Corey Eckstein has long been a fixture in Abbotsford baseball dugouts, but he’s making the move to Ontario next summer. (Abbotsford News photo)

Corey Eckstein has long been a fixture in Abbotsford baseball dugouts, but he’s making the move to Ontario next summer. (Abbotsford News photo)

Fraser Valley Baseball Academy loses Corey Eckstein to Ontario

A longtime fixture in local baseball, Eckstein heads east to join the Ontario Blue Jays program.

A major change is coming to the Fraser Valley baseball scene.

Corey Eckstein will move east next summer to become the new Director of Player Personnel for the Ontario Blue Jays.

Eckstein will remain in his current role as baseball boss for the Fraser Valley Baseball Academy through August 2020.

He has been with FVBA (previously the Abbotsford Cardinals) for the last 15 seasons, helping build it into one of the premier baseball organizations in the country.

His coaching resume includes several Team B.C. assignments and a four- year stint as an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. He’s also worked as an area scout for MLB’s Kansas City Royals.

“I’ve poured my heart and soul into my programs over the last 15 years,” Eckstein said in a statement. “I feel like I’ve left this place better than I found it. There’s a lot of great people inside FVBA that will continue the tradition we have created.”

Eckstein calls the Ontario Blue Jays the “New York Yankees of Canadian baseball.”

According to objbaseball.com/home, the program has sent 485 players on to college ball, produced 71 national team players and generated 118 Major League Baseball draft picks.

“This was obviously a tough decision for my family and my wife, Kourtni, has been my number one supporter throughout these negotiations,” Eckstein said. “Leaving the people you care about the most is never easy but we both feel that this is the next step in my career and something that I’ve been working hard towards.

“Every coach has aspirations to coach a high profile college team or maybe even land a pro job if you’re good enough. The Ontario Blue Jays is now my big leagues and I will treat it as such.”

With eight months until he officially departs, Eckstein is giving Fraser Valley Baseball Academy president Brian Finnie ample time to find a replacement. But Eckstein leaves massive shoes to fill.

“As an organization, we will miss him, but we are happy for him and his family,” Finnie said. “We are most excited for the opportunity this creates to bridge the gap between baseball in B.C. and Ontario.

“I’m proud to employ the best coaches in B.C., and with our recent addition of Courtney Gill in an oversight role, I’m confident we won’t miss a step.”

See fvbaseball.ca for info.

eric.welsh@theprogress.com