The Golden Baseball League is truly maintaining its position as one of the frontrunners for promoting Canadian independent baseball. With the Victoria Seals becoming the most recent team from Canada joining the league, another franchise located in Canada has gone through some changes. The team formerly known as the Edmonton Cracker-Cats is now the Edmonton Capitals.
After three years of affiliation with the Northern League, the Cats journey to the Golden Baseball League began in 2007, with a “refusal” to part with a $500,000 letter of credit, or $1,000,000 million dollar bond (depending on which report you believe) and was subsequently forced out of the league. According to Ball Park Digest, the basics of the deal are as follows; “the Northern League constitution says every team must put up letters of credit, with the commissioner having the discretion to return them after a certain amount of time (say, three years). When the two Alberta teams (the other team was the Calgary Vipers) were asked to put up the letters of credit, we’re guessing they demanded that every other team do so as well per the league bylaws, but not every team has done so (and, indeed, at least one of the other teams is in no financial position to do so).” Northern League Commissioner Clark C. Griffith insisted that the team was not forced out, “We were not pushing them out of the league. We very much wanted them back.”
In October of 2007, it was officially announced that the Edmonton Cracker-Cats joined the GBL. The addition of the Cats thrilled the likes of GBL CEO David Kaval, “Edmonton is a tremendous baseball market with a first class Triple-A ballpark,” “With a tradition of championship ballclub’s and strong fan and business partner support, Edmonton is a very impressive addition to the GBL.” 2008 turned out to be a very good year for the Cats, winning the North Division in their first season and setting a single-game attendance record of nearly 9,000 while facing their cross-province rival, the Calgary Vipers. Their season ended unceremoniously losing to those same Vipers in the first ever North Division Championship Series three games to zero. The 2009 season is almost underway but the Edmonton franchise is already in a league of its own.
Daryl Katz and the Rexall Sports Corporation purchased the Edmonton franchise for a reported $400,000. Dan Orlich and partner Erika Cruise, the Florida-based owners of the Cracker-Cats sold the team for an amount that is minimal to Katz, who is the owner of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Katz, who reached billionaire status through pharmaceuticals, has now turned Edmonton into a 12-month sports operator with hockey teams in the NHL, WHL, and now a minor league baseball franchise in the city. According to Oilers President Patrick LaForge, his expectation was to extend his core-operating base, “We have a really strong set of core skills, we have great relationships with national sponsors,” LaForge said. “We have a very highly organized and well-tuned ticket marketing and selling organization that extended into the (WHL) Edmonton Oil Kings. “Our thought was that we can continue to extend those skills. LaForge wanted a franchise that could define a hardworking city, with hardworking fan base that would appreciate having a team of this caliber. “We finally have a pro sports team in this city that we can call the Capitals. We live in the provincial capital, the oil capital of Canada and the name symbolizes all that makes this city stand out above the rest. This franchise will be dedicated to filling a void here in our city for family focused, safe and affordable entertainment in the form of a terrific sports entertainment package.”
How did the Cats become the Capitals, a ‘Re-name the Team’ contest, of course. The contest received well over 2,000 entries, with the winning name being drawn from a pool of other contestants. What else has been adjusted before their May 21, 2009 home opener against the Victoria? Company restructuring that will reestablish their head office and procedures. Jordi Weidman transitions from a communications role with the Oil Kings, to Director of Business Operations. Craig Tkachuk combines the role of General Manager of Telus Field and Edmonton Oilers Director of Facilities & Development and Sean Price who formerly held the position of V.P. Ticket Sales for the Oilers, is now the V.P. of the Capitals and Oil Kings.
With a name change comes a new logo and new uniforms, and if you are Oilers fan, you can see the similarities. “One of the most exciting aspects of launching a new brand is to give it an identity and see that identity come to life.” said LaForge. “You can tell this team belongs in the Oilers’ family and the kids will have fun with a new character that will really make its mark on the Edmonton sports scene.” Below you will find the details of the three different uniforms to be worn by the Capitals this season.
Home White Uniforms
- The new Edmonton Capitals uniform features the Edmonton Capitals word mark emblazoned on the front chest.
- The font is Interceptor capitalizing the first initial ‘C’ and the last initial ‘S’
- The primary color for the word mark is Edmonton Oilers blue with white and Edmonton Oilers vintage orange trim.
- A player number appears on the front of the jersey on the torso below the word mark. Those are also blue with white and orange trim.
- The primary logo becomes the shoulder patch of the jersey.
- The sleeves will have a three tone trim with 1/8″ blue/orange/blue.
- The players name bars on the back of the jersey are in a slightly modified block lettering in a solid blue color.
Road Grey Uniforms
- The road grey jerseys feature the word mark ‘EDMONTON’ across the front chest in the Interceptor font.
- The initials ‘E’ and ‘N’ in Edmonton are both capitalized.
- The EDMONTON word mark is in Edmonton Oilers blue with white and Edmonton Oilers vintage orange trim.
- The same shoulder patch and trim from the home white jersey appears on the sleeve of the grey jerseys as well.
- There are no name bars on the road uniforms.
Alternate Blue Uniforms
- The Edmonton Capitals alternate third jerseys are a solid blue featuring the word mark Edmonton CAPS in vintage orange.
- The word CAPS has blue and white trim.
- The sleeves feature a tri-color white/ orange/white trim and the same secondary logo shoulder patch as the home and away jerseys.
- Dark navy blue with an orange, staggered EC on the front
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.