If legacy is measured in the impact made on a community, Amanda Asay built something special in her 33 years.
It’s why the baseball world is in shock after she passed away on January 7th following a skiing accident in Nelson, B.C.
The Prince George, B.C. native was the longest-serving member of Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Team program, joining the team in 2005 and had most-recently taken part in the team’s showcase in Quebec.
“This is really difficult news for our Women’s National Team program,” said Andre Lachance in a story on the Baseball Canada website. “Amanda was an amazing person who meant a great deal to our program.”
He remembered her as a “competitor who possessed all of the characteristics that you look for in a baseball player,” including versatility, intelligence and competitiveness “who rose to the challenge on many occasions.”
Asay, whose nickname was “Ace,” burst onto the international scene with an exclamation point.
She was first named to the national team in 2006 after helping Team Alberta win a silver medal at the Baseball Canada women’s national championship. Asay would play with that team – which was made up of players from the three western provinces – again in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Baseball Alberta commemorates the tremendous impact Amanda had on our Team Alberta Women's program in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. A great teammate and competitor who will be dearly missed. Rest in Peace. https://t.co/YA2c9HcbPm— Baseball Alberta (@BaseballAlberta) January 10, 2022
With the national team for just a year, she helped the team to a bronze medal in the 2006 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup where she was named Team Canada MVP and was a tournament All-Star.
She was also a key piece to Canadian contingents that took home bronze again in 2012 and 2018, as well as silver in 2008 and 2016.
Asay was also a part of the historic silver medal win by Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Not only was she a star on the field, like many others, she was a multi-sport athlete, playing both hockey and softball for Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island between 2006 and 2009.
An excellent student, she continued her studies at the University of British Columbia, where she obtained a master’s in science and a PhD in forestry while also playing hockey for the Thunderbirds.
“Above all, she was a terrific person who will leave a lasting impact on many people,” Lachance said. “Not only with the Women’s National Team program, but all of those who were lucky enough to meet her.”
ASAY’S ALBERTA TEAMMATES
Over the course of her 14 years with the national team, Asay made plenty of friends from across the country including here in Alberta.
“The loss of Amanda is felt in so many places, it’s hard to put into words,” said long-time teammate Nicole Luchanski in the Baseball Canada story. “She was a truly exceptional athlete, leader, friend, family member, and forestry professional.”
“She improved everything she touched and the loss of such a positive, smart, hardworking, and loyal person is unbearable.”
Several Alberta teammates, past and present, also took to social media to share their thoughts and feelings about Asay.
“There is no bigger honour than to have known you and been your teammate,” Heidi Northcott said on Twitter. “We are all better because of it. RIP Asay.”
“Gone way too soon,” added fellow long-time national team member Kelsey Lalor. “Rest easy, Asay.”
Many applauded her for her accomplishments, while others valued what she brought to the dugout.
“One of the absolute best teammates – you’re deeply missed Asay,” posted fellow pitcher Tara Sliwkanich.
Even those who had played with Asay for just a couple of years acknowledged the impact she had on their transition to the national team.
“No words,” said Madison Willan on Instagram. “Grateful to have learned so much from you.”
For many others who posted to their Instagram Stories, the message they wanted to send was quite simple.
“Love you Asay,” wrote Grande Prairie product and former provincial and national team member Meagan Cornelssen.
Asay also gained the respect of coaches she played against, like Baseball Alberta head coach Drew Boyer, who called her an “amazing competitor” and “one of the best” two-way players in the country.
“The positive impact you have made with so many girls through the women’s program has been wonderful to see. It was an honour to have shared the same field with you, and watch you play the game as well as you did.”
GROWING THE GAME
While helping coordinate coverage for the Western Canadian Baseball League’s “Baseball Day in Canada,” we had been put in touch with Asay in hopes of lining up an interview to gain perspective on the women’s game.
Unfortunately, conflicting schedules and time constraints got in the way of that interview happening. We did, however, note how enthusiastic she was in chatting about the game she loved.
In fact, the final text we sent her was that we wanted to get her on Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast in the new year, to which she replied “I’d love to.”
That sentiment was felt by several other journalists upon hearing the news.
“I’ve had the privilege of writing countless words about Amanda Asay for the last decade and there just don’t seem to be any good enough anymore,” Alexis Brudnicki tweeted. “She made everyone around her better, including me, and I’m so grateful for that and so devastated by this immense loss.”
“It was always such a pleasure to interview Amanda,” wrote Canadian Press reporter Melissa Couto Zuber. “You could hear the joy in her voice whenever she’d talk about women’s baseball and the success of the national team.”
Many sports organizations also took to their social media accounts to share shories and their condolences to everyone who know Asay.
“On behalf of Baseball Canada’s board of directors and national office, I offer sincerest condolences to Amanda’s loved ones, including her parents Loris and George and her brother Brad,” said Baseball Canada president and CEO Jason Dickson. “Her contributions to women’s baseball and our national team will be remembered forever and will serve as inspiration for future generations.”