The Edmonton Riverhawks have put their inaugural season on hold.
On Wednesday, the West Coast League announced that its five Canadian teams would be withdrawing from league play for the 2021 season. The decision was made due to “continuing, pandemic-related border and gathering limitations.”
The announcement follows an earlier decision by the league to eliminate all cross-border travel and release an updated schedule. On March 25, the Kelowna Falcons announced that they would be backing out of the 2021 season. They cited the BC Government’s message that “there’s going to be very little change in the next two months.” The Falcons also expressed concern regarding the current Canada-U.S. border closure. Because most WCL players come from large NCAA programs in the United States, the border remaining closed would amount to a major headache for the league and its teams.
The Falcons are now joined by the Riverhawks, the Victoria HabourCats, the Kamloops NorthPaws, and the Nanaimo NightOwls in canceling their 2021 season. Edmonton, Kamloops, and Nanaimo are all forfeiting what was supposed to be their inaugural season.
Speaking at RE/MAX Field, Riverhawks managing director Dr. Randy Gregg was “disappointed” by the news. “We’ve worked really hard to be ready to take to the field
this June but the health and safety of our fans and the players must come first.” He took the opportunity to highlight some of the renovations taking place, including new turf and lights, as well as a planned upgrade to the left-field scoreboard. “By the time the summer of 2022 comes, this will be a fabulous place to come and watch exciting baseball.”
The club’s press release indicated that RE/MAX could still see baseball this summer. The team says that local baseball, softball, and slo-pitch organizations will be allowed to rent the facility following AHS guidelines. The club added that some high schools had expressed interest in using the field as a venue for graduation ceremonies.
It remains to be seen how or if RE/MAX Field can be used this summer, but one thing is for sure: it will not be by the Riverhawks. We can only hope that they will play their first game in the summer of 2022.