GFI tournament coordinator and head umpire Steve Boutang. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

GFI tournament coordinator and head umpire Steve Boutang. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Cuban team joining Grand Forks International baseball lineup

Teams are coming from across North America for the tournament June 25 to July 1.

Teams from Cuba, San Diego and Reno, Nevada will be joining the lineup for this year’s Grand Forks International tournament.

The tournament is slated to run June 25 to July 1 at James Donaldson Park. The board of the GFI made the team announcements Thursday morning, as well as other features of this year’s GFI event.

The teams coming to this year’s GFI are: the Seattle Studs, the Burnaby Bulldogs, the Everett Merchants, the Fairbanks Alaska Goldpanners, the San Diego Stars, the San Francisco Seals, the Reno Astros, the Northwest Honkers, the Houston Westchase Express and the Union de Reyes from Matanzas, Cuba.

GFI coordinator Steve Boutang said the tournament is pleased to welcome such a variety of teams to this year’s tournament, including several teams that have not attended in recent history.

Boutang said there will be some changes to the tournament this year, including adding an extra day to for a maximum of four games per day, meaning games will start later and end a bit earlier. Ticket prices will also go down this year to encourage more locals to come out to the tournament, and as in years past, volunteers clocking at least 12 hours will receive a free tournament pass.

Boutang said he felt the entertainment value and quality of baseball provided by the Cuban team will be high.

“I have been coming since 2001 as an umpire. I think this tournament, these ten teams, is the strongest field we have seen since the World Baseball Challenge here in 2002,” Boutang said.

“The Studs, Reno is bring a team loaded with professionals, Cuba will be very competitive. Fairbanks made it all the way to the finals. If I had to pick four teams I was looking out for being in it on Monday, those would be the four.”

By piggy-backing on an event the Cuban team is doing in Victoria, Boutang said the tournament was able to save significantly on the cost of bringing the team in from Cuba. They are looking for billet families if possible, he added; information is available on the GFI website.

Many of the teams slated to attend the GFI last year were disappointed, when the tournament was cancelled in the wake of May’s devastating flooding. However, Boutang said the teams are aware of what Grand Forks has been through in the last year, and are eager to come back, help out and put on a good show.

“Most of the players who come here, when they warm up and see the fans and the entertainment at night, the atmosphere the park has, the players frequently say ‘I can’t believe this tournament exists in such a small town,’” Boutang said. “To not have it last year was a big loss, they love coming up here … and they are excited to be back.”

More information on the GFI is available through

Just Posted

Dep. Fire Chiefs Rich Piché (left) and Stephane Dionne said they were disappointed that only one person showed up at the George Evans fire hall’s recruitment drive Tuesday evening, May. 11. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue says rural fire hall at risk of closing

Home insurance could spike across North Fork if George Evans fire hall loses fire protection status

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

A Canadian Pacific train derailed near Nelson on Tuesday evening. Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Canadian Pacific freight train derails near Nelson

There were no injuries or spills related to the incident

File photo.
The Way it Was

1916: Phoenix holds per capita automobile record

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

Most Read