Sylvan Lake baseball fans can circle June 11 on their 2021 calendars.
The Sylvan Lake Gulls will be throwing the first pitch in the new stadium under the lights in their home opener.
Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 13 will mark the opening weekend for the Gulls at home in their inaugural Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) season.
The news came from Kevin Kvame, WCBL president, during a press conference at the NexSource Centre on Sept. 8.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to open the new stadium on Friday night… it’s going to be a great evening here in Sylvan Lake,” said Kvame.
It is undetermined who the Gulls will face during the opening weekend with the rest of the 2021 schedule still being worked out.
“It seems like an eternity ago that we announced Sylvan Lake coming into the league… but all these dates coming to fruition, the start of the stadium, the team naming, the announcing of the head coach, all of those benchmarks are critical to the success of the team and they’ve done an awesome job here,” commented Kvame.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre says it is exciting to have a date for fans to be able to yell “play ball” on and cheer on their new hometown team.
He also thinks the team will mark the beginning of a new era for the community.
“Sylvan Lake for such a long time has been known for hockey, but we actually have a great baseball pedigree right here in our community, so we’re really looking forward to being able to showcase our local talent and welcome in talent from across North America,” McIntyre said.
“It’s going to be some really high calibre baseball here in Sylvan Lake and we’re really looking forward to it.”
An update on the stadium’s build was provided by CEO and President of Business Operations Graham Schetzsle.
The concrete bleachers are in place and the next step is to lay the sod and the turf before winter. More concrete work will continue during the winter months.
“Anybody that drives by the facility on Highway 11, it’s really eye-popping, it stands out, it really just kind of rises out of the horizon,” Schetzsle said, adding they are still not entirely sure what the end product will look like.
Announcements in terms of player recruitment should come in October, said Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, with coaching staff announcements expected in the coming weeks.