Northwoods League chairman optimistic Border Cats will remain in Thunder Bay

While nothing is set in stone quite yet, the future of the Thunder Bay Border Cats is looking increasingly bright, the chairman of the Northwoods League said.

Local investors close to reaching fundraising goal, taking over team

The chairman of the Northwoods League is optimistic about the future of the Thunder Bay Border Cats. (Cathy Alex/CBC )

While nothing is set in stone quite yet, the future of the Thunder Bay Border Cats is looking increasingly bright, the chairman of the Northwoods League said.

Dick Radatz Jr. told CBC News on Thursday that he's optimistic efforts by a Thunder Bay investor group to raise money and take over the team will pan out, and the Border Cats will remain in the city.

"I'm very optimistic," Radatz said, adding $250,000 in startup funding is needed.

"I believe they have most of it in place now," Radatz said. "In the next week or so, we're just going to be shuffling papers, getting the documents singed, and they'll be official."

The future of the Cats has been up in the air in recent weeks. Earlier this year, the Northwoods League terminated its agreement with the team's former owners, the Florida-based Superior Baseball Club, over unpaid bills.

Earlier this month, Radatz said the Superior Baseball Club had time to rectify the situation. However, on Thursday, he confirmed to CBC News that they are no longer the owners of the Border Cats.

"This former group left some unpaid vendors up there," Radatz said. "I'd like to say to the people of Thunder Bay that the Northwoods League has, to my knowledge, never left a bill unpaid."

"Everybody who's owed money up there will be paid."

Radatz said the league will cover any unpaid bills, and then seek to recoup those costs from the former owners.

When asked how much is owed, he replied "it's into the six figures."

Group 'making progress'

If the local group's efforts fall through, the team will go back to the league, and it's possible the Border Cats could leave Thunder Bay.

However, Bryan Graham, spokesman for the group of Thunder Bay investors, told CBC News this week he's also optimistic about the outcome.

"We're making progress with our investor group," he said. "We continue to have very good dialogue with the league, they are happy."

"We're just trying to move forward to make this happen."

Graham said earlier the group was seeking about $10,000 from investors interested in signing on.