A new era for one of the flagship franchises in the in the B.C. Premier Baseball League features plenty of Ladner flavour.
For the first time in the North Delta Blue Jays history, Bob Burkmar will not be on the field. He, along with Ari Mellios, brought the premier baseball league to fruition in North Delta leading to the club's formation in 1994. But after 17 years as a coach and general manager, Burkmar decided to step down at the end of the 2011 season.
Ladner's Gerry White is the team's new head coach, taking over from Jason Rich who has also stepped down after two successful seasons. Last summer, White led the Blue Jay Junior team to a second place finish in regular season play and to the playoff championship.
He joined the Blue Jays coaching staff in 2008 following a very successful coaching career with Ladner Minor Baseball. His teams won provincial championships in 2003, 2006 and 2007, a Western Canada Championship in 2005 and a silver at the nationals in 2007.
White will also be responsible for the overall Blue Jays coaching and on field baseball program.
Larry Waddell, another local resident, is the new general manager. He was involved for 15 years with Ladner Minor Baseball serving in various executive capacities and as a coach. Waddell will oversee all the administrative and off field components of the Blue Jays program.
The Blue Jays have also added Brent Crowther as the club's pitching coach, taking over John McRae who also stepped down after last season.
Crowther has a long history in B.C. both as an athlete and as a coach. He played in the Colorado Rockies organization from 1994 to 1997, was a member of the Canadian National Team at the 1998, 2003 and 2005 World Cups as well as numerous Pan Am, Olympic and World Cup Qualifier
Since 1998 Crowther has worked as a coach and instructor in numerous venues. He was the owner/operator of the Dugout Training facility until 2010 and is a regular fixture on the coaching staff at the Big League Experience Baseball Camps in Oliver.
His past students includes Ladner's Tom Robson, now a top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system.
Crowther will take the lead role in guiding the Blue Jays pitcher training and development program
Mike Addy is the new head coach of the Junior team following four seasons with the Fraser Valley Chiefs of the BCPBL.
Joining the Senior team coaching staff will be Mike Hughes and Scott Taffinder. Hughes was an assistant with the Juniors last season and will help with the infielders and hitting. Taffinder is a level III coach and has extensive playing and coaching experience and will work primarily with outfielders.
The Blue Jays have also featured plenty of local talent over the years, including current Seattle Mariners prospect James Paxton of Ladner.
The 2012 roster features: Jordan Callow, Jordy Cunningham, Shoma Sasaki and Clint Taylor.
The Blue Jays will be playing a special season opening game on Sunday as part of for the North Delta Baseball Association 50th anniversary celebrations. The game will begin at 2 p.m. at Mackie Park.