New program hopes to start hitting home runs in Fall 2021
A new initiative by the Victoria HarbourCats will give UVic students the opportunity to play ball, and hopefully hit a few home runs. The new team, the Golden Tide, was unveiled last month.
Recruitment has already begun for the Fall 2021 season. The Golden Tide will compete against eight teams from Western Canada as part of the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference (CCBC).
“We are pleased to bring more college baseball to Canada, and to Victoria,” said Jim Swanson,
Managing Partner of the HarbourCats. “This grows the game. This gives players more opportunities to play college baseball without having to cross the border.”
Teams currently exist in Kelowna, Kamloops, Chilliwack and Abbotsford, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Edmonton. After playing other CCBC teams in the fall, the players will go on one trip to the United States.
Although players must be full-time students at UVic or Camosun, the program does not have any official affiliation with the universities.
The Golden Tide will be coached by Curtis Petellier. Petellier played college for Grayson County College in Texas and pro baseball with the now-defunct Victoria Capitals. He has been working with the HarbourCats since 2018.
“There are a lot of players who have not had the opportunity to take baseball beyond the high-school level, especially local players, and this is an option for them to stay here and go to great schools,” said Pelletier. “The tires have been kicked before on doing this in Victoria, but it’s the backing of the HarbourCats ownership that now makes it possible.”
The HarbourCats play in the West Coast League and are made up of young players from across the world. They are a summer, collegiate, wood-bat baseball team. In 2019, they won the North Division Championships. They had hoped to follow up this success in 2020, but the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Tickets are now on sale for their 2021 season.
Unlike the HarbourCats, the Golden Tide will play ball throughout the academic year at Royal Athletic Park.
They will also have access to a newly announced training facility nearby. The former Cook Street Squash Club is being transformed into the HarbourCats Players Club Training Centre — complete with three batting cages, four pitching tunnels, and a small workout area.
“These are developments we’ve worked hard at,” Swanson said. “We appreciate all those who support, and we are enjoying the opportunity to provide training for youth and college students at a whole new level for Victoria.”