The Weyburn Beavers are getting set for the 2022 campaign.
Taking the helm this year will be Dusty Kerns, who will replace Phil Curtis as the head coach of the squad. Curtis stepped down after the 2019 season, the last one played by the Beavers due to COVID-19.
Kerns may be a familiar name to people in Weyburn. He previously played here, splitting time between the outfield and behind home plate in 2013.
“That summer I played up there, that was one of my favourite summers I ever had,” Kerns said. “Everybody in that community took such good care of me. I made so many good friendships and stuff up there.”
After the two-year hiatus, the team will have a very different look compared to the 2019 squad. This is due to a number of players who may have returned in 2020 or 2021 no longer being eligible to play in the collegiate summer league. This brings about a fresh challenge for Kerns.
“This is going to be my first year ever taking over a program, and combine that with two years, like normally you get guys returning,” Kerns said. “This year I got one returner. I got (Nolan) Machibroda. The rest, it’s like, go find them.”
When it comes to recruiting, though, Kerns’ role as an assistant coach at Columbia Basin College is helping. He has been able to find some talent from within his own team, as well as other teams that he faces on a regular basis. He is also being helped in the recruiting department by former Beaver Corey Harrell, who will be serving as his assistant coach, and former head coach Curtis.
With a roster of new players who will be playing in Canada for the first time, Kerns will also get to introduce the players to what baseball is like in the WCBL.
“We got a decent group of young guys that haven’t really been out of the country and been in an environment like that, and it’s going to be exciting for them,” Kerns added. “It’ll be an adjustment for sure, but after talking with most of them they’re excited about the opportunity, and they’re going to thrive. And Weyburn takes care of its players very well.”
Kerns laughed that to help the American players acclimate themselves to Canada, he recommended they watch episodes of Letterkenny and watch some hockey.
The season starts on May 27th, when the Beavers host the Swift Current 57s.
Ahead of the start of the season, though, the Beavers are still looking for billet families for the players, who will be arriving in the coming days. The team is holding a billet family information night Monday at 7:00 p.m. at the Canalta for those who are interested in welcoming a player into their homes for the summer.