Dr Randy Gregg and Edmonton Riverhawks gear up for inaugural season

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As general manager of the Edmonton Riverhawks, Gregg has worked tirelessly to try and prepare the facility for the upcoming West Coast League season, which is a collegiate woodland circuit.

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Former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Dr. Randy Gregg has been spending much of his free time lately at RE / MAX Field in the heart of the River Valley.

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As general manager of the Edmonton Riverhawks, Gregg has worked tirelessly to try and prepare the facility for the upcoming West Coast League season, which is a collegiate wooden stick circuit that operates in the summer.

The Riverhawks were scheduled to play their inaugural season last summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic made Gregg and his squad wait another year.

“All these young players who are in college, they want to be drafted or signed, and will be encouraged to play summer varsity baseball,” Gregg said earlier this week. “The Cape Code League is probably the ultimate league on the east coast, but as far as the west is concerned, the west coast league is by far the highest quality league.

“In fact, in 2019, 90 players selected in the Major League draft had played in this league. That’s very important to these young players in the summer – not only do they want to get out of Arizona because it’s 120 degrees – but they want to come and be coached by a good quality coach and get a little bit more at bats and at swings and things like that. “

Gregg won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers in their prime, but he’s always had a soft spot for baseball.

“I was probably a better baseball player than a hockey player, but by the time I was able to get a scholarship in the United States, I was in medical school,” said Gregg. “And I thought I better not drop out of med school. I loved hockey, of course, it’s a great sport, but I also loved baseball.

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The West Coast League is made up of 15 teams divided into three divisions. The South Division has teams from Oregon and Washington, the North Division is made up of teams from North Washington, while the Canada Division has four teams in British Columbia, as well as Edmonton.

“We’re thrilled to have our head coach Kelly Stinnett, who played 15 years in Major League Baseball, so he knows what it takes to be at that level,” said Gregg. “And by having a coach with that kind of reputation, we get young rookies who not only like coming to Edmonton because it’s going to be a lot cooler than in the south, but with his reputation, with 9,000 seats here in the city. , and the size of Edmonton, we’re going to have a really competitive squad and it’s going to be a wonderful experience for our fans to see these young guys.

Edmonton will be the biggest market in the league and will have the best facilities. Gregg and the Riverhawks signed a lease for the AAA rated facility and the team worked hard to improve the park.

In addition to a new indoor turf, the group implemented a new dashboard and improved canoes and clubs.

“It’s amazing. The fans who haven’t been here for a few years won’t recognize the place with the new turf and everything,” said Riverhawks pitching coach Ethan Elias. “It’s special. I can’t wait to see what we get and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“It’s great to bring a very high level of baseball to the West Coast to come and play here. It’s going to blow away people of the level of talent that is going to be here, so it’s going to be exciting and I guess the next step is to count the great players that we get out of here, that’s kind of the goal.

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The Riverhawks replace Edmonton Prospects as the main tenant of RE / MAX Field. The Prospect, who plays in the Western Canadian Baseball League, also a summer wood-batting tour, is moving to Spruce Grove for the coming season.

The Riverhawks roster will be made up of college players from across North America. The 54-game season begins May 31 and continues through the first week of August.

“We started recruiting players in June and July,” Elias said. “We have selected most of our list already, updates will be arriving here shortly, but it’s an ongoing process.

“Guys are going to fall out, guys might get injured, guys might pitch too many innings in the spring for their varsity teams, respectively, and so we have to adapt, we have to be able to take things as they come and go. to manage. this.”

Regardless, the Riverhawks expect to field a competitive squad from the get-go, using the city and the facilities as the draw for young college players. Every player in the league must have at least one year of college eligibility.

“We’re not going to bring in a guy like Connor McDavid,” said Gregg. “But what we want to do is maybe bring in a young pitcher who throws 95-97 (mph) who’s at Arizona State and all of a sudden in three or four years he’s going to be playing with the Dodgers at. Los Angeles and we saw it here in Edmonton.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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