Chilliwack getting college baseball team

Ex-UBC pitching coach Shawn Corness will guide a new crew in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.

Jared DeVuyst of the Chilliwack midget AAA Cougars makes a hit during a doubleheader game against the Vernon Canadians at Fairfield Island Park last Saturday. DeVuyst and other Chilliwackians are getting a new local option for post-secondary baseball with the introduction of a Canadian College Baseball Conference franchise.

The Fraser Valley Collegiate Baseball Group is bringing a new team to Chilliwack this fall.

Led by deep-pocketed local businessman Brian Finnie, the FVCBG has been green-lighted by the Canadian College Baseball Conference, granted a franchise that will start play in September.

“My son is 13 years old and we’ve realized more and more that the top players migrate away from Chilliwack because there’s no where to go in the higher levels of baseball,” Finnie said. “This team is going to change things for a lot of young people.”

The group is looking to affiliate with the University of the Fraser Valley, and UFV is reviewing their application.

If UFV accepts — and reading between lines at the introductory press conference, it seems as close to a done deal as it can be — Finnie would look to run the fledgling program as a ‘club team’ for a year or two with the long-term aim of applying for varsity status.

UFV has acknowledged the existence of the application and will make an announcement soon.

“Some of these kids who don’t see school as an attainable goal, we can work with them in special prograns, tutor them and upgrade their grades,” Finne said. “We want to do whatever we can so we don’t lose them through the cracks — thinking they’re going to be major league baseball players and forgetting about their education.”

Finnie has already secured a head coach, luring Shawn Corness away from the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, where he’d been for nearly a decade.

Before that Corness coached at Kwantlen and he’s also scouted for the San Francisco Giants.

“In business you build around key people, and here’s some things you’d probably never hear from Shawn,” Finnie said. “Five provincial, three Western Canadian, two national and one World Series title. Sixteen major league draft picks and 32 years of coaching. He’s a premier guy, as good as they get.”

Corness has already started recruiting. Fifteen players have signed letters of intent for 2016, including six Chilliwack Minor Baseball products.

Longtime CMBA coach/manager Lee Rogers will serve as the new team’s general manager.

The team will play its home games at Fairfield Island.

The CCBC regular season normally runs from mid-March to the second weekend of May.

The new team will be the sixth in the league, joining two foes — the Calgary Dinos and Thompson Rivers Wolfpack — who are familiar to UFV sports fans.

The Prairie Baseball Academy has won the last five CCBC titles, and is based out of Lethbridge, AB.

The Okanagan College Coyotes play out of Kelowna’s Elks Stadium and the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (VIBI) Mariners are based in Nanaimo.

“The league is excited to be adding a team in the Lower Mainland,” said CCBC president Ted Hotzak. “There’s tremendous elite-level baseball talent in the Fraser Valley that will now have an opportunity to showcase itself at the college level right at home.”

The CCBC is under the umbrella of the Premier Baseball Association and is affiliated with the BC Premier Baseball League and BC Junior Premier Baseball League.

Economically, Finnie expects to carry a heavy load for the first two years.

Player fees help off-set costs, but Finnie is also looking for partners who share his passion for baseball.

For more information contact Rogers by email at or call 604-316-0188


— Find more in-depth coverage in Friday’s Progress sports section.

Just Posted

Chilliwack organ transplant recipients thank hospital staff during Operation Popcorn

Two double-lung recipients helped deliver large boxes of popcorn to say thanks to doctors and nurses

Chilliwack mom gives back to Royal Columbian Hospital NICU with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Wild Fishmas event in Chilliwack Sunday for salmon defence

It’s a fish-focused festive fundraiser Dec. 8 at the UFV Indigenous Student Gathering Place

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Most Read