Stratford – iCASE field manager/GM once again was named by Hall of Fame writer Bob Elliott as one of the top 100 most influential Canadians in baseball. The 53-year-old originally from Windsor, Ontario has worn different caps over the years, including a decade as a Supervisor with the Major League Baseball Central Scouting Bureau, as well as the president/CEO of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, Valcke’s influence stems from his creation of the iCASE Baseball Academy, a pioneering college prep program, the first of its kind in eastern Canada, a joint venture with the Avon Maitland District School Board and Stratford Northwestern Secondary School. iCASE’s full-time student-athletes not only train daily and play a rigorous schedule throughout the school year, but also receive credits for the training towards their Ontario Secondary School diploma, one of the most prestigious English diplomas in the world.
The annual list that Elliott publishes fluctuates, and only a handful have made it each and every year. Valcke, who has served a half-dozen times as the head coach of the World Children’s Baseball Fair, is now in his 28th year full-time in the baseball industry, and states that iCASE (which stands for International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence) is his true labour of love. The former Montreal Expos broadcaster, who coached five different teams last season, volunteers almost as many hours as he works, all towards sharing his passion for baseball, his love of children, and his efforts to globalize the game. He is traveling to Hong Kong over the holidays to scout players for iCASE at a ten-team international tournament, and will do some coaching as well as delivering clinics while there. He has now traveled to 22 different countries to coach, teach or scout baseball, and he has worked at the World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games as Technical Commissioner.
“I appreciate Bob recognizing consistency in my efforts to raise the quality and profile of Canadian baseball, and I hope my best years are still ahead of me,” said Valcke, who never backs off from a challenge to create new tangents within the Canadian baseball family.
“It is no accident that our men’s and women’s national teams are ranked in the top ten in the world, To help maintain this status, we are strongly considering adding a female team to iCASE beginning in September, 2014, and the addition of that team to our existing boys program would make iCASE the first and only baseball academy on the planet to have an all-female team.”