All five Canadian WCL teams will now sit out the 2021 season.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2021
VICTORIA and NANAIMO, B.C. — The virus continues to win — in life, and in sports.
With great sadness, following extensive evaluations and consultations with Canadian West Coast League (WCL) teams in Kamloops and Edmonton, the ownership group that leads both the Victoria HarbourCats and Nanaimo NightOwls is announcing the cancellation of their 2021 seasons due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the HarbourCats, this will be the second, devastating season in a row with no baseball at Wilson’s Group Stadium, while the NightOwls were gearing up and looking forward to their inaugural season in the league under the brand-new lights at historic Serauxmen Stadium in Nanaimo.
The Edmonton Riverhawks and Kamloops NorthPaws were also looking forward to their first year in the league. The Kelowna Falcons previously announced their withdrawal from the 2021 WCL season in March. The 10 U.S.-based WCL teams, thanks to more effective vaccine roll-outs and COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Washington and Oregon, will be playing a modified, U.S.-only schedule, with teams being allowed to have fans in some capacity.
Unfortunately for the Canadian teams, given the ongoing nature of the pandemic — the recent rise in case numbers and variants, the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines and current and possible future restrictions in both British Columbia and Alberta, along with the ongoing Canadian-US Border closure — ownership felt they had no other choice but to cancel the 2021 season.
“There are simply too many things working against us,” said Jim Swanson, currently the GM of both the HarbourCats and the NightOwls. “We certainly appreciate the efforts of the NorthPaws and Riverhawks in truly exploring all options for a 2021 season, they will be great additions to the WCL and the Canadian side of the league, now starting in 2022.”
“We are also very appreciative of both our fan base and our sponsorship base, who have continued to support both teams and remain patient,” added Swanson. “The groundswell of support in Nanaimo has been nothing short of tremendous, with major partners such as Island Savings, Save On Foods, Panago on Fourth, and Mid Island Co-op to name a few, coming on board as inaugural partners. And in Victoria, we appreciate that the long-time partners we have cultivated over the last few years, are sticking by our side and will be ready to roll again in 2022.
“This is hard on our staff and coaches, and we now give players time to find places to develop further this summer, likely somewhere in the U.S. Make no mistake — the HarbourCats will be back at Wilson’s Group Stadium, and the NightOwls are going to get off the ground in 2022.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps also expressed her disappointment in not being able to see the HarbourCats in action this season. “Right about now, what many people would like to do is something normal like having a burger and a beer and cheering on our home team. I respect the decision of the HarbourCats management and thank them for keeping our community safe. In the meantime, I know we’ll all look forward with anticipation to the 2022 season.”
Fans who have purchased tickets, or ticket vouchers for both HarbourCats and NightOwls 2021 games, will receive full value for their purchases. Season Ticket holders who have paid in full, will automatically have their tickets rolled over into the 2022 season. Fans with 2020 or 2021 specific game tickets (HarbourCats) or 2020 or 2021 flex pack vouchers (both teams), will be able to redeem those for tickets into the 2022 season once that schedule is announced.
With regard to the 2022 schedule, there is hope that the league makes developing that a priority over the next few weeks, despite the fact that the 10 U.S. teams will be playing in 2021. “One of the best things that the league can do for the Canadian teams right now, in fact for all the teams, ” said Christian J. Stewart, the HarbourCats Assistant GM, Ticketing and Media, “is to develop and release a 2022 schedule as early as possible. In that way, our teams can immediately start marketing and planning for that schedule, rather than having to wait until the late fall, when the WCL schedule is traditionally released.”
Both the HarbourCats and the NightOwls will continue to build to what will certainly be a celebratory return to baseball in 2022 and will find ways to add special events when allowed to do so. 2022 Season tickets, 10-game flex packs, gift cards and merchandise will continue to be available for both teams, and new sponsors are of course welcome to join both teams and be part of that celebration. Substantial stadium improvements will continue in Nanaimo and both teams will continue to be involved as key members of their communities.
Victoria fans can also look forward to the launch of the Golden Tide, the HarbourCats-backed entry in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC) who are slated to begin play in September at Wilson’s Group Stadium, under the guidance of Head Coach Curtis Pelletier. Fans will be encouraged to come down and take in practices and games when they begin, with no cost for admission.
“While it will be another tough summer missing our fans, the excitement of the game and the fun things we do at the park,” noted Stewart, “we know that our fans will be back in force in 2022 and that is the motivation that we will all use to get us through this. Opening day in 2022 is going to be one heck of a party and we can’t wait to see everyone there!”
Further details and updates on ticket exchanges and timing, as well as other teams updates can be found on the team’s respective websites at www.harbourcats.com and www.nanaimonightowls.com. Fans are also urged to sign-up for the e-mail lists of both teams and follow both teams on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for all the latest news.
Managing Partner, HarbourCats and NightOwls
Assistant GM, HarbourCats
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.