Geek Squad

By JOE McFARLAND

While Philadelphia is known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, Strathclair, Manitoba has to be in the running to have the nickname of “Town of Brotherly Love.”

The community of about 750, which is found along Highway 16 northwest of Brandon, is home to the three Geekie brothers – Morgan, Noah and Conor – who have quickly surged into the forefront of sports fans’ minds.

Older brother Morgan just wrapped up his third season in the National Hockey League, collecting 22 points in 73 games for the expansion Seattle Kraken. He was also named to Team Canada for the recent World Hockey Championships.

Youngest brother Conor just finished up a great season with the Western Hockey League’s Winnipeg Ice, where he registered 70 points in 63 games and is expected to be a top-tier selection in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

As his two brothers continue their respective paths in hockey, Noah Geekie is following a different journey.

“Growing up, it was always hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer,” Noah told Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast. “That’s how we grew up, that’s what our parents got us into and that’s what everyone else did.”

A second-round pick of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen in 2015, he knew he had a shot of playing at an elite level, but his true passion was in baseball.

Noah is now creating a name for himself in that game as a two-way star with the Western Canadian Baseball League’s Okotoks Dawgs and in the U.S. college ranks with Emporia State University.

ALBERTA BOUND

Despite deciding not to follow the hockey dream with the Hitmen, Geekie found his way to Alberta anyways.

Heading into his Grade 12 year, he had a standout performance with Team Manitoba during the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.

However, the young outfielder and pitcher wasn’t sure how to take himself to the next level on the diamond.

He started searching and building relationships, eventually connecting with Tyler Hollick and the coaching staff at Dawgs Academy in Okotoks, leading to them flying out to see him on a scout day of sorts.

“Fortunately, I impressed them a little bit, so I was able to sign and go there,” Geekie said. “I made the decision then and the rest is history.”

While he only spent a year at the academy, it made him realize that his dreams were achievable.

“I absolutely loved my time in Okotoks,” Geekie continued. “They helped me become the player I am today and I can’t thank them enough.”

His time with the academy helped provide a springboard to playing with the WCBL Dawgs.

Geekie was a part of their 2019 WCBL championship run, making seven relief appearances on the mound and playing in 19 games as an outfielder where he hit .256 with four RBI and a stolen base.

It also provided fans with a snapshot of what he was capable of at the college level.

CAPTIVATING COUGAR

Coming out of Okotoks, Geekie was recruited as a pitcher by the Barton Community College Cougars.

However, he only made two appearances in 2018-2019, totalling a little more than three innings, as he spent most of his rookie campaign flourishing as an outfielder.

On his way to being named first-team all-conference, Geekie hit .339 with two home runs, 38 runs batted in and nine stolen bases. He also led the team in average, hits (74), doubles (16) and triples (3).

He became a bigger presence for the team the following season, going 2-1 with a 4.41 earned-run average in five starts on the mound while hitting .346 with a homer and 13 RBI before the pandemic shut the season down.

“I’m very proud of being able to go to Barton,” Geekie said. “They did a tonne for me and gave me a lot of opportunities that I wasn’t necessarily going to get anywhere else.”

He also used that experience to sell the program on other Dawgs graduates like Graham Brunner, Ricardo Sanchez and Dryden Howse.

SAME OLD STORY

A familiar story followed Geekie to his new college home at Emporia State University.

In his first season with the Hornets, he made two appearances on the mound while spending most of his time as an outfielder. He hit .262 with three home runs and 19 RBI in 34 games.

Geekie was determined to get more work on the mound, after a successful summer in 2021 with the Okotoks Dawgs Red squad, where he posted a 1-1 record with a save and a 3.32 ERA in six outings.

He was also a big piece of their offense with a .286 batting average, nine ribbies and four stolen bases in 18 games.

Heading back to Emporia this spring, he started making more pitching appearances out of the bullpen, and finally got started getting the call as a starter midseason.

That included a start against Washburn on April 16th, where he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, ultimately finishing with a three-hit, ten-strikeout performance.

Geekie finished the year with a 6-2 record and a 5.04 ERA, to go along with a .315 batting average, one home run, 13 RBI and six stolen bases.

“Overall, I am pretty happy with how the season went from both the hitting side and pitching side,” he said. “A goal of mine has always been to be successful on both sides as I want to be a two-way player for as long as I can.”

A FUN SUMMER AHEAD

It’s back to his home away from home this summer for Geekie, as he’s expected to be a key piece of the Dawgs’ roster.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be going back for what will be my third summer season,” said the 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw. “I’m super-pumped as it’s always a blast and I love the coaching staff and meeting new guys from all over the place.”

Geekie expects to get a few less innings on the mound this time around, as he had plenty with Emporia, but he feels this is an opportunity to brush up on other things.

“I really want to work on stuff at the plate,” he said. “I want to have an impact offensively and out in the outfield.”

The physical education major will also be able to workout at the Dawgs’ facilities and interact with some of the current academy players, which is something he looks forward to.

Geekie has plenty to say about work ethic, showing up, and trusting the process to the next generation of Dawgs.

He’s also introspective as he looks back on his journey and ahead to his final college season next spring.

“Enjoy your time and the moment as it goes way quicker than you think,” Geekie stated. “Every now and again, stop where your feet are and think about how lucky you are to play the greatest game on the planet.”

Remember: this is coming from someone who had the opportunity to play two different sports at an elite level.

However, Geekie looks at his decision in this way.

“When I was asked during the hockey season if I wanted to go to the cages or throw a ball around, I would be like ‘100 per cent in a heartbeat’ – I would do it every single time,” he recalls. “But if somebody asked in the summertime if I wanted to go to the rink, skate a bit or shoot pucks, it would be a pass from me.”

It’s all about passion, and Geekie is more than content on watching his brothers chase their dream on the ice while he does the same at the ballpark.

“I wouldn’t change my decision at all,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends and positive experiences that will last a lifetime.”

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