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Will we hear the crack of the bat in Western Canada this summer?


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Since the arrival of coronavirus-19 on the world scene, there has always been a chance that the Western Canada Baseball League – like virtually every other sports organization in existence – would be forced to cancel its season. There is also, at least temporarily, a possibility that WCBL teams will find a way to operate on a reduced schedule.

On Tuesday night in Edmonton, league president Kevin Kvame will oversee a discussion that could settle the issue for all of 2020. Among those present will be the champion Okotoks and playoff runner-up Edmonton Prospects, along with squads from Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Brooks.

Saskatchewan franchises that operated last season in Yorkton and Melville will not be on hand; each received a one-year recess while determining whether they could function successfully while competing with partners in larger centres.

One deadline date has already been bypassed. “I think we can only look at the possibility of opening on or about July 1,” Cassidy said. “There won’t be chance to get started by June 16, which was another outline. Maybe it will be decided to pull the pin now, but we could also wait for awhile, if that’s the league decision.”

Certainly, there are issues in addition to scheduling. “The question of our league’s growth is something that comes up all the time,” Prospects general manager Pat Cassidy said. “I won’t be surprised if an overall plan is discussed that would lead to improve our ballparks in many ways.”

Yorkton and Melville, in particular, were harmed because of small park capacity. Edmonton, for example, could accommodate up to 4,000 fans at REMAX Field for home games in the downtown Saskatchewan River Valley.

One possibility in Cassidy’s view would be a league-wide play-by-play broadcast network. “Some teams have trouble getting their information out to the public in a timely manner.”

A parallel might be drawn with the Alberta Junior Hockey League, which is roughly comparable to the WCBL in market size and the development level of its athletes. Only a few years ago, the AJHL established the sort of broadcast arrangement now seen as a future possibility in the WCBL.

“The best of it is that the league has a solid foundation,” Cassidy expanded. “We’re still growing so there are still questions that need to be asked and answers that need to be developed.”

Hope is Edmonton Prospects & WCBL biggest ally these days

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Aurora Cannabis to raise $33.8M in share offering, plans to repay convertible debt

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EDMONTON — Shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc. were down more than 10 per cent after the cannabis company announced plans to raise $33.8 million in a share offering.

The company says Canaccord Genuity has agreed to buy, on a bought deal basis, 46,250,000 shares of the company at a price of 73 cents per share.

It has also granted Canaccord Genuity an over-allotment option for up to an additional 6,937,500 shares on the same terms. If the over-allotment option is exercised in full, the offering will total $38.8 million.

Aurora says it plans to use the money raised to repay the remainder of its outstanding convertible senior notes at or prior to maturity.

The company says the remainder, if any, will be used for strategic purposes, including potential acquisitions.

Aurora’s stock price was down 13 per cent at 79 cents per share in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)

The Canadian Press

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Running Reins Ranch in Red Deer County picks up $250,000 grant from province

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Running Reins Ranch partners with members of the local Indigenous community to set-up teepee accommodations and host regular cultural programming for guests.

Tourism investment fuels growth in rural Alberta

Alberta’s government continues to support regional tourism opportunities across the province, generating jobs and new tourism destinations for locals and visitors alike.  

Ahead of World Tourism Day 2023, Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow visited Running Reins Ranch to see first-hand how tourism investment grants are making a difference in the lives of Albertans.

“Alberta’s government is proud to invest in growing visitor destinations like Running Reins Ranch that celebrate the richness and diversity of Alberta’s rural destinations and provide a sustainable tourism experience for visitors to enjoy.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

As part of the Tourism Investment Program, Running Reins Ranch received a $250,000 grant from Travel Alberta.

“Our investment will support the building of additional unique accommodations at the ranch that will triple their capacity, emphasize their year-round offerings and create five new full-time jobs. This investment in Running Reins Ranch is a perfect example of how Travel Alberta is driving tourism growth in rural communities across the province.”

Jon Mamela, chief commercial officer, Travel Alberta

Running Reins is located east of Innisfail, offering cabin and teepee accommodations and a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors looking to combine the beauty of the Prairies with farm experiences for a one-of-a-kind getaway.

Right to Left: Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow, Owners of Running Reins Ranch Terry and Janice Scott, and team member Grace Finlan.

“This funding is a game-changer for us and our business. We are excited to bring our vision to life and provide visitors with unforgettable experiences while supporting the economic growth of the surrounding community.”

Janice and Terry Scott, owners, Running Reins Ranch

Tourism is Alberta’s No. 1 service export sector. In 2019, Alberta welcomed 34.6 million visitors, generating $10.1 billion in expenditures and supporting more than 80,000 full-time jobs. The Tourism Investment Program is Travel Alberta’s commitment to investing $15 million annually with communities and operators to develop the province’s tourism sector. Developing Alberta’s rural and agri-tourism sector is an essential component of the government’s efforts to grow Alberta’s tourism economy to more than $20 billion by 2035.

Quick facts

  • In 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities – about 75 per cent of the projects and 70 per cent of the funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
  • In December 2022, Alberta’s government released its Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan, with supporting initiatives that demonstrate the government’s commitment to building healthy and prosperous communities across rural Alberta and Indigenous communities.
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