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New Lethbridge Bulls baseball coach missing out on 1st season as league cancels

The Lethbridge Bulls, along with 11 other teams in the Western Canadian Baseball League, won't be playing this season amid COVID-19. Global Lethbridge

The Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) has officially cancelled the 2020 baseball season amid continuing COVID-19 restrictions, leaving Lethbridge’s Spitz Stadium empty for the summer.

In a news release Wednesday, the league cited difficulties in keeping players, volunteers and fans safe during the pandemic as the reason for the cancellation.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Western Canadian Baseball League cancels 2020 season

Originally, the WCBL delayed the start of the season until July 4, with the hopes that the state of the pandemic would allow the season to continue with some restrictions.

However, due to the current circumstances with travel regulations and gatherings restricted to 50 people in an outdoor setting in Alberta, the league says a cancellation was the only viable option.

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“Some of the teams have quite a few imports from other countries, especially the United States,” said Lethbridge Bulls president Kevin Kvame.

Kvame adds they looked at reducing capacity in the stadiums, which he says wouldn’t have been economically possible while having the teams succeed financially.

“Right now it’s just not conducive to allowing us to run a season that would be viable, both logistically and economically,” Kvame admitted.

READ MORE: Lethbridge Bulls reflect after Tuesday’s season-ending loss to Dawgs

For Kregg Snook, the season was supposed to be his first as coach of the Lethbridge Bulls team, after having played for the Bulls in 2014 and 2016.

“My heart goes out to the kids that were going to experience Lethbridge for the first time because it’s definitely an unforgettable experience playing up there,” he said. 

Snook signed his coaching contract back in the fall, and had hoped if the season was cancelled he would still be able to travel up to southern Alberta and have some sort of presence within summer camps.

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“It’s a perfect-sized town to play summer ball in, be in, for the summer,” Snook said.

However, due to the pandemic, he is residing back home in Houston, Texas, until travel restrictions are lifted.

READ MORE: Former Edmonton Oiler part of group set to operate RE/MAX Field

He says the best thing about being in Lethbridge is the fans.

“[There aren’t] too many summer leagues that can say [they] average around 1,000 fans a night, and that they’re actually baseball fans,” he said.

“They’re not just coming out to the ballpark for something to do, they’re actually involved in the games and they know what’s going on.”

Although his contract was only signed for one season, Snook hopes to come back to Lethbridge in the near future.

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“I would love to come back next summer,” Snook said. 

READ MORE: Lethbridge advocates say people with disabilities largely overlooked during COVID-19 pandemic

The WCBL includes 12 teams throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Alberta:

  • Lethbridge Bulls
  • Edmonton Bulls
  • Fort McMurray Giants
  • Okotoks Dawgs
  • Medicine Hat Mavericks
  • Brooks Bombers

Saskatchewan:

  • Swift Current 57’s
  • Weyburn Beavers
  • Moose Jaw Miller Express
  • Melville Millionaires
  • Yorkton Cardinals
  • Regina Red Sox

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