A Nanaimo, BC-based team in the summer-collegiate West Coast League has been announced, with the expansion club to begin play as the circuit’s 13th team in 2021. The yet-to-be-named club will play home games at Serauxmen Stadium.
The team will be owned by the same company that has operated the Victoria HarbourCats at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria. That group took over the team, which debuted in the WCL in 2013, in the late spring of 2015, with ownership including John Wilson (of Wilson’s Transportation), Richard Harder, and brothers Ken and Jim Swanson. Jim Swanson is the Managing Partner and will oversee operations in both Nanaimo and Victoria.
“This is an exciting day for us all. This has been in the works for a few years and it’s going to be a great new addition to the Nanaimo sports scene,” said John Wilson, the team’s Vice-President/Business, whose Wilson’s Group of Companies has operations based in both Nanaimo and Victoria, serving the entire Island.
“The successful program that has been built in Victoria will now have an Island rival, to go along with the other natural rivalries already in place with, in particular, Port Angeles, Kelowna and Bellingham. Fans from Mid-Island area know we’ve had many Island players, remembering the stellar play of Griffin Andreychuk, Adam McKillican, Alex Rogers, Garrett Goodall and others, and the level of baseball will be the highest Nanaimo has ever seen.”
Nanaimo is installing lighting at historic Serauxmen Stadium starting this month, to be used by all groups who use the ballpark–including the Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association, the Coal Miners senior program, the Pirates of the BC Premier Baseball League, the VIU Mariners team, and the new Nanaimo WCL Baseball Club. Further improvements to Serauxmen Stadium are expected for fans and users of the facility.
“What a fantastic addition to the Third Street sports zone,” said Leonard Krog, Mayor of the City of Nanaimo. “We are pleased to see this partnership grow and welcome the team and the WCL to iconic Serauxmen Stadium.”
The Nanaimo WCL team will play 27 regular season games plus additional non-league and playoff games. In the summer of 2019, the HarbourCats played 35 home games at Wilson’s Group Stadium at RAP.
The Nanaimo WCL team has unveiled a website, nanaimobaseball.com, that includes links to a Name-The-Team Contest and information on season tickets and corporate advertising. The team will have an office set up beginning in September, but will be working closely with the community throughout the spring and summer.
The Victoria and Nanaimo teams will be separately operated, with independent coaching staffs and independent recruiting processes. The Nanaimo team’s name and coaching staff are expected to be unveiled this coming summer.
“We have so many people to thank, beginning with members of council currently and even dating back three-plus years, and the entire board that has led the transformation of Serauxmen Stadium, led by Lorne Goodall and Dan Rogers,” said Jim Swanson. “Mike Holyk and minor baseball, the people with the Coal Miners, and the leadership of VIU and the Pirates have all been excited to see this moving ahead. We look forward to great ideas from people in Nanaimo on what to name the team, and to having people select the seats they want for 2021 and beyond. As a group, we’d love nothing more than to see Nanaimo’s WCL team and the HarbourCats meet in the playoffs.”
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