At first word that the Raptors will be spending a few days in Edmonton next summer, sports fans might be excused for jumping up and down at the thought of a high-profile NBA event.
But the Raptors under discussion play another game — baseball — and they’re based not in Toronto but in Ridgefield, Wash., a small centre near the Washington-Oregon border which claims fewer than 10,000 residents in its Wikipedia profile. Edmonton — officially labeled the Riverhawks — is now a partner in the West Coast League, which develops college players and has seen several top prospects selected in recent Major League Baseball drafts.
Also joining this week are teams based in Kamloops and Nanaimo, bringing the British Columbia contingent to four teams. Victoria and Kelowna were already members of what now is a 15-team organization.
Teams currently occupy Yakima, Wenatchee, Walla Walla and Port Angeles in Washington, as well as Bend, Corvallis and other communities in Oregon.
The city of Edmonton confirmed months ago that the Edmonton Prospects of the Western Canadian Baseball League would not be returning to Re/Max Field. Several years of association with Pat Cassidy and the Prospects had led to difficult feelings on both sides.
The Prospects are developing a new facility in Stony Plain. It will be ready for competition in 2022. Cassidy has said his team will find another place to play in 2021. All comments on next year and beyond are based, of course, on the progress of local, provincial and national fights against COVID.
Randy Gregg, the former Edmonton Oilers defenceman who led the new group’s campaign to function in Re/Max Field, unveiled his new organization at a well-attended news conference and said several options concerning the WCBL were considered but “there were continuing roadblocks.”
During months of negotiation, Gregg and his supporters did not communicate with the public. Neither did city council. “When you sign a non-disclosure agreement, you have to abide by it. Your signature has to mean something,” he said.
Gregg insisted the Riverhawks organization has no ill feelings about the WCBL. “It might have worked well,” he said. A few casual remarks were made about the potential value to this entire region if both the WCBL and the WCL are profitable.
The Edmonton approach includes sharing in travel costs for existing West Coast League teams. Similar situations made it difficult for a pair of so-called “independent” teams to operate in the years after the Edmonton Trappers were sold and Edmonton had no significant baseball.
Gregg is convinced the new load of travel costs will not be insurmountable. The Riverhawks are a collection of 28 contributors. He also pointed out that at least a couple of Edmonton’s new partners are owned or controlled by owners with major-league connections.’
“We’ve got a big job ahead of us,” he said. “We know that a lot of baseball fans have never seen a game at Re/Max Field.”
As things were unfolding between the Prospects and city officials, there were regular suggestions that no lease would have been granted for the WCBL in 2021. “Can you imagine what it would feel like to have no baseball for maybe three or four years in this great sports city?”
Legendary Edmonton locker-room attendant Joey Moss dies at 57
EDMONTON — Joey Moss — a legendary locker-room attendant for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and CFL’s Edmonton Football Team — has died. He was 57.
The Edmonton Football Team confirmed the death on Monday by saying the city has lost a “hero.” No cause of death was given.
Moss was born in 1963 with Down Syndrome, the 12th of 13 children to Lloyd and Sophie Moss.
He became the Oilers’ locker-room attendant in 1984-85 when superstar Wayne Gretzky was dating his older sister, Vikki. Moss joined the Edmonton Football Team in 1986 and held roles with both organizations for over 30 years.
“Janet and I are profoundly saddened to learn about the passing of Joey Moss. Not only was Joey a fixture in the Edmonton dressing room, he was someone I truly considered a friend — a friendship that spanned over 35 years,” Wayne Gretzky said in a message posted to the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery Facebook account.
“Joey was not only the spirit of our team, but of our community too. We will miss you Joey and you will always live on through all the memories you have given so many people. Our thoughts are with all of Joey’s loved ones.
“Joey, once an Oiler, always an Oiler — you will always be one.”
Moss worked with the CFL club from the opening of training camp in June until mid-August, at which time he headed over to the Oilers locker-room for the NHL season — capturing the hearts of Edmonton sports fans along the way, particularly with his enthusiastic participation in the national anthem before the start of every hockey game.
Moss helped the training staff with such tasks as filling water bottles and equipment duties, but became more than an attendant over the years by providing inspiration to everyone in the locker-room.
Moss was awarded the NHL Alumni Association’s “Seventh Man Award” in 2003, for those “whose behind-the-scenes efforts make a difference in the lives of others.”
In October 2008, Moss was honoured with a mural in Edmonton for his service with both clubs. In 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal honouring significant contributions and achievements by Canadians, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
“The entire Edmonton Football Team organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Joey Moss,” the club said in a release.
“Edmonton lost a hero today. Joey’s bravery, humor, strength, work ethic and perseverance in our dressing room and in our community left indelible impressions that will live with us all. More than that, Joey endeared himself to everyone in our province, our country and beyond, no matter who they were. He was a symbol of what true teamwork is comprised of and we are all better for having known him. He touched us all.”
Moss also inspired the Joey Moss Cup, an annual tournament held at the end of every Oilers’ training camp.
“Heartbreaking to hear about Joey Moss passing away. He is the soul of the (Oilers),” former Oilers captain Andrew Ference said on Twitter.
“I’ll remember him singing the anthem w/pride, getting fired up about wrestling and always asking if I combed my hair with a pork chop. Broken heart. My deepest condolences to the Moss family.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 26, 2020.
The Canadian Press
A conversation about Dignity in a Pandemic: Podcast
October 21, 2020
Edmonton-AB-On Global Dignity Day, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights launches a larger conversation about dignity in collaboration with the community in a new podcast titled, Dignity In a Pandemic.
The podcast theme is ‘no one left behind’. The discussions explore what dignity looks like for vulnerable members in our community and how it has been affected by the pandemic. Our team began gathering stories in March when the pandemic began to take hold of the world. Our first episode features Shima Aisha Robinson, a poet, community organizer, and activist. We talk about Camp Pekiwewin, which is led by Indigenous 2 Spirit women working in solidarity with Black and 2SLGBTQ communities.
Renee Vaugeois, Executive Director of John Humphrey Centre of Peace and Human Rights, adds, “I’m excited for others to hear the new podcast. The episodes uplift local voices with lived experience and name injustices we see during Covid-19 for a call to action. These are real people with tough realities, who imagine futures where human rights are upheld.”
#YEGdignity was first created by members of our Youth Action Project in 2015 where art was used to challenge perceptions of poverty. The campaign launched that year with the public painting of four murals looking at dignity and poverty. Five years later, the project has expanded to include a podcast to give voice to the vulnerable.
Each week over the next three months, JHC will share new episodes told with diverse Edmontonians. This effort is part of JHC’s commitment to building a Human Rights City, where all participate, belong and are included.
Click here to listen to the first in the series of podcasts.
The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights works to advance a culture of peace and human rights through education and community building guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Read more on Todayville.
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