HabourCats and NightOwls will have Canada-only baseball schedule

The rival Kelowna Falcons have tossed in their bats, gloves and balls, but the Victoria HarbourCats and Nanaimo NightOwls still plan on swinging for the fences.

“We are going to remain as patient for as long as we can,” said Jim Swanson, general manager and managing partner of both the HarbourCats and NightOwls.

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Swanson was responding to the announcement on Thursday that the Falcons have cancelled their West Coast League baseball season. That’s too early for the HarbourCats and NightOwls to be making any such decisions, according to Swanson.

“Mid-April is really the evaluation point for summer sports,” he said. “The vaccination timeline keeps moving up. We can’t comprehend two consecutive seasons without baseball. It breaks our hearts thinking about it.”

The WCL, meanwhile, announced Canadian teams will play only Canadian teams and U.S. teams only against U.S. teams in 2021.

The 15-team WCL has five franchises in Canada and five each in Washington and Oregon.

Swanson described an all-Canadian division as an “obvious option” with no clear idea when the Canada-U.S. border will reopen.

The Canadian portion of the 48-game-per-team schedule will be released in April.

With Kelowna opting out, the Canadian division will consist of the HarbourCats and expansion NightOwls, Kamloops NorthPaws and Edmonton Riverhawks.

“After the adversities we all faced last year, we’re looking forward to a new season devoted to our communities and our student-athletes,” WCL commissioner Rob Neyer said in a statement.

The WCL is a summer collegiate league featuring players from top NCAA conferences. There were 317 WCL alumni in affiliated pro baseball in 2019, including 45 in MLB, according to the league.


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