OTTAWA - It is with great pride that Baseball Canada is pleased to announce that former Women’s National Team player and coach Ashley Stephenson will be joining the coaching staff of the Toronto Blue Jays’ High-A affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians, for the 2023 season.
“I am really excited for this opportunity,” said Stephenson. “I’ve loved baseball and the Blue Jays since I was 3 years old, and never really imagined that I’d be able to have a career in the game let alone with my favourite team.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and develop as a coach all while doing my best to help our players reach their ultimate goal.”
An original member of the Women’s National Team from 2004, Stephenson wrapped up a 15-year playing career with the program in 2018 and immediately jumped into a role on the coaching staff. She was part of the staff that led Canada to a bronze medal at the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships in 2019 and in 2022 became the first woman to manage the Women’s National Team program when Canada played a five-game series against the United States in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
“On behalf of Baseball Canada and our board of directors, we are thrilled for Ashley and the experience in professional baseball that she has in front of her,” said Baseball Canada CEO Jason Dickson. “Ashley played the game with incredible passion and knowledge and has translated both of those attributes into her coaching career.
“We wish her nothing but the best of in this next chapter of her baseball career.”
Last August, Stephenson was invited to the Blue Jays’ Player Development Complex in Dunedin, Florida where she spent a week as a guest coach with their Florida Complex League club gaining valuable experience into professional baseball and player development.
“Ashley had been on our radar as a coaching candidate for a while before we invited her to come and help out at the complex. Seeing her work with our players and alongside our staff gave us more than enough confidence in her ability to succeed as a coach,” said Joe Sclafani, Director, Player Development. “We are elated to now have her as part of our staff in Vancouver and are excited to see her continue to grow as a coach as well as the impact she’ll have on our developing players.”
Stephenson’s busy 2022 season also included coaching Ontario entries at Baseball Canada’s Women’s Invitational Championships and the 16U Girls Championship before becoming the first woman to coach at the Blue Jays Academy Canadian Futures Showcase in Ottawa last September.
She continued to make history in November becoming the first woman to capture Baseball Canada’s Lionel Ruhr Elite Coach of the Year Award.
Stephenson will be taking leave from her job as a high school teacher at the beginning of February before reporting to the Blue Jays Player Development Complex in Dunedin, Florida for Spring Training. In April, she will depart Florida for Vancouver when the Canadians host Spokane at historic Nat Bailey Stadium in their Northwest League season opener on April 7th.