Canucks look to get better

Katie Brickman
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Midget AA team benefits from Devons demise

There is one positive to the dissolution of the Moose Jaw Devons.

Moose Jaw Canucks head coach Kevin Smith hands over the ball from Kaleb Wilson (56) to James Barkway in their first game against the Cubs last season at Ross Wells Park. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

After a disappointing season last year, the Moose Jaw Canucks look like they will benefit the most.

“It will affect us,” said Kevin Smith, coach of the Canucks. “I am sure when we have our tryouts, we will have some AAA calibre players out there that we wouldn’t have had normally and they will likely end up making the team.”

The Canucks play in the midget AA division of the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League (SPBL) and posted a 5-10-1 record last season. Having a number of players that are of a higher calibre will only make this Canucks team stronger.

“It is unfortunate for them (Devons) and the league, but the flip side of it is, it can’t do anything but make us better,” said Smith. “Not only will they make the team better, but also the guys that have played AA ball, when they see these guys with the higher calibre, they are going to make them better too.”

Coaches Smith and Kevin Wilson have not yet set a date for tryouts, but the league schedule is being prepared this week. The league will get started in mid-May.

Smith did want to stress that anyone that is interested in trying out for the Canucks — those will little to a lot of experience — are welcome.

“I am still hoping we get a bunch of kids that will come and tryout for the team. This may keep some people away, thinking that they don’t have a chance. All spots are open and we will see how many we get out and go from there,” said Smith. “Last year, I didn’t have to cut anybody, but I’m sure we will have to make a few cuts.”

The Canucks will try and stick to a roster of 13 players, but Smith also explained the difference between the two levels of baseball.

“The biggest difference between AAA and AA is that it is a little more relaxed and kids do tend to work a little bit more,” he said. “So, going with one or two extra players is just for some guys that want to work. It is going to be a bit more relaxed than what they are used to.”

When asked if there was a  possibility of just moving the Canucks up from AA to AAA, Smith didn’t think that was beneficial to the ball players in Moose Jaw.

“That would a huge step. Last year, we had a few kids that hadn’t even played baseball,” said Smith. “So, we didn’t consider going up to AAA. We wouldn’t be competitive at all. We are better off where we are.”

The team will also not heading to Saskatoon for the Sask Selects tournament this year, as they have decided to go to a different tournament instead.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

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