With several Stettler baseball teams winning provincial medals last year, the Stettler Minor Ball Association is looking forward to hosting several major tournaments in 2017, including the U12 girls provincials from July 7 to 9.
Last year, Stettler’s U16 B Division girls’ team won gold at provincials, while the U12 girls took home bronze.
The Bantam boys also won the Tier 5 provincials last year, while the PeeWee boys finished second and the Mosquito boys made it to the semifinals.
“Provincials will be a big thing for us,” said girls’ league President Sarah Tucker. “We haven’t hosted it in a long time.”
In addition, Stettler will also host a girls’ tournament from June 2 to 4.
“Our tournament is big,” Tucker explained. “Last year for the girls’ side we had 42 teams here.”
Teams will come from all around central Alberta to compete in Stettler for the weekend.
Further scheduling information will be posted on the Stettler Minor Ball Facebook page when the information becomes available.
New logo, uniforms coming in 2018
The 2017 baseball season will also be the last season played using the current uniforms and team names. Starting in 2018, Stettler baseball teams will sport a new look.
“The boys and girls are going to be joined under one team name,” Tucker said.
This new team name will be accompanied by a new logo and there will be new uniforms for all of the teams.
“We just started the process and we’re hoping to have all new uniforms by next year,” Tucker commented.
As for the name, Tucker said that the league is considering using “The Storm,” but with a different logo than what the hockey teams use.
“We’re not sure yet but that’s what they’re looking at right now,” Tucker said.
Registration up in past few years
While the baseball association is still waiting for parents to submit late registrations, boys’ league President Kent Hoopfer noted that overall, registrations have increased over the past few years, both in Stettler and throughout Alberta.
“Baseball Alberta registrations were up 22 per cent last year,” Hoopfer explained. “So that was just under 3,000 more kids.”
Hoopfer credits the Toronto Blue Jays for this jump in numbers.
“It might sound crazy, but this is in conjunction with the Blue Jays – for Baseball Alberta and Stettler Baseball the numbers have grown significantly as the Blue Jays have done so well,” Hoopfer said.
“We saw the exact same growth in 1993 and 1994,” Hoopfer added. “The Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, and those two years in the 1990s saw the biggest growths in registration. Small town Stettler is 3,000 kilometres away from Toronto, but the way the Blue Jays play makes a huge difference.”