Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball

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Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball
Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball logo.svg
Can-Am League logo
No. of teams6
CountriesUnited States
New Jersey Jackals (2019)
Most titlesQuébec Capitales (7)

The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, commonly known as the Can-Am League, was a professional, independent baseball league with teams in the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada, founded in 2005 as a reorganization of its predecessor, the Northeast League. The Can-Am League operated in cities not directly served by Major or Minor League teams and was not affiliated with either. The league office was in Dayton, Ohio. Though a separate entity, the league shared a commissioner, president, and director of umpires with the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

The Can-Am League ceased operations after the 2019 season, with five of the six league teams joining the independent Frontier League.


The Can-Am League was created when the Northeast League was renamed in 2005. The Northeast League was formed in 1995 and played four seasons as an independent league. At the end of the 1998 season, the Northeast League was merged with the Northern League and became that league's East Division. Although the East Division did not play the teams that were already in the Northern League during the regular season, the respective divisions played each other in an all-star game every summer and in a league championship series every fall from 1999 until 2002. The Northeast League became its own entity again for the 2003 season and continued play for one additional year before the renaming of the league.

Reorganization in 2005[edit]

The Allentown Ambassadors folded days before the 2004 season began, forcing the Northeast League to field a traveling team called the Aces. For the 2005 season, the Northeast League accepted the Worcester Tornadoes as a new eighth team. However, three weeks before the start of the 2005 season, the Bangor Lumberjacks folded, forcing the team to create another traveling team, this time called The Grays.

The league operated a traveling team whenever necessary to provide an even number of teams. However, doing so forced the other franchises to host more home games to provide a season of the same length. To obviate such disruptive last-minute schedule changes in the future, the Northeast League adopted a new charter, giving the league new powers to ensure that its franchises were solvent, and renamed itself the Canadian-American Association.

Subsequent changes[edit]

For 2006, the Can-Am League added two teams. The new Sussex Skyhawks replaced the Elmira Pioneers, which moved into the amateur New York Collegiate Baseball League; and the Nashua Pride joined the league from the Atlantic League. There were now eight teams without a traveling team.

For 2007, the Atlantic City Surf joined from the Atlantic League, and the league re-established The Grays, after a year of dormancy, as a tenth team. At the end of that season, both the New Haven County Cutters and the North Shore Spirit suspended operations, reducing the league to eight teams. Many New Haven player contracts were sold to Nashua, while many Spirit players were placed on waivers.

For 2008, Ottawa, which had lost its franchise in the International League, joined the Can-Am League as the Rapidz, an eighth franchise, displacing the Grays.

After the 2008 season, Rapidz management declared bankruptcy. The league declared its intention to operate the Ottawa franchise in 2009. The league changed the team's name back to Rapids, a spelling used during the team's founding (Rapides in French).[1] Later, however, the Commissioner stated the need for a "fresh start" and opened a contest to select a new name for the team.[2] The winning name was "Voyageurs".

Still later, the Atlantic City franchise was terminated, as a sale fell through. On March 30, 2009, the league announced that it would shrink to six teams rather than having two league-operated teams.[3]

The Nashua Pride franchise was sold and was known in 2009 as the American Defenders of New Hampshire because of the military tie-ins of its new ownership group. During the 2009 season the Defenders were locked out of Holman Stadium and forced to play their last home games on the road, bringing doubt to the future of baseball in Nashua. The Quebec Capitales would go on to win their second League Championship.

On December 19, 2009, league directors preliminarily gave approval to transfer the membership of the American Defenders of New Hampshire from Nashua, New Hampshire, to Pittsfield, Massachusetts for play in the 2010 season. Final approval was granted by the city for use of Wahconah Park on February 1.[4] The ownership group headed by Buddy Lewis had a lease on Wahconah Park for a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and transferred the current lease for play in the Can-Am League. Dan Duquette, current Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles, is also part of the ownership group, which is known as Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC.[5] The team was renamed the Pittsfield Colonials.

After the 2010 season the Sussex franchise was folded after its ownership group decided to focus its resources on the New Jersey Jackals, their primary team, and could not find a buyer. In its place, the league awarded the Rockland Boulders a franchise, added the Newark Bears from the Atlantic League, and formed the New York Federals as a traveling team. Pittsfield's franchise charter was rescinded after the 2011 season and the Colonials folded after ownership could not find partners.

The Brockton Rox moved to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League after the 2011 season. At the end of the 2012 season the Worcester charter was rescinded and the league decided to try to find new owners for the Tornadoes, but failed to do so and awarded the franchise instead to a Trois-Rivières, Quebec, group.

Beginning in 2012, Can-Am League clubs played 18 to 20 games per season against opponents from the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, with which it shares a commissioner. After the 2013 season, Newark announced it would not compete in the 2014 season and the team was eventually folded altogether.

In 2014, the Can-Am League announced that a fifth team, based in Ottawa, would join the league for 2015. The league later announced it would be returning to Sussex County, New Jersey as well, and announced that a traveling team would join the Ottawa Champions and the Sussex County Miners to create a balanced schedule, and continued to include matchups with the American Association. Interleague play ended after the 2015 season, though the Can-Am League continued to send players to the American Association's All-Star Game.

Starting with the 2015 season, the league hosted international clubs as part of its regular season schedule. Each of the regular clubs of the league played a series of 3 or 4 games against these international teams and the results of those games counted in the regular season standings. Over the years, the league hosted teams from Cuba, Japan and the Dominican Republic.[6]

Merger with Frontier League[edit]

On October 16, 2019, the independent Frontier League announced that it was merging with the Can-Am League for the 2020 season.[7] New Jersey, Sussex County, Quebec, and Trois-Rivieres all joined, as did a renamed Rockland franchise (now known as the New York Boulders). Ottawa was left out of the expanded league.

Policies and practices[edit]

Playoff format[edit]

In its inaugural season, the Can-Am League kept the two-division setup and half-season format that the Northeast League had. The two teams that were leading their respective divisions, designated North and South, at the end of the first half of the season automatically qualified for the playoffs. Two additional playoff spots would be made available. Once again, these went to division winners if the first half champions failed to repeat. Otherwise, one or more wild card spots would be given based on the team's overall record in both halves. If absolutely necessary, a one-game playoff would be played in case of a tie.

Beginning in 2006, the league abandoned divisional play. The first half-season leader automatically qualified for the playoffs, as did the second half-season leader if there was a second. To round the field out at four, two or more wild-card spots were given to teams with the best overall season record.

The four qualifiers for the playoffs would meet in two separate best of five series with the winners advancing to the League Championship Series, which was also best of five.

Beginning in 2012, the league stopped using the half-season format. From 2012 through 2014, the teams with the two best records in the league advanced to the League Championship Series. The series was expanded from a best of five to a best of seven. This changed in 2015 when Ottawa and Sussex County joined the league, which enabled it to have enough teams to return to its previous playoff format. From this point until its merger with the Frontier League, the league awarded playoff spots to the teams with the four best records at the end of the regular season.

Roster policies[edit]

The league salary cap was a maximum amount that could be spent on the entire player roster. Teams could apportion it among players as they saw fit. Certain players were given coaching duties to earn additional pay. The maximum salary cap for a rostered player was about US$4,000 every one to two months, depending on the roster size. However most players made about $2–3,000 every month. There were some rostered players that made the maximum every two months. There were no players in the league that made more than $4,000 per month. Rosters were limited to 23 players once the regular season began. An additional two players could be on the disabled list (which was referred to on some published rosters as the disabled/inactive list, and was sometimes used to ensure that a player under contract that a team does not wish to use was unavailable to opponents).

League roster rules gave each player an LS (Length of Service) rating, based on the number of full years the player had played professionally: Rookie, LS-1 through LS-5, and Veteran. Teams could carry at most four veterans and were required to carry at least five rookies. Some published rosters stated the LS rating of each player.[8]


Since 2005, the Can-Am League regular season schedule varied in length from 92 to 102 games.

In 2019, the league scheduled a 95-game regular season.[9]

In years when one of the teams was a league-operated traveling team, the franchises played an increased number of home games to keep the total length of the regular season constant. All games a franchise played against the traveling team were played at the franchise's ballpark. However, half of those games were designated "home games" for the traveling team, which took the field first and batted last as though the game were played at the traveling team's "home."

Opponents played a series of from three to five games on consecutive days. Occasionally, for clubs near to one another, the original schedule did not put all the games of a series at the same ballpark. For example, the teams could travel to the visitors' ballpark for the middle game of a series.


In 2014, the Can-Am League adopted the IBAF's international tiebreaker rule. If a game went beyond the tenth inning, each half-inning began with a runner on second base. The runner was the batter who made the last out in the team's previous turn at bat, or the batter immediately preceding the leadoff man for the inning if that player had been substituted out. Play continued as normal otherwise. If the game remained tied, the process repeated until one team won. The first use of the rule came on June 2, 2014, in an interleague matchup between the St. Paul Saints and the Quebec Capitales, and the American Association has also adopted the rule.

Final teams[edit]

Team First Season City Stadium Capacity
New Jersey Jackals 1998 Little Falls, New Jersey Yogi Berra Stadium 5,000
Ottawa Champions 2015 Ottawa, Ontario Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park 10,332
Québec Capitales 1999 Quebec City, Quebec Stade Canac 4,800
Rockland Boulders 2011 Pomona, New York Palisades Credit Union Park 6,580
Sussex County Miners 2015 Augusta, New Jersey Skylands Stadium 4,200
Trois-Rivières Aigles 2013 Trois-Rivières, Quebec Stade Stereo+ 4,500

League timeline[edit]

Sussex County MinersOttawa ChampionsTrois-Rivières AiglesRockland BouldersNewark BearsNew York FederalsOttawa VoyageursAtlantic City SurfSussex SkyhawksAmerican Defenders of New HampshireNashua PrideWorcester TornadoesThe GraysNortheast League AcesBrockton RoxNew Jersey JackalsNorth Shore SpiritWaterbury SpiritBerkshire Black BearsMassachusetts Mad DogsAllentown AmbassadorsElmira PioneersQuébec CapitalesBangor Blue OxYonkers Hoot OwlsSullivan Mountain LionsNewburgh NighthawksMohawk Valley LandsharksAlbany-Colonie Diamond DogsBangor LumberjacksAdirondack Lumberjacks

Can-Am League Northeast League Northern League East

Notable alumni[edit]


Season Winner Runner-up Result
2005 Worcester Tornadoes Québec Capitales 3–0
2006 Québec Capitales Brockton Rox 3–2
2007 Nashua Pride North Shore Spirit 3–0
2008 Sussex Skyhawks Québec Capitales 3–0
2009 Québec Capitales Worcester Tornadoes 3–1
2010 Québec Capitales Pittsfield Colonials 3–1
2011 Québec Capitales New Jersey Jackals 3–1
2012 Québec Capitales New Jersey Jackals 4–1
2013 Québec Capitales New Jersey Jackals 4–3
2014 Rockland Boulders New Jersey Jackals 4–2
2015 Trois-Rivières Aigles New Jersey Jackals 3–2
2016 Ottawa Champions Rockland Boulders 3–2
2017 Québec Capitales Rockland Boulders 3–0
2018 Sussex County Miners Québec Capitales 3–1
2019 New Jersey Jackals Sussex County Miners 3–1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Campbell, Don (November 14, 2008). "Ottawa's Can-Am 'run' not over yet". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  2. ^ "Can-Am team in need of name". The Ottawa Citizen. November 14, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  3. ^ "Can-Am to Go with Six Clubs in 2009". Can-Am League. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  4. ^ "Pro baseball back – Berkshire Eagle Online". 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  5. ^ "Official Website of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball". Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Frontier League, Can-Am League to Join Forces". 2019-10-16."Frontier League, Can-Am League to Join Forces". 2019-10-16.
  8. ^ "Can-Am League Roster Rules". Archived from the original on 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  9. ^ "Can-Am 2019 schedule". Can-Am League. Can-Am League. November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2018.

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