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Victoria HarbourCats | 17-year MLB vet Greg Swindell added to 2021 HarbourCats coaching staff

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Todd Haney completes HarbourCats plans, staff will have combined 31 years of MLB experience

For Immediate Release

Jan. 26, 2021

VICTORIA, B.C. — There are MLB team coaching staffs that don’t have this much big-league playing experience. Count ’em up, 31 years.

Greg Swindell, a 17-year MLB pitcher, has been added by Head Coach Todd Haney for the 2021 Victoria HarbourCats season, as Bench Coach. Add that to Haney’s five seasons and the nine seasons of Pitching Coach Mark Petkovsek, the West Coast League (WCL)) summer collegiate team’s coaching staff will have a combined 31 years of MLB playing time to its credit.

Greg Swindell pitches for the Indians against KC in 1988. File Photo: Cleveland Plain Dealer

A fourth member, Hitting Coach Curtis Pelletier, is a scout for the Miami Marlins. Troy Birtwistle and John Schnaderbeck round out the coaching staff planned for the upcoming WCL season.

“We’re overjoyed to see this coaching staff come together, and even more excited for our players and fans to see what this group can do in terms of development and results,” said Jim Swanson, Managing Partner and GM of the HarbourCats. “Our players are very fortunate this has all come together for us. Greg will have a lot to offer to all sides of the game, not just pitching, but clearly our pitchers have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Haney, Petkovsek and Swindell, a lefty pitcher who appeared in the 1989 MLB All-Star game and won a World Series ring as part of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, played college baseball together for the Texas Longhorns. In fact, in Petkovsek’s recruiting visit to Texas, he was hosted by Swindell.

“I joked we may need a translator with all the Texas drawl we’ll hear in our dugout,” said Swanson.

Swindell won a World Series while pitching for Arizona in 2001.

The three have had a close friendship ever since. Haney guided the HarbourCats to within one game of the WCL title in 2019, and his 39 wins that season is the third-highest total in league history.

“I’ve talked to Greg about this for a few years, and he was in Victoria before (with wife Sarah) on a cruise ship stop, so he knows what a great city it is,” said Haney. “The timing is right for him now, and we’re glad to have him. We all know what it takes to prepare and be successful in this game, to the highest level.”

Haney, who played for the Cubs, Expos and Mets, and Swindell coached together in the summer of 2020 in an impromptu pro league that popped up during the pandemic, when the WCL was on hiatus.

Petkovsek pitched for the Rangers, Pirates, Cardinals and Angels between 1991 and 2001, going 46-28 with a 4.74 ERA.

“I know what kind of coaches and people Todd and Mark are, and what Todd says about the HarbourCats program,” said Swindell, who played for Cleveland (twice), Houston, Minnesota, Arizona, Cincinnati and Boston, going 123-122 with a 3.89 ERA, with a whopping 664 appearances. The 56-year-old won at least 10 games six times, and after retiring in 2002 he has been inducted in both the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

“I fell in love with Victoria very quickly, and a summer there in such great weather helping players strive for improvement, working with close friends who are accomplished professionals themselves, is something I really look forward to.”

Swindell (top left), his wife Sarah and his four children (front, L to R, Hayley, Dawson, Brenna, Sophia) are looking forward to travelling to Victoria and working with the HarbourCats.

Swindell has been a successful coach at the college level, including at Texas, along with media and charity work since his playing days. He was on the coaching staff for the 2005 College World Series championship team from Texas. He’s currently part of Longhorns baseball broadcasts.

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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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