John Wilson, one of the owners of Nanaimo’s new West Coast League baseball team, speaks at a press conference introducing the expansion franchise on Thursday at Nanaimo’s Rotary Fieldhouse. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

John Wilson, one of the owners of Nanaimo’s new West Coast League baseball team, speaks at a press conference introducing the expansion franchise on Thursday at Nanaimo’s Rotary Fieldhouse. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Victoria HarbourCats owners launch new Nanaimo baseball team

West Coast League franchise announced Thursday joins the league in 2021

Nanaimo will get to step to the plate in the West Coast League.

An ownership group announced Thursday that Nanaimo will be the 13th team in the summer collegiate league and will start playing games in June 2021 at Serauxmen Stadium.

The Nanaimo franchise will be owned by the same group that operates the Victoria HarbourCats. The group includes John Wilson (of Wilson’s Transportation), Richard Harder, and Ken and Jim Swanson.

“We’re excited to take what’s been a really fun experience in Victoria and apply it to here and make the tweaks that’ll make it a Nanaimo feel and we’re excited to have that kind of a challenge…” said Swanson. “All the old stadiums, the new stadiums, every one of them’s got a different feel and this one will have a different feel from everywhere else as well and it’s going to be a lot of fun to cultivate that and be part of it.”

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The Nanaimo WCL team doesn’t have a name yet, but is already gathering ideas via its website. Swanson said there have been “great suggestions already,” mentioning the Bathtubbers and Humpbacks.

Third baseman Liam Ballance, who has played for both the VIU Mariners and the Victoria Harbourcats, said it will be great to have a WCL team in Nanaimo.

“I think it’ll be good for the community and the fans and everything,” he said. “I had a blast playing the past few years and I hope if kids on the Island can get a chance to play for this team, then that will be good, too.”

Numerous political representatives were on hand for Thursday’s announcement and were already debating who will get to throw out the first pitch. Mayor Leonard Krog said the city is excited to welcome WCL baseball.

“Our businesses look forward to this, our community members, our sports fans, everyone looks forward to seeing that field used the way it should be by a first-clas team that is going to dominate the league, I am sure,” he said.

The team owners thanked all those involved in bringing WCL baseball to Nanaimo including the municipality and its parks and rec department, Serauxmen Stadium Amateur Baseball Association and various levels of baseball.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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