Another sporting franchise will be apart of the city after it was announced earlier this Fall that the Kamloops NorthPaws will join the West Coast Baseball League. The NorthPaws is a brand new team with no existing players and will join 13 other teams participating in the West Coast Baseball League.
The league is a summer league comprised of collegiate players, mostly from the NCAA and hosts teams from B.C., Alta., Washington and Oregon. The team will have a 54 game regular season, including 27 home games that will run from June to August; games will be played at Norbrock Stadium.
The team has recently signed their first head coach in franchise history, Cole Armstrong, who has experience in playing and coaching professionally. Armstrong has made his first two signings in the past few weeks, both of them being NCAA division-one baseball players from Utah and Arizona. He claims that the team will boast future stars that will be drafted into the MLB and other professional leagues.
All of this is exciting news to the city of Kamloops and more specifically to the baseball community of Kamloops. Kids and players in the Kamloops Baseball Minor Association will now be able to watch and look up to a higher calibre of play.
“It’s definitely a huge step for baseball in Kamloops. A lot of the high school players have goals to play at an NCAA school in the states, so this is great for them to just be around the field and to get immersed in the culture of it.” Liam Rihela, baseball player for the TRU Wolfpack stated. “Baseball in Kamloops has only grown in the three years I’ve been at TRU and this a huge step towards growing the game even more.”
This begs the question of whether the NorthPaws will offer Wolfpack baseball players opportunities to play. Or whether the calibre will be too high for TRU? On the NorthPaws website, it mentions on their about page that the team will be made up of NCAA athletes as well as local players. This may be a hint that the coach will be looking to incorporate the Wolfpack into their roster.
“I think some TRU guys will get a chance play. We have some very talented players that could have success in that league, so hopefully, they get that opportunity.” Rihela said.
Overall, this is an exciting time for players and fans of baseball in Kamloops. The NorthPaws will bring a new form of entertainment to the community and new inspiration to its players. It is yet to be known if TRU baseball will have a swing at joining the team; nonetheless, it will drive traffic to the program and create a new motivation for members.
Stay tuned for more information on the Kamloops NorthPaws as they assemble their team to prepare for the upcoming summer.