The Okanagan College Coyotes will officially open their 2014 spring season on Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona.
The club left on Thursday to make the trip south and play 15 exhibition games in Phoenix and Las Vegas before returning home to open the regular season schedule.
“We will have our hands full for the entire trip,” said head coach Geoff White. “Regardless of the scoreboard, it’s an experience our players will never forget, great weather, great fields, the best competition south of the border and 12 days on a bus.”
On Monday the ‘Yotes will battle Arizona Christian University, perhaps the nicest facility on the trip. The ACU Firestorm Field celebrates just its second birthday the same day the Coyotes pay their visit. Arizona Christian is a NAIA, four year program that has produced some terrific talent.
One of the many highlights for the Coyotes will be a doubleheader against Central Arizona College (CAC) on Feb. 12. The Vaqueros are typically ranked as one of the top five programs in the country. The last two years the Coyotes have faced CAC they were ranked #1 in the country and lost 2-1 and 3-1.
Valentine’s Day the Coyotes will play their first game in Las Vegas when they take on Colorado Northwestern of the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
Assistant coach Jared Johnson says the Coyotes are looking forward to the warm weather.
“Having the opportunity for our guys to travel down to the states especially Arizona and Las Vegas where it’s nice and warm, it’s a lot better than here with zero degree weather and snow still on the ground,” he said.
The Coyotes conclude their trip on Feb. 16 against the College of Southern Nevada, a program that has produced players such as Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.
The trip south is completely funded by the team.
Following their trip the Coyotes will continue to practice and play a handful of exhibition games including two different series against the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver.
The Coyotes will play their first league game on March 28 at Elks Stadium against the University of Calgary Dinos.