CanAm League, A history

Can Am League

With the idea that Halifax and another Maritime centre (such as Moncton) are able to host professional baseball teams, let’s discuss the league that is most likely to expand our way, which is the CanAm League (independent).  The CanAm League (or technically the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball) has been around since 1995.  When the league was formed that year, it was known as the Northeast League.  In 1999, the Northeast League merged with the more established Northern League (of the upper midwest) and played as the Northern League East until the end of the 2002 season.  The league returned to the Northeast League moniker for the next two seasons (2003-04) until settling on the CanAm name which it has been known since 2005.  For the 2014 season, the league will play as a division of the American Association.  The AA, is a Midwest based league with teams stretching from Winnipeg in the north to Laredo in the south.

I believe the Maritime market can support a league such as this as evidenced by the market sizes of current franchises:

* Ottawa, ON: 1,236,324 (Ottawa 2015 expansion)
* Quebec City, PQ: 765, 706 (Quebec Capitales)
* Little Falls, NJ: 501,226* (New Jersey Jackels)
* Ramapo, NY: 311,687* (Rockland Boulders)
* Trois-Rivieres, PQ: 151,773 (Trois-Rivieres Aigles)

These are the metropolitan area populations, except the two US-based franchises as they are part of the (much) larger NYC area, here I included the county populations.  Former franchises have been located in the following markets:

* Yonkers, NY: 949,113*
* Colonie, NY: 870,716 (Albany)
* New Haven, CT: 862,477
* Allentown, PA: 821,173
* Worcester, MA: 798,552
* Lynn, MA: 743,159*
* Newburg, NY: 670,301
* Brockton, MA: 494,919*
* Nashua, NH: 400,721 (Manchester)
* Atlantic City, NJ: 274,549
* West Warwick, RI: 166,158*
* Bangor, ME: 153,923
* Augusta, NJ: 149,265*
* Pittsfield, MA: 131,219
* Glens Falls, NY: 128,923
* Waterbury, CT: 110,366&
* Elmira, NY: 88.830
* Mountaindale, NY: 77,547*

Again, the star indicates the county population, plus the and symbol indicates city only population.  Most of the larger centres listed here competed against MLB and MiLB teams in their markets. Due to the lack of summer sports competition in the area our population should be able to support such an enterprise as the populations of the larger 3-4 centres compare to the other markets in the league.  Certainly Halifax would not look out-of-place in this league, and Moncton is only ~13,000 people short of the current smallest market in the league (but centrally located as many in Moncton like to point out).  Due to isolation, I excluded St. John`s, which would have the population to support such a franchise.  For comparison’s sake they were included it in the Maritime (ah, make that Atlantic) centres listed below:

* Halifax, NS: 390,328
* St. John`s, NL: 196,966
* Moncton, NB: 138,644
* Saint John, NB: 127,761
* Cape Breton, NS: 101,619
* Fredericton, NB: 94,268
* Charlottetown, PE: 64,487

Halifax could build a relatively cheap baseball park (as discussed in the previous blog post), while Moncton could tweak Kiwanis Park (3,500 capacity) to professional standards to host potential teams.  Such a setup could start a new rivalry between the two cities and give sports fans in both cities something to cheer for during those summer months when currently nothing is going on.

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