Border Cats Season Begins This Month

Story by Sidney Ulakovic, Photos by James Mirabelli

The sport of the summer is back for another season. The Thunder Bay Border Cats are gearing up for a summer of baseball following their return to the ballpark last year. Now, with some oil in the engine, they’re looking forward to coming back with a  strong roster and with a wealth of entertainment this upcoming season, vice president Bryan Graham says. “We have a really loyal fanbase,” says Graham. “There was a really great atmosphere last year.” 

A big crowd takes in a Border Cats game on a sunny afternoon

The Border Cats have faced their share of challenges over the past few years, getting over the hurdle of the team potentially leaving town only to be faced with COVID related restrictions preventing them from playing, but they were warmly welcomed back upon their return to Port Arthur Stadium last summer. According to Graham, at last year’s opener there were 2,300 people in attendance to witness the Border Cats capture their first win of the season after such a long hiatus. “There were a few tears shed for sure that night, just [because of] the fact that we had overcome all that and were able to come back and the community supported us so well over the course of the summer,” Graham says. “We were very encouraged with the turnout last year, and hopefully we can make it bigger and better this summer.”

The Border Cats’ annual Whiskey Jacks Night, a tribute to Thunder Bay’s former professional team

This season will include staples local baseball fans have come to look forward to each summer, like fireworks, throwback nights, and ballpark eats. Graham adds that there will be plenty of things going on in the ballpark aside from the game, such as live music on opening night, kids’ areas for family fun, cornhole boards if you’re looking for a little friendly competition, or party decks if you’re trying to get the gang together for some summer fun. “We’re really all about the community and trying to provide entertainment for the people of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area,” he says. 

Fans enjoying a beautiful summer night on the rooftop tiki bar party area

According to Graham, this year’s roster is looking solid. “Right now we have a record 13 Canadian-born players on our roster, which would be an all time record for the Border Cats,” Graham says. With management focusing on recruiting and supporting local talent, Thunder Bay pitcher Jack Pineau will be returning this year, and Graham says management is looking forward to working with players they have established a rapport with, as it was not a luxury they had last year. 

Pitcher Jack Pineau from Thunder Bay, a league all-star in 2023 and returning to the Border Cats this season

“We play 72 games in a very short span,” Graham says of the team’s upcoming season, meaning the Border Cats are on the road and playing three to four games a week. “That’s what the Northwoods League is all about. It’s a training ground, really an apprenticeship, to see if you can further your career after college and become a professional baseball player.” So far, 13 Border Cats players have gone on to play in the major leagues, former Border Cats pitcher Wes Parsons being the most recent, with his addition to the Toronto Blue Jays roster.

As the team travels throughout the summer, bearing the city’s name on their jerseys, Graham says he hopes they’re a point of hometown pride as they represent Thunder Bay at stadiums across the northern United States.

Boomer entertains the fans between innings at Port Arthur Stadium

The Border Cats opening game will be on May 31. If you’re hoping to catch a game this summer, you can find the Border Cats’ schedule on their website via