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Oregon State Duo Joins NorthPaws with Eyes on College World Series

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The Kamloops NorthPaws is looking to an NCAA program with a rich history of success to continue building the inaugural roster.

Oregon State University’s sophomore outfielder Wade Meckler and freshman utility player Brady Kasper have signed with the NorthPaws for 2021.

“We’re fortunate to have guys from a program like Oregon State. We want to create a winning culture in Kamloops and it starts with bringing in players who know how to win,” said head coach Cole Armstrong.

The team’s history of success was a key factor in both players’ commitments to Oregon State.

“When I committed, they were just coming off I think the highest win total in Pac-12 history. They went 27-3 in the Pac-12 and the year I committed here they won a national championship, so it was one of the best overall programs in the country,” Meckler said. “That’s the goal, to get to Omaha and win the whole thing.”

“When I was younger, I would watch them on tv with my dad because they were in the College World Series or Super Regionals almost every year. I just remember watching them all the time and thinking I want to go there,” Kasper said.

Wade Meckler | Photo Credit: OSU Athletics

Meckler, from Yorba Linda, Calif., was slated to play in the West Coast League with Corvallis in 2020 before the season was cancelled and is excited about another opportunity to play in the league.

“I wanted to stay on the West Coast. My coaches believe that the West Coast League is one of the best leagues competition wise in the country, so they wanted me to stay out here,” Meckler said. “I think the West Coast League is surpassing a lot of these other leagues that are historically known as the best leagues. I really think this is the biggest up and coming league in the country.”

For his 2021 collegiate season, Meckler said he wants to reach 80 hits and have good plate discipline, earning walks for at least 10 per cent of his at bats.

“I feel like if I do both of those things, I’m putting myself in a good position to be one of the best leadoff hitters in the country,” he said.

“If I had to use one phrase to use the way I play, its ‘high-octane.’ It’s full-go, it’s high-intensity, it might cause some scraps with the other team but at the end of the day I’m an extremely competitive person and it shows in the way I play, everything is 100 per cent.”

“He’s a veteran presence who will provide experience and leadership to go with a top of the order bat,” Armstrong said of the outfielder.

Kasper, from Mission Viejo, Calif., will get his first taste of summer collegiate baseball in Kamloops after the pandemic impacted his senior high school season.

Brady Kasper | Photo Credit: OSU Athletics

“Kamloops, I saw pictures of it and it just looks awesome. I saw the golf courses and the rivers for fishing, the town looks awesome, the field looks awesome and I didn’t need to look anywhere else. That looks like somewhere I want to be for the summer,” Kasper said.

Kasper is slated as a player who can slide into multiple positions and provide some versatility to the NorthPaws lineup.

“He’s a loud, left-handed bat who could provide a presence in the middle of our batting order,” Armstrong said of the freshman.

Before they can turn their focus on Kamloops, Meckler and Kasper are set on proving the pundits wrong. Oregon State was ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in preseason polls.

“I think we’re going to be a threat this year. We’ve been ranked a little lower in the polls than we think we should’ve been and I think we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong this year,” Meckler said.

“I feel like we just need to take it game by game and prove everyone wrong. I don’t think rankings matter very much to us, it is just a little bit more fuel to the fire just because they did rank us so low,” Kasper echoed. “It pissed some guys off, so we’re going to come out strong and we’re going to come out ready to win.”

Oregon State is off to a strong start to the 2021 season with a 4-1 record through the first week of the season. Meckler and Kasper are locked in a four-game series this weekend against their future NorthPaws teammates, including week one NCAA hits leader Ryland Zaborowski, with Grand Canyon University.

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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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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