VANCOUVER - Ashley Stephenson, a long-time player and coach with Canada's women's baseball team, is joining the Toronto Blue Jays' organization as a coach.

Stephenson has been added to the Vancouver Canadian's coaching staff for the upcoming Minor League Baseball season. The Canadians are the Blue Jays' High-A affiliate are currently the only MiLB team based in Canada.

Stephenson, 40, spent 15 years as a player with Canada's national team, helping Canada win three bronze and one silver medal at the Women's Baseball World Cup and silver at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games.

After finishing her playing career, she joined Canada as a coach in 2019 and helped the team to a bronze medal at the Women's Pan-American Championships that year.

In 2022, she became the first woman to manage the women's national team program when Canada played a five-game series against the United States in Thunder Bay, Ont.

She became first woman to coach at the Blue Jays Academy Canadian Futures Showcase in Ottawa in September.

She was the first woman to capture Baseball Canada's Lionel Ruhr Elite Coach of the Year Award in November.

A two-sport athlete, the native of Mississauga, Ont., also played hockey in the National Women's Hockey League and its successor, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, from 2005 to 2012.

“I am really excited for this opportunity,” Stephenson said in a release. “I've loved baseball and the Blue Jays since I was three years old, and never really imagined that I'd be able to have a career in the game let alone with my favourite team.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2023.