When Christina Gauchier found out the annual August long-weekend slo-pitch tournament in Edson was cancelled, she and a friend decided to host one of their own.
They’re calling it, “They’re out, we’re in.”
On Monday, the Kinsmen Club of Edson posted on its website and Facebook page that the 37-year-old slo-pitch tournament was cancelled to “unforeseen circumstances.”
The tournament was one of the biggest in western Canada, described on the town’s web page as “one of the greatest of its kind on the planet.”
In its heyday, the annual tournament hosted more than 270 teams on 24 regulation-sized diamonds with cash and prizes totalling over $60,000.
This year however, organizers ran into trouble.
Don Biggar, president of the Kinsmen Club of Edson, said the club was suspended by Kin Canada after failing to submit corporate society returns for the last two years.
A hold was placed on the Edson club’s incorporation number, he said.
“If you don’t have your incorporation in place, then you don’t have club insurance,” Biggar said.
It also meant organizers couldn’t access a license for alcohol for the event, he said.
The club has been facing financial struggles for the past few years in relation to a spray park they decided to build for the community, said Greg Pasychny, mayor of Edson, and treasurer for the service club.
Pasychny also cited the low number of teams registered this year as an issue.
“To run a tournament where we may lose money isn’t feasible when we already owe money to people,” Pasychny said.
Without the beer gardens, there’s no possible way we can make a profit off the tournament in order to repay debts that we owe,” he said.
Gauchier played in the Edson tournament for four years.
“We knew of a lot of hometown teams here that were quite disappointed (and) wanted to still play,” she said.
“We look forward to the weekend. Our team is kind of a family team.”
Gauchier’s group will be hosting a 16-team tournament on two ball diamonds in Marlboro, a hamlet 25 kilometres west of Edson.
All of the teams playing were registered to play in the Edson tournament.
The Kinsmen Club of Edson has said they will be refunding the 90 teams that had registered for the event.
Edson is a town of about 8,500 people, 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.