The University of Winnipeg baseball program has achieved its goal of being accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The NAIA, which is largely composed of smaller American schools, voted to accept the U of W as a single-sport member at its national convention in Missouri last week. The decision means that the U of W's young baseball team will now be able to settle in one NAIA conference, and compete for championships. For the first three years of its history, the team cobbled together a season against NAIA, NCAA Div. 2 and junior college teams.
The U of W team also plays an annual game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes during the pro team's pre-season.
Now, the U of W squad must apply to one of 23 NAIA conferences for inclusion. They have their sights set on the Northstar Athletic Association, which includes Dakota State University, the University of Jamestown, Mayville State University, Presentation College and Valley City State University.
"This path was our goal from the outset," baseball head coach Mike Krykewich said in a statement. "We hope that we can now provide that quality option for Canadian student athletes to play college baseball. We hope to add more successes and awards to the great academic and athletic history at the University of Winnipeg while we showcase the local baseball talent."
Blues goalie earns kudos for play
After standing on his head for much of the MJHL playoffs, Winnipeg Blues netminder Byron Spriggs was again honoured as the MJHL's player of the week.
The 20-year-old netminder has been outstanding for the Blues in their championship battle against the Dauphin Kings, backstopping his team to two wins and one loss last week. He posted a robust .933 save percentage through those three tilts, as the Blues lead the final series 3-1 heading into tonight's Game 5 at the MTS Iceplex.
Spriggs' post-season efforts were honoured earlier this month, when he was awarded the MJHL RBC Junior A scholarship of $1,000. He is also one of 10 candidates eligible for the RBC Junior A $5,000 scholarship, which will be awarded at the RBC Cup in May.
Lacrosse vets heading to Europe
Four Manitoba box lacrosse veterans are heading to the Czech Republic next week, tapped to help one of three Canadian teams at an international tourney.
Kevin Hilder, Jesse Smith, Cory Henkewich and Manitoba Lacrosse Association president Don Jacks will all join The Green Gaels, one of the Canadian entries in a field of 20 senior teams from 13 countries.
Also heading to the 21st annual Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament, which kicks off on April 23, is Manitoban referee Bruce Paton. Fans can follow the tournament online at ahmemorial.cz/en.