Intercounty baseball is back in Guelph as new ownership for the Royals was announced Monday morning.
Sporting goods distributor Shawn Fuller and Mayor Cam Guthrie were introduced as the new co-owners at Hastings Stadium in front of reporters and a small gathering of fans.
“This is a passion project, I don’t see it as a money-maker,” said Fuller, who was born in Guelph and describes himself as a huge Royals fan.
Fuller is president of Canadawide Sports which delivers sports equipment across Canada. He said he was devastated when he heard about the Royals folding back in June and immediately called league commissioner John Kastner.
“The risk was also that the team wouldn’t return for the 2018 season and that’s a big deal. The 2018 season will be Guelph’s 100th in the IBL,” Fuller explained.
As for the IBL’s standpoint, Kastner expects it to be a good fit.
“The environment certainly exists for the Guelph Royals to be competitive. It’s the right size and the right community, there’s a great baseball facility here – the environment exists and I think Shawn appreciates that,” he said.
And while he’s been named a co-owner of the Royals, Guthrie said he’s here as a “very big cheerleader.”
“A lot of the inner workings or details of the team, the roster, et cetera, will all be handled through Shawn,” the mayor explained.
The new co-owners admitted there is a lot of work to be done before fielding a team in the 2018 season, including earning the support of fans again.
“We’re going to anchor this with a competitive team, so watch for exciting player announcements as we get closer to the season,” Fuller promised. “We’re going to make sure the fan experience is better. It’s not just about baseball, it’s going to be about the whole thing.”
A new website has been set up: www.savetheroyals.com