Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Homegrown Hofmann eyes future in MLB

By Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex

 

Logan Hofmann signs a ball for a young player in Saskatoon.
When Logan Hofmann started playing baseball out in his hometown of Muenster, Sask., it was all about the joy of just being on the diamonds.

The notion of becoming a Major League Baseball draft selection or going to the elite levels of the sport didn’t cross his mind until high school.

“Growing up, I just played it, because it was fun,” said Hofmann. “It never really was a thought of mine to play professional baseball, because I was a big hockey player too growing up.

“I thought I was better at hockey pretty much my whole life until about Grade 10. That is when I thought that if I keep improving in baseball I can eventually go to college and then from there have success in college and then move on to the professional ranks.”

The right-handed pitcher played for Saskatchewan’s provincial team as part of an extremely successful run from 2015 to 2017. 

Saskatchewan won silver at the Baseball Canada Cup played at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex in 2015, gold at the Baseball Canada Cup held in 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alta., and at the Canada Summer Games in 2017 in Winnipeg.

The standout with the Muenster Red Sox program also played catcher and shortstop, when he wasn’t taking turns on the hill.

Logan Hofmann pitching for Saskatchewan. 
(Photo courtesy Baseball Saskatchewan) 
After graduating high school, Hofmann pitched two seasons for Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. Following his second season, Hofmann was selected in the 35th round and 1,055th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Hofmann elected to not to sign with the Cardinals deciding to play for the Northwestern State University Demons baseball team in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in the NCAA Division I ranks. That allowed him to keep developing his pitching stills and re-enter the MLB Draft.

In the MLB Draft that was held on June 11, Hofmann was selected in the fifth round and 138th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He signed a rookie contact with the Pirates on June 27.

The 20-year-old said it was a thrill to be picked in the MLB Draft and to be able to sign with the Pirates so quickly after the draft.

“It kind of just seals the deal,” said Hofmann, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 190 pounds. “It is official.

“It is kind of the same thing as getting drafted. It is a great feeling, and I guess kind of a big accomplishment to say that you’ve signed now, and you’re ready to get your minor league career started.”

While he is gaining big opportunities in the game, Hofmann never forgets his Saskatchewan roots. When he returns home after completing his post-secondary season, he can usually be found on the diamonds in Muenster or around the province helping younger players.

Logan Hofmann played shortstop and catcher growing up.
(Photo courtesy Baseball Saskatchewan)
Hofmann enjoys helping the generation coming up.

“It is just good to give back just to see I guess some of the young talent we have in Saskatchewan,” said Hofmann, who credits his father, Chad, on being the biggest influence in helping him in the game growing up. “I just want to help them be the best player and person they can be.”

Hofmann has good memories playing with Saskatchewan’s provincial program. He remembers winning silver at the 2015 Baseball Canada Cup in Saskatoon as being a big thing as Saskatchewan had won just one medal – a silver in 2011- in 18 years previous at that event.

“Going in it was kind of we were hosting it, and if we do good, that would be cool,” said Hofmann. “I don’t think anybody really expected us to go as far as we did.

“Obviously, we faced B.C. in the final, and they were really, really good that year. I think still even a silver medal for Saskatchewan and we were hosting it was really awesome to see.”

Ultimately, Hofmann thought that silver medal finish paved the way for Saskatchewan’s gold medal wins in 2016 and 2017.

Logan Hofmann, left, likes coaching baseball camp in Saskatchewan.
“I think it set up really well,” said Hofmann. “I knew we had a good age group for those couple of years there going into each tournament.

“A silver medal, it is tough to build off of, but at the same time, one more win and you have gold.”

Greg Brons, who is the high performance director for Baseball Saskatchewan, said what Hofmann has been able to accomplish is inspiring for young players in the province.

“It gives kids the idea that if they work hard the ultimate dream of playing the game professionally can really happen,” said Brons. “Logan is someone players in minor baseball in Saskatchewan can really look up to.

“When he is in the city he often comes back to workout with our academy players and our players benefit from his success as he puts Saskatchewan on the baseball map.”

Brons said it is special when Hofmann comes back to the province and helps out the younger generation.

“It is no surprise that he is willing to do this,” said Brons. “He is a typical athlete from Saskatchewan – raised right and wanting to give back.

Logan Hofmann has his sights set on an MLB future.
“(He) comes from a great community (Muenster) where they support youth sports, and I think this is just the Saskatchewan way – I have seen athletes in all sports giving back. This is why Saskatchewan is such a great province. People like Logan never forget where they came from.”

Hofmann developed strong command of four pitches in his fastball, change-up, curveball and slider. He aims to keep fine tuning all aspects of his game looking towards spring training in 2021.

“I am just getting stronger and also focusing on the mental game of baseball now too just because it is such a big part of it,” said Hofmann. “I am kind of improving everything a little bit every day and just working to prepare for next year.”

ZONE Sports Physiotherapy aims to better overall health

Clinic empowers clients with the “why” to their rehab

Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex

 

Mitch Dahl and the ZONE Sports crew aim to empower clients.
Knowledge helps power a person on their physical rehabilitation journey.

Mitch Dahl, who is one of the founding partners of ZONE Sports Physiotherapy, believes clients should know “why” they are doing something, so they know “how” they can become better.

Dahl is one of three ZONE team members who are at the company’s second clinic located at the Indoor Training Centre on the grounds of the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. The ZONE founding partner said the team at his clinic aims to give their clients knowledge and tools that will help them recover from injuries and improve their overall health.

Dahl said the ZONE team’s goal is to help their clients move better, so they can live better.

“It is more of an approach of a very active based rehabilitation,” said Dahl. “We are really trying to educate people and engage them in the process.

“If you teach people things, the unknown is not as scary. All of a sudden, things make sense.

“I always tell young athletes don’t just do it because we tell you to do it. Understand what is going on. We try to give lots of people tools in their toolbox and empower them to get better so they are not dependent on us.”

ZONE’s first clinic that opened in 2011 is located in the Point 9 Building in University Heights in northeast Saskatoon, which is also home to the Saskatoon Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Centre.

One of the treatment rooms at ZONE Sports Physiotherapy.
The ZONE clinic on the Gordie Howe Sports Complex grounds opened in May of 2019, and due to the nature of that location, they see a variety of athletes.

With that said, the ZONE clinic on the Gordie Howe grounds does see clients who are non-athlete every day and all day. People that utilize that ZONE clinic range in age from eight to 88 and come from all walks of life.

ZONE Sports Physiotherapy delivers individualized care and expertise for assessment, treatment and management of sports, orthopedic, personal, work and auto injuries including post-operative rehabilitation.

Dahl said he often fields questions from potential clients asking if they can come even if they are ‘not an athlete.’ He said everyone is an athlete to some extent.

If a person gets injured doing something physical at the work place or the injury occurs in an athletic environment, Dahl said in both cases the injured parties are trying to regain the ability to do a physical movement.

Dahl enjoys seeing both athletes and members of the general public come through ZONE’s doors and when they are doing physiotherapy programming at the gym run by one of ZONE’s long-time partners in IGNITE Athletics.

Another ZONE Sports Physiotherapy treatment room.
“It is actually a pretty neat vibe, because they kind of feed off each other sometimes,” said Dahl. “You can see it in the gym too.

“It is kind of neat to see the mix there, and I think it spills over to here too where someone comes in and they are a high-level athlete, and they start having a chance to converse with someone in the waiting room, where they are just making small talk. It creates a good sense of comradery and community.”

All three therapists on staff at Gordie Howe Sport Complex’s ZONE clinic can treat head to toe injuries, and they each have a specialty interest area too.

Dahl came over because he works with baseball and football athletes a lot, so it was a natural fit for him to be on site. He will do assessments for football athletes, so they can determine which weaknesses or physical areas they need to work on before going off to events like the CFL combine. In baseball, Dahl will do assessments for players in regard to how they handle things physically like their throwing motion.

Brad Spokes oversees the ZONE Performance Multisport program that is geared to helping athletes in endurance-based sports, along with some strength and explosive type sports athletes as well. The presence of track and field, speed skating and Nordic skiing athletes made the Gordie Howe Sports Complex location a draw.

Jennifer Browne runs the “60 Strong” program, which is a masters age level strength program. Those workouts run twice a week.

If a need arises where a client would be better served by seeing a staff member at the first ZONE clinic to access a specific area of expertise, such as vestibular/balance/dizziness rehab, a referral will be made.

Overall, Dahl said it is rewarding to work with the high-quality people that utilize the multisport facility on a daily basis.

Mitch Dahl and the Zone Sports crew enjoy helping clients.
“Being here on site at Gordie Howe with the people that we work with, the athletes that are here, the parents that are here and the coaches that are here, it is a great spot to come to work every day,” said Dahl. “You look forward to going to work.

“If you need to stay late and help people out, it doesn’t feel like work, because you are in a great place to be.”

For more information about ZONE Sports Physiotherapy, feel free to contact them via email at zonegh@zonesportspt.com or by phone at (306) 477-9663.