HarbourCats extend head coach Todd Haney's contract

Todd Haney feels he has unfinished business on Caledonia Street. The Victoria HarbourCats are going to let him complete it.

The West Coast League club signed the former MLB infielder to a three-season extension that will see him as dugout boss at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park through 2023.

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Haney guided the club to a 39-15 regular-season record last year and to within one game of the WCL championship against the Corvallis Knights in the league playoff final. The aspiration was to take that final extra step this summer but COVID-19 put paid to that as the 2020 WCL season was cancelled.

“My goal is to win the WCL championship. We have the best fans in the WCL. I want to bring a championship to Victoria,” Haney said in a statement.

Haney was assistant coach to Brian McRae in 2018, taking over the head role in 2019.

“The level of play in the WCL gets stronger every season. Many of the top collegiate players are calling the WCL home for the summer, which is exciting from a developmental, competitive and scouting perspective,” said Haney.

“We have a great coaching staff in place to assist our players in their continued development and ultimately reaching their goal of playing pro baseball.”

That’s something the five-foot-nine Haney knows all about. The 54-year-old overcame his 165-pound physique with drive, heart and ambition in carving out a pro career.

“I was undersized and always had to fight for my opportunities and playing time,” said Haney, when he took over the Victoria head coaching reins last summer.

That informs his philosophy as a coach and view of the game. Haney’s career included stints over five seasons in the MLB with the Montreal Expos, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs after being drafted and signed by the Seattle Mariners. He played winter ball in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. Haney resides the off-season in Waco, Texas, but his Canadian connections are strong, not only because of the Expos, but with minor-pro stops in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

Before that, Haney appeared in the College World Series with the University of Texas Longhorns.

“Todd is an exceptional coach and leader for this program,” said Victoria GM Jim Swanson.

“This signing provides stability and really aids in recruiting with Todd, hitting coach Curtis Pelletier, and pitching coach Mark Petkovsek working closely together on bringing in talented players.”

The 54-year-old Petkovsek, recently added to the staff, played 11 years in the MLB level with the Texas Rangers, California Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, twice reaching double-digits in wins, and finishing with a commendable 46-28 career MLB record. He was a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1987. Petkovsek knows Haney from their time playing together with the Longhorns and making it to the College World Series.

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