SAIT and MRU join softball forces
The SAIT Trojans and Mount Royal University Cougars have combined their two programs to create one women’s softball team in the Western Collegiate Softball Association (WCSA).
George Edwards, the general manager and head coach of the SAIT Trojan’s women’s softball team, said that he went to the league when the Trojans were an independent club team with the idea of Mount Royal University and SAIT joining together.
“Mount Royal tried to start their own team four times and it went down,” said Edwards.
“It’s very involved and difficult to run a team because there is a lot of money.”
The league approved it, SAIT was granted to use Mount Royal players on the SAIT team.
“The team here has turned out to be very successful, our first year we had 12 players, last year we had 15, and now this year we are set with 30 players that we are looking at right now.”
Currently, the team is made up of 12 players from SAIT and 18 from Mount Royal but that could change rapidly come the start of the season.
The league was created in 2002 to provide young women the opportunity to play competitive softball in Canada rather than having to play in the United States.
When they put together the founders, which included SAIT, it was identified that they had too many girls that were going to the U.S. market because it was the only market available to them.
“So we created a league here in Western Canada that was just Alberta at the time until we expanded.”
Edwards said they wanted to give these women a chance to play college softball while getting a great education here in Canada.
“This was started, I would say, by Len Trottier, who was executive director. It was his dream. He is now retired.”
Since then they have built it up. Edwards has been coaching the SAIT Trojans for 16 years. It’s grown from a mix of grade 12 players, part-time players, and part-time students into a full-time roster of students.
The league itself has gone from being just a softball league, to now being extremely competitive to the point where in the last two years, they’ve had two of their teams in the top three teams in Canada.
In the WCSA there are five teams: the Briercrest College Clippers, SAIT Trojans, University of Saskatchewan Huskies, University of Regina Cougars and the University of Calgary Dinos.
All of the scholarships available for the players are based on academics where they can apply for scholarships through SAIT, or the WCSA offers scholarships to players that maintain at least a 3.0 GPA or higher as a full-time student.
In the 2016/2017 seasons the Trojans had 12 players, all of them received scholarships, and nine out of the 12 players had a 4.0 GPA.
“Softball girls have a tendency to be highly intelligent because of the strategies used in the game and the preparation they have to do. I’ve noticed a lot of them take the high medical courses like medical diagnostics, or respiratory rehabilitation. However, this year we have more girls in the business program than I’ve ever seen,” said Edwards.