01/07/2015 6:25 PM -
January 7, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Okotoks Dawgs Managing Director, John Ircandia, named to Bob Elliott's 101 Most Influential Canadians in Baseball
Okotoks, AB. - The Dawgs are very pleased to announce that Dawgs Managing Director, John Ircandia, has once again been named to Bob Elliott's prestigious 101 Most Influential Canadian's in Baseball list. Ircandia is a regular on the annual list, which recognizes the greats of baseball in Canada.
Ircandia sits 22nd on this year's list, which includes the biggest names in Canadian baseball, from players, to coaches, builders and media. Edward Rogers, Deputy Chairman of Rogers Communications takes the top spot this year, followed by MLB stars Justin Morneau and Russell Martin. Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos and President Paul Beeston round out the top five. Other fixtures on the list include Hall of Fame MLB executive Pat Gillick, Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins and former MLB star Larry Walker.
Bob Elliott is an authority on baseball in Canada as a writer, having earned the 2012 J.G. Taylor Spink Award 'for meritorious contributions to baseball writing' from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Among numerous positions throughout his prestigious award, Elliott has been a columnist for the Toronto Star since 1987 and is the founder of the Canadian Baseball Network, aimed at promoting baseball in Canada at all levels.
Ircandia, a partner in the Calgary office of the national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, launched the Dawgs program as a single youth team in 1995. He coached that first Dawgs team, which featured pitcher Jim Henderson who, in 2012, would become the first Dawg to play Major League Baseball as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Dawgs program has grown immensely since that time, now including a prominent and successful summer collegiate (WMBL) team and a highly successful youth academy that includes teams at the midget, bantam and peewee levels.
The Dawgs summer collegiate team has enjoyed remarkable success under Ircandia's leadership. After winning a WMBL Championship in 2004 as the Calgary Dawgs, the team won three consecutive titles in 2007-2009, immediately after opening Seaman Stadium in Okotoks. 2014 was another banner year, as the club again broke their franchise record for average and total attendance, welcoming over 77,000 fans to Seaman Stadium, for an average of 2,827 per game. The team sold out 14 of 27 home games, including a record breaking crowd of 4,800 on Canada Day.
The Seaman Stadium Complex, including Seaman Stadium, Duvernay Fieldhouse, Tourmaline Field and Conrad Field are the finest amateur baseball facilities in Canada and more upgrades are in the plans for 2015, particularly enhancements at Seaman Stadium to add a 'wow factor' to the fan experience next season.
The Dawgs academy is enjoying exceptional growth. The Academy boasts an expanding coaching staff with a wide range of experience at both the college and professional levels. The Dawgs recently hired former Major League pitcher and World Series Champion Lou Pote, to a staff that already includes former Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton.
2014 also saw Dawgs Academy alums Jordon Procyshen and Chris Shaw taken in consecutive picks of the MLB Draft, bringing the number of Dawgs Academy players drafted to 34.
The Academy also expanded this year to include a peewee team in addition to the already flourishing midget and bantam teams. Led by program head coach Allen Cox, the Dawgs Academy remains dedicated to upholding their reputation as an elite youth program and a destination for youth baseball prospects.