After an 18-month COVID-19 pause, the Cascadia Cup Beach Handball Series returned to Cannon Beach in July, with the No. 16 nationally-ranked Portland Sasquatch, Seattle Handball Club and U.S.-based representatives of Vancouver and Victoria, Canada Handball rebooting the classic series, first founded in 2012. More than 250 fans were on-site, leveraging social distance in this outdoor beach venue.
Portland and Seattle lent players to reach critical mass for the Canadian teams (border travel still restricted) to form four “Cascadia teams” – with the Cascadia Orange team winning this first summer event, 5-1 (group phase games record) in group play action.
For those new to the sport: Handball is a mix of soccer, basketball and arena football, with scores typically like a college football game.
Beach Handball is part of the larger United States, Canadian and International Handball Federation, global committees, that brings this sport, which is top-10 in the world for overall participants. The Portland Sasquatch, ranked No. 16 nationally as a club by USA Handball, and Seattle, a regular regional tournament powerhouse, partner with top British Columbia-based teams to advance the sport at a top-division level in the region.
Cannon Beach has been home to the Cascadia Cup Beach Handball Series for more than a decade and has been the starting ground for national legends like E.J. Udo-Udoma, as well as, a who’s who of international players who have moved permanently to the Pacific Northwest.
The Portland Sasquatch are led by head coach Jan Vanderstraeten, and Pacific Northwest handball legends, Joe Bauer, and Horst Niehaus. Seattle is equally staffed by veteran national players from eight different countries. Both teams are proudly co-ed.