Jackfish raring to go

Welland Jackfish President and Director of Fun Ryan Harrison is expecting a big crowd for Thursday night’s season opener versus Hamilton. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ

A long off season for fans of the Welland Jackfish will finally come to an end this week.

The Jackfish open the Intercounty Baseball League regular season Thursday at 7:25 p.m. when they host the Hamilton Cardinals Thursday at Welland Stadium.

“We had two season ticket holders say to me we should put on off-season counselling sessions as they miss us so much,” Jackfish President and Director of Fun Ryan Harrison said. “It is a long winter.”

Harrison said he is eager to get the season underway.

“The seats are all in, everything’s ready to go,” he said. “There are a few, small nicknack things to do, last minute stuff, but everything’s ready to rock for Thursday.”

The Jackfish installed 1,600 new seats over the off season, picking up $45,000 of the $65,000 total cost, an upgrade Harrison said is a game changer.

“Our staff spent four weeks alone putting in the seats. To have people in here enjoying them is going to pay off,” he said. “I think the atmosphere is going to increase and it’s already loud in here.

“A lot of people ask us what we do in October and November. Well, we’re planning for now. It is an eight-month process to get ready for this moment. It is a lot of work.”

Harrison expects a huge crowd for the opener.

“It’s going to be a good night,” he said. “Opening night is looking to be one of our busiest nights ever. 

“We’re doing really well.”

The Jackfish have sold about 500 season tickets, which will ensure strong attendance at every game.

“We have a franchise record number of season tickets. It’s really nice to have that off the hop,” Harrison said. “We have a massive walk-up for this team. We’ll have anywhere from 400-500 just walk up so we’re hoping for that too.”

The Jackfish are embarking on their fourth season in Welland since moving from Burlington and have quickly earned a reputation for putting on a topnotch night of entertainment.

“Outrageousness,” Harrison said when asked what is in store for this season. “We’re going to up the ante. We’re going to turn the dial up to 10 like we always do.

“We’re got some new stuff going on, kind of the same old antics we always do.”

The Jackfish are coming off a franchise best 31-11 record and expectations are high for the upcoming season.

“I believe our team is going to very, very good again this year,” Harrison said. “We’ve got a lot of new players. We’ve added to places maybe there was some weakness.”

The Jackfish also have a home game slated for Saturday, May 20 versus the Brantford Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. before hitting the road for their first away game Sunday, Feb. 21 at Kitchener.

“Just come see what we have in store,” Harrison said. “We’re always wild so we’re just going to keep the pedal down more.”

Single Game Tickets are on sale now for as low as $12 per game. Call 905-735-9834, visit the Welland Stadium Box Office, Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or buy online at http://wellandjackfish.com/tix.

For more information, visit http://www.wellandjackfish.com or follow the Jackfish on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @wellandjackfish.