The votes are in from across Central Alberta and the name of the new Western Canadian Baseball League team has been decided.
The expansion team will take to the diamond during the 2021 season as the navy blue and gold Sylvan Lake Gulls.
On March 15 a small crowd gathered in Hockey Central, which had been aptly re-named as “Baseball Central,” for a panel discussion with the team’s management and the big unveiling.
The team name was decided by Central Albertans first by a call for nominations then a vote during the month of February.
“Just the feedback and the buzz around the town was completely worth it,” said Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, adding there was a total of 27 polling stations.
“I couldn’t go out to a restaurant or have a drink without somebody commenting or saying who they want it to be and that was just a great feeling,” continued Samuel. “We hope people can really get behind it now, we got something a little more visual and they can tie that to the name.”
The Gulls came out with the naming rights over the other four names on the ballot; Sailors, Slough Sharks, Sun Peaks and Whitecaps.
Graham Schetzsle, CEO and president of business operations, said he is very happy with the name the people chose.
“When we started looking at the logos and we started getting the visual of what each name looked light with a potential logo it made the Gulls just the hands down winner for sure,” said Schetzsle, who co-owns H4 Sports and Entertainment Ltd. with his wife, Jen.
He added the team will be something Sylvan Lakers and Central Albertans can rally behind and identify with while also providing affordable outdoor entertainment.
At the event on Sunday the team also unvieled a logo for the inaugural season, which features the outline of the lake behind the bird’s head and a baseball.
With the name and the logo now revealed both Schetzsle and Samuel are ready for the next steps.
Next steps for the Gulls include merchandising, which will see the launch of the team store on the website.
Heading into the summer, according to Samuel, the team is looking to release a small offering of season tickets for the inaugural season on June 1.
A head coach will also be named this summer to help get a head start on the recruitment process for the 2021 season.
A WCBL roster maxes out at 30 players who are going to stay with billet families throughout the community during the season. During the hotstove before the reveal Samuel said most players will be Americans who play college ball south of the border, but they will also utilize Canadian and Albertan talent.
The Sylvan Lake Gulls join the Fort McMurray Giants and Brooks Bombers as expansion teams for the league.
They will face the other Alberta and Saskatchewan teams, including natural rivals Edmonton Prospects and Okotoks Dawgs, beginning 2021.