(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, B.C.) - Perhaps it would be a little tongue in cheek to suggest that Vancouver is the proverbial "Palm Springs" of Canada when Mother Nature decides to turn the temperature down on the rest of the country. There is no doubt that we absorb more than our share of precipitation during the grey months of the winter, but rarely do we need to dig deep into the back of our collective closets to feel around for our shovels.
Imagine the surprise for former Vancouver Canadians catcher Ryan Hissey as he and his girlfriend arrived in our fair city for the holidays only to find a mild "Snow-pocolypse" happening all around the Lower Mainland.
Not the worry, as the 22-year old catcher that spent this past season with Lansing of the Midwest League, was born and raised in Pennsylvania which gives him plenty of time dealing with the white stuff.
"Man, this is awesome," said Hissey as he took his girlfriend and two housing family children around historic and snow-covered Scotiabank Field during the recent holiday closure.
Hissey would walk through the same tunnel he walked through 43 times in 2015 as the Canadians primary backstop and this time didn't find an emerald haven of lush green grass and a freshly lined field. This time he found a blanket of white combined with complete and utter silence.
"I've been wanting to get back to Vancouver during the off-season for a while and this was the perfect time to come and say hi to my old housing family."
The affable Hissey, who has a smile that is infectious, was quick to praise the Canadians and the atmosphere during the time he played in Vancouver, explaining the different quirks and special moments that he discovered during his season with the C's. Pointing to different parts of the stadium, Hissey would share his moments with his girlfriend and occasionally you could hear the echo of laughter from the snow covered seats as the stadium sat empty on this snowy Thursday afternoon.
"Vancouver was really extraordinary. We had a number of players come up this past year and the first question they would get from those of us who had played in Vancouver was 'so, what did you think of Vancouver?'."
The usual response would come with references of the fans, the energy and of course the nights off in the city itself. Hissey then said it was his relationship formed with his Housing Family that stuck with him the most and has for nearly two years.
"They were such a great support for me during my time here, I was very lucky. We're friends for life."
As Hissey reflected on his time in Vancouver, a rogue snowball hit him right in the back, all be it gently. That was enough for Ryan to look around, spot the culprit and begin his own process of forming a snowball to retaliate. If memory serves us fans right, that snowball will have a pretty good chance of hitting its mark as Hissey was always known for an above average arm.
His final request before leaving the ballpark to resume his tour of the city was to say hello to all of the fans and staff that had made his season in Vancouver so memorable. So, on behalf of Ryan... Happy Holidays!