The West Coast League (WCL) announced their full 2021 schedule earlier today and assuming all things can proceed as normal relative to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nanaimo NightOwls will play their first ever WCL game on the road against the Wenatchee AppleSox on June 1 in the friendly confines of Paul Martin Field in Wenatchee, Washington.
That game will mark the first of a three-game set in Wenatchee before the NightOwls return to Serauxmen Stadium in Nanaimo for a non-league series against the Seattle Studs on June 5-6, and then a three-game series against Island rival Victoria HarbourCats, starting with the official home opener on Tuesday, June 8 at 6:35pm.
That series with Victoria will be the first of three series with the HarbourCats (nine games total) that will also see the NightOwls travel to Wilson’s Group Stadium in Victoria for games June 22-24 and again, to close the regular season, on August 10-12.
The NightOwls, along with the Kamloops NorthPaws and Edmonton Riverhawks are three new teams in the WCL for 2021 and while the NightOwls are scheduled to play both, it is only the Riverhawks who will make their way to Serauxmen Stadium on July 27-29. The NightOwls however, will visit Edmonton and their 9,000 seat ReMax field earlier in the season (June 15-17) and also visit Kamloops August 3-5.
Following the home opening series against Victoria, the NightOwls are then home to the Portland Pickles on the weekend of June 11-13 and to the Cowlitz BlackBears on the Father’s Day weekend of June 18-20, with a pre-Father’s Day Fireworks Night scheduled for Saturday June 19 and a Father’s Day matinee – one of six Sunday matinees scheduled for the year – at 1:00pm on June20.
Another 2021 schedule highlight includes the Canada Day series, starting on June 29, against the Bellingham Bells – with a Canada Day matinee on Thursday July 1 at 1:05pm.
Other visitors to Serauxmen Stadium in 2021 include the Kelowna Falcons (July 2-4), Bend Elks (July 9-11), Port Angeles Lefties (July 13-15) and the Ridgefield Raptors (July 20-22)), while the Nanaimo Selects (July 6-7) and Ladysmith Pilots (August 6-8) are scheduled to make additional non-league visits to Nanaimo for a total of 34 home dates (27 league and seven non-league) in 2021.
In addition to the opening road trip to Wenatchee, and the trips to Victoria, Edmonton and Kamloops, the NightOwls will also hit the road for games in Kelowna (June 25-27), Cowlitz (July 16-18), Bellingham (July 23-25), and Port Angeles (July 30-August 1).
“We look forward to playing our first season in the WCL in 2021 and are doing everything we can to prepare for that ,” says NightOwls GM and Managing Partner Jim Swanson. “The release of our 2021 schedule is the first step in that process and with the addition of three new Canadian teams, the excitement and buzz that has been generated here in Nanaimo s far and with what we hope will be a celebratory return of baseball, we think that Serauxmen Stadium will be the place to be in Nanaimo next summer.”
The NightOwls 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 Swanson, “but it is to our benefit to proceed now at full speed and adapt as needed, if and when required. There are so many things that could change between now and then, 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, the NightOwls will not yet be putting 2021 individual game tickets on sale and will wait, likely into the new year, before doing so. As such they are asking all current ticket voucher holders, to hold off on selecting their 2021 games.
“If I have to implement any seating restrictions, season ticket holder priorities, or other social distancing measures, I want to make sure I know what my remaining seating inventory is before opening things up to the public,” said Swanson. Once, I know that, and individual games are available for sale, fans will be able to contact us to do individual voucher exchanges.”