The Fort McMurray Giants remain optimistic about the future of minor-league baseball in the region.
Announced last week, the Western Canadian Baseball League cancelled the upcoming 2020 season due to COVID-19 and its travel restrictions.
Team president and owner Dutche Iannetti said the board of governors’ decision was not an easy one.
“We looked at every scenario to see if we could probably play a partial season, and it just didn’t work out with the border not being open. We didn’t want to take that chance [with] the safety of our billet families, players, and fans.”
The Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all non-essential travel to at least June 22, 2020.
Iannetti said the players also understand the complex nature of the COVID-19 situation.
He added none of the players the Giants recruited backed out of their commitments.
“We had a full team that was ready to show up here and they understand also what’s going on here with this pandemic that safety is the most important thing for everybody right now.”
The Fort McMurray Giants finished the 2019 season with a franchise-record 28 wins.
Iannetti said their success wouldn’t be possible without the support of sponsors and fans.
“Whether it’s the Giants, Oil Barons, or any other organization you need all that support to be able to function within the community and have a team.”
Iannetti said staff are busy recruiting players for next season’s squad.
“The support that we’ve had in the past four years has been tremendous, and we hope that continues in 2021.”
The Fort McMurray Giants play at Legacy Dodge Field in Shell Place.