Okotoks, AB – The Okotoks Dawgs and Dawgs Academy are proud to announce that Managing Director John Ircandia has not only made Bob Elliott’s “Most Influential Canadians in Baseball” list once again, but has also received a bump up the charts.
This year, after an incredible record season in terms of on-field play and attendance, Ircandia jumped from 18 to 16 in a list compiled of prestigious Canadians who have changed, developed, or influenced the game of baseball. Ultimately, the list is a “Who’s Who” of individuals who have positively impacted the game at the national level that includes Major League Baseball players, executives, owners, broadcasters, Hall of Famers, and other dignitaries.
Here is an excerpt from the article, highlighting just some of Ircandia’s accomplishments:
Another year and another bump for Ircandia’s passion: his summer college team. Ballpark Digest showed that the Dawgs drew the third highest attendance among the 153 summer college teams which drew more than 100 fans per game. Okotoks moved up from fourth to third with an average attendance of 4,104, up from 3,329 in 23 home dates. The Madison Mallards were No. 1 (6,039) and the Savannah Bananas (3,659) were next in average attendance at Seaman Stadium. Not bad for a group which was told it could not find a home in Calgary.
As for the Dawgs Academy, they won the bantam and peewee Alberta titles, while the midgets won the Buckeye Elite at Ohio State and Firecracker Invitational showcases in Spokane, Wash. Caesar Valero committed to NCAA’s top ranked Oregon State and was one of coach Allen Cox’s 22 players selected to attend Tournament 12 with Micah McDowell named MVP. Word was at T12 that the Dawgs had one of its best recruiting years.
While sons Matt and Vince Ircandia have moved on from the program, father John, the Big Dawg, continually strives to make his program better. Matt is a marketing analyst at Tourmaline Oil and Vince used to be senior vice president of business operations with the Portland Trail Blazers and now has his own business analytics consulting company, StellarAlgo Corp. This month national team coach Greg Hamilton (Peterborough, Ont.) and long-time Dawgs coach Dave Robb (Lac Le Biche, Alta.) were inducted in the Dawgs Hall.
The origins of the program date back to an elite youth team in the mid-1990s with the goal of offering talented young Canadian players the competition and coaching in order to compete with top American athletes. The Dawgs have grown from that one nationally recognized youth team to a youth academy of six elite teams aged 12 to 18 years, with players from all over Canada and as far away as Mexico, Venezuela, New Zealand, Dubai, and China. Twelve year-round, full-time, professional coaches now offer Dawgs youth players the ultimate program in skill development. In 2004, the Dawgs added a summer collegiate program that has enjoyed unparalleled success and facilities that include two full-service stadiums, an indoor training center, youth diamonds, multiple outdoor batting cages and bullpen mounds, and an entire spring training-like complex, all dedicated to youth and amateur baseball. Numerous Dawgs grads have gone on to enjoy outstanding college and professional careers. Now, with Seaman Stadium flanked by Tourmaline Field, the Duvernay Fieldhouse, Conrad and Riverside Fields, the Dawgs have made a name for themselves as the top summer collegiate and academy program in the country.
As noted in the above excerpt, John’s resilience to land a team in a city that would embrace it has more than paid off. The collegiate Dawgs averaged 4,104 fans this summer, ranking third in North America, while the Academy had 22 players invited to the most prestigious developmental tournament Canada has to offer in the T12.
Coming in at number one in the list was Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds), followed by Edward Rogers (Deputy Chairman, Rogers Communications), Farhan Zaidi (Dodgers GM), Joel Wolfe (Agent, Wasserman Group), and Alex Anthopoulos (Braves GM).