Vancouver Canadians Announce Plans To Open Season In Hillsboro
After the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 minor league season, teams are slated to open their gates again in May. Opening Day is slated for May 4, but one team will have to wait a bit longer to bring games and fans back to its ballpark.
Because the border between the United States and Canada is closed, the Vancouver Canadians—the Blue Jays’ High-A club—announced on Monday that the team will play its home games at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Ore.
The stadium is also the home of the Hillsboro Hops, Arizona’s affiliate in the High-A West league.
“The health and safety of our fans, players and staff continues to be our top priority. As an organization, we are working through plans to execute a safe return to Nat Bailey Stadium in addition to providing an alternative option for the games to be played,” the team said in a statement. “We are committed to sharing any updates with our fans as they become available.”
The Canadians’ parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays, will also be forced into a home-away-from-home situation and will play their “home” games at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., to begin the year.
As of the latest update, the border between the U.S. and Canada was slated to be closed until at least April 21.
In an interview with CTV News, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unsure about the timeline for re-opening the border, which is likely to be dependent on the distribution of vaccines within the country.
"We're all eager to be able to travel again," Trudeau said on March 15, "but I think we're all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That'll be eventually, but not for today."
The Canadians begin their season on the road before returning to Hillsboro for their first “home” game against Spokane on Tuesday, May 11.