19 Apr Canadian Teams Out for 2021
Canadian teams will sit out 2021; Miners Schedule Changes Coming Soon
The Sussex County Miners will keep all of their home dates on the 2021 schedule intact, but many of the games will now be against different opponents than originally listed.
That’s because the Frontier League announced last Friday that “due to the uncertainty regarding the reopening of the United States-Canada border, the Ottawa Titans and Trois-Rivieres Aigles will not field teams for the 2021 season.”
In addition, the Quebec Capitales will be called Province of Quebec (PQ) for 2021 and play all of their games on the road.
That leaves the Frontier League with 14 teams (including one road team) instead of 16, and it caused major changes to team schedules.
The Miners will still be playing all of their home games on the original dates on the schedule, but the opponents will be different than what’s stated on the schedule over 50 percent of the time.
Look for a new Miners schedule to be posted here soon.
The local squad will still open the season at Skylands Stadium on Thursday night, May 27, but the opponent will now be the Tri-City ValleyCats, not the New Jersey Jackals.
The Cats, from Troy, NY, will stay in town for a five-game series ending with a rare Monday afternoon game.
The Miners will gain at least three new home games in the league shuffle: They were supposed to travel to Ottawa June 4-6. Instead, they’ll stay in Augusta for three home games against the New York Boulders that weekend.
They might pick up three more home games late in the season when they were scheduled to travel to Trois-Rivieres.
If the northern border is reopened by July 23, then the PQ team will play the second half of the season at home in Canada, and the Miners would travel there on the dates they originally planned to visit the Trois-Rivieres Aigles. But, if the border is still closed, then those three dates – Aug.31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 – would turn into Miners home dates at Skylands vs. PQ.
Aside from that late-season border uncertainty, the league schedule-makers were able to keep the Miners at home on their original home dates and on the road on their original road dates – just against different opponents much of the time.
The league has not yet announced if the absence of the Canadian teams will affect the playoff races.
The Frontier League rules call for four divisional champs to square off in the postseason. There were to be four teams in each of the four divisions, but now there will be just three teams in the Northeast Division: the Miners, the Jackals and the Washington Wild Things, with Ottawa now out of the picture.
Similarly, the Atlantic Division will be left with only three teams: the ValleyCats, the New York Boulders and the PQ road team, with Trois-Rivieres off the schedule.
The other two divisions – the Central and the West – have no Canadian teams, so they were unaffected by the news.
Because the Miners are losing dates with the Canadian teams, they will now be playing additional games against Northeast and Atlantic Division opponents.
The only games against a non-Northeast or Atlantic team will occur in mid-August when the Florence Y’Alls, out of the Central Division, travel north from Kentucky for a three-game series at Skylands.
On Memorial Day, the Miners will be at home for a 2 p.m. game, just as originally scheduled, but the opponent will now be the ValleyCats, not the Wild Things, as originally listed.
The Fourth of July game at Skylands remains unchanged: Jackals at Miners at 6 p.m., followed by the annual fireworks show
The regular season will end, as scheduled, with a home game on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 12, but it will now be against PQ instead of Ottawa.
By Carl Barbati, former sports editor of the New Jersey Herald, Daily Record and The Trentonian.