Saturday, 3 April 2021

The Girls Of Winter?

With Major League Baseball officially starting the season on Thursday, you know summer is right around the corner. In one city, though, you could have been forgiven if you thought it was mid-October with all the snow that feel. That place was Detroit, one of the most northern cities in MLB, so maybe we shouldn't be skipping past spring just yet, but the idea of baseball coming back gave me another idea when it came to having a little fun in mashing up Canada West hockey with something new!

MLB's 30 teams don't really offer a lot of logo choices that would fit the nine Canada West women's hockey teams well. Of course, we should remember that when the boys of summer return, there are also a ton of minor-league professional ball teams that hit the field to support the pipeline of talent that Major League Baseball needs, and that opens the door to all sorts of logo mash-ups!

With baseball back in full swing, let's take a fun look at what Canada West teams would look like if they mashed up their identities with baseball logos! If you missed the movie mash-up and the music mash-up, I suggest checking those out as well as they were fun projects, but this one had me put my baseball thinking cap on a little tighter to find proper teams for the mash-ups!

Alberta Pandas

Logo: Chicago Cubs
League: MLB

The Pandas are one of the most storied teams in Canada West who play in one of the oldest buildings in the league, so it made sense to choose the Cubs. While no one really views Wrigley Field as the place where dreams go to die, the Pandas have made Clare Drake Arena a nightmare for the opposition. Like the Cubs, there have been multiple championship banners hung in the arena, but the big difference is there has never been a 108-year drought for the Pandas! Just as the Cubbies do, the Pandas also share their city with another team in the same league and are the older of the two franchises.

UBC Thunderbirds

Logo: Toronto Blue Jays
League: MLB

This logo is literally a "T" and a bird, so it made sense to have the T-Birds adopt it. Like the current crop of Blue Jays, the Thunderbirds will give the kids starring roles in their lineup in 2021-22 as they look to shake up the balance in Canada West. The veterans who remain have played in big games so the experience factor won't be lost, but this could be a fun season in watching a pile of talented women find their games at the Canada West level. If a few of them do, this team could go long in their quest to win the division!

Calgary Dinos

Logo: Ogden Raptors
League: Pioneer League

Yes, the dinosaur is the tie-on to Ogden for Calgary. However, like Ogden, the Dinos have sent some really good players on to bigger stages such as the Olympics. Like the Raptors, the Dinos have found winning ways recently thanks to great player development and recruiting, and this Dinos team should be in the conversation when it comes to favorites to win the Canada West championship based on their current roster's construction They could be this year's apex predator in Canada West!

Trinity Western Spartans

Logo: Nashua Silver Knights
League: Futures Collegiate

No one is expecting the youthful Spartans to win Canada West this year, but their development should mean great success in the future just as we see in Nashua in the Future Collegiate League. Nashua, like TWU, finds great players for their team every year, and they've found a ton of success on the ball diamond by bringing in great people and great players. With what is being built in Langley with TWU, the Spartans should start seeing success sooner than later with the talent they're amassing. It won't be this year, but the groundwork being laid this year means that Canada West will only get harder to win thanks to Trinity Western. And I'm not gonna lie: if TWU could some how license this design as a secondary logo, I'd be an instant fan and buy any and all merchandise with this logo!

Regina Cougars

Logo: Kane County Cougars
League: American Association

The Cougars are always a competitive team, but championships elude them - true for both teams. Like the ball team, the Regina Cougars will give the kids a shot to fill some important roles this year as they seek scoring upfront, from the blue line, and a solid stopper in the blue paint. It sounds like there shouldn't be a lot to be excited about, but this team always find some incredible players who become the backbone of the squad, and I have no doubt there will be scorers and leaders who emerge this season for the Cougars.

Saskatchewan Huskies

Logo: Huskies de Rouen
League: Fédération Française

Yes, this is a baseball team that plays in France which is nowhere near Sasaktchewan. However, the success that the Huskies de Rouen have had certainly sounds like the success that the Huskies de Saskatchewan have. The Rouen Huskies are one of the most successful teams to have ever played in the Fédération Française not unlike the Saskatchewan Huskies who always find themselves near or at the top of the standings. Both teams have had the fortune of having incredible players play for them, and they have built reputations of being exceptional teams due to the talent they have.

MacEwan Griffins

Logo: Royse City Griffins
League: Southwest

This defunct team is the only "Griffins" team I could find in baseball, and they only existed from 2016-19. That being said, the MacEwan Griffins are an expansion franchise like this team was when the Southwest League got off the ground, but I suspect MacEwan's fortunes will be much better in Canada West. Head coach Lindsay McAlpine is building a fast, skilled team that can score and defend with the talent she has assembled, and it seems that MacEwan is aiming for Canada West supremacy in Season One after years of championships in the ACAC.

Mount Royal Cougars

Logo: Lynchburg Hillcats
League: Low-A East

Mount Royal, like Lynchburg, found a ton of success in other leagues in their past. However, the Cougars are now carving out their own success in Canada West thanks to great recruiting, solid player development, and excellent teamwork. They're great on both sides of the puck, and are backed by perhaps the most underrated goaltending duo in Canada West. That being said, no one will take them lightly after last season's appearance at the U SPORTS National Championship where they won their first game. The Mount Royal Cougars are the best "small ball" team in Canada West, and they don't mind putting in the reps when it comes to success!

Manitoba Bisons

Logo: Buffalo Bisons
League: Class AAA

Like the Bisons did a few years for the Blue Jays, the kids will see a ton of ice time in Manitoba. After a recruiting class that featured 10 players in 2019-20, two more solid recruiting classes were brought in to push for roster spots. The internal competition, like the ball team had a couple of years ago, should hopefully lead to players who are ready for the major leagues, and the Bisons will be looking for those performances as they hope to return to the Canada West playoffs after a one-year absence. The future is bright for the Bisons with the talent they have assembled, and they will be an entertaining team to watch!

With a little Photoshopping, some deep dives into minor-league baseball, and a touch of Canada West magic, there are your nine CanWest women's hockey teams as baseball teams! Honestly, these projects I've been doing have really allowed me to learn to Photoshop in a constructive way, and I feel like I have a new skill set thanks to this work.

Is there a ball team I missed that would work for one of these teams? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss! Of course, with baseball season upon us, you may just want to keep an eye out for former and current Canada West women's hockey players Amanda Asay (UBC), Madison Willan (Alberta), and Kaitlin Ross (MRU) who are making names for themselves on the diamond as much as they have on the ice!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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