Ashaway Racket Strings has announced that recently retired racquetball star and former World Champion Jack Huczek has agreed to help the company steer the development of UltraKill and other product lines. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed except that his work with Ashaway will not interfere with his new role as an account manager for Ericsson.
“Jack has been an Ashaway sponsored player for most of his career, and recently has been very instrumental in the development of Ashaway’s new UltraKill product family,” said Steve Crandall, vice president of marketing for the only U.S. manufacturer of racquet strings. “Certainly, there are few people who understand more about how string behaves in a racquet than Jack. So despite his decision to retire from professional competition and to pursue a new career with Ericsson, were pleased he is keeping a finger in the racquetball world a while longer by helping us with our additional product development.”
Huczek announced his retirement from professional racquetball last May, and leaves a legacy starting from his days on the junior circuit to his reign at the top of the professional rankings that may never be met again. Since he picked up his first racquet at his home club in Michigan more than 25 years ago Huczek has amassed 22 World Championships and 42 National Championships. Once becoming a full-time professional player on the International Racquetball Tour in 2000, Huczek reached the finals in more than half of the events he entered. After winning the first of his 29 IRT tournament victories against another legend, Cliff Swain, in January 2002, Jack remained ranked among the Top Five players in the World for the next 10 years. At the end of the 2006-2007 season, he reached the top of that list capturing the coveted No. 1 spot on the IRT Year End Rankings.
“Working with and acting as an ambassador for my sponsors has always been an enjoyable part of being a professional racquetball player,” Huczek said. “Ive worked with Ashaway on the UltraKill family since its inception, play-tested the string very early, and began using it even before it was released. So while Im excited about my new career, Im also very pleased with the opportunity to continue that work with Ashaway, and perhaps help out with some other products as well.”
One area of particular interest for Huczek is using strings with similar construction, like the UltraKill family, in hybrid combinations. “Right now Im using the new UltraKill 16 for my mains and UltraKill 17 for my crosses. This gives me much better performance and playability than either string alone, and adds a degree of durability I need. With three strings in the family now-the 16, 17 and 18 gauge-players can really fine tune their racquets to their particular style without having to contest with the contrasting properties of different string combinations. For example, where different strings lose tension at different rates, the Zyex® core UltraKill strings maintain it at the same rate. The result is the same level of performance for a longer period of time. Also, different strings react to the ball differently, but with UltraKill hybrids, you get the same response from both mains and crosses. It’s a kind of harmony.”
While no travel plans were announced as part of Huczek’s advisory role, he says dont be surprised to see him turning up at a tournament near you.
Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949.