The Victoria HarbourCats (summer collegiate; West Coast League) ownership group is exploring the launch of a WCL team in Nanaimo, a move that would give the circuit two clubs on Vancouver Island. The team would begin play in either 2020 or 2021 at Serauxmen Stadium.
The HarbourCats ownership group–which includes John Wilson, Rich Harder, Ken Swanson and Managing Partner Jim Swanson–gave full notice to the WCL of its intentions to launch a club in Nanaimo. The team would play its home games at Serauxmen Stadium, pending the completion of a finalized agreement. The HarbourCats and the potential Nanaimo club would fall under the same ownership group, but maintain separate baseball operations departments.
“Nanaimo would be an ideal market for a WCL team, and make for natural rivalries with Victoria, Bellingham, Port Angeles and Kelowna in particular,” said John Wilson, Vice-President of the HarbourCats, and CEO of The Wilson’s Group of Companies. “Managing Partner of the Club, Jim Swanson has dedicated many hours researching and creating business projections. Not only do the numbers work out positively, Nanaimo has proven to be an excellent sports town with a rich history in baseball.”
The bid process now starts with completing an expansion arrangement with the WCL, a user group agreement with the board that runs Serauxmen Stadium (Serauxmen Stadium Amateur Baseball Association) and working with the City of Nanaimo targeting for a 2020 or 2021 start.
“When I was in Nanaimo last summer, I was tremendously impressed by the local passion for bringing top-flight summer baseball to this jewel of a stadium,” said Rob Neyer, Commissioner of the WCL. “It definitely has the potential to provide a great baseball experience at the collegiate summer level.”
“The City supports the expansion of the WestCoast league in Nanaimo and is committed to providing assistance and cooperation to ensure the new team is set up for success at Serauxman field,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.
“Our group is excited to be working with the City of Nanaimo and stadium user groups to bring lights, needed upgrades and renovations to historic Serauxmen stadium to help make a WCL team for Nanaimo a reality,” said Lorne Goodall, President of Serauxmen Stadium Amateur Baseball Association.
“There are many aspects of our successful operation in Victoria that we can put in place in Nanaimo, and I’m excited this will allow baseball fans on the Island to see more great baseball,” said Jim Swanson. “The collaborative working relationship of the Serauxmen board, the City of Nanaimo, and the WCL board has helped drive this forward.”