WINNIPEG, MB - Baseball Canada, along with Baseball Manitoba, are pleased to announce that two Manitoban umpires have been selected to officiate at the 2008 Olympic Games this summer in Beijing.
Brian Hodgson (Winnipeg, MB) and Ron Shewchuk (Minnedosa, MB) were selected by Baseball Canada and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) to be members of the 16 person staff to umpire the games. This will be the first time for either of these officials at an Olympic Games.
Hodgson and Shewchuk have extensive international experience, as both officiated at Olympic Qualifying Tournaments – Hodgson at the 2005 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona, and Shewchuk at the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Cuba.
For Hodgson and Shewchuk, this will be the crowning accomplishment in their great umpiring careers. Hodgson has umpired 14 national championships and six international tournaments. In addition, he has done many provincial championships and has officiated in the Northern League of Professional Baseball since 1993. Shewchuk has also been umpiring in the Northern League since its inception, and has 11 Baseball Canada National Championships and seven international events to his credit.
Both have earned Baseball Canada Umpire of the Year honours; Hodgson in 1999 and Shewchuk in 2001.
The baseball portion of the Olympic Games will take place from August 13-23 in Beijing, China. Canada will be competing for a spot at the Olympics along with Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Chinese Taipei and Korea in the Final Olympic Qualifier, March 7-15 in Taiwan. The top three from the qualifier will advance to the Olympic Games.
Other Canadian Umpires who have officiated Olympic Games include:
- 2004 – Don Gilbert (Ontario); Athens, Greece.
- 2000 - Robert Bellerose (Quebec); Sydney, Australia
- 1996 – Glen Johnson (Manitoba); Atlanta, United States
- 1992 - Ozzie Chavarria (British Columbia); Barcelona, Spain
- 1988 - Jim Cressman (Ontario); Seoul, South Korea