Big-league event on Jan 21 – also pleased to announce key staffing move

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(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria HarbourCats, in such a short timeframe, have brought major- league entertainment to the Capital Region, and today the team is pleased to announce yet another big-league event.

The HarbourCats are teaming with the Greater Victoria Baseball Association, the Fairmont Empress Hotel and 103.1 Jack-FM/Ocean 98.5 to bring a premier winter offering to sports fans in Victoria. The Seattle Mariners Winter Caravan will be arriving in Victoria for a fan session, featuring autographs in a free-admission event, on Wednesday, January 21.

WHAT: SEATTLE MARINERS WINTER CARAVAN

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6:30pm-8pm

WHERE: Fairmont Empress Hotel (scheduled for Ivy Room)

WHO: Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims; famous team mascot Mariner Moose; star Mariners

players LHP James Paxton and LHP Charlie Furbush; former Mariners RHP Steve Sinclair

“The Mariners know that Victoria is a proven baseball city, from the support the community gives to the HarbourCats, the top team in the West Coast League in attendance in 2014, to the number of people who head to Safeco Field to see Mariners games – particularly those famous series where the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays meet in Seattle,” said Jim Swanson, General Manager of the Victoria HarbourCats.

“Last summer, we had the Blue Jays here with their Super Camp and star players from the past, highlighted by Brian McRae, Jesse Barfield, Devon White, Duane Ward and Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar. We’ve had players like Alex Real (Minnesota Twins) and Nick Pivetta (Washington Nationals) go on from the HarbourCats to pro careers. Working to bring the Mariners to Victoria is another example of why HarbourCats baseball has grown to be such an important part of the sports landscape here.”

The event will give local sports and baseball fans a chance to see Mariner Moose in action, meet veteran broadcaster Dave Sims, and get autographs from star starting pitcher James Paxton, a Ladner product, and impressive reliever Charlie Furbush . The HarbourCats are providing an opportunity for local baseball organizations to have information tables at the event, building on the strong relationships that have been built with the HarbourCats franchise.

Paxton pitched for the Kelowna Falcons in the West Coast League in 2007, going 3-5 with a 2.95 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 11 starts, his summer work while at the University of Kentucky. Paxton was the 37th overall draft choice by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 but did not sign, and after being selected by the Mariners (fourth round, 2010) he rose quickly through the system and will be the No. 2 man in the Mariners rotation next season behind a guy named Felix Hernandez. An added local bonus is that Victoria resident Steve Sinclair, a former Mariners and Blue Jays major-league pitcher, will be taking part as well. Sinclair has been a supporter of the HarbourCats and a respected member now of the Victoria business community.

“This will be a must-attend event. We thank the Fairmont Empress for stepping forward to sponsor this event – a class opportunity like this will fit perfectly at the city’s most historic location. 103.1 Jack-FM and Ocean 98.5 were excited about the chance to promote the Mariners Winter Caravan from the moment they heard about it. And the HarbourCats look to involve youth baseball and softball in our events at every opportunity, and this will give those groups a venue to promote their programs for the upcoming season.” HarbourCats staff will be coordinating the setup and the overall promotional plans, and Harvey the HarbourCat is excited to make a new mascot friend!

NORRIS-JONES EARNS PROMOTION

Jim Swanson, the Vice-President and General Manager of the Victoria HarbourCats, is pleased to announce the first key step in a major staffing restructuring. Brad Norris-Jones has been elevated to the position of Assistant General Manager effective immediately, the first front office move as the team focuses on putting excellent people in place for the 2015 season. “Brad’s dedication to the organization, his understanding of sports marketing and his knowledge of the market are an ideal fit for the HarbourCats,” said Swanson, who is entering his second season as GM. “Brad is a team player, not someone who gets stuck on ‘his role’ and he will always step up to pitch in wherever needed, he never has to be asked. Brad has beenm integral to the successes to date, and is focused on the growth and improvements we know we can make after the first two years. Brad is an asset to the organization, and this is a great step for both the HarbourCats and for Brad.” Norris-Jones will primarily focus on working with Swanson on corporate partnerships, and on group ticket sales. Norris-Jones will continue to provide support to Swanson on planning and logistics, building long-term relationships.

“I love this city, I love the HarbourCats, and Jim and I have proven to be a great team because we have the same high expectations – and neither of us is satisfied with the successes to date,” said Norris-Jones. “We want to do things better, and work with quality people. I love how much people tell us they enjoy HarbourCats baseball, and the West Coast League brand. This next year will be our best yet with the changes Jim has made going toward the 2015 season.”

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