Review by Gary
Located in the small town of Welland, Ontario, just a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls and the US-Canadian border, Welland Stadium is home to the Jackfish of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL). From 1989 to 1994, this facility hosted the Welland Pirates in the NY-Penn League, a Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Niagara Stars of the Canadian Independent League recorded a 15-15 record in their lone season here in 2003. The Welland Aqua Ducks of the now-deceased North Atlantic League lasted just two seasons at Welland Stadium in 1995 and 1996. After that, the ballpark experienced numerous years without any organized team until the Jackfish swam ashore in 2019.
Built for the Pirates in 1989 and seating 2,500 fans, the ballpark has the third largest capacity of the current IBL teams. All of seating is uncovered and on metal benches, with those closest to the field having metal seat backs. Welland Stadium is a typical bowl-style stadium where the grass field is dug into the earth, so fans enter at street level and walk down to their seats. A modest covered concourse runs along the top of the seating bowl in front of a building the wraps the length of the stands. Team offices, concessions and restrooms are all accessed from the exterior of this building.
The last Niagara area team to compete in the IBL was the Niagara Falls Mariners. The Mariners played at Oakes Park from 1985 to 1989, so the area welcomed the arrival of the Jackfish, who relocated from Burlington, Ontario. Fun Fact: Jackfish is another name for northern pike, which are plentiful in the nearby Welland River.
I liked the greeting at the entrance to this spartan stadium; “Welcome to Your 9 Inning Vacation”, a clever tagline that shows that the owners are trying to entice the locals to check out some baseball when not ogling the nearby beauty of Niagara Falls.