Dawgs recognize quiet builders
Baseball: First three inductees into Dawgs Wall of Fame unveiled
Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 06:00 am
By Bruce Campbell
The Okotoks Dawgs are honouring some of the best people who have been at Seaman Stadium.
However, they aren’t gentlemen who have donned the red-and-white between the lines, like Duda, Thomas, Kumar, Rodrigues and others. They are fellows who have helped build the game in Okotoks and Canada from outside the lines.
The Dawgs will recognize builders Don Seaman, Blair Kubicek and sports writer Bob Elliott as the first entries into the Okotoks Dawgs/Seaman Stadium Hall of Fame at the team’s annual banquet on Feb. 1 at the Foothills Centennial Centre.
The brainchild for the hall came when Dawgs executive director John Ircandia was visiting the Nike Hall of Fame in Oregon.
“As I was walking around, I thought there was a number of people who made huge contributions to either the development of our facilities in Okotoks or the programming behind the Dawgs,” Ircandia said. “Those people have not been recognized provincially or nationally, but have done so much to make this possible in Okotoks.”
The selection of Seaman was a “no-brainer” according to Ircandia.
“Without Don saying to me in 2005, ‘Let’s build the Dawgs a stadium,’ there wouldn’t be a stadium,” Ircandia said. “Don from the Day 1 of the Dawgs felt that creating opportunities for top end players in Alberta to combine their academics with baseball, was a noble cause.
“He understood that concept.”
The selection of Kubicek might have some Dawg followers saying: who?
Kubicek helped establish Nolan Yard in Lethbridge and was the founder and head coach of the Prairie Baseball Academy in Vauxhall from 1995 to 2010.
“Kubicek building the Prairie Baseball Academy and being Mr. Baseball in southern Alberta was huge in the Alberta baseball context but weren’t specific to the Dawgs,” Ircandia said. “But he did other things that opened up things for Okotoks Dawgs.”
Ircandia said Kubicek was instrumental in the building of Seaman Stadium, Tourmaline Field and the most recent Conrad Field.
“He is an unsung hero,” Ircandia said of Kubicek. “He was there every day, not me. He made sure we were spending the money the right way. He helped establish a baseball facility that is fan and player-development friendly.
“He’s a guy that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Most baseball fans will know of Bob Elliott, who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Elliott covered the Montreal Expos during their days of Andre “The Hawk” Dawson and Gary “The Kid” Carter.
He also wrote about the Jays through thick and thin, from the World Series teams to the disappointing squad of 2013.
Through it all he was always concerned about baseball in Canada and Canadians playing America’s pastime.
It’s been Elliott’s Canadian Baseball Network, which caught the Dawgs’ eyes.
“Since about 2000, kids have grown up with the Canadian Baseball Network,” Ircandia said. “It is the single-most unifying source of elite youth baseball in Canada.
“It let’s top youth players from Calgary and Okotoks know who they are competing against — it isn’t the guy across the street, it might be Adam Loewen in Vancouver or Joey Votto in Toronto.
“Our youth players look at that site as a measuring stick of where they stand.”
Elliott has also given the Dawgs national exposure in his writing.
For more information about the banquet and the hall of fame go to www.dawgsbaseball.ca