a child and was involved in an organized hockey league at a young age.

Although Thomson played soccer, basketball and volleyball in high school, she said she was committed to playing hockey competitively for Queen’s.

Thomson said she would like to continue her involvement in hockey once she finishes her time at Queen’s.

“I’d like to coach or teach once I’m done school so hopefully I can pass my knowledge from here on to younger children.”

At the beginning of the season, Thomson set a tough personal goal for herself.

“[I] made a goal with the coaches to get a point per game,” she said. “I’m one point behind right now, but hopefully I can do it.”

Though she would love to meet her goal, she said the team goal of finishing on top this season takes priority.

“Our big competition is Wilfred Laurier, so hopefully we can beat them in the finals.”

—Julie Stewart-Binks

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