The former Canaries name is chucked in favor of a bird actually found near Sioux Falls, as team ownership makes over the independent American Association team.
The Sioux Falls Canaries are now the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants (independent; American Association), as the long-time name of pro baseball is chucked in favor of a bird actually found in South Dakota.
"We felt the time was right to give the franchise a new identity,” said Gary Weckwerth, CEO and Managing Partner of Sioux Falls Sports. “Naming the club the 'Fighting Pheasants' brings more identity to our state for obvious reasons. The Canaries have historical baseball value in Sioux Falls, but it really didn’t show an identity of our state, where the popularity of pheasant hunting does. It also keeps the baseball lore in place because of the Aberdeen Pheasants, the former Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliate. We also felt it is one of the great sports names that didn’t exist and something the people of Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota can identify with…plus the pheasant is just a lot tougher and meaner bird."
The Canaries name didn't derive from the actual bird: in the earliest days of Sioux Falls baseball the team wore yellow uniforms, and a local scribe tagged the squad as the Canaries. Various affiliated Northern League teams were known as the Canaries, though Packers was the name used by the final affiliated team in Sioux Falls history.
In addition, the team ownership signed a multi-year agreement with Ovations Food Services to manage all food and beverage services at Sioux Falls Stadium. Ovations is a subsidiary of Global-Comcast, which is the management firm of the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
It would also appear that there's been a front-office shakeup in Sioux Falls: longtime president and GM John Kuhn is not listed on the team's website.
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