It’s not official, and won’t be until the final application is presented to the league, but there’s considerable interest in RDC joining the Canadian Colleges Baseball Conference.
The team would run through the RDC Royals competitive sports program, which is separate from the RDC athletic teams that compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
The Royals program has been around for 15 years and currently consists of teams for rodeo, dance and women’s soccer which competes in the Central Alberta Women’s Soccer League.
“We provide opportunities for more students to participate in sport at a high level of competition,” said director of Ancillary and Sport Services Trent Rix. “The Royals are part of the fitness and wellness services group and that group is in my division.”
The Royals are also a pay-to-play program.
“They also fund-raise but at the end of the day each athlete is responsible for their own fees,” said Rix, who’s excited about the prospect of adding baseball to the program.
The proposal for the baseball team was presented to the college by St. Joe’s Baseball Academy’s Jason Chatwood along with Brant Stickel.
“They approached RDC about joining the college league as their academy program is growing and they were looking for an opportunity for their athletes to continue to play at a high level after high school,” explained Rix. “That spurred the discussion and it went from there.”
The RDC group put together a letter of interest and presented it to the CCBC. There was unanimously approved to move forward with the formal proposal and league application, which would be presented to the Conference in May of 2020.
‘We’re definitely in the early stages of the process as there’s a lot of things, both internally and externally, we need to go through to get the application together,” continued Rix.
“But the momentum and interest is certainly there and the way the Royals are structured it would allow this to happen.”
The players would tryout for the team and must be enrolled at RDC.
“They’ll need to registered, take a certain number of credits each semester and maintain their GPA,” said Rix. “It’s a way for us to keep more student-athletes at home and for them to get their education and play competitive baseball.”
The CCBC consists of seven teams with the Prairie Baseball Academy of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary and Edmonton Collegiate from Alberta and Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University of Kamloops, Vancouver Island University of Nanaimo and the University of Fraser Valley from B.C.
“The league felt our addition would be a positive for them as it would balance the league, making for easier travel for the other three Alberta teams,” said Rix.
So what comes next?
“We have to make sure all steps are covered internally with everythging in position and there’s the support. We have to make sure all the pieces are in place so the application can go forward.
“We have to continue to work with the community and our internal finances and see where it goes. There’s still a lot of pieces to fall into place, but at the same time we’re excited.”
Chatwood and Stickel are working to identify players.
If the official application is presented and accepted the team would begin play in the fall of 2020.
“They have a short season in the fall and a championship season in the spring,” explained Rix, who added they’ll keep everyone informed as they take the next steps towards officially making an application.
“One way or another we’ll keep everyone informed,” he concluded.
Danny Rode is a retired advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org