The Langley Blaze, based in the beautiful province of British Columbia, have long been one of the top travel ball programs in all of Canada.
Program 15 and the New Balance Future Stars Series have quickly emerged as one of the top places for young talent to develop the right way.
Seem like a good fit? You bet.
The two sides joining forces was a no-brainer, and P15 and NBFSS CEO Jeremy Booth was eager to get the Blaze on board. That Corey Eckstein, the highly respected owner of another P15 partner, Sandlot Baseball, highly recommended the Blaze sure didn’t hurt either.
“The Langley Blaze have a pro tradition,” Booth said. “Since they began under the leadership of Doug Mathieson and Jamie Bodaly, they’ve continued to turn out players that are “must see” types. They have always been good with focusing on benefiting the players with everything they have. With Corey Eckstein and the Blaze leadership’s relationship, this made perfect sense as we expand with our partners across the globe.”
The Blaze, who have sent a countless number of players on to major college programs, have had approximately 40 players drafted, including three first rounders; major-leaguer Brett Lawrie was the most prominent of the trio. Lawrie, Scott Mathieson and last year’s Southern League MVP, the just-traded Tyler O’Neill, were the three players that Bodaly, the Blaze’s Premier Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel, pointed to as his proudest alums.
“We give everyone an opportunity, they did it themselves to get there,” Bodaly said. “If it wasn’t for their hard work, they wouldn’t be anywhere, so I wouldn’t want to take any credit for that. But it’s a really cool feeling when you see those guys doing well, and you’re definitely proud of it. I played with Scott, I coached Brett — I was his head coach in his pre-draft year and an assistant his first year, and I worked with Tyler for his three years. We text every couple days.”
Bodaly and the Blaze, now with the partnership of Program 15, are looking to help the next generation of players make an impact like the aforementioned three have, while also fostering an environment in which “players also learn about the life skills and knowledge that are necessary to graduate beyond the Blaze to the ‘next level’ wherever that may take them.”
“With the Blaze, we’re kind of geared towards getting our guys onto college and pro ball,” Bodaly said. “We get kids from all over Canada to come play for us, and we try to take them to as many exposure events as we can to get them out there. Program 15 has some regional events and then the national event in Houston, and we’ve got some pretty good players coming up, so that’s kind of what we’re gearing towards.”
Joining forces with Program 15 will help the Blaze get his kids even more exposure, which as a former Blaze player, Bodaly knows the significance of.
“We go to Arizona, we go to Florida, so they get a good amount of exposure, but we want to get them out there to more schools and get them seen,” he said.