The premier senior men’s slowpitch teams in the nation will be at Edgar Park for the Canadian championships Friday to Monday.
Teams from Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland will compete in two 50-and-over classes and one 60-and-over division.
“These are the top teams that have qualified in their provinces. Every team had to qualify to get here,” said Wally Vance of Red Deer, the event host/convenor.
Red Deer will host the nationals for each of the next four years, as well.
“I’ve been working on this for a couple of years. We got approval last year to host this year and the next four,” said Vance, who sent his bid to the Slo-Pitch National head office in Toronto.
“The provincials have been in Red Deer for three years now and we wanted to host the nationals and have everyone come to Red Deer.”
Vance admitted it wasn’t a tough sell convincing the national association to award the Canadian championships to Red Deer.
“Everyone has been to Edmonton and Calgary already. For this year is needed to be kind of central and Red Deer is right in the middle of the province and easy to get to,” said Vance. “It was just kind of a natural choice.”
The championships opens Friday with round-robin games at 9 and 10:30 a.m., and 2 and 3:30 p.m.
The round-robin portion of the event runs through Saturday, with playoff games slated for Sunday, starting at 9 a.m., and at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Monday.
There are no Central Alberta teams entered in the nationals, which will feature a barbecue Saturday evening at Edgar Park.
“We’ve already sold 225 tickets for the barbecue,” said Vance. “This is something that’s never been done before at nationals.
“It’s all about forging friendships and relationships that build over the years. There have been people going to the nationals for five or 10 years in a row.”