Nashville, TN (April 13, 2020) – National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) announced today the Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, the NPF version of Softball Canada, will not be able to participate in the 2020 season of NPF competition.
The COVID-19 Pandemic, current restrictions on international travel, and general uncertainty, continue to make it impossible to plan for a timeline of competition for the Canadian team to compete in the United States this summer.
“Our greatest priority continues to be the health and well-being of the athletes and staff members of our teams through this unprecedented and challenging time,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “With half the Olympic field participating in the NPF, we knew that 2020 would be a unique scheduling year for the league, but what we could not foresee was that our shining asset of global diversity would become an insurmountable complication due to the pandemic of COVID-19. We will continue to examine the potential for abbreviated competition in 2020 and certainly look forward to the return of both the Canadian Wild and the Aussie Peppers in 2021.”
“We are very disappointed that we will be unable to compete in the NPF in 2020, however travel, safety and logistical concerns, as result of the COVID-19 virus, have made it impossible for us to join the League this summer,” stated Hugh Mitchener, CEO of Softball Canada. “The NPF and the other teams have been so supportive of our involvement and played a major role in our growth as a team last year. We were so fortunate to have partnered with the Southern Illinois Miners in 2019 and so appreciated our support in Marion, Illinois. We remain hopeful of joining our softball friends again in 2021.”
The Canadian Wild were originally scheduled to lead off the the NPF season on April 10th against the league’s newest team, the California Commotion. With all April competition cancelled, the new start date for the Wild would have been May 28th and would have marked the second season for the team to compete as the Canadian Wild, based out of Marion, Illinois. A 20+ game season was set to deliver Softball Canada to the doorstep of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where they were slated to compete for the top of the podium among the tight, six-team field.
With the current delay in Olympic competition, Softball Canada, along with the five other Olympic qualified teams, will now pursue their quest for Olympic gold beginning on July 23, 2021 as announced by the International Olympic Committee earlier this month.
NPF announced last month, a delay to the 2020 season, originally scheduled to begin April 10. The league plans to update 2020 scheduling plans for its 17th season on May 1.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and California Commotion. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and Mexico, and represent the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.