Saskatoon Franchise Joins WCBL
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – The Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) and Sask Entertainment Group (SEG) are thrilled to announce the return of a Saskatoon franchise to Canada’s premier collegiate summer baseball league.
“We believe it’s been too long since Saskatoon has had a WCBL team. We feel it’s super important for the baseball community and the City of Saskatoon to have somewhere to go on a beautiful summer evening,” said Steve Hildebrand, president of the Saskatoon Baseball Club.
The expansion Saskatoon Baseball Club will spend this year preparing for its first season in the WCBL, which will take place in the summer of 2024. On deck for SEG is the selection of a more permanent name for the ball club, a decision on team colours and a logo, as well as the implementation of a coaching staff.
The WCBL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously in favour of approving the new team.
“We look forward to taking the league to higher levels of fan excitement and engagement with the involvement of Saskatoon in the coming years. We have always felt the loss of a franchise in Saskatoon and enthusiastically welcome the City of Saskatoon, its fans, and partners back to our WCBL family,” said WCBL President Kevin Kvame.
The Saskatoon Yellow Jackets operated in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) – the predecessor of the WCBL – from 2002 through 2014. That team’s alumni include Marco Gonzales, a starting pitcher with the Seattle Mariners, and Andrew Albers, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who recently represented Canada at the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Saskatoon’s new baseball club will play out of Cairns Field at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. The facility has an approximate capacity for 2,200 fans.
“I believe that this is a key market for the WCBL and am glad we could bring it back. This has been a missing piece of the Saskatoon baseball community ever since the Yellow Jackets left. I think it will be a great summertime event for businesses and community alike,” noted Hildebrand.
A website for the team is expected to be up and running shortly, as will various social media accounts.
ABOUT THE WESTERN CANADIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (WCBL)
The WCBL is Canada’s premier collegiate summer baseball league. It boasts a long-standing tradition of creating a showcase for top Canadian prospects, while at the same time offering American college players the opportunity to hone their skills in front of enthusiastic fans in towns and cities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The wood-bat league consists of 12 teams. The East Division includes the Regina Red Sox, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Swift Current 57’s, Weyburn Beavers and Medicine Hat Mavericks. The West Division consists of the Okotoks Dawgs, Sylvan Lake Gulls, Fort McMurray Giants, Brooks Bombers, Lethbridge Bulls and Edmonton Prospects.
Each club plays 56 regular season games from May through August. All playoff matchups are best-of-three series and the league champion is awarded the Harry Hallis Memorial Trophy.
Opening Day for the 2023 WCBL season takes place on May 25th when the Regina Red Sox visit the Weyburn Beavers at Tom Laing Park in Weyburn. Opening weekend continues from May 26-28th with a full slate of WCBL action. Other schedule highlights include Father’s Day clashes on June 18th and Canada Day baseball and fireworks on July 1st at WCBL ballparks.
The WCBL All-Star Game & Home Run Derby takes place on July 15th at Seaman Stadium in Okotoks. The 2022 All-Star Game attracted 6,000 fans to Seaman Stadium.
More than 265,000 fans attended nearly 300 WCBL regular season games in 2022, a new high for the league. Attendance records were smashed in several different WCBL markets last year.
ABOUT SASK ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (SEG)
Sask Entertainment Group (SEG), owned by Mike and Colin Priestner, is a subsidiary of Go Auto Corporation, founded by Mike Priestner.
SEG have been the proud owners of the Saskatoon Blades Hockey Club of the Western Hockey League (WHL) since August 2013. In May of 2021, SEG acquired the Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse Club, a team that plays in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). September of 2022 saw the Blades and Rush open a new retail outlet in Saskatoon: The FEZ (Fan Experience Zone). The ticket office is also located in this building on Faithfull Avenue. All Saskatoon baseball club tickets and merchandise will be sold here.
Both the Blades and Rush play out of the SaskTel Centre. The SEG corporate offices are also located at the arena.
SEG’s management consists of President of Baseball Operations Steve Hildebrand, Team Business Operations Director Tyler Wawryk and Baseball Operations Director Mark Campbell.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL)
WCBL President Kevin Kvame
2425 Parkside Drive S.
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, T1J 4W3
(403) 320-2025 (ext 101) work
(403) 315-4064 cell
Saskatoon Baseball Club & Sask Entertainment Group (SEG)
President, Saskatoon Baseball Club | Senior VP, Sask Entertainment Group
Director of Baseball Operations | Saskatoon Baseball Club
Director, Team Business Operations | Sask Entertainment Group
Executive Assistant & Media Contact | Sask Entertainment Group