NorthPaws home games bring energy, 'a lot of fun' to Norbrock Stadium

'Good energy' at Norbrock

Even on a rainy mid-June evening, the stands filled up at Norbrock Stadium, with fans eager to take in each home game of the Kamloops NorthPaws’ first season.

Jamie Shinkewski, operations manager for the NorthPaws — who toil in the West Coast League, a summer circuit for players on the rosters of college baseball teams across the U.S. and Canada — said the club is having “a lot of fun” and can’t wait to see the energy continue throughout the summer.

“The weather has probably been our toughest opponent, but we've had fantastic energy in the stadium for our home games and the guys have been putting on a pretty nice product on the field, too, to get people excited,” Shinkewski said.

“There's always an energy and the fans have organically started their own chants. Pretty good energy, for sure.”

Shinkewski said the goal was to get an all-around entertainment venue going for each home game this summer.

“It’s all about fun. We've got the pregame, patio party live music before all the evening games, and then have the postgame for the afternooners on Sundays — something for everybody,” he said.

An interactive art booth with face painting is available for kids, while fans of all ages can enjoy giveaways and interactive games between innings.

Fans can get concession snacks, drinks and food from the NorthPaws Kanteen.

“I’ve been told by a lot of people that they think it's the best burger in town so we'll take that to the bank, and you know we've got some NorthPaws-labeled beers that are there, too, which people seem to be enjoying,” Shinkewski said.

He said the biggest attraction for many is Homer, the NorthPaws’ mascot — No. K9 in the program.

“[Homer is ] just really bringing the energy, creating some of the shenanigans going around the ballpark. And you know that interaction has got better and better every game,” Shinkewski said of the mascot, the only dog allowed on McArthur Island.

“On the afternoon game, we almost had to have an entourage of bodyguards around Homer because there were so many kids just swarming in. We might have to put Homer on the injured reserve with hand cramps signing so many autographs for the kids.”

Fans say they are enjoying coming out to cheer on the NorthPaws, who have four straight home series’ wins under their belts.

“Just seeing everybody in Kamloops coming out to support the team, it’s just honestly really nice,” Shayla Chadwick said.

Patricia Stayte, the mother of NorthPaws middle-infielder Angus Stayte, has travelled from her home in California to take in some of her son's games at Norbrock. She said she's enjoyed the atmosphere.

“I have been thrilled at the excitement in the stands, and the sheer number of people that are coming out. Even with the weather like tonight — we almost got a rainout and you still get hundreds of people out there all excited, and you can tell they're really with the team,” said Stayte, who grew up in Vancouver.

“I feel like it's historic to have West Coast League baseball at this level in Kamloops. And literally I think this stadium is gorgeous. The team has been so well-run — they run it like a professional baseball team.”

The NorthPaws will be at Norbrock Stadium on McArthur Island starting on Canada Day for a six-game homestand against the Cowlitz Black Bears and the Yakima Valley Pippins.

Those interested in attending a game can view the schedule and purchase tickets through the Kamloops NorthPaws website.

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