PRESS RELEASE – John Ircandia, managing director of the Okotoks Dawgs, was ranked 20th on the list of Most Influential Canadians in Baseball published today by the Toronto SUN. The list is compiled annually by sports journalist, Bob Elliot, himself a member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Ircandia’s ranking at 20 is his highest spot on the annual list to date. Last year, he was listed as the 22nd Most Influential. The list is literally a “Who’s Who” of the Canadian baseball industry from owners, executives, coaches, scouts, broadcasters, suppliers and players. Former Blue Jays General Manager and recent hire in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Alex Anthopoulos, was chosen as the most influential of all. One spot ahead of Ircandia at No. 19 was outstanding ESPN broadcaster, Dan Shulman, while Hall of Fame player, former Chicago Cubs standout, Fergie Jenkins came in at No. 18. The move up two spots sees Ircandia jump ahead of Jeff Royer (Arizona Diamondbacks general partner) and Arlene Anderson (owner and executive of Sam Bats).
While Ircandia expressed great appreciation for being included on such a prestigious list, he indicated he sees it more as recognition about all the phenomenal success enjoyed by his Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Program. In 2015, the summer collegiate club shattered all previous records for attendance averaging over 2900 fans per game with a single game record of over 5000 fans on Canada Day. That was good enough for 4th in North America in summer collegiate attendance. In addition, the Dawgs Youth Academy in 2015 captured Alberta Championships in all of the Peewee, Bantam and Midget levels, a truly historic feat at the youth level.
“I have always seen this as recognition of the Dawgs rather than me individually. I am particularly proud to be among the top representatives from the world of amateur and youth baseball. Creating opportunities for youngsters is what the Dawgs have always been about”, Ircandia said.
Ircandia also reflected on the significance of being included on a the list compiled by Canada’s most credible baseball writer, a Hall of Fame journalist who created the Canadian Baseball Network, what Ircandia refers to as “the bible of baseball in Canada”.
“This honour is made all the more special by the fact that it comes from no less than a Cooperstown Hall of Famer; honestly, an individual who has done more than anyone ever to shine a light on the sport of baseball in this hockey country… not only from coast-to-coast, but also from the Big Leagues of professional baseball to the sandlots of the youth game.”
Due to the increasing success of the Dawgs and the Dawgs Youth Academy, attendance records, state of the art upgrades to the Seaman Stadium Complex (including in 2016, a new, state of the art, high definition and interactive scoreboard), Ircandia clearly has played a major role in the development of the game in Canada.
The annual list published by the Toronto Sun had former Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos in the No. 1 spot, followed by Rogers Communications’ deputy chairman Edward Rogers and the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto.