When asked about his early expectations for the Northwoods League, Dick Radatz, Jr., Founder and current Chairman, said one thing he never envisioned was an owner or municipality building a stadium specifically to house a Northwoods League team. That all changed in September 2002 when he spent an afternoon in La Crosse, Wis., with local businessman and longtime baseball fan, Dan Kapanke.
Kapanke, who was born and raised in La Crosse, firmly believed La Crosse could support a Northwoods League team. He and Radatz looked at several sites that day, none of which were ready to house an NWL team. But Kapanke wasn’t deterred. Sensing great support from Mr. Radatz and armed with his belief the community would support a baseball team, if not the resources to immediately fund the upgrades needed to Copeland Park, he worked out a 10-year agreement with the League committing to build a facility over that time that would satisfy the necessary requirements. With support from donations to compliment his contributions, on June 3, 2003, the La Crosse Loggers hosted their first game in Copeland Park.
The risk paid off. When asked about that decision, Kapanke says he “always believed in the people in the area.” He credits great support from fans and corporate sponsors over the years for the successes in La Crosse. Driven by fan support and a philosophy of creating new and exciting experiences, the Loggers last year completed another comprehensive renovation. Now called Copeland Park and Event Center, the 2017 renovation included a new entrance along with two new buildings, one that houses a ticket office, retail shop and restrooms and another that provides additional concessions.
Old Copeland Park
Copeland Park circa 2009
Visit our 25th Season Celebration page to read about other memorable moments previously released.