The Resurgence of Baseball in Edmonton: The Rise of the Riverhawks

Edmonton, Alberta, with a rich baseball history, had seen the sport’s popularity wane over the years. However, the arrival of the Edmonton Riverhawks in the West Coast League (WCL) has brought about a remarkable resurgence, reigniting the city’s longstanding passion for the game.

The History of Baseball in Edmonton

Baseball in Edmonton dates back to the early 20th century, with the Edmonton Eskimos, a team that participated in various leagues from 1909 to 1956. The sport thrived during the mid-20th century. The Edmonton Trappers, in particular, enjoyed a successful run in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1981 through 2004, winning four league championships and drawing significant crowds.

However, after the Trappers were sold and relocated in 2004, baseball in Edmonton struggled to maintain a consistent foothold. The arrival of the Riverhawks marked a new chapter in the region’s connection with the game.

The Birth of the Riverhawks

In 2021, the city received welcome news with the announcement of the Edmonton Riverhawks joining the West Coast League, a premier collegiate summer league known for developing young talent and fostering community engagement. The Riverhawks would bring a new era of baseball to Edmonton, focusing on creating a fun, exciting, family-friendly atmosphere.

A Record-Breaking Debut

From their first game in 2022, the Riverhawks captivated the hearts of Edmontonians. They play their home games at the former Telus Field, now RE/MAX Field, a stadium that had already seen its fair share of baseball history.

The Riverhawks’ first season was a resounding success, as the team’s exciting play on the field, coupled with engaging promotions and events, immediately made them a beloved part of the Edmonton sports scene. By the end of their debut season, the Riverhawks had established themselves as a must-see attraction in the city.

Continued Growth and Canada Day Spectacle

The momentum continued into the Riverhawks’ second and now third seasons. Attendance numbers have steadily climbed, reflecting the growing interest and enthusiasm for baseball in Edmonton. The team’s community outreach programs, youth clinics, and partnerships with local businesses further solidified their place in the hearts of Edmontonians.

“We have outstanding baseball,” said Edmonton GM Steve Hogle, “but we work hard to make it an event and not just a game. Fun themes, goofy contests and improv comedy have combined to enable us to draw great crowds to watch fantastic ball. Plus, it’s affordable. But the credit goes to the fans. They’re the ones who have come down here, loved what we’re doing and then helped spread the word.”

The pinnacle of the Riverhawks’ success came earlier this week on Canada Day, when a record-breaking crowd of 9,000-plus fans packed RE/MAX Field. The atmosphere was electric, with fans decked out in red and white, waving Canadian flags, and celebrating both the nation’s birthday and their love for baseball.

“The Edmonton Riverhawks have set a new standard for excellence in the West Coast League,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer. “Their dedication to the community and their ability to draw tremendous crowds is a testament to both the organization’s hard work and the passion of Edmonton’s baseball fans. The Riverhawks have not only revitalized baseball in Edmonton, but also shown what’s possible when a team truly connects with its community.”

In a city with a storied baseball past, the Edmonton Riverhawks have revived the sport and written a new chapter in its history, one filled with excitement, passion, and hope for the future.

About the West Coast League: The West Coast League is the West’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and now Alberta, the WCL showcases pro prospects from major collegiate conferences around the nation. Every summer, the League features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with North America’s best baseball weather and a mix of classic and modern ballparks, all backdropped by the sport’s most stunning scenery. The 2019 MLB amateur draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected with the overall No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles, and the 2022 draft featured two West Coast League alumni, Brooks Lee and Gabriel Hughes, among the first 10 picks.