It’s one of the sure signs of summer in the foothills.
The Okotoks Dawgs ninth home opener is June 5, when their biggest rivals, the Medicine Hat Mavericks, roll into Seaman Stadium. The Dawgs are a summer collegiate team boasting four championship seasons in the Western Major Baseball League. Okotoks won back-to-back-to-back WMBL championships from 2007-2009.
Their home games are played out of the state-of-the-art Seaman Stadium, located at North Railway Street and 32nd Street. With the 2,000 seat Seaman Stadium and the new Duvernay Fieldhouse and Tourmaline Field, the Okotoks facility has become the top amateur baseball facility in Canada.
The Dawgs program has also put Okotoks on the national baseball map.
Although the summer collegiate program was the initial focus, the Dawgs’ numerous youth development programs and baseball academy have become well established as well. Dawgs managing director John Ircandia said the hope is to develop players through the youth program and give them the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
The Dawgs’ senior team, which brings in players from NCAA Division I schools for the three-month season, is also a development program helping players move up to the professional ranks. A number of former Dawgs have been drafted by Major League Baseball, including Dawgs Academy product Tyler Hollick, a San Francisco Giant draftee. Dawgs alumnus Jim Henderson was the first player in organization history to play in the majors last season and has since established himself as a regular out of the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen.
The Dawgs play 25 home league games with the potential for another nine home playoff dates. Highlights include a showdown with the defending champions Melville Millionaires on Canada Day followed by fireworks. As well the Canada Breast Cancer Pink Day, in which players’ jerseys are auctioned to raise money for breast cancer research. The auction has raised more than $100,000 over the years.
For more information on the Okotoks Dawgs call 262-DAWG (3294) or visit their website for a full schedule and ticket information at www.dawgsbaseball.ca.