Alberta baseball fans woke up to some breaking news on Saturday morning.
BREAKING NEWS: @thewmbl announces a rebranding of the league to the Western Canadian Baseball League. Also announces an all-star game coming for the 2019 season, to be hosted by @EdmProspects. More to come… #yeg #baseball
— ABDugoutStories (@ABDugoutStories) June 16, 2018
With those major developments now in the open, we posed five questions to league president Kevin Kvame.
Here’s what he told us:
Q: Tell us about the rebranding of the league. Why is this happening now and, along with the new name, what other elements are there to the new brand?
A: The board of governors did a visioning session on the league back in March. Out of that, we formed a strategic planning committee and that committee brought recommendations to our board of governors meeting in May.
Those recommendations included the name change and the recognition that Canada is the most important piece that makes us unique among all summer collegiate leagues.
The leagues sees the branding change as the most important element, but certainly not the only element that we want to roll out over the next few months. Obviously, the All-Star game is another one. We are looking at other things as well, such as the start and end dates of the season; the length of the regular season versus the playoff season; and possibly putting an emphasis on other unique features in our rules and regulations. From an overall view, we just want to do a better job of getting the word about who we are and what we do and why we do it.
— Julia Wong (@JWongGlobalNews) June 16, 2018
Q: Can you expand a bit on the decision to change the name of the league?
A: As I indicated, the entire focus of the name change came about when we made the realization that we do not promote our Canadian identity nearly enough. It hit nearly everyone at the visioning session for the league. We want to celebrate this special place that we all call home and tie it to the baseball league we are all invested in.
Q: Tell us as many details as you can about the All-Star Game in Edmonton. Will it include a Home Run Derby?!
A: We are in the process of determining all of the details for the 2019 event. All I can tell you right now is that it will be at RE/MAX Field in Edmonton on Monday, July 8, 2019.
We want this one to be a special event that attracts fans from all of the franchises throughout the league, as well as a strong following from Edmontonians!
BREAKING NEWS: Today we announced a rebranding of #theWMBL and a 2019 all-star game coming for the 2019 season. Read more at https://t.co/VJmUs1gdZA #canadasleague @TSN_Sports @Sportsnet @theScore @CDNbaseball pic.twitter.com/I2UZBSKZC9
— The WMBL (@thewmbl) June 16, 2018
Q: Will the All-Star Game also take place in smaller and more remote markets, like Brooks, Fort McMurray, and some of the Saskatchewan locations?
A: I would have to say this question is a bit premature. We want to see what we can accomplish in an 8,000-seat stadium that is in a centre near an international airport.
The league will do an analysis after the 2019 and 2020 events and see what the future looks like for us.
— Edmonton Prospects (@EdmProspects) June 16, 2018
Q: Are there any other major announcements we can look forward to this season? Expansion plans, perhaps?
A: Expansion is always under consideration, however it will only move forward with detailed and transparent applications.
I can tell you that, as of today, there are no pending applications that would be voted upon for entry into the league for the 2019 season. I can also tell you that we do get inquiries each year about expansion communities and we will continue to vet them as they occur.