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Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Add Pair of UBC Freshman Pitchers

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The Kamloops NorthPaws have strengthened their inaugural rotation with two freshman pitchers from the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

Vic Domingo and Sean Heppner are following very parallel paths through their baseball development.

They both grew up playing in the BC Premier Baseball League, they simultaneously attended the 2019 Tournament 12 showcase hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy, they are dorm mates for their freshman season with the Thunderbirds, and they will both look to solidify the NorthPaws pitching staff this summer.

The NorthPaws have six Thunderbirds players signed for the 2021 season.

“UBC is a tremendous program that has set the standard for player development at the collegiate level in Canada,” said head coach Cole Armstrong. “Having the opportunity to showcase Thunderbird players against players attending NCAA schools is something we’re very excited about.”

Vic Domingo

Domingo is the first player to play for the Thunderbirds after developing for the UBC Thunder youth program. Even though he received attention from other schools, he wanted to stay at home to play baseball and study.

Photo Credit: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds

“I love the culture, I love everything about UBC,” Domingo said. “I’ve been playing here since I was 15 years old. This is my home, this is where I want to be so I don’t see why I would go anywhere else.”

The Vancouverite has had the opportunity to represent Canada on two occasions.

His South Vancouver represented Canada at the Little League World Series when he was 11 years old, and he made the Junior National Team in 2020, which was unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic after spring training in Florida.

Listed at 5’10”, Domingo is the shortest pitcher on the NorthPaws roster, but his demeanour and ever-improving three-pitch repertoire – fastball, changeup and slurve – gives his coaches the confidence he will succeed in the West Coast League.

“He comes after you, he challenges you on the mound. He might be shorter in stature than some of these other guys, but he doesn’t lack anything from the confidence piece and the presence on the mound,” said Sammie Starr, assistant coach for both the Thunderbirds and the NorthPaws. “He’s gritty, he’s not scared of anybody and his stuff is good. He’s got the stuff to back it up. When we put him out there, I would feel comfortable with him on the mound against almost anybody at this point.”

Sean Heppner

Heppner is the most Canadian American on the NorthPaws roster. Though his identification indicates he is a resident of the United States, his resume would suggest he’s from the Great White North.

Photo Credit: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds

Heppner grew up in Point Roberts, Wash., located on the southernmost point of the Tsawwassen Peninsula. A town where the only land access through to the rest of Washington is to drive through B.C.

“Because Point Roberts is isolated from the rest of Washington, I’ve basically done everything in Canada my whole life with school, baseball, all sports and all my friends are in Canada too,” Heppner said. “It’s definitely one of the most unique places in North America because it’s basically Canada, but it’s not.”

He was the ace on the 2019 version of the North Delta Blue Jays, helping win a Baseball BC provincial title and earn a berth at nationals.

He throws what he calls a very traditional mix of pitches with a fastball, changeup and slider.

“Sean’s a bit more of a later bloomer. He had a really successful senior year in the PBL and has made huge strides in the past eight months,” Starr said. “This fall he just dominated our guys throughout our fall camp.”

The next step for Heppner will be to test himself against West Coast League talent.

“When I heard about Kamloops and how it’s part of the West Coast League, how it’s such a competitive league and also that it’s starting up as a new organization, I was really excited and really want to be a part of that first season with the team,” he said.

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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Summer Collegiate

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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