Local COVID-19 restrictions and an unsettled border status are causing the Thunder Bay Border Cats to drop out of the 2021 Northwoods League season.
“Unfortunately, with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic regarding the Canada-US border closure as well as outdoor gathering numbers in Thunder Bay, the Border Cats will not be able to participate in the 2021 Northwoods season,” said Border Cats President Dave Valente via press statement. “The Border Cats organization and its parent company Grand Slam Sports & Entertainment remains committed to Thunder Bay and it is our full intention to return for the 2022 season. We truly appreciate the patience and understanding of our loyal fans, corporate partners, coaches and players and wish to thank the Northwoods League staff and its affiliated members for their assistance during this very difficult process.”
“It’s unfortunate for the Border Cats organization and the fans of Thunder Bay,” said Northwoods League President Ryan Voz. “Our plan is to now adjust, create a plan to move forward with play for the rest of the division, while also giving the players an opportunity to hopefully play with another team this coming summer.”
The summer-collegiate Northwoods League is working through multiple scenarios to ensure the schedule of home dates can remain intact for the other affiliates in the Great Plains Division. Processes are also being implemented to identify opportunities for interested Border Cats players to remain in the league.
This is an issue that’s already popped up for the Toronto Blue Jays, who will begin the season at Dunedin’s TD Ballpark and then Buffalo’s Sahlen Field due to U.S.-Canadian border issues. We expect to see backup plans for other Canadian MiLB and independent teams, as well as summer-collegiate leagues, to allow play for the 2021 season as well.
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