VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BVM) – When it comes to women’s baseball in Canada, it is hard to write its history without mentioning Ashley Stephenson. The star was a member of every Canadian International Baseball Federation World Cup team from its inception in 2004 until her final game as a player in 2018. Now, the famous Canadian women’s baseball player will take her skills to the professional level as a coach in an MLB farm system.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced that they hired Stephenson as a coach for their High-A affiliate Vancouver Canadians on Jan. 19. In this role, Stephenson joins a growing group of women in professional baseball as she joins the 11 women who worked in on-field roles during the 2022 season.
“I am really excited for this opportunity,” Stephenson said in a press release. “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 favorite 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.”
🗞️ Ashley Stephenson to join Vancouver Canadians coaching staff for 2023 season
🗞️ Ashley Stephenson se joint au personnel d'entraîneurs des Canadians de Vancouver pour la saison 2023
— Baseball Canada 🇨🇦⚾️ (@baseballcanada) January 18, 2023
Stephenson is not the first female coach for the Blue Jays organization. Last year, the franchise hired Jaime Lever who worked as a minor league hitting coach at the team’s Dunedin facility, working with the Florida League Complex Blue Jays and Dunedin Blue Jays respectively.
This is not Stephenson’s first role in coaching as she also served as the first female manager in the history of the Canadian women’s national team in the summer of 2022 during a five-game series against the United States. The Canadians played tough even though they dropped the series three games to two.
🗞️ Stephenson to manage Women’s National Team at Friendship Series
🗞️ Stephenson dirigera l'équipe nationale féminine lors de la Série de l'amitié
— Baseball Canada 🇨🇦⚾️ (@baseballcanada) July 6, 2022
This followed three years as an assistant coach with the team, which she started immediately following her playing career. In her first season as a coach in 2019, she helped lead Team Canada to a bronze medal at the COPABE Women’s Pan-American Baseball Championships.
As a player, Stephenson was simply one of the best. In her 14 years with the national team, Stephenson won four medals in six tournaments, winning a silver medal in 2008 and three bronze medals in 2004, 2006 and 2012. She also won a number of individual awards including being named a tournament all-star at third base in the 2008 tournament as well as being named the Canada national team MVP in 2005 and 2008.
Now, Stephenson will look to bring her experience and success on the diamond from the women’s side of the sport to the men’s side. Given the great coaching she has displayed, Stephenson should be able to make an impact for the Vancouver Canadians during the 2023 season.
With a legend like Stephenson now on staff, expect the Vancouver Canadians to find success during their campaign. For Stephenson, she is now one step closer to the ultimate goal of Major League Baseball.