April 23 Update:
An announcement from Baseball Canada today has cancelled the 2020 National Championship tournaments and the Western Canada Baseball Association has followed that by cancelling Western Canada Championships. This includes the tournament that was to be hosted August 21-23 at Rundle Park by NEZ Baseball and the 15U AAA Edmonton Padres.
“Thank you to everyone who put in so much work to date for this special event for our team, association and community,” said Tournament Director Danielle Fehr. “We’ve not lost hope for a baseball season of some sort and look forward to getting our kids and families back to a ballpark soon when it is safe to do so.”
Full Baseball Canada statement:
Baseball Canada’s Board of Directors along with the Executive Committee have made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 Baseball Canada National Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 11 scheduled national tournaments were set to take place primarily during the month of August beginning with the Baseball Canada Cup in Fort McMurray, Alberta from August 5-9 and concluding with the 13U National Atlantic Championships from September 17-20 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The health and safety of the numerous individuals involved in a national championship event, including athletes, coaches, officials, tournament organizers, volunteers and fans was the main priority in arriving at this difficult decision.
“After extensive discussions and careful consideration among our executive committee and board of directors, we arrived at the decision to cancel all of our 2020 national championships,” said Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson. “Although this decision will be disappointing to many across the Canadian baseball community, we felt it was the best decision to make given that the health and welfare of our members is paramount in these uncertain times.”
Baseball Canada would like to clearly state that this decision is not a cancellation of the baseball season in Canada. Individual provincial members will decide the course of their seasons and associated provincial tournaments on their own timelines.
Baseball Canada would like to thank the 11 communities and organizations that were set to host a 2020 national championship for their cooperation and support throughout this process. We know how much time, effort and care goes into hosting one of these events and we are thankful and appreciative to have such amazing baseball communities across the country.
The Western Canada Baseball Association and Baseball Alberta have awarded the 2020 15U AAA Western Canada Baseball Championships to Northeast Zone Baseball and the Edmonton Padres as the host team. The Western Canada Baseball Championships are made up of top teams from across the Western provinces. The 8-team tournament, to be held August 21-23 at Rundle Park and Tiger Goldstick Park, will showcase some of the best teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“Work has already begun to prepare for the 15U AAA Western Canada Baseball Championships,” said Tournament Director Danielle Fehr. “We are hoping to make this an exciting weekend for all players involved. We will have many opportunities for our baseball community to volunteer and be a part of our experience. Anyone interested, please contact our host committee at 15U2020westerns@gmail.com.”
Hosting such an elite tournament is a major tribute to Northeast Zone Baseball and the Edmonton Padres, who have only featured AAA teams since 2018 and are entering just their second year of competition at the performance level for the 15U age group. In 2019, the 15U AAA Edmonton Padres team had a solid inaugural season playing all the way to the championship game of the Tier II 15U AAA Provincials.
“It comes with extreme excitement to prepare our 15U AAA Padres for the upcoming 2020 Western Canada Baseball Championships,” said Padres 15U AAA Head Coach Chris Davie. “It’s an honour and a privilege to be a representative of our Province in such a prestigious, competitive event.”
The 15U AAA Edmonton Padres will feature some very recent Western Canada Baseball Championship experience with a handful of players moving up to 15U from the 13U AAA Edmonton Padres who qualified at their level last season. That team capped off a third place Provincial finish with a fourth place Westerns finish in only the second season of 13U AAA for the Edmonton Padres brand.
“The intensity of every game made the tournament a very exciting atmosphere,” said starting pitcher and outfielder James Cote of the 2019 13U AAA Western Canada Baseball Championships experience. “Spending time together with the team, on and off field, made the trip (to Cloverdale, BC) a fun, bonding experience. The professional atmosphere (of the opening ceremonies and tournament) made it a memorable experience.”
In preparation for the 2020 season, the Edmonton Padres have just a couple weeks remaining in their High Performance Program which is a 16-week, elite offseason development program available to players from across the region. Individual player development is focused on in a periodization model to prepare participants to compete for AAA and AA roster spots in tryouts and to excel on the field during the following season. A life skills component is also a key part of the program to help develop the complete player in addition to the baseball skill and strength and conditioning work.
“It was our goal to offer a high-impact and accessible offseason baseball development within the northeast part of the City,” said Edmonton Padres Technical Director John Sutherland. “With players traveling up to 90min each way on a bus to attend high school academies across town or others spending $10,000 plus on other baseball academy programs, we created an option focused on baseball players specifically from NE Edmonton but welcome players from across the region, as we believe that diversity and numbers create an internal competitiveness which leads to ultimate development.”
With the Padres High Performance Program only in its third year of existence, player registrations have already climbed to 100 across the 13U, 15U and 18U ages and feature players from throughout Edmonton and surrounding communities such as St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park, Leduc, Beaumont, Parkland County and rural communities up to an hour or more away. Additionally, the High Performance Program technical staff also run grassroots winter camps for or in partnership with NEZ Baseball, Edmonton Amateur Baseball Association and Beaumont Minor Baseball. In total, there are approximately 200 players in associated offseason programs from across the region.