Deep Love For Paddle in Deephaven, Minnesota

March 1, 2017
Deephaven, MN

Lake Minnetonka ice house
Fish House on Lake Minnetonka--like the one they use as a warming hut.
The story of Deephaven in Minnesota reveals how deep-seated the love of the game is and to what lengths people will go to play. A small town on Lake Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis, Deephaven has a population of about 3,600. Jim Elvestrom, a financial advisor, got hooked on paddle in 2011. As noted in the Platform Tennis Magazine article on APTA Outreach in the issue just landing in your mailbox, Deephaven cobbled together two courts in a town park, with help from an APTA grant and town officials who saw the benefit to the community, and the addition of some elbow grease and guitar strings. In the last five years, a large, ad hoc paddle community has developed, and the courts have been incrementally improved upon. Deep Love For Paddle in Deephaven, Minnesota.

Elvestrom laughed, “For the Chicago folks, it would be like going from Pebble Beach to a municipal golf course, but for us, it was the opposite. There are definitely dead spots. The door occasionally swings wide open. These are 20-year-old courts now. We didn’t have heaters for three winters and we were missing some snow boards. But we fixed all that and we also got new lights. To get a hut would be incredible. Right now, we warm up at a local fish house, since Lake Minnetonka is across the street.”
What started as a core group of 20-30 guys is now up to 120 players. “Word got out that the courts are available from 6-11 PM every evening and they are filled. We do a fundraiser every year at our tournament in March, which draws as many as 48 teams, and we make enough for maintenance. The town pitches in for upkeep, too. We continue to ask the town council to make it bigger, more accessible,” Elvestrom explained. “We now have players coming here from the Twin Cities since they know there are free courts. Sometimes people are waiting at 9 PM to get on.”

Elvestrom finished, “I introduce everyone I meet to the game. We have a great pool of ex-collegiate tennis players who have tried the game. We have about 40 couples who play—and think about our weather. It was -3 degrees on January 6. This is one place where there is a lot of summer play, almost every night.” Deephaven’s potential is like its name—if they could get a third court and warming hut, what a deep paddle haven it could be in Minnesota.

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