History of Hastings Community Little League
Hastings Community Little League (HCLL) was established in 1953 and is one of the oldest Little Leagues in Canada with Little Mountain being the first, created in 1951. As unimaginable as it may seem, there was a time in Vancouver when baseball was bigger than hockey. Long before the Canucks joined the NHL, the city had a very successful baseball team called the Vancouver Mounties who played out of Capilano Stadium (since renamed Nat Bailey Stadium). One can imagine that the boys playing Little League baseball in Vancouver in those early days dreamed more about playing professional baseball than hockey. It is estimated that over 7000 boys and girls have played t-ball and baseball at HCLL over these past 65 years.
The success of HCLL has been driven primarily by the many volunteers giving generously of their time over the years to serve as league officials, coaches and umpires. And then there are the countless hours put in by all parents to fulfill their team duties; concession, barbecue, field preparation, 50/50 tickets, scorekeeping, etc. HCLL has also been extremely fortunate to have many volunteers who have continued serving for many years, long after their own children were done playing. These HCLL volunteer legends include: Morrie Rentmeester, Fred Ritchie, Scott Browning, Grace Browning, Jim Gregor, Richard Saunders, Vito Bordignon, Jack Chow, Bob Hicks, Dave Izatt, Dave Jenkins, Kerry Kilbride, James Krickan, Zoe Krickan, Evelyn Larocque, Corrina Lattimer, Egidio Pasin, Dale Weisbrod, John Wong, Roy Wydeman, Janis Trivisano, Sante DelVecchio and Dan Wong.
HCLL is robust and strong as ever with about 400 boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 12 playing baseball and t-ball each year. It continues to be an exceedingly well-run volunteer organization and an important sporting landmark in the Hastings-Sunrise neighborhood of East Vancouver. As many people have said over the years, being at the ballpark with the sun shining, the smell of the barbecue in the air and watching the kids play is a great way to spend a day or early evening. The great plays and hits are almost secondary to the lifelong memories and friendships that continue to be created each and every year during games at the park.
Historic Hastings Community Park with its spectacular view of the North Shore Mountains (and Playland) has been the home of HCLL since its inception. The field and clubhouse have undergone many changes over the years with the field first renovation done in 1959 and permanent fencing was field installed in 1964. The existing concession was built in 2001. Prior to that it had consisted of a table, trailer or hut over the years. The biggest improvements were made in 2015 / 2016. HCLL raised over $300,000 which was funded in large part by very generous donations by Jays Care Foundation and the PNE. The renovation and upgrade of the field included two new diamonds as well as new dugouts, scorebooth, scoreboard, fencing, backstop and irrigation system. The two diamonds were named Volunteer Field and Richard Saunders Field in recognition of our many volunteers over the years, and Richard Saunders who played a key role in getting the renovations completed with the Vancouver Parks Board.
These renovations also allowed HCLL to host teams from across Canada at the Little League Championship tournament for the first time in August, 2016 which attracted over 4000 people for the final championship game won by HCLL. These new diamonds and the history of HCLL are a legacy for the kids who play today, for their families and for those yet to come in future generations.