NANAIMO -- The Victoria Harbourcats will soon have a Vancouver Island rival to compete with. The West Coast League announced Thursday afternoon that a team from Nanaimo will take to the field for the start of the 2021 season.

The to-be-named Nanaimo ball-club will become the 13th team and third Canadian team to play in the WCL, joining the Harbourcats and the Kelowna Falcons.

The Nanaimo team will be owned and operated by the Wilson’s Group, which also owns the Victoria Harbourcats.

“This has been in the works for a few years,” said John Wilson, the new team’s vice president. “It’s going to be a great new addition to the Nanaimo sports scene.”

The club will play at historic Serauxmen Stadium. Improvements to the field will begin in the next couple of weeks, with the City of Nanaimo installing lighting.

“Nanaimo has a very interesting baseball history,” said Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog. “Serauxmen Stadium was kicked off by Mickey Mantle in 1976.”

The new team has just launched a new website as well, where the public can enter a name-the-team contest and inquire about season tickets and sponsorships.

The WCL is a summer collegiate baseball league in which every team plays a 54-game regular season schedule. Since 2005, hundreds of drafted and professional players have played in the WCL.