2013 Pickleball Player of the Year Announced

If you are a regular reader, you know we don’t always select the players with the most tournament wins.  We are always in search of those special players who in some small way, help pickleball grow.  This year’s winner embodies what a true champion of our sport looks like.  They pretty much lived every pickleball player’s dream.
Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg
We traveled the country extensively in 2013 and everywhere we went, when we’d ask about people’s favorite players, Jim and Yvonne were always mentioned. They personify what a great pickleball marriage can be.  And it seems like one was not mentioned without the other, so we thought it fitting to present this year’s award to both of them.
When not visiting their grandkids, they spent 2013 traveling the country conducting clinics and playing tournaments and reaching out to make new friends everywhere they went.
We had a lot of great candidates this year, but the thing that swayed our decision more than anything else was what happened at the 2013 National Tournament.
At this years Nationals, in every age group event they entered, they stood on the Gold medal stand at the end.  That is impressive, but that was not the determining factor.
Jim and Yvonne clinched their Player of the Year award in the Open Mixed Doubles event where they made an incredible run before losing in the Bronze medal match.  But it was not their play that stood out.  Yes,  Jim and Yvonne are tremendous players, but it was the overwhelming crowd support that we saw for them that will stick forever in our minds.  Every time Jim and Yvonne’s names were announced for a match, record crowds would move to their court to cheer them on in a show of admiration for one of our sports great couples.
There is this myth that older players (ok, over 50) cannot compete with the new young breed of fast, quick players who are popping up every day.  Jim and Yvonne proved them all wrong as they battled and beat young team after young team along the way.
Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg at 2013 Nationals
Jim and Yvonne are yet another great example of why pickleball continues to grow in popularity for all ages.
Congratulations go out to this year’s Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year, Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg.
They are true winners on and off the court.

Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month: 2013 Year in Review

2013 had dozens of very special pickleball people nominated for the coveted Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month award.

Some were great pickleball players, while some were just plain great for the sport, yet happened to play pickleball.

Here were this year’s Player of the Month winners:

January:  Trudee Klein

January 2013 Player of the Month - Trudee Klein









February:  Justin Rodgers

Player of the Month - Justin Rodgers










March:  Sid Cojac

Sid Cojac Player of the Month










April:  Stephanie Lane

Stephanie Lane - Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month










May:  Kyle Hicken

May 2013 Player of the Month







June:  Walt Hooker

Walt Hooker - Player of the Month








July:  Dennis Forbes

Dennis Forbes









August:  Tom and Ann Earley

Tom and Ann Earley








September:  David Schollmeier


October:  Rick Marion

Rick Marion Player of the Month








November:  Jessica LeMire

Jessica LeMire Player of the Month










December:  Wesley Gabrielsen

Wes Gabrielsen - Pickleball National Medal Winner










2013 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: ????????????


Player of the Month: May 2013 – Kyle Hicken

Please congratulate our first ever high schooler as the Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month.

Kyle Hicken won both the 2013 singles and doubles titles at Chartiers Valley High School.

We have been following the pickleball exploits at Chartiers Valley for quite some time as they have over 100 players enter their yearly tournament plus they compete against other northeast high schools.

Thanks for the nomination Alec Oliverio.     Congratulations Kyle Hicken.

May 2013 Player of the Month

Player of the Month: June 2013 – Walt Hooker

The USA Pickleball Association has over 700 official ambassadors nationwide and they all work hard.

This month’s Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month just happens to work harder than most.

Walt’s name keeps popping up all over the place with tremendous promotional pickleball powerpoint presentations and a never ceasing effort to get new players to the courts.

Congratulate this month’s Pickleball Rock’s Player of the Month, Walt Hooker.

Walt Hooker - Player of the Month

Player of the Month: August 2013 – Tom & Ann Earley

Talk about special people, this couple not only has one of the most beautiful pickleball complexes on the planet, but they openly make it known that everyone is welcome to play. And I do mean welcome with southern hospitality.

They have been the driving force behind the great growth in Georgia and their tournaments are quickly becoming legendary.

Please congratulation this month’s Player(s) of the Month, Tom and Ann Earley.

Tom and Ann Earley