Jeff Francis heads to Wall of Excellence

By: Adam Morisette

Canadian Baseball Network

OTTAWA- A tremendous list of current and former Major League Baseball stars is shaping up for the 14th annual Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet set to take place Saturday, January 9th at the Northern Lights Ballroom inside the Renaissance Toronto Downtown.

Fresh off a season that saw him finish third in National League Most Valuable Player voting, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto will be in attendance along with 2015 All-Star, Russell Martin of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The evening will include a special presentation that will see Jeff Francis, who was a key piece of Canada’s gold medal winning team at the Pan Am Games, become just the eighth member of Baseball Canada’s Wall of Excellence, presented by RBC Wealth Management.

“We have been fortunate in the past to receive great support from our alumni playing Major League Baseball as well as from personnel in both the professional baseball and corporate communities,” says Greg Hamilton, Coach and Director of National Teams with Baseball Canada. “We look forward to celebrating a season of Canadian baseball excellence in an environment that fosters future National Team success.”

The list of notable guests doesn’t stop with Francis, Votto and Martin as current big leaguers John Axford, Michael Saunders, Dalton Pompey and Adam Loewen are confirmed for the event along with Pan Am Games hero Pete Orr and former big-leaguers Ernie Whitt, Adam Stern, Chris Reitsma and Paul Quantrill.

A host of former Toronto Blue Jays players, headlined by Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, will also be attending the event that acts as an important fundraiser for Baseball Canada’s National Teams program.

In addition to the annual Baseball Canada National Teams Awards presentation, the evening will include a cocktail hour and silent auction featuring unique fantasy sports packages, tickets to the MLB Home Run Derby, NCAA college football games along with several autographed pieces of baseball memorabilia.

There will be a pre-banquet press conference beginning at 3:30pm ET, Saturday, January 9th, in the Aurora Room of the Renaissance Toronto Hotel at Rogers Centre (Aurora Room is adjacent to the Northern Lights Ballroom).

Tickets to the event are $400 per person and tables of eight and ten guests are also available for purchase. Baseball Canada has registered charitable status.

For more information, please contact Greg Hamilton, Director of National Teams, at 613-748-5606 ext. 225 or via e-mail at

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Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.