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Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Add Trio of NCAA Division I Players

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The Kamloops NorthPaws have deepened their inaugural roster with the addition of three players at the beginning of their NCAA Division I seasons.

Catcher Marshal Luiz, shortstop Zane Skansi and outfielder Hunter Swapp have been signed for the 2021 West Coast League season.

Marshal Luiz

Photo Credit: JSU Athletics

Luiz is a Canadian sophomore catcher at Jackson State University who will bring another left-handed bat to the NorthPaws lineup.

He played in 46 games as a freshman with a .252 batting average and 18 RBIs. He played in nine games in 2020 before the season came to an early close.

“I don’t strike out a lot so I’m a really tough out. My freshman year I only struck out like 12 or 15 times in 40 to 50 games. That’s something I’m proud of that I’m not an easy guy to get out,” Luiz said. “I’ll do anything it takes to get on base. I’ll lay down a bunt every now and then and I definitely want to help the team win. So, if we need a sac bunt or a hit and run, I’m your guy.”

Luiz, who grew up in Surrey, jumped at the opportunity to play summer ball close to home and learn from head coach Cole Armstrong, who played 10 professional seasons behind home plate.

“It’s pretty cool to have a West Coast League team not too far from home and be able to play competitive baseball in such a highly touted summer collegiate league. Being a BC guy, it’s going to be really cool to experience that and be a part of it.”

Jackson State were swept in their three-game series against Mercer University to open the 2021 season. They were ranked to finish second in the Southwest Athletic Conference East Division in preseason rankings.

Zane Skansi

Photo Credit: Utah Utes

Skansi is a freshman middle infielder at the University of Utah.

He is from Gig Harbor, Wash. and was a multi-sport athlete in high school playing baseball and football before choosing the diamond over the gridiron for his collegiate career.

“I’m a power hitter. I like to hit doubles and home runs. I can go gap to gap. I take pride in my defense as well,” Skansi said. “I love making the great plays but making the routine plays consistently is something I pride myself in too.”

Skansi picked up his first collegiate at-bat on Sunday when he pinch hit in a loss to Cal State Fullerton during the season-opening series.

Utah was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West Conference preseason coaches’ poll.

Hunter Swapp

Photo Credit: BYU Athletics

Swapp is a sophomore at Brigham Young University (BYU).

He is entering his first full collegiate season as he was limited to seven at-bats in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Swapp, from Heber City, Utah, will bring speed to the NorthPaws outfield. His fastest posted time is a 6.30 60-yard dash, the same as Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout. By comparison, the Major League average is 6.90.

“I’m a competitor. I pride myself in having competitive at bats. I can run, so I like to implement that in my game,” Swapp said. “I feel like I can get to anything in the outfield and leg out some extra bases and extra base hits. I can hit for a little bit of power. I think I have some variety in my game.”

BYU will wrap up a four-game, season-opening series against Texas State University on Tuesday. They were picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference preseason coaches’ poll.

NorthPaws fans can follow the progress of all the Kamloops-bound players, as all three of the signees continue their 2021 season with multiple games this week.

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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