KAMLOOPS, BC—The Kamloops NorthPaws didn’t have to look far when searching for their newest head coach.
Original article written by Larry Read.
Just days after learning that Brian Anderson had taken a job with NCAA Div I Northwestern University (Illinois), The NorthPaws have named Keith Francis as the third head coach in the teams history.
Francis and Anderson have been working with the Pima Community College Aztecs (National Junior College Athletics Association) in Arizona. Both were looking to come north to Kamloops for the Westcoast League season in early June. Francis had committed to being Anderson’s assistant. He was Anderson’s coach in high school.
“I am looking forward to the coming season,” he says. “My teams are aggressive and play the right way. I never play the other team. If you play the game and play the right way, usually good things come your way. It’s my intent for the NorthPaws to play that way too.”
Francis is currently the assistant coach with Pima. A number of the players on Aztecs roster had been recruited by Anderson to play this summer for the NorthPaws already.
“It will make the job easier (familiarity with the players),” he says. “I will continue to implement a lot of things that we have here. I know those players’ strong points and weak points. We have a couple of pitchers coming up which will be very important. “
The newest NorthPaws skipper has a solid baseball background. His resume includes coaching at Maple Woods Community College (1997-1998), third place in the 1998 Junior College World Series at Grand Junction, CO. Canyon del Oro High School (2000), Assistant Coach, CDO won the 5A State Championship. Canyon del Oro High School (2001-2004), Head Coach, CDO won the 5A State Championship in 2002. Pima Community College (2005-2006), Assistant Coach.
In addition, he was an assistant coach at the University of Arizona (2007-2010) where they made Regionals three of the four years and made it to the Super Regionals in 2008 where they lost to the University of Miami.
“We are going to approach the West Coast League aggressively,” Francis adds. “We will steal a lot of bases, do a lot of hit and runs. That is West Coast baseball. That is the way we will play.”
Francis is looking forward to coaching players that he normally doesn’t see from the West Coast of North America.
‘I can’t wait to get there (to Kamloops) and see the fan base and meet them,” he adds. “As a player having fans behind you makes it fun to come to the ballpark.”
NorthPaws co-owner Norm Daley says, ““We’re really excited to be able to move on so quickly with Keith’s hire. We know that Keith has a wealth of experience and a great knowledge of players and are looking forward to another great NorthPaws season.”
Francis hopes to be in Kamloops at the end of May or early June. His arrival depends on how deep his Pima team goes in the National College World Series. They are currently ranked in the top 20 and have won 14 games in a row.
In the meantime, he will be reaching out to players who have already committed to the NorthPaws this summer and will be securing at least one assistant coach.
The North Paws went 26-27 in their inaugural West Coast League season (2022) under head coach Cole Armstrong. They wound up third in the North Division. Kamloops opens up their 2023 season Tuesday June 2nd in Victoria against the Harbour Cats. Their home opener at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium is Tuesday June 6th when the Portland Pickles come to town.
Ticket information and the complete schedule is available on the NorthPaws website: www.northpawsbaseball.ca.
Victoria HarbourCats – School Spirit Day Returns for 2024!
The best school field trip of the year is back again thanks to Mayfair Optometric Clinic and the HarbourCats.
February 23, 2024
Victoria, BC – The best school field trip in the City is back again and the Victoria HarbourCats and our friends at Mayfair Optometric Clinic would like to invite all elementary, middle and high schools in Greater Victoria to come and have some fun again and join us at the ballpark for our seventh annual School Spirit Game!
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2024 – 11:00 AM, vs. NANAIMO NIGHTOWLS
The response to this event is always incredible, with nearly 3,000 plus students and teachers taking part each season. In fact our 2022 and 2023 games were the highest attended games during those seasons!
“This year will be no different,” says HarbourCats General Manager Christian Stewart. “I already have about 1500 students and teachers that have contacted me to book, once they saw the game on our schedule last November! So if you are planning to come to the game, don’t hesitate to reserve your space as soon as possible, as numbers will be limited.”
The HarbourCats School Spirit Game is a fun, low-cost attendance option for a great June field trip, for classrooms or for the entire school! Just $7.00 per attendee, and like last year, the start time for the game is 11:00am to allow students and faculty to enjoy more of the game.
“Dr. Taylor and Mayfair Optometric Clinic are proud participants in School Spirit Day,” said Mary Lou Newbold, CEO of the company. “As much as 80% of a child’s learning is through vision. Working with the HarbourCats and School Spirit Day is a great way to remind parents and teachers of the importance of kids getting annual eye exams. It’s a really fun day for everyone and we LOOK forward to this game every year!”
To book your tickets or for more information, please contact Christian J. Stewart, General Manager, by email: email@example.com or phone: Office: (778) 265-0327
The Victoria HarbourCats have also partnered again with Wilson’s Transportation to offer discounted rates on booking a bus for your students to get to and from the game at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, should you require it. For 2024, Wilson’s will be offering schools the following rates:
56 Passenger School Bus = $267.50 + 5% GST per transfer; $561.75 roundtrip. If the group has a full bus, the per person cost works out to $5.02 each way ($10.03 roundtrip)
48 Passenger School Bus = $242.50 + 5% GST per transfer; $509.25 roundtrip. If the group has a full bus, the per person cost works out to $5.30 each way ($10.61 roundtrip)
24 Passenger School Bus = $187.50 + 5% GST per transfer; $393.75 roundtrip. If the group has a full bus, the per person cost works out to $8.20 each way ($16.41 roundtrip)
Note that ALL bookings are subject to availability while supplies last, and the above “per person” rates are based on full buses. Buses book up fast, so once your ticket order is in place with us, be sure to contact the Sales staff at Wilson’s (firstname.lastname@example.org) to confirm your booking in plenty of time, as all bookings with Wilson’s must be confirmed no later than May 31st, 2024.
NorthPaws Upping Entertainment In 2024 West Coast League Season
KAMLOOPS, BC—With the weather getting better, it’s time to get excited about the 2024 edition of the Kamloops North Paws baseball team. The third year West Coast League club has unveiled its schedule for the coming year.
The 57-game season includes 31 at home. The NorthPaws have non-league games against Kamloops Minor Baseball, the Kelowna Falcons and Coquitlam Angels.
The NorthPaws home opener will be Friday May 31st at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium. For the second straight season, the Paws will open against the Victoria HarbourCats.
“We are extremely excited for the upcoming season,” states North Paws General Manager Jenna Forter. “Our coaching staff have been hard at work recruiting some great players from across North America and Europe. Although we have several new faces, we have some returning local Kamloops players that we are excited to have on the team. Jose, TC and Riley have all been well received by the players and the community. The coaches and our organization are planning on a strong comeback in 2024.”
She adds: “Our schedule includes 31 home games, with a pre-season exhibition game vs the RiverDogs on May 29th at 6:35 pm at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium, these additional games include seven weekend series and some great theme nights that we are thrilled to announce with our schedule.”
Game times for 2024 will be 6:35 PM for most nights. Sunday games will have 2:05 pm opening pitch.
Again, this coming season, the NorthPaws will have several theme nights. These include Father’s Day, Homer’s Birthday, Canada Day, Family Appreciation night and new this year: “School Spirit Day”.
“School Spirit Day” will be Thursday June 6th where the Paws will tangle with the Bellingham Bells. It will be an 11:30 AM start time. There will be free tickets for students and faculty along with an affordable healthy lunch option.
Says Forter: “The NorthPaws have been occupied in entertainment planning during our off-season and I am happy to share that we have some big theme nights and promotions coming in 2024. We are excited to announce pre-game entertainment, merchandise promotions and major giveaways to kick off our season. Other notable theme nights include our School Spirit Day on June 6 when the NorthPaws invite classes from the schools in Kamloops and surrounding areas for a memorable and educational field trip to our park, Homer’s Birthday – Bark at the Park– sponsored by Bosley’s Valleyview on Friday June 21st.
Forter says, “To celebrate Homer’s Birthday with his furry friends, we are inviting fans to bring their pups for a night of baseball and supporting the BCSPCA.”
Other special events this year include a Pre-Canada Day Weekend Celebration with entertainment and prizes, along with the return of ‘Save On Foods Family Day. Forter adds, “We are introducing Throwback Tuesdays by Molson Coors – the events will feature ticket specials, beer batter drink prices all night and hot dog specials.”
The NorthPaws are making a concerted effort to make their fans happy both on the field and in the stands, but also in the pocketbook.“Our fans are exceptionally loyal, we are extremely grateful for them especially after the challenging 2023 season – it’s something that is not only recognized by our organization, but throughout the West Coast League.” The NorthPaws GM states. “ We are planning on bringing more value to our fans through the introduction of youth and seniors passes, and promotions throughout the season including Fan Appreciation Night to thank them for their devotion for the past two seasons.”
For information on sponsorship, the schedule, and seasons tickets: visit the Kamloops NorthPaws website: www.northpawsbaseball.ca
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact: Jenna Forter
NorthPaws General Manager
Victoria HarbourCats – 2024 March Break Kids Camps Now Open for Registration
The Victoria HarbourCats Youth Development Program is pleased to announce that registration is now open for 2024 March Break Camps over the weeks of March 18-22 and 25-29.
All camps are half-day camps and split into two distinct age groups….8-10 year olds (from 9AM to 12 NOON) and 11-15 year olds (12:30pm to 3:30pm) as noted below.
Camps are designed primarily for for existing youth players who are keen to improve their baseball skills with some extra training before their spring seasons begin.
All Camps take place INDOORS at the Edwards Family Training Centre – HarbourCats Indoor Facility, 1821 Cook Street.
Registration is available through the HarbourCats online store, “The Cat Shop” BY CLICKING HERE:
NOTE: If you are a previous PLAYERS CLUB member that has prepaid for any 2024 camp and wants to be in these camps, please do not use the registration link, but instead, you MUST CONTACT email@example.com to reserve your spot. All spots are limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.
MARCH BREAK CAMP DETAILS:
2024 HarbourCats SPRING BREAK CAMPS – March 2024
Camp Dates: March 18-22 and March 25-29
ALL CAMPS APPROPRIATE FOR BOYS AND GIRLS AGES 8-15.
PLEASE BE SURE TO REGISTER FOR THE APPROPRIATE AGE GROUP and if wanting BOTH weeks, to select both for purchase separately. SLOTS ARE LIMITED TO 15 players per group.
AGES 8-10, HALF DAY 9am to 12 Noon (WEEK 1 March 18-22) $200.00
AGES 8-10, HALF DAY 9am to 12 Noon (WEEK 2 March 25-29) $200.00
AGES 10-15, HALF DAY 12:30pm to 3:30pm (WEEK 1 March 18-22) $200.00
AGES 10-15, HALF DAY 12:30pm to 3:30pm (WEEK 2 March 25-29) $200.00
All camps will be run by Victoria Golden Tide Baseball players and coaches.
For anything custom like missing days, these can be prorated accordingly. In this case, please call the office at 778-265-0327 to register and ask for Christian.