Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch organizers met for the first time last night, and following a long and productive meeting, a tentative season start date and game-plan is in place. As of now, the 2021 slow pitch season will start June 1, two weeks later than normal, but a month earlier than the 2020 season.
"There are some restrictions in place right now, but not any that are limiting us from playing. The city has been really good in working with us, and we're lucky to have a couple more weeks to play this season," said vice-president Jamie Gunn, adding that further PHO restrictions could affect the plan or push back a start date.
As of right now, teams can only have 10 players at the diamond at once. The city is granting the use of all eight diamonds, and Slo-Pitch National is insuring players. The season will have a similar look to 2020, where teams played every other team instead of a more competitive divisional format, resulting in a more relaxed, fun season.
"I've had a lot of leagues call us wondering what our plans are. A lot of leagues are deciding not to go ahead but hopefully some see our plan and realize there's a way to move forward," Gunn said.
Because of the shortened season, and the uncertainty of future restrictions for the summer, last year's season saw 23 teams sign up instead of the usual 40-plus. Gunn expects the same this year, with about three or four more signing up. However, there are about five brand new teams participating in 2021, a welcome sight for an unusual season.
"All things considered, last year went pretty well. We had positive feedback as a league, everyone enjoyed the camaraderie, and seemed to be happy just to have a chance to play," said Gunn.
An outdoor registration day is planned for May 15, with an outdoor umping clinic set for May 29.
"We’re so lucky, really thankful to the city for working with us so well. Hearing that other leagues haven’t been able to go forward is kind of sad, as outdoor sports is so important for everybody. It keeps us healthy and active, and we're grateful to get to play," said Gunn.
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