Dr. Sport: Baseball family takes a flyer on the JetHawks of California

 

Growth: Owners of the Canadians acquire single-A club in Lancaster — ‘we’ve got the formula to make it work’

 
 
 
 
Canadians owners Jake Kerr(right) and Jeff Mooney,
 

Canadians owners Jake Kerr(right) and Jeff Mooney,

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

SCENE & HEARD: Vancouver’s professional baseball family is about to expand to California with the acquisition of the Lancaster JetHawks, a single-A, long-season franchise in the California League.

Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney, owners of the Northwest League Canadians since 2007, have extended the contract of partner and president Andy Dunn who will oversee both operations in a newly created role as chief operating officer.

Named for the City of Lancaster’s association with the aerospace industry, the JetHawks are an affiliate of the Houston Astros. Kerr said there is not a conflict with the Canadians being a Toronto Blue Jays’ minor-league affiliate.

Kerr, Mooney and Dunn present their final proposal to Lancaster City Council Wednesday night and expect to have a lease on the stadium — a 4,600 permanent seat facility called ‘The Hangar’ — approved at that time. “We have a two-year working agreement in place with the Astros,” Kerr says. “We’ve been looking around for baseball investment opportunities and the Lancaster franchise reminded us of what the situation was when we bought the Canadians eight years ago. With Andy in charge, we know we’ve got the formula to make it work.”

Dunn describes the California League as “highly respected” in baseball circles. “It’s two steps away from the major leagues for the young prospects on their way up the chain,” he says. “Lancaster is an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and it’s really a neat market. We’ll have some fun putting things together.”

While the Canadians’ regular season begins in mid-June, the JetHawks start in early April. “My involvement will be similar to what I do in Vancouver,” Dunn says. “I’ll be in Lancaster for the main issues when I’m needed.”

HERE ‘N’ THERE: A couple of beers with his buddies in the alumni suite after the Montreal Canadiens’ visit to Rogers Arena Oct. 30 was exactly how Cliff Pavin wanted to end his 36 years as an off-ice official for the Canucks. Dating back to the early days of the Pacific Coliseum, Pavin was either in a goal judge’s cage or perched on a bench in the penalty box as a timekeeper. The same alumni suite will be the scene of a 90th birthday celebration when the Chicago Blackhawks are in town Nov. 23. Ernie Dougherty, a member of the original 1945-46 Canucks who made $35 a week as a utility player, has been a director of the B.C. Hockey Benevolent Association for the past 54 years.

SHORT HOPS: Little did the kid from Brandon — Glen Hanlon — know after being a first-round Canucks’ draft pick in 1977 that he would become a world traveller in hockey circles. When Hanlon steps behind the Switzerland bench in Prague in May, it will be his seventh World Championship, having previously coached Slovakia and Belarus.

END ZONE: The Royal Canadian Air Force and B.C. Lions were Bill Lowther’s world. His recent passing touched several staff and former Leos’ players. He was the team’s business operations manager for 31 years, retiring in 1989.

drsport@telus.net

 
 
 
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Canadians owners Jake Kerr(right) and Jeff Mooney,
 

Canadians owners Jake Kerr(right) and Jeff Mooney,

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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