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Summer Collegiate

WCL Adds Springfield Drifters as Newest Member Team

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April 22, 2021

Thursday, the West Coast League announced the addition of the expansion Springfield Drifters as the league’s 16th member team. The Drifters will join the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, and Portland Pickles as the league’s fourth Oregon-based team.

“When you look at a map,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer, “adding another team in the Willamette Valley is an easy call for us. We were simply waiting for the perfect situation, and with the Springfield Baseball Project, that’s now exactly what we’ve got.”

The Drifters, Bushnell University, and Huddle Up Foundation comprise the Springfield Baseball Project, which is partnering with Springfield Public Schools to renovate the Hamlin Sports Complex baseball field, located at Hamlin Middle School. Beginning in 2022, both the Drifters and the Bushnell Beacons will call the Hamlin Sports Complex home in their inaugural seasons.

“Bringing the high-level play of the West Coast League to Springfield is a baseball dream come true,” said Drifters General Manager Jamie Christopher. “Through the Springfield Baseball Project and Springfield Public Schools’ partnership, we are not only building a first-class baseball facility; we’re also bringing a community facility to an under-served youth population.”

The Drifters join the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls as the four expansion teams set to begin play in 2022. Edmonton, Kamloops and Nanaimo, along with the Victoria HarbourCats and Kelowna Falcons, are gearing up for the 2022 campaign after withdrawing from the 2021 season due to continuing pandemic-related border and gathering limitations.

Springfield’s ownership team of Ike Olsson, from Olsson Industrial Electric; and Kelly Richardson of Richardson Sports, have been planning this venture for a year. “In partnership with the school district,” said Olsson, “we are honored to present our community with another phenomenal baseball complex that builds upon Huddle Up Foundation’s success with Rich Schwab Field at Maple Elementary School. This new project will continue Huddle Up’s mission of providing mentorship and after-school programs to underserved local youth.”

“The Springfield School District has been an ideal partner. Without their cooperation and shared vision, the Drifters Baseball Club and this new facility would not be possible,” said Richardson. “We are excited to bring collegiate baseball to the Springfield community and provide a first-class facility for local kids to use and be proud of.”

To find more information about the Springfield Drifters Baseball Club, visit www.driftersbaseball.com. Fans can follow the team on social media: @driftersbball on Facebook and Twitter.

About the West Coast League: The West Coast League is the West’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and now Alberta, the WCL showcases pro prospects from major collegiate conferences around the nation. Every summer, the league features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with North America’s best baseball weather. The 2019 MLB amateur draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected with the overall No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles. Also in 2019, 317 WCL alums were active in affiliated professional baseball, including 45 in the major leagues, while overall attendance in the West Coast League increased to nearly half a million fans.

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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