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Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Sign Local Captain Rihela

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The Kamloops NorthPaws have added local standout Liam Rihela to the inaugural roster.

Rihela grew up in Surrey, but now calls Kamloops home.

“The opportunity to play in Kamloops was the big sell for everything,” he said about signing with the NorthPaws. “I’m trying to set some roots up here and being able to see baseball in Kamloops grow, being involved with the younger guys and minor baseball and how much baseball has taken off in the short time I’ve been in Kamloops, I’m just excited to see the continuation of that.”

Rihela is the captain of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack, where he is primarily an infielder. A left-handed batting utility player, he says he takes pride in his versatility and ability to play almost every position.

“I never really had a designated position that I liked, even at a young age, that I was really ecstatic to play at that position only,” he said. “I’m just trying to be a well-rounded player and any team that I’m on, I’m just trying to help them win in any way possible.”

In the 2019 season, Rihela finished sixth in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference with a .349 batting average, third in the league with 20 RBIs and was named a first team all-star.

Photo Credit: TRU Athletics/Allen Douglas

“He’s been through the trenches and made it out the other side. He’s hungry and eager for an opportunity to play at higher levels,” said head coach Cole Armstrong. “Secondary from the talent he brings us, his wealth of perspective within the college game is going to be a big plus. I have a hunch he might be someone we come to rely on in tough situations and I think he’s the type who thrives when the water gets a little muddy.”

Rihela began his college career at Trinity University where he won the 2015 Division III College World Series. He was injured during his sophomore campaign, then deciding to take a year away from playing.

It was during this year off, while at a tournament coaching the White Rock bantam team, he ran into WolfPack coach Ray Chadwick who convinced him to move to Canada’s Tournament Capital.

Photo Credit: TRU Athletics

He has continued coaching, working with players from Kamloops Minor Baseball Association whenever his playing schedule allows.

“It’s been fun trying to be a bit of the coach, but also not being the coach at the same time. Just being one of the older players trying to help guys out rather than a coach, per say, telling them the strict ‘do this and do that,’” Rihela said. “I think that’s been a big help in my game.”

He also brings previous Canadian summer collegiate baseball experience to the NorthPaws, having spent two summers playing in the Western Canadian Baseball League with the Okotoks Dawgs and the Fort McMurray Giants.

“The experience was amazing. The fan bases in both those places, it was unreal to have all that support from fans, kind of that minor league atmosphere,” Rihela said. “It’s going to be a lot nicer to do it in Kamloops, get that summer weather here, I always missed that. I’ve never had a full summer at home so it’ll be nice to enjoy the weather and everything that Kamloops has to offer but still be able to do the baseball side of it.”

Photo Credit: TRU 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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Summer Collegiate

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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