OTTAWA – Kamloops, British Columbia’s Chris Balison was elected Baseball Canada President last night at a Special General Meeting of the federation’s board of directors and executive committee.
Balison replaces now former Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson who’s held the role since 2016 until becoming Baseball Canada CEO last August.
“I’d like to congratulate Chris on the honour of becoming Baseball Canada President,” said Dickson. “I’ve had the chance to work with Chris in recent years and look forward to continuing that working relationship with the shared vision of the growth and development on baseball in Canada.”
Balison became president of Baseball BC in 2020 where he also assumed a spot on Baseball Canada’s Board of Directors. He is now the 12th president in Baseball Canada’s 58-year history dating back to 1964.
Amateur baseball has been a big part of Balison’s life who spends his working days as a Crown Prosecutor. He became president of Kamloops Minor Baseball in 2014 helping nearly double the association’s registration numbers, while also ensuring the game is inclusive and accessible by establishing local Challenger Baseball and female baseball programs.
“I thank Jason for his contributions as President and look forward to working with him in his new role as CEO,” said Balison. “He’s left big shoes to fill, but I am excited to lead Baseball Canada in our continued pursuit of excellence and innovation.”
André Lachance set to depart Baseball Canada
OTTAWA – Baseball Canada’s Business and Sport Development Director André Lachance is bidding farewell to his duties in the federation’s national office later this month as he accepted a role with Cirque du Soleil as their Director, Human Performance Services.
Lachance is also well known in Canadian baseball circles for his work with the Women’s National Team program as Manager from 2004-2018 and off the field as General Manager since 2019, a role which he will also be departing.
Lachance has spent the last 21 years with Baseball Canada.
“I’m certainly experiencing many emotions making this decision and coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be leaving an organization that I care deeply for,” said Lachance. “Looking back, you’re certainly proud of the work that you’ve accomplished but it’s the people that you meet throughout your career and the relationships made that I will cherish the most from my time with Baseball Canada.”
Lachance joined the organization early in 2001 as Manager, Baseball Operations and quickly made an impact with Baseball Canada’s National Championship events and National Coaching (NCCP) programs.
“Looking how far we’ve come with our coaching programs has really been amazing to see in not only how we’re able to deliver coach education opportunities but how many coaches across the country we’ve been able to impact,” said Lachance. “The efforts made by our provincial members and a dedicated group of learning facilitators has been tremendous.”
In 2003, Baseball Canada Director General Jim Baba approached Lachance about coaching the first-ever Women’s National Team with the inaugural Women’s Baseball World Cup set to take place in Edmonton in 2004.
“When Jim asked me to coach, I did not want to do it,” explained Lachance. “I was reluctant to take the job as coaching female athletes was foreign to me at the time.
“I can’t say enough how that decision to coach these talented athletes was one of the best decisions of my life both professionally and personally.”
Lachance led that 2004 squad to a bronze medal in Edmonton, the first of six world cups medals under his watch including bronze in 2006, 2012 and 2018 and silvers in 2008 and 2016.
He also assembled and managed the squad that won silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto where women’s baseball was part of a major, multi-sport games for the first time.
“The growth of women’s baseball has been amazing to witness since 2004 not only in Canada but throughout the world,” said Lachance. “I’m thankful to Jim (Baba) for his belief in me to run the program and am forever grateful to all of the athletes and coaches that given their all for the program over the years.
“The Women’s National Team program is in a terrific place and I’m going to be their number one fan for the rest of my life.”
Not to be forgotten, Lachance was at the forefront of Baseball Canada’s Rally Cap initiation program that began in 2006 and is now enjoyed by thousands of young athletes each and every year.
He has left his fingerprints on many areas of baseball across the country and will still stay close to the international game in roles of Chair, Development Commission with COPABE and as a member of the WBSC Women’s Baseball Commission.
“André has had an immeasurable impact on Baseball Canada at many levels from grassroots programming and coaching and of course the Women’s National Team where his efforts will leave a lasting legacy on the program,” said Baseball Canada CEO Jason Dickson. “André has certainly left Baseball Canada in a better place and has much to be proud of in what he’s accomplished over two decades. We wish him well in his new opportunity and know that he will impact his new workplace in a positive manner.”
Baseball Canada announces roster for 18U Friendship Series
AJAX, ON – Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the names of 30 athletes selected to represent Canada in a seven-game Friendship Series against the United States’ 18U National Team in Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Bradenton, Florida from September 3-9.
The roster was selected following Junior National Team Training Camp held at the Ajax Sportsplex in Ajax, Ontario from August 18 – September 2 where 38 athletes participated in daily practices and intrasquad games.
With the postponement of 2021 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida to 2022, the Friendship Series will be used as a final event for the 2003 age group with the start of the next Junior National Team program cycle (2021/2022) beginning with the Fall Instructional League Camp in Florida this October.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be able to provide our players with an international baseball experience given the difficulties of running our program over the last 18 months,” said Junior National Team Head Coach and Director of Men’s National Teams Greg Hamilton. “Our players will be challenged against a formidable opponent in the United States, and we look forward to the opportunity of competing and representing Canada down in Florida.”
The first three games of the series will take place at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, from September 3rd to 5th before moving to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, on September 4th. The series will shift to Bradenton and the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, LECOM Park, for games on September 7th and 9th with a game at Pirate City in between on September 8th.
Junior National Team Head Coach and Director of Men’s National Teams Greg Hamilton will lead a coaching staff that includes three former national team players in Cole Armstrong, Mike Johnson and Pete Orr.
All games of the Friendship Series will be streamed on USA Baseball’s Facebook Page.
Stay up to date on the Friendship Series by following @BaseballCANJNT on Twitter.
2021 Junior National Team Roster:
(Name; Hometown, Position)
Liam Adamson; London, ON; RHP
Micah Bucknam; Abbotsford, BC; RHP
Parker Burgess; Douro-Dummer, ON; RHP
Caleb Clark; Orillia, ON; LHP
Cameron Chee-Aloy; Toronto, ON; OF
Colin Cymbalista; Pickering, ON; C
Louka Daoust; Repentigny, QC; INF
Ty Doucette; Dartmouth, NS; 1B
Matthew Grabmann; Dartmouth, NS; RHP
Alexis Gravel; Repentigny, QC; OF/LHP
Cameron Gurney; Scotland, ON; C
Tyrus Hall; Victoria, BC; INF
Ty Hamilton; Orleans, ON; OF/LHP
Max Hartman; St. Albert, AB; OF
Carson Hindmarsh; Saskatoon, SK; LHP
Joshua Jones; Blainville, QC; OF
Chase Marshall; Surrey, BC; RHP
Anson McGorman; Parksville, BC; RHP
Owen Millar; Burlington, ON; RHP
Jacob Miller; Oshawa, ON; C/OF
Myles Naylor; Mississauga, ON; 3B/SS
Nate Ochoa Leyva; Burlington, ON; 3B/SS
Jérémy Pilon; Valleyfield, QC; LHP
Turner Spoljaric; Lisle, ON; RHP
Reece Usselman; Langley, BC; LHP
Robin Villeneuve; Gatineau, QC; 1B/LHP
Boston Warkentin; Delta, BC; RHP
Sam White; Aurora, ON; 3B/1B
Jordan Woods; Oakville, ON; LHP
Jacob Zibin; Langley, BC; RHP/3B
Baseball Canada cancels 2021 National Championships
OTTAWA- Due to the ongoing concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and taking into consideration the realities of hosting national level competitions for communities, Baseball Canada’s Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel all 2021 Baseball Canada National Championships scheduled for August and September.
A complete list of the National Championships can be found here.
“The health and safety of all of our members is our first priority and with that said we felt that there was no other choice but to cancel all of our national tournaments for 2021,” said Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson. “When you consider all of the elements that go into a national championship including provincial qualification events, inter-provincial travel, shared accommodations and the strain that running championships in a safe manner would entail for host committees, this was the best decision for all parties involved.”
Although Baseball Canada has made the decision to cancel national championships for a second consecutive year, the federation would like to clearly state that baseball is not cancelled by any means across the country.
“Our provincial members and local associations proved in 2020 that by working with their local health officials in providing a safe environment that a baseball experience can be enjoyed for participants,” added Dickson. “We are confident that our membership can enjoy our sport again in 2021.”
The excitement for baseball across the country has not waned over the past year and it has been encouraging to see the teamwork and creativity that people have displayed in order for the game to be enjoyed.
The Major League Baseball season is now underway and our partners, the Toronto Blue Jays through the Blue Jays Baseball Academy, have provided some excellent resources for families including a “League Finder” interactive map to make it easier to find where baseball is played in Canada.
Registration for baseball is open in many parts of the country and we encourage all families to visit the map here.
Baseball Canada will now focus its national championship efforts on the year 2022 where we anticipate the return of our full slate of championships that will be highlighted by the Canada Games baseball competition in the Niagara region.
“We realize that the decision to cancel our championships for a second time in as many years is not ideal for the athletes and teams that have been working hard with the goal of playing in them,” said Dickson. “We encourage you all to stay focussed on the things that you can control and create an environment that will still allow you to achieve your individual and team goals.
“We look forward to the day that our championships can resume!”