Victoria HarbourCats 2018 most valuable player, centre fielder Nick Plaia, strokes a pitch into the field during exhibition baseball play at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. Photo by Christian J. Stewart/Victoria HarbourCats

High-level sports options abound during summer in Victoria

From HarbourCats baseball to Shamrocks lacrosse to Pacific FC soccer, you’ve got choices as a fan

Whether or not you’re a “fanatic” about a particular sport, Greater Victoria has some great entertainment options available over the summer.

Since 2013, the Victoria HarbourCats have captured the imaginations of avid baseball fans and those who simply like to get outside on a warm summer night. What better place to grab dinner and a beverage and enjoy a relaxing night than Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park?

Playing their seventh season in the amateur collegiate-level West Coast League, the Cats have established league attendance records, recorded a WCL record 40 wins in 2016 and saw the first female player in league history, pitcher Claire Eccles, suit up for two seasons.

Many former HarbourCats have gone on to professional careers. Victoria native and current Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta is the first and only HarbourCat to reach the Major League level, but many others drafted by MLB clubs are working their way through the minors.

The nature of the league sees new college players come through every season, so fans in Victoria have cheered on drastically different teams each year. They’ve watched such future MLB draft picks as Andrew Vaughn (No. 3 overall, 2019), Davis Wendzel (No. 41) and Cameron Cannon (No. 43) stand at the plate here, and seen many other future picks on the opposing teams. One can trace many MLB players’ roots back to the West Coast League, prompting fans here to say, “remember when we saw him play at RAP?”

You can find a whole lot more information on the team, their players and alumni at harbourcats.com, or if you want a more personal experience, head on down to the ballpark.

After a slow start to their Western Lacrosse Association 2019 season, the Victoria Shamrocks are expected to be in playoff contention come the end of July. (Facebook/Victoria Shamrocks)

*****

The Victoria Shamrocks senior men’s lacrosse team, currently playing their 70th season, has been thrilling its fans for seven decades, winning nine Mann Cup national championships – most recently in 2015 – and many more Western Lacrosse Association titles along the way.

The club’s many regular fans who attend games at The Q Centre at West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood know their team will be in the mix for a WLA crown virtually every season. The team got off to a slow start this spring, but you can bet longtime Shamrocks Jesse King, Tyler Burton, Ben McCullough and goalies Aaron Bold and Cody Hagedorn , and newer members like Casey Jackson, Keegan Bell, Chris Boushy and Cole Pickup will light a fire under their teammates and get the club into playoff contention by late July.

Find complete schedule and ticket information at victoriashamrocks.com.

*****

As one of the founding franchises in the fledgling professional Canadian Premier League, Victoria’s Pacific FC has brought an even higher level of soccer to the region.

While Pacific’s results have shown how tough the CPL is – they had two wins and two draws in nine starts at press time but sat tied for fourth in the seven-team league – their performances have provided quality entertainment for fans at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

The ownership group of former Canadian Men’s National Team members and international pros Josh Simpson (also a Belmont secondary grad) and Rob Friend, along with finance wizard Dean Shillington, have put in place a team that aims to give young players a chance to climb the next rung on the ladder to a professional career.

Guided by coach Michael Silberbauer and led by such up-and-coming players as attacker Marcus Haber, midfielders Noah Verhoeven and Ben Fisk and defender Hendrik Starostzik, Pacific FC fields one of the youngest teams in the CPL, which gives the fans a sense that the best is yet to come.

Find game details online at pacificfc.canpl.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

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Pacific FC soccer fans get excited about their team, which plays its home matches at Westhills Stadium in Langford. Spencer Pickles/Black Press

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