Canadian Connection
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/15/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 15, 2008

By Laura Rasmussen - Media Relations Student Assistant

For Lobos Will Kerr, John Hesketh, and Kevin Atkinson, New Mexico held all sorts of things unfamiliar.

Except for each other.

The trio of Lobos, who each spent their first season at UNM last year, all hail from Canada.

The three joined the Lobos last season and quickly found familiarity. After all they had grown up playing with and against each other back in Canada.

And now they are together again. This time playing for the Lobos.

"It is nice all three of us on the same team, you can't complain," Hesketh said. "You build pretty good relationships with that. Kevin and I have known each other since we were 15. We didn't realize it but we all live within 30 minutes of each other back home."

Back home is British Columbia, Canada. Kerr is from Vancouver, Atkinson from Surrey, and Hesketh from Langley. According to Hesketh, the area from which they are all from is "the second most densely populated city in North America."

Now, the three are once again reunited.

"It's a culture shock," said Kerr of his Southwestern surroundings.

Hesketh said one of the things that took some getting used to was the "language barriers."

"I had to pick up on some of the language, like `reckon' and `y'all', `over yonder' and all that fun stuff," he said. "Sometimes they will slip out when I go back home."

He also said it is not that big of a surprise that the three find themselves in the same dugout once again.

"Where we're from it is a pretty competitive league," he said. "A lot of the guys that seem to be coming to college down in the States are all from B.C., and from the league we play in back at home."

"We have known each other for a while and played with each other before," he continued. "We have also played against each other in junior college. We were all playing in basically the same league."

"We are all from the same area," Kerr said. "That is the hot bed. That is where all the MLB guys are from."

Kerr, a right-handed pitcher, and Hesketh, a lefty, each started six games for the Lobos in 2008. The two mostly came out of the bullpen. Kerr finished with a 3-4 record, while Hesketh appeared in 21 games.

Atkinson, who transferred from New Mexico Junior College, started all 59 games for the Lobos. He finished the season third on the team with a .333 average and led the team in doubles with 18. The first baseman also had nine home runs, 51 RBI and earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors.

The three all agree that they enjoy playing in the nice climate for the Lobos, and with each other.

They hope to use the Canadian connection to win the Mountain West Conference this year.

"We just want to build off last year," Atkinson said. "We came one win away from winning the conference tournament, and if we win that we go to a regional. So our goals are to win the conference, win the conference tournament, make it to a regional."