Dawgs Named Among Most Influential People in Baseball
By IAN WILSON
The nation’s most influential people in baseball have been named by Hall-of-Fame journalist Bob Elliott, and the list includes a number of Okotoks Dawgs and Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) personalities.
John Ircandia, the managing director of the Dawgs, came in at No. 15 on the Canadian Baseball Network (CBN) index, which highlighted 110 listings from across Canada. Ircandia moved up from No. 16 the previous year due to an outstanding 2022 season for the Dawgs of the WCBL and the ongoing achievements of Dawgs Academy in Okotoks.
“In listing John Ircandia, the CBN noted that, as reported by Ballpark Digest, the collegiate Dawgs finished 2022 with the third highest attendance in all of summer collegiate baseball, with average attendance of 4,216 per game and a total of 113,825 for the season. Remarkably, the Dawgs also welcomed their one millionth fan to Dawgs Baseball at Seaman Stadium,” stated the Dawgs in a news release.
“On the field, the club broke the WCBL record for regular season wins and capped 2022 with their sixth WCBL championship. Other highlights cited were the WCBL All-Star Game, hosted by the Dawgs which attracted an over capacity crowd of 6,001 fans, and the club’s annual breast cancer fundraiser which saw the Dawgs bring total monies raised for that worthy cause to over $500,000.”
The prestigious list also included Vince Ircandia, an original member of the Dawgs who is the founder and CEO of the sports business analytics firm StellarAlgo. He was ranked 65th overall. Another alumi of the Dawgs, Sammie Starr, landed at No. 95 for his work as an assistant coach with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds.
A number of other people who are familiar faces in WCBL circles also earned a place on the list.
Matt Stairs, a pinch-hitting legend when he played Major League Baseball (MLB), was a special guest at the WCBL All-Star Game at Seaman Stadium last summer. He slotted in at 54th on the list.
Kevin Glew, baseball journalist extraordinaire with CBN, also attended the 2022 WCBL All-Star Game and provided excellent coverage of the event – he was No. 75 on the list.
Greg Brons, the high performance director with Baseball Sask, was 72nd for the second straight year. Brons has worked with a number of WCBL players over the years.
Les McTavish, a former player and coach with the Lethbridge Bulls, finished at No. 73 for his work as the head coach at Vauxhall Academy.
Former WCBL umpire Stu Scheurwater, who is now calling balls and strikes at the MLB level, landed at No. 86.
For a full look at Bob Elliott’s list, including the honourable mentions, go to the Canadian Baseball Network website.