Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson set to make 2021 debut today against Astros

It’s been a longtime coming for hard throwing right handed pitcher Nate Pearson, who has ties to the city of Vancouver.

The Toronto Blue Jays 1st round selection in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft, Pearson routinely gets his fastball up over 100 mph, and has a nasty slider to go along with it, keeping hitters on their toes at all times.

Pearson pitched for the Low-A Vancouver Canadians in 2017, where he allowed just two runs and tallied 24 strikeouts through 19 total innings pitched.

He’s dominated at every level he’s been at, and at 24 years of age, the Blue Jays are being as careful as possible with him — especially because he’s run into multiple injuries so far in his young career.

He made his MLB debut against the Washington Nationals last year, but was unable to stay healthy, as he made just six appearances last season.

Pearson has been recovering from a groin injury that he suffered prior to the season getting underway, and is set to make his first start of the 2021 season today against the Houston Astors. First pitch is at 11 AM Pacific Time.

Earlier this week, Pearson pitched in Buffalo with the Blue Jays’ AAA team on a conditioning stint. He performed well and is feeling good, and the organization feels that they are doing the right thing by being patient with him and his recovery.

“Thinking about what’s best for Nate’s career, his limited time that he’s had in the minor leagues and just how valuable we see that being and the ability to really hone his craft, he is a candidate (to start for the Blue Jays this Sunday),” general manager Ross Atkins said earlier this week. “But we need to balance with that ability for him to maximize the time in the minor leagues, create some consistency for him. And, we’ll take that one step at a time.”

Expect Pearson to go out and dazzle with his lights-out stuff. Especially with that deadly fastball of his.

CJ Van Eyk struggles in Vancouver Canadians debut

The 14th ranked prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system, CJ Van Eyk, made his professional baseball debut tonight, and it didn’t go as well as he would have hoped.

The Vancouver Canadians – who are beginning their season south of the border at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro Oregon due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus – picked up their first win of the season last night after dropping their first two contests and were looking to get their record to.500 with a win tonight.

They gave the ball to Van Eyk in hopes of doing so.

CJ Van Eyk is a strikeout first pitcher who has a knack for making balls miss bats. Tonight, in his professional debut, however, the young pitcher struggled.

The game got out of hand in a hurry from Van Eyk, as the Tri-City Dust Devils managed to work two walks and capitalizing big time on three hits to score four runs and force Van Eyk out of the game in just the very first inning.

To their credit, the Canadians stormed back to tie the game in the second inning with four runs of their own, and had some absolutely stellar performances from a couple of their infielders.

Second baseman Rafael Lantigua had a three-hit performance and first baseman Spencer Horwitz notched three runs batted in, but the C’s offence went dry after their potent second inning.

The Dust Devils scored two runs in the third inning and three in sixth to put this one firmly out of reach of the team that typically occupies Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver.

Van Eyk’s final line was just .2 innings pitched, three hits, four earned runs, two walks, zero strikeouts and an ugly 54.00 earned run average.

The Vancouver Canadians will play game five of their six game series against the Dust Devils tomorrow night, with first pitch scehduled for 6:37 PM.

Vancouver Canadians pick up first win of their season

The Vancouver Canadians baseball club’s 2021 season didn’t get off to the start that many fans and club personnel would have hoped.

The team — which is currently serving its first season as the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays — began their 2021 campaign with two straight losses to the Tri City Dust Devils.

Many Vancouverites have made it a summer tradition to go take in a game on a hot summer day at Nat Bailey Stadium, or as it’s more commonly referred to: The Nat.

This year, however, the team is beginning their season at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, Oregon due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. They have yet to have a “home” game yet, as they have played their first three games of the season at Gesa Stadium, the home of the Tri City Dust Devils.

Last night’s victory was the result of a late, two out eighth inning rally and a solid effort from numerous pitchers who came out of the Canadians’ bullpen.

Ronny Brito led off the comeback inning with a solid base hit to left field. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, but back-to-back outs meant the C’s were just seven outs away from starting their season with three straight losses.

Spencer Horwitz, then nothced a base hit into left field to score Brito and tie the game at two apiece. Ryan Gold followed that up with a single of his own to put two men on, and after a pitching change, DJ Neal hit a groundball up the third base line. Brendon Davis — Tri City’s third basemen — gloved it near foul territory but made an errant throw that pulled the first baseman off the bag and allowed the go-ahead run to score.

LJ Talley followed with a line drive double into the right field corner that scored two and made it 5-2 Canadians.

Parker Caracci had a great relief outing out of the pen and kept Tri City at bay after they had numerous chances to put this game out of reach.

The C’s are right back in action tonight, and it will be the highly touted debut of Jays pitching prospect, CJ Van Eyk.

AHL Board of Governors approves relocation of Canucks’ minor league team to Abbotsford

As was announced earlier this week, the city of Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley are getting professional hockey once again.

The Vancouver Cancuks announced their intent to move their American Hockey League team from Utica to Abbotsford on Tuesday afternoon, and now, the plan has been approved by the league’s board of governors, making it official.

In a statement sent out Thursday afternoon, American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson announced that the AHL Board of Governors, after convening today for its Spring Meeting, has approved the following franchise transactions:

• The AHL franchise owned by the Vancouver Canucks will relocate from Utica, N.Y., to Abbotsford, B.C., to play at the Abbotsford Centre beginning with the 2021-22 AHL season.

• The AHL franchise owned by the New Jersey Devils will relocate from Binghamton, N.Y., to Utica, N.Y., to play at the Adirondack Bank Center beginning with the 2021-22 AHL season.


Division alignment and schedule formats for the 2021-22 season, which will begin October 15, will be announced at a later date.


In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of every National Hockey League organization. Nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.

The Abbotsford Heat — the AHL club owned by the Calgary Flames — played at the Abbotsford Centre from 2009-2014 until the City of Abbotsford cut ties with them.

Currently, the only professional hockey within driving distance for anybody living in the Fraser Valley is the Vancouver Canucks.

There are plenty of entertaining junior clubs around, with the Chilliwack Chiefs and Langley Rivermen of the BCHL — and obviously the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, who play games at the Langley Events Centre — but professional hockey is obviously in a class of its own. Especially when you’re watching the future stars of the Vancouver Canucks hone their craft and develop.

‘It’s repeated infringement’: Montreal comic creators suing Marvel over Iron Man suit design

Ben and Raymond Lai are two brothers from Montreal who began their comic book company Horizon Comics Productions in 1995.

In the early 2000s, the brothers found great success with their Radix comic book series. Now, they’re suing Marvel and Disney, and this isn’t the first time they’ve done so, either.

“After years of legal dispute and substantial sums of money, they continue to copy our characters,” Raymond Lai said in a statement to The Canadian Press. “It causes us significant damage and has an impact on our ability to make a living as artists. Clearly, this repeated behaviour cannot be accepted.”

After watching Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War”, the brothers noticed striking similarities between the body armour worn by Maxwell — a hero in their Radix series — and the suit design of both Iron Man and Ant Man.

The brothers had previously sued Marvel Entertainment and parent company The Walt Disney Company in 2013 over the suit design used in an “Iron Man 3” poster but lost that legal battle.

Ben and Raymond Lai say Marvel has copied their designs again.

On April 22, lawyers for the Montreal comic book company filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court against Marvel Entertainment and Disney for alleged copyright infringement.

The plaintiffs are suing for compensatory damages yet to be disclosed, and they are asking the court to issue a permanent injunction against Marvel and Disney to “put an end to this deliberate and persistent infringement,” according to the lawsuit.

Around March 2002, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Chester Bror Cebulski, approached the Lai brothers, but they turned down the offer, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said that around the same time, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology copied illustrations from the Radix series for a $50-million research grant to create what is now the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

MIT issued a public apology to the Lai brothers, however, acknowledging the unauthorized use of images, the lawsuit said.

“We decided not to take legal action against MIT because they publicly apologized and admitted their mistake,” Raymond wrote. “But with Marvel, it’s repeated infringement.”

Some top Blue Jays prospects will be playing with the Vancouver Canadians this year

2021 marks the first season that the Vancouver Canadians baseball club are competing as a High-A affiliate of the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays.

Vancouverites have long enjoyed taking in a baseball game on a hot summer day at Nat Bailey Stadium as from 2000-2020 the Canadians played in the Northwest League as a low-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, and in more recent years, many fans have made the trip down to Seattle to watch the Jays take on the Mariners.

Because of the Canadians previous low ranking, the players and prospects that came through to play at the Nat weren’t necessarily top tier.

Although some great players such as Alek Manoah, Nate Pearson, Marcus Stroman, Nate Pearson, and Roberto Osuna made stops in Vancouver, players who were top-tier prospects such as Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Cavan Biggio, typically begin their minor league careers at the High-A level rather than Low-A.

Thanks to the Canadians being promoted to High-A, there are going to be some seriously talented prospects making their way through the Nat moving forward.

This season, the Canadians’ roster is headlined by Toronto’s #11 ranked prospect CJ Van Eyk, a strikeout-first pitcher who is absolutely thrilling to watch. Hopefully Vancouverites will be able to take in a game toward the end of the summer or in the early fall, as the C’s season as a High-A club will now run until late August, with the playoffs starting in September.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic — and the Canadians being the only team north of the border competing in the newly formed High-A West league — the club is beginning their season at Ron Tonkin Field, in Hillsboro, Oregon.

“We have had to make a very tough decision that impacts so many people, however, as much as we would love to be starting at the Nat, we have had to find a temporary home and we are very fortunate to find a location that will welcome us like Hillsboro”, stated C’s President Andy Dunn back in March.

The C’s open their first series of the season against the Tri-City Dust Devils this week.

Vancouver Canucks announce intent to move AHL franchise to Abbotsford

Late this afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks announced their intent to move their American Hockey League affiliate to the City of Abbotsford in time for the start of the next season.

The Canucks haven’t had an AHL affiliate located in Canada since their partnership with the Manitoba Moose ended in 2011 after the Winnipeg Jets joined the league.

Vancouver has sent their top prospects to develop with the Utica Comets since 2013, and unsuccessfully tried to get their AHL affiliate relocated to Canada eight years ago.

“With momentum starting to build, we are pleased to confirm our goal to bring our AHL franchise and Canucks prospects home to the City of Abbotsford,” Francesco Aquilini, Chairman, Canucks Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement. “The move would bring significant opportunities for both our team and the community and it would begin a new chapter, bringing Canucks hockey to even more fans throughout the Lower Mainland.”

Aquilini also thanked the Comets and their president, Robert Esche, for their partnership.

“We are extremely grateful for the outstanding partnership and working relationship we’ve had with Robert Esche and the entire Utica Comets family,” Aquilini said. “Since 2013, we have worked closely to create a first-class hockey environment for our players and Utica’s great fans. Utica has one of the best, most energetic hockey environments in North America. We wish Robert, his staff and the incredible Comets fans nothing but success in the future.”

The Abbotsford team will no longer be called the Comets, and fans have already started to throw out potential team names, including the Aces, the Alliance, and many more.

Fans are now able to put down a deposit for season tickets for the 2021-22 Abbotsford AHL team’s season if they wish to do so.

The club will play in the AHL’s Pacific Division, where most of the teams are based out of California.

Vancouver Canucks top defence prospect Jack Rathbone set to make NHL debut tonight

There hasn’t been a whole lot to get excited about this season if you’re a fan of the Vancouver Canucks.

The club’s season got off to a horrid start, and they never really recovered from their poor start to the season, despite some decent stretches in which they managed to pick up just enough wins to keep things interesting and keep fans engaged.

Then they got hit with a COVID-19 outbreak that tore through their team, causing over 20 players and staff to test positive for the virus.

Upon returning, the Canucks were met with a brutal schedule in which they play nearly every second day with a good amount of back-to-backs lumped in as well.

As expected, it’s been tough sledding for the Canucks since returning and their schedule isn’t getting any easier.

There aren’t going to be a lot more wins from here on out, and playoffs are nearly completely out of the picture, meaning there just isn’t much to get excited about if you’re a Canucks fan.

One thing that fans can look forward to, however, is the debut of the club’s top defence prospect, Jack Rathbone.

The Canucks selected Rathbone in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft with the 95th overall pick. The smooth-skating defenceman chose to sign with the Canucks last offseason, and is extremely exciting to watch.

His superior skating ability and edge work cause him to sometimes draw comparisons to Quinn Hughes, who fans already know and love for his offensive abilities.

Rathbone is set to make his debut tonight when the Canucks do battle with the always dangerous Edmonton Oilers, who beat them by a score of 5-3 just last night.

Connor McDavid will try to continue his march toward 100 points, and Rathbone will have a dream come true. Puck drop from Rogers Arena is at 7 PM.

Wealthsimple gets massive investment from multiple Canadian celebrities and venture capitalist firms

Chances are, you’ve seen an advertisement for Wealthsimple at some point.

Whether that be on Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or even while watching television — the Toronto-based financial services business has been hellbent on making sure everyone knows they exist.

Today, the company announced a new financing deal worth $750 million involving multiple Canadian celebrities and venture capital investors has pushed the company’s valuation to $5 billion.

Along with more than 15 investments from venture capital investment firms including Meritech, Greylock, Dragoneer and iNovia, rapper Drake, actors Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox, NBA players Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell, and San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau are also all investors as well.

“We invest in companies with the potential to revolutionize industries and become enduring market leaders,” said Meritech’s general partner Max Motschwiller, in a release.

“Wealthsimple has been able to capture a generation of financial consumers in Canada with financial products that are markedly different than anything offered by the incumbents _ simpler, more human, and built with the kind of technology that delivers an experience consumers want.”

Wealthsimple began as an online investment manager but has most notably grown to add Wealthsimple Trade, a commission-free stock trading platform, and Wealthsimple Crypto, which allows users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency assets.

Wealthsimple says they plan to use their new influx of money to expand their market position, build out the products it offers even further, and grow its team.

“The financial services industry is in the midst of a massive transformation, and our continued growth, and the interest from some of the world’s leading investors, proves that Wealthsimple is poised at the leading edge of that transformation in Canada,” Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Mike Katchen said in a release.

It’s safe to say you shouldn’t expect to stop seeing all those Wealthsimple advertisements in your social media feeds anytime soon.

Vancouver Canucks host Botchford Project night for three aspiring young journalists

Tonight, in partnership with the family of the late Vancouver sports writer Jason Botchford and various local media members, the Vancouver Canucks will host three aspiring young sports journalists as they kick off the second year of the Botchford Project initiative.

Jason Botchford passed away suddenly at the age of 48 back in April of 2019 after an accidental overdose of cocaine and fentanyl.

Botchford left behind three young children and his wife Kathryn, who is the person ultimately responsible for selecting the candidates for the Botchford Project initiative, keeping Jason’s legacy of helping aspiring young journalists alive and well.

The three chosen recipients — Lachlan Irvine, Clarissa Sabile, and Arash Memarzadeh — will attend morning skate at Rogers Arena this morning and return at night to watch the Canucks take on the Edmonton Oilers at 7 PM tonight.

“Despite a literal global pandemic and personal stress with nearing graduation, I found myself grounded through learning about sports media and recently cheering for the Canucks online,” said Clarissa Sabile, who also runs the social media accounts for the prestigious Canucks blog “I felt supported by writers and fellow fans alike, learning how to cover my favourite team in a colloquial, honest and educational style as Botch did. I am not only grateful to be selected as a recipient for the Botchford Project this year, but inspired and excited for what’s to come.”

Last year, recipients of the Botchford Project followed the same schedule, but with access to players and coaches being done entirely over Zoom due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the Botchford Project is going to look a little bit different this year.

After taking in morning skate and the game itself, the recipients will then write a story each that will be published on the Canucks’ main website.

This initiative is all about gaining experience, getting your foot in the door, and gaining advice from the top dogs in the Vancouver Canucks media scene, and it’s simply wonderful that COVID-19 didn’t bring the Botchford Project to a halt.