Coaching Spotlight: Palmer Cruickshank

by Jason Booth

Palmer Cruickshank joined the Team Ontario staff for the 2020 season and quickly became an important piece in the development of our players thanks to his knowledge in several different areas of the game.

During his time playing collegiately in the U.S. and here in Canada, Palmer excelled both as a catcher and first baseman which has allowed him to make a big impact on the defensive side of the program. The Oshawa native first coached the 16U team last year and is now working with the 15U team. Both seasons he worked extensively with hitters, corner infielders and catchers. 

Palmer offers a unique lens to the program as he spent two years playing at Ellsworth Community College, a Division II NJCAA school in Iowa, and spent the past two years playing here in Ontario at Durham College. 

He had the experience of playing in a highly competitive junior college conference as well as the experience playing against the best colleges Canada has to offer. In 2019 with the Durham Lords, Palmer became an NCBC National Champion after the Lords defeated Thompson Rivers University 2-1 in the final. 

"I was fortunate enough to have the experience playing both in Canada and the U.S. and both experiences really challenged me and help me grow as a player," says Palmer. "Going on that playoff run to the national championship in 2019 really showed me the high-level and the high-intensity of college baseball out there in this country."

The national championship victory with the Lords wasn't his only one of the year. Just over two months prior, Palmer and his Oshawa Legionnaires Junior team struck gold in Quebec, winning Baseball Canada's Junior (21U) National Championship against the host team Gatineau.

Palmer grew up playing in the Oshawa Legionnaires program before joining Team Ontario. He graduated in 2017 and says he was excited when the opportunity came up to rejoin the organization in a coaching role.

"Some of my fondest memories in baseball are the times I spent travelling and playing with Team Ontario so it's been a humbling experience to come back and be able to help these young players reach their goals of playing college baseball," says the 15U coach. 

Palmer's 15U squad enters 2021 with some energy and buzz following an exciting fall season. There's athletes across the board on the team and despite the lockdowns and regulations over the past several months, the coaching staff has done an excellent job preparing the boys for the CPBL season.