Abbotsford’s Corey Eckstein will coach one final year with the Fraser Valley Cardinals. (File photo)

Abbotsford’s Corey Eckstein will coach one final year with the Fraser Valley Cardinals. (File photo)

Abbotsford’s Corey Eckstein joins Ontario Blue Jays

Longtime baseball fixture scooped up by top amateur program

One of the biggest names in the Abbotsford baseball scene is moving to Ontario in 2020.

Longtime Fraser Valley Cardinals head coach and Yale Baseball Academy program director Corey Eckstein has accepted a position with the Ontario Blue Jays.

Eckstein will be stepping into his new role as director of player personnel for the Mississauga-based amateur baseball program, which is considered by many to be the top amateur program in the country.

He shared the news on his Twitter account on Friday morning, and stated that it was not an easy decision but he is looking forward to the new challenge.

“I’ve poured my heart and soul into my programs over the last 15 years,” he wrote. “There’s a lot of great people inside FVBA that will continue the tradition we have created. I will always be thankful to management, administrators, coaches, players, mentors, umpires and parents for supporting my programs. Leaving this organization weighs heavy on my heart but I am really excited and grateful for this new challenge with the New York Yankees of Canadian Baseball, the Ontario Blue Jays.”

Eckstein has had a storied career both as a player and coach in baseball.

He’d gone down to Vernon College in Texas in 2004, fresh off a stint with the Canadian junior national team, and while he pitched well, he was bothered by increasing pain and stiffness in his elbow.

Upon returning home to Abbotsford in December, he had an MRI and got the results on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t good news. The ulnar collateral ligament was completely torn, and the lateral collateral ligament was significantly damaged.

Eckstein’s fastball hit 89 miles per hour on the radar gun in September 2004, but never came close to touching that again following the surgery, even after a year and a half of rehab.

He lost his scholarship, and at age 19, his playing career was done.

RELATED: Cardinals coach Eckstein turning wounds into wisdom

But he quickly transitioned into coaching, beginning with Abbotsford’s Power Zone Academy in the spring of 2005 and then moving on to the Cardinals, Sandlot Baseball and Yale. He also helped the Canadian junior national team earn silver at the 2012 world junior championships.

The success continued for Eckstein in 2015, as he earned a World Series ring when the Kansas City Royals defeated the New York Mets. Eckstein still works as a part-time scout for the Royals, and will continue to serve in that role after he leaves Abbotsford.

RELATED: Eckstein earns World Series ring

More recently, Eckstein helped lead the Cardinals to British Columbia Premier Baseball League championships in both 2016 and 2018.

The pair of title wins were the first two championships in club history.

RELATED: Abbotsford Cardinals win first-ever BCPBL championship

Ontario Blue Jays management is thrilled to have Eckstein on board.

“Eck brings with him an incredible baseball mind, passion, work ethic and drive to do the very best for his players, fellow coaches and organization,” stated Blue Jays director of baseball operations Joe Ellison. “He has helped hundreds of players into collegiate opportunities, many to professional baseball opportunities but more importantly he has fostered an incredible culture in Abbotsford and I look forward to see his impact with our players.”

Eckstein has attended the Ontario Blue Jays annual Spring Training Trips for the past three years, twice serving on OBJ Coaching Staffs and once while bringing Abbotsford down for their first Dodgertown experience. Moving cross country with him will be his wife of seven years, Kourtni and three children Kohen (five), Hudson (three) and Parker (one). Kourtni has been heavily involved with several local groups during her time in Abbotsford, most notably the Abbotsford Rope Works skipping group.

“This was obviously a tough decision for my family,” he said. “My wife Kourtni has been my number one supporter throughout these negotiations. Leaving the people you care about the most is never easy but we both feel that this is the next step in my career and something that I’ve been working hard towards.”

According to objbaseball.com, the program has sent 485 players on to college ball, produced 71 national team players and generated 118 Major League Baseball draft picks.

Eckstein will complete the 2020 season with the Cardinals, and the FVBA is exploring options for a suitable replacement.

FVBA president Brian Finnie said they will miss Eckstein.

“As an organization we will miss him but are happy for him and his family,” he stated. “We are most excited for the opportunity this move brings to bridge the gap between baseball in B.C. and Ontario and look forward to our continued relationship with Corey in the coming seasons. I’m proud to employ the best coaches in Canada and with our recent addition of Courtney Gill in an oversight role I’m confident we won’t miss a step. We are looking forward to another successful season of baseball in the Fraser Valley.”

For more, visit fvbaseball.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Bandits vice-president Dylan Kular has released a statement offering his support for Indian farmers in their recent struggles. The City of Abbotsford has thus far remained silent on the issue. (Highstreet photo)
Fraser Valley Bandits VP Dylan Kular speaks out on India, City of Abbotsford silent on issue

W.J. Mouat grad states he supports farmers, unclear if City of Abbotsford will release statement

Joe Fast of Abbotsford is on dialysis four days a week and has issued a public plea for a kidney donor. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man with 5% kidney function is desperately in need of a live donor

Joe Fast has a rare blood type and hasn’t yet been able to find a transplant match

Mia Skoone (left), with her cousin Gavin Nahal, has donated her birthday money to the ARH pediatrics unit for the past eight years. Now she is seeking sponsorships from local businesses to fund a UN conference she has been invited to. (Submitted)
One of Abbotsford’s most charitable youths seeking sponsors for conference trip

Abbotsford Senior Secondary School student Mia Skoone has been invited to UN event in May

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
COVID-19 outbreaks continue at 2 Abbotsford care homes

Tabor Home and Menno Home still battling the virus

Cottage-Worthington Pavilion
COVID-19 outbreak over at Abbotsford’s Cottage-Worthington Pavilion

Outbreak declared over at Fraser Health-run facility

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read