Due to the ongoing wildfires in the Fort McMurray region, the Fort McMurray Giants (summer collegiate; Western Major Baseball League) will share a ballpark with the Edmonton Prospects. The two clubs will play out of Edmonton’s facility, formerly known as Telus Field, for their entire home slates.
The wildfires that have ravished the Fort McMurray area this month have affected the Giants, who were set to play their first season at Shell Place‘s baseball stadium. With the fires still unfolding and the area’s air quality suffering as a result, the Giants did not feel that playing the season at their home ballpark would be appropriate.
As a result, the teams have worked out an agreement to share Edmonton’s ballpark for the duration the upcoming season. To accommodate the move, the Western Major Baseball League rearranged portions of the schedule, with the immediate implication being that the two teams will now face each other for the opener on May 28, when the Prospects will play as the home team.
Though the Giants would like be in their own ballpark, this arrangement prevents the team from having to postpone its season. More from the Edmonton Sun:
“I had come close to postponing it because there’s a lot going on,” said Giants vice-president and general manager Anthony (Dutche) Iannetti. “The ultimate goal was to open up at Shell Place, of course.
“For me, it’s all about those kids, and to take it away from them, it’s just not in me to do that.”
Fort McMurray’s dream of operating a baseball franchise had gone through several failed bids in recent years. With the 2015 completion of Shell Place’s baseball stadium and the awarding of a franchise to the city in November, that dream appeared to be approaching a reality until this month’s wildfires put everything in doubt.
“The amount of energy I know it takes to start the team up, we didn’t want them to lose any momentum,” said Prospects chief operating officer Craig Tkachuk. “The fans in Fort McMurray are really baseball crazy, and we wanted them to be able to have a team.”
Those who have already purchased tickets for Giants home games will have their admission honored in Edmonton, which is roughly 270 miles south of Fort McMurray.