How It All Began...
This all began the summer of 1993. Doug Jones and Blair Kubicek were standing behind the backstop at Optimist Park in Calgary watching a Midget Triple a Provincial Tournament game. Doug was there as President of Baseball Alberta and Blair was there scouting for the Cleveland Indians. As they talked Doug discovered that Blair was also the Head Coach of the Edmonds Community College Baseball Team and he asked Blair if he thought a Junior College program could survive in Canada.
The game they were watching suddenly became of little importance and college baseball in Canada became the only topic of conversation. Soon Reed Spencer and Dale Tillman got into the conversation and ideas were getting thrown out in every direction. By the end of that Saturday they were all sure they could start a program; of course nobody knew where it would be based or where the money was going to come from but they all knew it could be done. It just so happened that the following week the Canada Summer Games were in Kamloops and of course all were there again. Surprise! College baseball was the center of conversation again. As the week passed every time they got a chance to talk, they did. The week came to an end and with all of them heading home, everyone promised to keep in touch on what the other was thinking and how it could get started. Six months passed with many long distance phone calls between the four of them.
It was decided by Doug, Dale and Reed that Doug as a volunteer member of the Alberta Sport Council should approach Terry Archer and Bill France asking if they thought the council would support this type of project. Mr. Archer phoned back in a few weeks and said the Alberta Sports Council could look seriously at a proposal.
Doug, Dale, Reed and a new recruit Keith Jorgensen went to Medicine Hat to hold a College baseball meeting with Wayne Schlosser, Lovell McDonnel and Kevin Friesen. The consensus was that the group should go ahead. A meeting of interested people was called at Kate Andrews High School in October of 1994. Keith Jorgensen was elected as President, Doug Jones Vice President, Dale Tillman Secretary Treasurer and board members were Reed Spencer, Wayne Schlosser and Wayne Guenter. Dale Tillman made application to form a society; once the society was approved application was made by Dale to the Alberta Sport Council for a grant of twenty-five thousand dollars. there was another meeting in January of 1995 to decide whether the program would be based in Medicine Hat or Lethbridge. With the location being firmed up they advertised for a Head Coach with Baseball Canada and Baseball America, forty-four applicants applied.
Sponsorship took off when foresighted businessmen in the community came on board. They were lead by Joe Watson of Harry Watson Farm Supply, Rick Paskal of Butte Grain Merchants and Dale Baldwin of RoyDale International Case. The Canadian National Team was on tour in July and were playing the Oyen Pronghorns in Lethbridge. The Honourable Shirley McClellan opened the game with a cheque presentation to Prairie Baseball Academy from the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars. Interviews for the Head Coaches position were held on the same weekend with five candidates. The Head Coach was hired and the program would begin operation in September with 62 players at the first day of practice.
And as they say, the rest is history.
How It All Began...