For the West Coast League, the northern charge continues.
With its third Canadian expansion team this summer, the WCL announced on Tuesday the addition of its most distant franchise yet — the Edmonton Riverhawks in Alberta.
The Yakima Valley Pippins will now have five Canadian foes when play resumes next year after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season.
With the addition of the Nanaimo NightOwls and Kamloops NorthPaws — two expansion teams from British Columbia announced earlier this summer — the WCL has grown to 15 teams, including seven in Washington.
Edmonton, a city of one million, is located 800 miles northeast of Yakima.
“That will present some scheduling and traveling challenges that the WCL board has been looking at for several weeks,” said Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson in a release. “But expansion always allows the opportunity to think about things differently, and to create more regional rivalries and excitement for fans.”
Garretson noted that division alignments and scheduling will be addressed at the league’s fall meetings later this month. A 2021 schedule is expected this fall.
The Pippins plan to open their seventh WCL season at Yakima County Stadium in June of 2021.