The Okotoks Dawgs and the Ontario Blue Jays, two of the most highly touted programs in Canadian youth baseball are excited to announce a new partnership.
Since the beginnings of the Dawgs in 1996, it has been a priority for the Dawgs Founder and Managing Director, John Ircandia, to provide Dawgs players with the best opportunities to develop their skills and be exposed to the strongest competition on both sides of the border.
The partnership will give both programs an opportunity to play against the best in Canadian competition, it will bridge the gap between the East and West, and help grow the game of baseball in Canada; a common goal of the two organizations.
For the past several years, the Dawgs and Blue Jays have worked to find a way to fit a series into their extensive travel schedules. However, the logistics and distance presented obvious challenges.
“Once I heard the news that Eck (Blue Jays coach, Corey Eckstein) had got the job with OBJ, I knew there was going to be an opportunity at some point to truly make this happen. Within 10 minutes of reaching out to him, we were able to make it come to fruition. Now two of the best programs in the country will be going head-to-head. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership, and it will be one of the staples on our schedule- hands down” – Jeff Duda, Okotoks Dawgs
Dawgs Academy Head Coach, Jeff Duda, and Corey Eckstein, Ontario Blue Jays Director of Player Personnel, have known each other since their playing days with Team BC and later as roommates on Team Canada in 2003. The mutual respect resulting from that personal history paved the way to overcoming the challenges and establishing a natural connection between the two organizations.
Prior to joining the Ontario Blue Jays Staff, Eckstein was the Head Coach of the Fraser Valley Cardinals, one of the BC Premier League’s top programs. Both the Dawgs and Cardinals have played each other numerous times over the years, and as such both coaches were well aware of the talent and high calibre of baseball played not only in the Dawgs organization, but throughout the top programs in Western Canada.
“I think this is a great first step in bringing the East and West Coast closer together. The Ontario Blue Jays are looking forward to this partnership and growing the game of baseball across Canada. We have lots of great ideas to make this a great weekend in the GTA. Selfishly, Okotoks might be my favourite city in the country and I’m looking forward to being back there with our players” – Corey Eckstein, Ontario Blue Jays
The series between the Okotoks Dawgs and Ontario Blue Jays will be taking place in Toronto in June 2021, and in Okotoks June 2022….
MARK YOUR CALENDARS as two titans of youth baseball in the country meet in a Canadian Super-Series!