The West Coast League (WCL) has announced its full 2021 schedule and assuming all things can proceed as normal relative to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victoria HarbourCats will become part of league history by playing the first ever WCL game in the Province of Alberta.
The now-15-team league granted the Edmonton Riverhawks a franchise in September of 2020 and the HarbourCats will open the season June 1-3, 2021 in the Alberta capital, at the spectacular 9,000 seat ReMax Field in downtown Edmonton, which is now the WCL’s largest market.
The HarbourCats will then return home on Friday, June 4 for their home opener against the Port Angeles Lefties, followed by a traditional Fireworks night – the first of three scheduled for the year – on Saturday, June 5 – and then the first of five Sunday matinees on Sunday, June 6 at 1:00pm.
The HarbourCats and their fans will get a chance to see all three of the new WCL teams in 2021 – the Riverhawks, the Kamloops NorthPaws and the island-rival Nanaimo NightOwls.
In addition to the opening road trip, the Riverhawks will make a visit to Wilson’s Group Stadium for a three-game series starting on BC Day, Monday, August 2 – another Fireworks night. The NorthPaws also come to Victoria on the July 9-11 weekend, with the HarbourCats returning the visit with a trip to Kamloops on the July 30 – August 1 weekend.
Finally, the Island rivalry with the newly hatched NightOwls will begin with a three-game series in Nanaimo at Serauxmen Stadium on Tuesday, June 8 – the NightOwls’ official home opener – with the NightOwls making the trip to Victoria on June 22-24 and again, to close the regular season, on August 10-12.
Other 2021 schedule highlights include the Canada Day series, starting on June 29 – this year against the Kelowna Falcons – with Wilson’s Transportation Fireworks slated for the evening of June 30 and the traditional Canada Day matinee on Thursday July 1 at 1:00pm.
The annual Mayfair Optometric Clinic School Spirit Game will be on Thursday, June 17 at 11:00am, capping a three-game series with the Cowlitz Black Bears that starts Tuesday, June 15. Other visitors to Wilson’s Group Stadium in 2021 include the Bend Elks (July 6-8) and the Ridgefield Raptors (July 23-25), while the Ladysmith Pilots (June 12-13) and Burnaby Bulldogs (June 26-27) are scheduled to make non-league visits to Victoria. The South Island Baseball League (SIBL) All-Stars are also slated for a pair of exhibition games on July 20-21, for a total of 33 home dates (27 league and six non-league) in 2021.
In addition to the opening two road series in June against Edmonton and Nanaimo, and the trip to Kamloops in late July, the HarbourCats will travel to Bellingham (June 18-20), Cowlitz (July 2-4), Ridgefield (July 13-15), Port Angeles (July 16-18), Kelowna (July27-29) and Wenatchee (August 6-8).
“We are optimistic about playing baseball in 2021 and are proceeding full speed ahead in that regard.” says HarbourCats Assistant GM, Christian Stewart. “The release of our 2021 schedule is the first step in that process and with the addition of three new Canadian teams, all of which will visit Victoria this coming season, and what we hope will be a celebratory return of baseball, we feel it could be one of our best seasons ever.”
The HarbourCats of course recognize that the ability to play a 2021 season, given the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, will be subject to provincial and local health authorities and directives that emerge in the new year and will adapt as needed to modify the schedule, or put necessary protocols and procedures in place to ensure that all fans attending games can do so safely.
“We know there are uncertainties at this point,” added Stewart, “but it is to our benefit to proceed now and adapt as needed, if and when required. There are so many things that could change between now and then, as we’ve all learned the last nine months, but rest assured, we will do whatever is needed to comply and make sure our fans can attend games safely. We will be working on many of these over the next few months.”
In light of these uncertainties, unlike past years, the HarbourCats will not yet be putting 2021 individual game tickets on sale. Plus they are asking all 2020 individual game ticket holders, as well as all 2020 and 2021 ticket voucher holders, to hold off on selecting their 2021 games at this time.
“If we have to implement any seating restrictions, season ticket holder priorities, or other social distancing measures, we want to make sure we know what my remaining seating inventory is before opening things up to the public,” said Stewart. Once, we know that, and individual games are available for sale, fans will be able to contact us to do individual rain check and voucher exchanges. That likely will not be until the new year.”
2021 HarbourCats Schedule at a Glance
HOME GAMES – Wilson’s Group Stadium, 1014 Caledonia Ave., 6:35PM start weekdays and Saturdays. 1:05PM start Sundays and Canada Day. 11:00AM start, School Spirit Day, June 17
June 4 – 6 Port Angeles Lefties
June 12 – 13 Ladysmith Pilots (Non-League)
June 15 – 17 Cowlitz BlackBears
June 22 – 24 Nanaimo NightOwls
June 26 – 27 Burnaby Bulldogs (Non-League, To Be Confirmed)
June 29 – July 1 Kelowna Falcons
July 6 – 8 Bend Elks
July 9 – 11 Kamloops NorthPaws
July 20 – 21 SIBL All-Stars
July 23 – 25 Ridgefield Raptors
August 2 – 4 Edmonton Riverhawks
August 10 – 12 Nanaimo NightOwls
June 1 – 3 @Edmonton Riverhawks
June 8 – 10 @Nanaimo NightOwls
June 18 – 20 @Bellingham Bells
July 2 – 4 @Cowlitz BlackBears
July 13 – 15 @Ridgefield Raptors
July 16 – 18 @Port Angeles Lefties
July 27 – 29 @Kelowna Falcons
July 30 – August 1 @Kamloops NorthPaws
August 6 – 8 @Wenatchee AppleSox
DO NOT PLAY: Corvallis Knights, Yakima Pippins, Walla Walla Sweets, Portland Pickles