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Highly Touted Zaborowski Brings Unique Quality to NorthPaws

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The Kamloops NorthPaws may have added the most uniquely talented player in the West Coast League.

Ryland Zaborowski is a 6’5” freshman corner infielder at NCAA Division I Grand Canyon University (GCU), and his connection to head coach Cole Armstrong will bring him north for the summer to suit up for the Kamloops NorthPaws.

Zaborowski played under Armstrong’s tutelage last summer in the Arizona Collegiate Wood Bat League, alongside a handful of his future NorthPaws teammates.

“Right away we both just clicked. We talked about hitting non-stop, before and after the game, what we need to work on, what can we improve on, and I just got really close with him,” Zaborowski said. “That’s one of the big reasons I want to play in Canada. Cole is going to be there, and I really trust him as a coach that he’s going to make me a better player and he’s going to make it the best experience for me.”

Zaborowski will bring a highly touted skillset to Norbrock Stadium.

He was ranked by Perfect Game as the top freshman ahead of the NCAA’s Western Athletic Conference 2021 season, and he was also listed as one of the top prospects to watch for the 2023 MLB Draft.

“He hits the ball a country mile and won’t have high strikeouts either. He has a rare combo of power and plate discipline which everybody looks for in a player,” Armstrong said. “He has a tireless work ethic. He will bust as hard on a ground ball to short as on a double to the gap. His ability and desire to be a good player will serve him really well and people in Kamloops will really love to watch him play.”

In addition to his high ranking heading into his collegiate debut, Zaborowski posted impressive numbers in high school. He had a .444 average throughout his high school career, including putting up a 16-for-22 streak for a .727 batting average with four doubles and four home runs to open the shortened 2020 season.

“My goal is just to go out and have fun. Winning or losing, my goal is just to go out and put a smile on your face and enjoy that I’m playing out there with my friends,” Zaborowski said. “I try to represent my game after Mike Trout, staying humble, having a lot of fun, going out there playing hard, hustling everywhere I go, hitting the ball hard, running down balls and just making all the plays consistently.”

 

Photo Credit: GCU Athletics

Zaborowski is also a very unique player. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a child.

Upon signing his letter of intent to play at GCU, he became one of the first high school seniors diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder to sign a Division I letter of intent for a team sport, possibly the first player to do so in baseball.

He will also likely become the first player living with Autism Spectrum Disorder to suit up in the West Coast League.

“Being one of the only ones with Autism playing Division I baseball, it’s a real cool feeling because it’s another way for parents that have children that have Autism that there is hope for their future and just to never give up on their kids,” he said. “It hasn’t affected me at all on the field. Once I’m on the field, people will even say I had no clue you had Autism or a learning disability. When I’m on the baseball field, it’s hard to notice it, but in social interactions there will be times when I can’t process what others are explaining but that’s okay.”

The NorthPaws have also signed left-handed pitcher Connor Markl from GCU. Markl and Zaborowski will join teammates Ty Siffermann and Tyler Wilson as the quartet of GCU players on the NorthPaws inaugural roster.

“GCU is an emerging program on the west coast and I’m very excited for our fans in Kamloops to see the type of players that program is recruiting and developing,” Armstrong said.

Markl features a nasty low to mid-90s sinker, a change-up and a swing and miss type breaking ball.

“His movement creates a really uncomfortable at bat, especially on left-handed hitters,” Armstrong said. “He’s the type of guy who can go out there a no-hit a team when his command is clicking. Depending on his workload at GCU, I hope to see him in the front of our rotation this summer.”

 

Photo Credit: GCU Athletics

The Kamloops NorthPaws are an expansion West Coast League franchise bringing the highest calibre baseball Canada’s Tournament Capital has ever seen. The West Coast League, founded in 2005, has 15 teams across Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta featuring some of the top collegiate players during a 54-game summer season. Find the NorthPaws online at www.northpawsbaseball.ca, @northpawsbaseball on Instagram and Facebook, or @northpawsbb on Twitter.

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Summer Collegiate

Help Us Name Our New Canine Friend

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Our newest friend is dreaming of full stands at Norbrock Stadium.

The newest member of the Kamloops NorthPaws is dreaming of full stands today, on what was supposed to be our inaugural home opener.

This large brown and white canine was adopted from the BC SPCA Kamloops & District Branch to keep us company leading up to our first season at Norbrock Stadium next summer.

This quiet doggo is very playful and loves to make new friends.  This dog is very well-trained and can shake a paw, roll over, play fetch in the outfield and even walk on two legs.

Our new companion has been settling in and has already been spotted bounding through the outfield, dancing in the bleachers, and chasing geese and marmots around Mac Island. Although puzzled by the lack of fans to play with, this friendly canine is excited to explore the Kamloops region this summer.

Keep your eyes out for your chance to meet our new friend this summer, and when you do, please be gentle and don’t play too… ruff.

The new pup does not yet have a name and we need your help. Send us your best, creative ideas.

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NorthPaws Co-Owner to Receive Honourary TRU Degree

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NorthPaws co-owner Norman Daley will be one of four recipients of an honourary degree from Thompson Rivers University in their spring 2021 convocation ceremonies in June.

Daley will be recognized by the university as a community-minded chartered accountant, according the a press release.

In addition to bringing the West Coast League to Kamloops, Daley has been involved in volunteerism in the community for decades. His volunteerism includes co-chair for the 2016 Women’s World Hockey Championship, chairman of the Kamloops Blazers Advisory Board, volunteer chair for the 2014 Tim Hortons, local media chair for the World Junior Hockey Championship, helping the campaign to open the Sussex Insurance Centre indoor baseball facility, community sponsorship co-ordinator for the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament, and working with the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society.

He was previously awarded the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year, Kaizen Award from Sport BC for Innovative Leadership, Community Service Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, and the Pioneer Spirit Award from Kamloops Mayor and City Council.

He was also the founding partner of Daley & Company LLP, Kamloops’ largest independently owned and operated accounting firm, which recently merged with Grant Thornton LLP.

Journalist Andre Picard, computer scientist Maria Klawe and lawyer Marving Storrow are the other honourary degree recipients. Click here for the full press release.



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Western Canadian Baseball League ramping up plans for all-Canadian season

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Lethbridge, AB – In light of the Alberta government’s re-opening plans unveiled on Wednesday, the Western Canadian Baseball League is closing in on some key dates for its upcoming season.

After listening to the announcement, WCBL president Kevin Kvame met with governors to discuss the next steps.

“We have been in close contact with government and health officials since we announced our intentions for an all-Canadian season in March,” Kvame said. “With today’s announcement, we’re extremely excited by the possibilities that are on the horizon for this summer.”

It’s expected that the season will begin on June 18 with the Okotoks Dawgs visiting the Lethbridge Bulls while the expansion Sylvan Lake Gulls host the Edmonton Prospects.

“We will begin the season with a limited number of fans in the stands, as per guidance from officials,” Kvame commented. “We also anticipate increasing that capacity in late-June or early-July, depending on hospitalizations and vaccination rates.”

A tentative schedule is expected to be released over the next week, with the plan for playoff semi-finals August 16-18 and the championship series to be held August 20-22.

He adds the league and its teams will continue to exercise diligence throughout the summer and adhere to all provincial guidelines as they are changed and adopted.

“We’re just excited to get back on the field and provide a great summer of baseball for our talented Canadian players,” Kvame concluded. “We’re also excited for our fans, who we applaud for standing by us as we’ve been planning this season.”

Stay tuned to the Western Canadian Baseball League’s website http://westerncanadianbaseballleague.ca/ and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for further updates on this upcoming season.

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