CANADA British Columbia Stadium, which hosted the Indigenous National Fastball...

British Columbia Stadium, which hosted the Indigenous National Fastball Tournament, is damaged in a suspicious fire

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Over 900 players across all age groups competed in the 2022 Canadian Fastball Championship at Prince George from July 31st to August 1st. On August 3, the RCMP received a report of a fire at the stadium, which is currently being investigated as arson. . (Chuck Chin)

Part of the history of First Nations baseball in Prince George, British Columbia was severely damaged by a fire that the RCMP is investigating as arson.

Police said they received a call about a fire at Spruce City Stadium, located at 2210 Massey Dr., around 5 a.m. PT Wednesday.

The stadium is best known for hosting the Canadian Indigenous Fastball Championship, an annual tournament that draws over 1,000 Indigenous players and fans from across the country.

The 2022 tournament was played over the weekend after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, with 50 teams competing in different age categories for men and women. In past years, up to 80 teams took part in the event.

Groundskeeper Peter Gosteeper inspects fire damage at the concession kiosk and broadcast center at Spruce City Stadium in Prince George, British Columbia. arson RCMP. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

“It’s just ashes”

Harley Desjarlet, one of the organizers of the tournament, said the fire had severely damaged the counter and the broadcast area behind the home court. He described the facility as “essentially the nerve center of our stadium”.

“Fortunately, none of our stands burned down, but we have no lights, no scoreboards, no electricity, no power for that matter,” he said. “So it really devastated our ability to have a fastball here.”

Peter Phantom Keeper, who has looked after the park for over two decades, said the building dates back to the mid-70s.

“Now it’s just ashes,” he said. “So we need to rebuild. And we will do it. This exemplary stadium is really important to the community.”

Police say a fire that damaged part of Spruce City Stadium in Prince George, British Columbia is being investigated as arson. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

The RCMP says it is investigating the fire as an act of arson. In addition to the fire, two large Bluetooth speakers were stolen from the counter.

Desjarlet said damage was estimated at around $100,000. The emotional toll from the fire is hard to quantify, he says.

“Many people grew up in this place as children, played ball here, watched their fathers play, watched their grandfathers play,” he said. “Even though it’s just a structure, I think the affection that many people have for this place is simply beyond any price.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Prince George’s RCMP.

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