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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

Victoria HarbourCats – Summer’s favourite fireworks dates set by HarbourCats

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Four fireworks nights scheduled as part of HarbourCats 10th Anniversary Celebrations!

March 17, 2023

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. — When the season schedule is announced, people of Victoria have a question right away — when are the fireworks games, and can we buy tickets now?

The HarbourCats are excited to unveil the four ultra-popular fireworks dates for 2023, games that always see the team’s attendance at The Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park swell significantly, usually selling out early.

  • Saturday, June 3 — 6:35pm, presented by THE WILSON’S GROUP
  • Friday, June 30 — 6:35pm, presented by RE/MAX GENERATION
  • Friday, July 14 — 6:35pm, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of ODLUM BROWN
  • Saturday, July 29 — 6:35pm, presented by JOAN WALLACE DRIVING SCHOOL

“We see a crush of ticket interest, more than usual, for fireworks games, exciting nights for the team and the community,” said Christian Stewart, GM of the HarbourCats. “Yes, some games are already starting to fill up — fireworks, Opening Night, Fathers Day and others.”

The fireworks show open with a welcome-back-show on Saturday June 3, the day after the June 2 home opener, with the Kamloops NorthPaws in Victoria.

The ever-popular Canada Day Eve fireworks, Friday, June 30th, commonly viewed by 5,000-plus and with community members surrounding the park, starting the July long weekend with the Bellingham Bells as the opposition.

Valued partner Odlum Brown is celebrating 100 years in the same year as the HarbourCats reach their 10th anniversary in the WCL. To help them, the team and Odlum Brown have combined for a special Friday July 14 fireworks show.

The final “Summer Celebration” fireworks are an early salute to BC Day, held on Saturday July 29 instead of the normal BC Day Monday.

The four fireworks nights are part of a number of special promotions that the HarbourCats will have this season to celebrate their 10th Anniversary.  “Our fireworks nights and the other fun promotions we do are part of what Victoria looks forward to each summer, dating back 10 years,” said Stewart. Stay tuned, we have a lot more to announce in the weeks leading up to the 2023 season.”

For a sneak peak at other upcoming HarbourCats special promotions and themed games, please visit our Events and Promotions page HERE.

The HarbourCats celebrate their 10th Anniversary in 2023 and the season kicks off with the home opener against the Kamloops NorthPaws on Friday June 2, 2023.  Single game tickets for that game, all four fireworks nights, and the remainder of our 31 HarbourCats home games in 2023 are now on sale and can be purchased on-line through our one-and-only ticketing partner, Select Your Tickets, at harbourcats.com/tickets.  They can also be purchased at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or at the Select Your Tickets box office at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.  Fans can also call 778-265-0327 to order over the phone.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are also now on sale.  For details on all ticketing options, including our special $10.00 Tuesdays, Forces Fridays and Save-on-Food Vouchers, please visit harbourcats.com/ticketinfo.

HOST FAMILIES!  The HarbourCats are in need of host families for 2023!  If you are interested, you can find more details HERE, or contact Cindy Kent, our Host Family Coordinator by e-mail at hostfamily@harbourcats.com.

ATTENTION 2022 SEASON TICKET HOLDERS!  If you have not yet renewed and paid in full for your seats for the 2023 season, they have now been released and are now available for sale to the general public.  Chances are good that they are still available, so if you would like to renew, contact chris@harbourcats.com or call 778-265-0327 ASAP to have the best chance to grab the same seats as last year.

 

 

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Summer Collegiate

Victoria HarbourCats – Come to a Game, Win a FREE Funeral!

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HarbourCats revive popular game promotion, July 30

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. — It’s the last prize you ever need to win — people are dying to go to this game.

All the punny-yet-macabre lines can rise up once more as the Victoria HarbourCats are proud to again give away an end-of-life package that includes the basics of a funeral, something the team did a few times prior to the pandemic.

Yes, you must be in attendance — and fully alive — to win on that Sunday, July 30, a 1pm start when the HarbourCats take on the Kelowna Falcons. Everyone in attendance can enter to win a prize that also includes a will package and insurance review.

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre provides a simple cremation package that includes cremation, casket, urn, transfers, and death certificate, along with a celebration of life and reception venue — a value of more than $4,000.

Mary S. McManus, a barrister/solicitor with Stevenson Doell Law Corporation, provides a will, power of attorney and advanced directive for health care, worth $950 (excluding taxes and disbursements.

Mike Reilly of Gaining Altitude Financial provides a retirement, insurance and critical illness assessment package that will get you to your destination despite life’s turbulence.

“This is a tongue in cheek way of bringing more awareness to the importance of having your affairs in order, and if we can do that through a HarbourCats game, that’s great,” said Jim Swanson of the HarbourCats.

“My family has dealt with a lot of loss the last five years, so the needs here really hit home. The easier we can make it for our loved ones, the better it is. I’m very thankful for these companies being involved and helping educate people through this special day at Wilson’s Group Stadium at RAP. The day is coming for us all, we’re trying to bring a little bit of levity to that fact of life, and bring awareness.

“We are thankful to Christie Doyle of H.W. Wallace, to Mary McManus, and to Mike Reilly for being involved in this memorable day.”

The HarbourCats celebrate their 10th Anniversary in 2023 and the season kicks off with the home opener against the Kamloops NorthPaws on Friday June 2, 2023.  Single game tickets for that game and all 31 HarbourCats home games in 2023 are now on sale and can be purchased on-line through our one-and-only ticketing partner, Select Your Tickets, at harbourcats.com/tickets.  They can also be purchased at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or at the Select Your Tickets box office at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.  Fans can also call 778-265-0327 to order over the phone.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are also now on sale.  For details on all ticketing options, including our special $10.00 Tuesdays, Forces Fridays and Save-on-Food Vouchers, please visit harbourcats.com/ticketinfo.

HOST FAMILIES!  The HarbourCats are in need of host families for 2023!  If you are interested, you can find more details HERE, or contact Cindy Kent, our Host Family Coordinator by e-mail at hostfamily@harbourcats.com.

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Victoria HarbourCats – HarbourCats add seven to 2023 roster, including five pitchers and three locals

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A 2022 WCL Pitcher of the Week winner, returning HarbourCat Cooper Crompton (above) highlights the latest round of 2023 player announcements

February 28, 2023

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. — Top arms from TCU, a pro prospect catcher from George Mason and three local players highlight the latest round of signings for the 2023 season of Victoria HarbourCats baseball.

“We always value securing local and Canadian players where they fit with their stage of development and the quality competition in the West Coast League,” said General Manager Christian Stewart. “Our fans also like seeing players return, and that’s the case in these latest signings with Cooper Crompton, Noah Takacs and Dawson Hurford. I know the coaching staff is excited to see Connor Dykstra and Tyrus Hall, and the TCU guys coming north for the summer are premium arms.”

Announced today are:

  • Tyrus Hall, IF, school undecided, 6-2/190, Victoria, B.C.
  • Connor Dykstra, C, George Mason University, 6-1/230, Chilliwack, B.C.
  • Cooper Crompton, RHP, Iowa Western (committed to Oregon), 6-5/180, Langley, B.C.
  • Kole Klecker, RHP, Texas Christian University (TCU), 6-2/205, Chandler, AZ
  • Louis Rodriguez, RHP, Texas Christian University (TCU), 6-1/205, Long Beach, CA
  • Noah Takacs, RHP, Sacramento State, 6-3/200, Victoria, B.C.
  • Dawson Hurford, RHP, Southern Arkansas, 6-3/210, Victoria, B.C.

Hall is a Canadian national junior team product who played for the Victoria Eagles, and is known for his defence and strong arm. He is taking a gap year after high school and going to showcase events while working through his recruitment process, and will decide on a college program soon. Has primarily played as a shortstop.

Former Victoria Eagle and Canadian JNP product Ty Hall will give the ‘Cats some great talent in the middle infield

Dykstra, a big man at 6-1/230, found his name on the list of the top 50 NCAA Division 1 catchers due to his strong work behind the plate and his lethal right-hand bat. In 2022, he hit .444 with six home runs and 33 RBIs while also swiping four bases in the Atlantic10 Conference. Dykstra also got hit by pitch 21 times in 51 games played. He jumped to George Mason from Galveston College.

Dykstra will be a solid presence behind the plate this season

Crompton, currently in his second year at Iowa Western, where he is already 2-0 on the season, made five starts for the HarbourCats in 2022, amassing 24.2 innings and giving up just 20 hits while walking only seven and earned a WCL Pitcher of the Week award for his efforts.  He is committed to the Oregon Ducks in the fall.

Victorian Noah Takacs will return in 2023 to bolster the HarbourCats pitching staff (Photo: Christian J Stewart)

Rodriguez was a USA Baseball national team participant from the time he was 12, and was Orange County pitcher of the year as a senior in high school. He’s 1-0 with a 3.37 ERA as a TCU freshman. Kole Klecker — already makes the WCL’s all-name team — threw a complete game to help his high school win the Arizona state championship. Is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 11 strikeouts (and no walks) in 8.1 innings already as a freshman at TCU.

Louis Rodriguez has been a member of Team USA since the age of 12 and won in his debut this spring with TCU.

Takacs, a product of the Victoria Eagles, is a sophomore at Sacramento State, was 1-1 with a 5.01 ERA for the HarbourCats in six starts in 2022. He’s now thrown more than 80 innings for Sac State, and is 3-3 over 16 starts.

Hurford, a Victoria Mariners product, threw in six games as a HarbourCat in 2022, with a record of 0-1 and 6.46 ERA. He’s moved from Western Nebraska College to NCAA Division-2 University of Southern Arkansas, where he is used out of the bullpen.

Already 2-0 in his freshman year at TCU, Kole Klecker should be a key arm in the HarbourCats bullpen in 2023.

The HarbourCats celebrate their 10th Anniversary in 2023 and the season kicks off with the home opener against the Kamloops NorthPaws on Friday June 2, 2023.  Single game tickets for that game and all 31 HarbourCats home games in 2023 are now on sale and can be purchased on-line through our one-and-only ticketing partner, Select Your Tickets, at harbourcats.com/tickets.  They can also be purchased at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or at the Select Your Tickets box office at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.  Fans can also call 778-265-0327 to order over the phone.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are also now on sale.  For details on all ticketing options, including our special $10.00 Tuesdays, Forces Fridays and Save-on-Food Vouchers, please visit harbourcats.com/ticketinfo.

HOST FAMILIES!  The HarbourCats are in need of host families for 2023!  If you are interested, you can find more details HERE, or contact Cindy Kent, our Host Family Coordinator by e-mail at hostfamily@harbourcats.com.

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