May 27th, 2020
LETHBRIDGE, AB – Media Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –
The Western Canadian Baseball League Board of Governors has voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 WCBL season. This difficult decision was based on our number one concern, the health and safety needs of all involved. Following the Federal, Provincial, and municipal government health guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, staff, volunteers and fans during the COVID- 19 pandemic situation to the extent required by authorities.
The league faced a variety of problems and looked at all options before coming to the decision to cancel the season. Pushing back the start date of the season until July 4th or playing with only Canadian players to prevail over border issues are a couple options the league explored before cancelling. With the Federal government announcing that the border will remain closed until at least June 22, and that people must self-isolate for 14 days once they cross the border, we would not have enough time to carry out a season. Gathering size and social distancing were also major factors. With the Provincial governments announcing that gathering sizes are restricted to 50 persons, teams would face serious challenges trying to get fans into the stadiums. Social distancing would be a challenge in clubhouses and especially on buses that teams must use for travel purposed. The League even explored the option of reducing stadium capacities to allow for better social distancing and by operating with temperature checks and masks. Unfortunately, our franchises will not be able to adjust to the economic impact of such a model due to the reality that our teams rely mainly on park generated revenues plus the community initiatives to fund operations.
The league and its teams would like to thank all the players who signed to play baseball in the WCBL this summer. Your commitment and perseverance to play baseball this summer did not go unnoticed. It is heartbreaking that we will have to go a summer without baseball in the WCBL, and we feel for players whose college careers have been shortened by these unpronounced circumstances.
To our fans and communities, thank you very much for the continued support through these unprecedented times. Our fans make WCBL stadiums a special place to play for the players during the summer, giving them a chance to play in front of thousands of people in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The community support the league and its teams have received over the past number of years is fantastic! As a league we have plans to implement a strategy to stay relevant and connected until we can get back on the field. With no baseball this summer teams will need community support now more than ever as they shift to survive this crisis.
We would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers and sponsors for their support and look forward to coming back better than ever in 2021. Thank you for your continued support and stay safe and healthy.
For information on the above, please contact Kevin Kvame, WCBL President, at president@WCBLeague.com or by phone at 403-320-2025.