First, it was Elijah Ickes, a shortstop who became the first draft choice in the then-two year history of the Nanaimo NightOwls.


His older brother Tui, a versatile outfielder who can play some infield, now carries the family torch in the West Coast League as the right-handed hitter with power has signed to play at historic-and-revamped Serauxmen Stadium. Tui — his full name is Tuiteavaika — is a redshirt sophomore at Hawaii Hilo, not far from the University of Hawaii where Eli is a true freshman with the Rainbow Warriors.


Tui Ickes is one of six players announced as added to the roster that will again be coached by Greg Frady, Gorm Heimueller and Sean FitzGerald, the only coaches the team has known going to the third season in Nanaimo.


Elijah was named the top pro prospect in the WCL in 2023, and the Texas Rangers made him an 18th round pick — he did not sign, taking the UH scholarship instead.


Tui put in a lot of work in the gym to be ready for his second season in college and to show scouts there’s more than one great player in the family.

“It’s great to continue to have the Ickes family, such great people, involved with our team, and this is an exciting announcement for us,” said GM Jim Swanson.


“Tui has a chance to be an impact player for the Vulcans at Hilo this spring and then carry it into our great ballpark in Nanaimo. Adding him to the roster was one of the fun days this winter in the recruiting process, no question.”

Also announced today are:

  • LHP Tahj Orona, Willamette, 6-2/230, Chandler, AZ
  • OF Mitchell Middlemiss, UBC, 6-3/210, Chilliwack, B.C.
  • RHP Armaan Drar, UT-Permian Basin, 6/165, North Vancouver, B.C.
  • IF Ryder Florence, Scottsdale CC, 6/180, Draper, UT
  • LHP David Stewart, University of Mary, 6/175, Edmonton, AB
  • OF Tui Ickes, Hawaii-Hilo, 5-11/185, Wahiawa, HI

Orona is a big body crafty lefty who was with the Redmond Dudes in 2023 and held his own against WCL hitters in non-league action.


Florence is a defensive stalwart who can move around, with shortstop as his primary position as he gets ready to attend junior college powerhouse Scottsdale CC. His bat plays in part due to 6.7 speed.


Stewart is an Albertan who tops out near 90 from a low arm slot and will be a part of the bullpen brigade, coming back from an injury and part of a summer with Lethbridge of the WCBL. The sophomore went to the baseball factory at Vauxhall High School.


Middlemiss is a big man who helped Coquitlam to the BC senior men’s title last summer at Serauxmen Stadium, and hit three home runs and had eight extra-base hits in 27 games for the Thunderbirds last spring. He can play right or left, with more than enough arm for right field.


Drar, a product of the North Shore Twins, is sneaky fast with a whippy action and a slider that he commands for strikes or gets batters to chase, and is in his freshman season at UT-Permian Basin. His durable arm will help Coach Heimueller out of the bullpen.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


©2024 Nanaimo NightOwls Baseball Club

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?