IBL Franchise Coming To Chatham-Kent

Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham will again be home to the Western Counties Wolverines this summer.

Chatham-Kent will soon be home to an Inter-County Baseball League franchise after council approved a motion to provide support for a team, as well as make the necessary upgrades to Fergie Jenkins Field.

“We had unanimous consent when everyone put up their hands and say ‘We support an IBL team coming to Chatham Kent,’” Mayor Darrin Canniff told CTV.

The team, which will begin play in 2024, will be the ninth franchise in the IBL, competing against teams from London, Toronto, Barrie, Kitchener, Brantford, Guelph, Hamilton, and Welland.

Dom Dinelle, a Quebec product, has been working to bring a franchise to Chatham-Kent for the past two years. Now that the first hurdle is crossed, Dinelle intends to get his franchise involved in the community.

“In the next year until the first pitch, we got a lot to do going in the community,” Dinelle told CTV. “We’ll be going in to schools, the mall, and working hand to hand with the minor associations in that area. So there’s a lot to be done, for sure.”

The IBL hosts professional baseball players and college athletes each summer. In total, more than two dozen Major League Baseball players have competed in the league including Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Fergie Jenkins, Fred Thomas, Ron Ducey, Tom Burgess, Goody Rosen, Ron Stead, and Lester B. Pearson.

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