Three legendary players have been chosen for the highest honor in U.S. squash: induction into the United States Squash Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 is Michael Desaulniers, Ben Heckscher and Maurice Heckscher. The induction ceremony will be held at a gala luncheon courtside at the U.S. Open before the finals on Saturday October 14, 2017. Register for the Hall of Fame Luncheon here.
Desaulniers, originally from Canada, won two U.S. junior titles before matriculating at Harvard in the class of 1980. His college career was stunning: he lost just one game of one match in a torrid unbeaten run that covered three years (he was injured in the fourth) and leading Harvard to a team title his senior year. Over the course of his first two years on tour, he blitzed the competition, winning more than fifteen events and most famously was the player who finally dethroned Sharif Khan, both at the North American Open and as the No.1 ranked player on the hardball tour. Desaulniers also was a top-flight left-waller in doubles, partnering with Maurice Heckscher to capture two straight World Doubles titles.
Ben Heckscher, a Philadelphian, was a top-flight champion in the 1950s and 60s, a part of a golden generation of historically great players. He won two straight National Interscholastics while at Choate and two straight intercollegiate titles while at Harvard (he led Harvard to a national team title his junior year). He also was the first collegiate player to enter the U.S. Open. He captured the National Singles in 1959 and 1963. He also clinched the Canadian national title in 1960. Heckscher founded the William White tournament at Merion Cricket Club and was president of the Jesters Club.
Maurice Heckscher, eight years younger than his brother Ben, won the National Interscholastics once and playing #1 on the Penn team for two seasons, leading them to their first Ivy League title in 1966. But he made his mark on the doubles court. One of the great right-wallers of the century, Heckscher took two National Doubles titles as an amateur in 1975 and 1989. In between he dominated the pro tour, capturing six Johnsons, two Cambridge Clubs and one North American Open, as well as eight William Whites (with five partners). For twenty-one years he directed The Elite, the season-ending pro event in Philadelphia and for the past fourteen seasons has coached the junior varsity team at Agnes Irwins.
The United States Squash Hall of Fame was founded in 2000. Based at Payne Whitney Gymnasium at Yale, it is the only national squash hall of fame in the world with annual inductions and a bricks-and-mortar location. With the additions of the Heckschers and Desaulniers in the Class of 2017, there will be sixty-one members of the Hall of Fame.