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Western Canadian Baseball League’s 2021 season to proceed

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League announces five to seven teams will proceed in 2021 using Canadian players only, six teams will not play

Lethbridge, AB – For the first time in Western Canadian Baseball League history, all players will be from Canada!

“The long-standing league, with a history dating back over 80 years, is excited to put this unique product on the field this summer for Canadian players,” League President Kevin Kvame commented on this major development.

After ongoing discussions and a meeting earlier this week, governors agreed this move would be a real opportunity to showcase how much the game has grown and developed in training top-notch baseball players and students in Canada. The league has also announced that non-Canadian players that had been recruited have been informed that it is unlikely that we will be able to resolve border issues in time for the 2021 season and have allowed those players to seek playing opportunities elsewhere.

“While we’re extremely disappointed that we won’t be seeing US and other foreign players as we would in a normal season, we are confident that the quality of Canadian athletes who play this great game at an extremely-high, competitive level will perform for their respective teams,” Kvame added. “In addition, we felt it vital to let our significant number of foreign players know that the window and opportunity to get them to our 2021 clubs is becoming too tight and we want them to have the opportunity to adjust their plans given the current health restrictions in Canada.”

The league has also announced that the 2021 season will not feature all eleven of its member franchises. The Okotoks Dawgs (2 teams), Lethbridge BullsSylvan Lake Gulls and Edmonton Prospects have committed teams consisting of Canadian talent. The Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks continue to discuss the options available to them and will decide in the coming weeks. And unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, border issues and the uncertainty of any changes, the Swift Current 57’sRegina Red SoxWeyburn BeaversMoose Jaw Miller Express and Brooks Bombers have regrettably made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to wait until 2022 to return to the field.

“Just like 2020, the WCBL is aware of the logistical differences between communities in the league and those logistics may result in some franchises having to make the difficult decision to accept an emergency leave of absence,” Kvame said. “However, we also feel it is important to provide a platform for our strong Canadian talent that needs to continue to develop this summer and, as such, we have assembled key franchises who can pull off this endeavour.”

Kvame also noted that the decisions have been made in the best interests of players, coaches, staff, officials and fans. He adds the teams are eager to bring baseball back to each community as quickly and safely as possible, with government and health authority consent, as baseball is a part of the fabric of our communities and it’s vital to provide a safe outlet for our world-class athletes.

“The franchises and teams that have committed to this unique 2021 season realize the challenges ahead,” Kvame said. “Fan capacities are uncertain and will likely be very limited to start. However, we’re also optimistic that our message about baseball being a naturally socially-distanced game in an outdoor setting will take root and make for positive communities for those choosing to participate this summer.”

As for those teams that couldn’t take part, he’s optimistic they will continue to be stewards of the sport in their respective communities and will try to remain as involved as possible.

“I can tell you that no rock was left unturned by those teams that opted out,” Kvame added. “They have met, brainstormed, considered roster changes, and looked for funding that could have made it possible. But instead they will become, for one unforeseen season, fans and followers of the baseball teams who will take the field.”

The WCBL expects to release an updated schedule, details on the 2021 season, ticketing plans based on health authorities and additional information near the end of April.

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Summer Collegiate

Veteran outfielder returning for 2023 season

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For Brandon Hupe, it felt like unfinished business — and he has a chance to fix that.

 

The outfielder from Vancouver and the UBC Thunderbirds saw his 2022 summer season cut short following a collision during a game in Port Angeles. But the 6-2/200 pounder, a junior at UBC, will get one last shot to star for Head Coach Greg Frady as the Nanaimo NightOwls are excited to announce his return to the WCL.

 

The NightOwls are announcing the additions of four players today, the others being infielder Jimmy Legg of Pomona Pitzer, and pitchers Tyson Willis and Ethan Hubbell from Everett CC (NWAC) for Pitching Coach Gorm Heimueller to work with.

 

Hupe (pronounced who-PAY) was a veteran influence on a young NightOwls team, hitting .283 with two home runs and nine runs driven in over 17 games — coming off a UBC season that yielded 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 49 games at the NAIA level.

 

“We missed Brandon when he got hurt, there was a change in our team,” said Frady. “Brandon was one of our key leaders, he knew the caliber and nuances of the league (previously played in the WCL with Kelowna), and he helped us as coaches, along with leading our younger players.”

 

In Legg, the NightOwls are getting a 5-11/185 scrappy, switch-hitting shortstop who can also move to second or third — known as a guy who always seems to be on base, comes through in the clutch and runs well. At Pomona Pitzer, he is a glue guy because of how much he loves to play the game.

 

The two Everett CC arms include Willis, a Snohomish, WA product who pitched in the WCL for Springfield in 2022. The right-hander is touching 90 with a true hard curveball and developing changeup from a 6-4/220 frame. Hubbell, from Camas, WA, is even bigger at 6-5, another righty with upper-80s velocity and command of four pitches and a workhorse mentality.

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Victoria HarbourCats – ‘Cats sign four, bring back Seward and Luchies

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December 7, 2022

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. — It’s the old baseball adage — you can never have enough arms.

The Victoria HarbourCats have added three arms, two of them returning and one a local product, as part of four more players who have signed on for the 2023 West Coast League season. The fourth player on the roster comes from a dependable source of quality players — Cal Baptist.

Pitchers Jack Seward and Owen Luchies, both parts of the 2022 HarbourCats team that reached the WCL post-season, and Victoria Golden Tide ace Brady Wilson lead the latest signings, with versatile outfielder/second baseman Nick Dumesnil, a right-handed hitter from Huntington Beach, CA, a bat the team will look to for key offensive production. Dumesnil is 6-2/205 freshman and is known for a mix of speed and power that will be welcomed by Head Coach Todd Haney.

“We’ve spent even more time on pitching this year, it’s always a premium but it’s never easy to get that right mix for the staff — it’s the one area we are constantly looking to get better,” said Haney. “We’ve been known as a strong offensive team since even before I got here, and we know the best arms make all the difference.”

Vancouver product Jack Seward, now at Central Arizona, was 1-0 with three saves and a 1.15 ERA in 14 outings last summer, giving up earned runs in only two outings. He surrendered just 10 hits in 23 innings. Luchies, from Victoria, is a 6-2/195 pound freshman at Lower Columbia (NWAC) who started five games and threw 36 innings for the HarbourCats in 2022. He had 25 strikeouts, notched one save, was 2-2 with a 6.44 ERA and earned road wins in Port Angeles and Nanaimo.

Wilson, 6-1/175 from Calgary, was the workhorse for the Victoria collegiate Golden Tide in the spring of 2022, going a combined 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA in nine starts. He then spent the summer in the Western Canada Baseball League with the Fort McMurray Giants, where he was 5-5/4.94.

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

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Victoria HarbourCats – You’re Invited!

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Please join us at the office on Thursday, December 1, 2022 from 12 Noon to 7:00 pm for our annual Christmas Open House!

Join us for some Christmas cheer and to grab Christmas gifts for all the HarbourCats fans on your Christmas list!  Renew or purchase 2023 season tickets, grab some 10-game flex packs, or purchase single-game tickets for 2023 which also go on sale that day too!  Plus ALL MERCHANDISE on sale for 40% off – ONE DAY ONLY!

2023 Single-Game Tickets Also on Sale!

 

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