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PBA Hall of Fame 2020

The Prairie Baseball Academy is excited and humbled to be celebrating 25 years.

Although the program has faced adversity, it has grown into an incredible success story for our community. Countless people have volunteered their time to grow the program and expand the facility.

It is with great pleasure that we introduce the Prairie Baseball Academy Hall of Fame (HOF) to recognize these individuals. Without their support, we would not have been able to provide over 700 players with the opportunity to pursue baseball at the collegiate level.

A committee has been created to assist with processing nominations for eligible coaches, players, board members or community volunteers. These seven men, with the exception of Mr. Secretan are alumni of the program and are excited to be able to help elect the first members into our Hall of Fame on February 1st, 2020 at our annual Celebration of Baseball Banquet.

The committee includes the following members:

· Glenn Secretan - Current PBA President

· Denny Puszkar (1996-98)

· Myles Fletcher (1998-2000)

· Craig Paskal (2001-04)

· Omar Kadir (2003-05)

· Jesse Sawyer (2006-08)

· Evan Comeau (2011-13)

This year’s inductees are notable for their commitment to building the game, both on and off the field. We will be unveiling all 2020 inductees as we lead up to the banquet on February 1st.

Coach Kubicek

It is with great honor that our first inductee into the PBA Hall of Fame is none other than our first coach, Blair Kubicek.

Coach Kubicek moved to Lethbridge in the summer of 1995 and began working on recruiting the first ever PBA team. The Academy took to the field at Henderson Stadium on September 4th, 1995 with 52 players eager to show off their skills. The first year of the program had many hurdles to overcome and Coach Kubicek was determined to make Prairie Baseball Academy into a powerhouse college baseball program that could compete with similar programs across North America. Under Kubicek’s reign as head coach from 1995-2010 he compiled a 353-279-3 record. During his fifteen years with the program 110 players went on to 4-year institutions, and 27 players were drafted or signed into professional baseball. Coach Kubicek’s blue collar mentality has stayed with the Prairie Baseball Academy to this day and is one of the many reasons PBA has been so successful over the last 25 years. Coach Kubicek spoke on attitude and mentality all the time. We would like to leave you with a passage that Coach used at PBA for many years:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a team, a company, or a family. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day, in school and at the yard. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So, it is with you and your teammates, we are in charge of our attitudes. If we think we “can” or if we think we “cannot” we are right.

Committee member Omar Kadir had the privilege of contacting Coach Kubicek to inform him of his induction, and had this to say about their conversation:

“Coach Kubicek was very honoured to be receiving this Hall of Fame induction. He spoke highly of his time at PBA and really values the relationships he made with players and staff.” Congratulations Coach Kubicek on being the first member named to the PBA Hall of Fame!

Keith Jorgensen

Our second inductee into the PBA Hall of Fame will be Keith Jorgensen. Unfortunately Keith passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2016. Keith will be honoured posthumously by his wife Beverley Jorgensen at this years banquet. The PBA staff would like to thank Bev for writing the following passage about Keith and his influence on the Prairie Baseball Academy from the very beginning:

Prairie Baseball Academy was truly a dream program for four visionary men. In the summer of 1993 Doug Jones (President of Alberta Baseball), Blair Kubicek (Coach at Edmonds College) , Reed Spencer (Scout for Colorado Rockies) and Dale Tilleman (Scout for the New York Yankees) had an inspiring conversation in regard to a Canadian College Baseball program. From this simple but profound idea they then approached Alberta Sport Council for support and the sport council responded quickly with a great deal of enthusiasm. Doug, Dale and Reed added a new recruit, Keith Jorgensen to their roster and they headed to Medicine Hat to meet with Wayne Schlosser, Lovell McDonnell and Kevin Friesen. In October 1994, Keith was elected the first President of PBA, Doug, the Vice-President, Dale, the Secretary-Treasurer and Board members were: Reed Spencer, Wayne Schlosser and Wayne Guenter. And Prairie Baseball Academy was established.

Keith served as President from 1994-2001. Many challenges were forthcoming in the early years as the program took shape. Keith was instrumental in drafting the PBA Constitution and PBA Mission Statement. As partnerships were formed with the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Community College educational needs of the students were met. Between these two institutions, student athletes are able to receive excellent training in almost any field that they might choose to enter. Many meetings were held with the City of Lethbridge to develop a plan for a much needed facility. Construction was soon underway and Lloyd Nolan Yard became a reality with a grand opening in September 1999. PBA sponsored many winter and summer Instructional, Conditioning, Hitting and Pitching Seminars and Camps for youth in Southern Alberta. Coaches and Umpires Conventions were offered in conjunction with the annual PBA Awards Banquet.

Keith served on the Board of Directors from 1994-2016 as the Business/Promotions manager. He had a variety of responsibilities: player registration, fund-raising, media guide program, awards banquet chairman, tournament organizer, and could almost always be found during home games at the barbecue or helping out in the concession.

As the program grew and young men came from all across Canada to hone their baseball skills with a desire to gain an education in their chosen career paths, Keith envisioned a Scholarship program that would encourage and help them to achieve both of these goals. And so the PBA Caddie Classic was formed. His goal was to bring together a community of like-minded golfers, to introduce them to PBA Baseball players and have a fun and rewarding day playing golf. To Keith’s delight the first PBA Golf Tournament was a great success which resulted in a very successful Scholarship program too.

Prairie Baseball Academy was the perfect venue for Keith. He loved children, teaching, baseball, golf and being involved in his community. The Academy certainly provided Keith the opportunity to do all that he held dear to his heart and more.

As his family we feel a deep sense of pride that Keith will have a place of honor on the Wall of Fame for Prairie Baseball Academy. We know how much he loved baseball and especially this program, so we thank you for this tribute to his legacy.

Beverley Jorgensen and Family

​​Rick Paskal

Prairie Baseball Academy would like to recognize Rick Paskal as the next inductee into our Hall of Fame. Rick was one of the original gold sponsors of the PBA program. Rick served as the second President of PBA from 1998-2002. It was clear from day one that Rick valued the community and had a vision to produce a state of the art facility at Lloyd Nolan Yard. Rick spent countless hours working with contractors and the City of Lethbridge to create a baseball facility that could be home to a Canadian college baseball program. Rick did all of this work while running his own successful trucking, cattle and feedlot business.