Canaries Front Office

Managing Partner / Co-Owner

Brian Slipka

Mr. Slipka, through True North Equity Partners, is the managing partner of more than a dozen independent small businesses throughout the upper Midwest.

Mr. Slipka, through True North Equity Partners, is the managing partner of more than a dozen independent small businesses throughout the upper Midwest. They include businesses such as Honour Capital, Sunbelt Business Advisors, Contact Cartage, Twin City Metal Seal, and Transport Designs. Along with his wife, he is a co-founder of The Slipka Foundation, which focuses on education, community involvement, and character-building. Through the foundation, the Slipka's provide scholarships to high school and college students, fund multiple park renovations and community improvements, and support character-building programs and leadership development initiatives for youth and young adults.
Co-Owner

Anthony Albanese

Mr. Albanese is the co-founder of a national leading men’s grooming company, Duke Cannon Supply Co.

Mr. Albanese is the co-founder of a national leading men’s grooming company, Duke Cannon Supply Co. He and fellow co-founder Sam Swartz grew the company from conception to being recognized as one of the most highly respected and fastest-growing consumer goods brands in the country. Duke Cannon has created a cult-like consumer following both online and at key retail partners, such as Target, CVS, Carhartt, Duluth Trading, and Hy-Vee. Duke Cannon products are made in the USA and the company donates a portion of all proceeds to veterans’ causes. The company recently partnered with strategic investment firm Main Post Partners to accelerate long-term growth and Mr. Albanese remains the company’s brand innovation leader. Previously, he served as a marketing leader at PepsiCo, on the Gatorade brand, and worked as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

Check Out Duke Cannon's Amazing Products: www.dukecannon.com

Executive Vice President

Jack Fossand

Jack is the Executive Vice President of True North Sports and the Sioux Falls Canaries.

Jack is the Executive Vice President of True North Sports and the Sioux Falls Canaries.
VP of Baseball and Stadium Operations

Duell Higbe

Duell Higbe enters his tenth season with the Sioux Falls Canaries, and first season as the Vice President of Baseball and Stadium Operations.

Duell Higbe enters his tenth season with the Sioux Falls Canaries, and first season as the Vice President of Baseball and Stadium Operations. Higbe joined the organization prior to the 2013 season as a Stadium Operations Intern before joining the staff full time as the Assistant GM. He served as General Manager for 6 seasons beginning in 2016.

Higbe played college baseball for Iowa Western Community College, making two trips to the D1 Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, CO. His teams finished 5th in the country in 2008, and 9th in 2009.

The Austin, MN native earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management with a minor in Exercise Science from Mayville State University.

He and his wife Kate have one daughter, Lennon, who was born opening weekend of the 2018 season. When not in the office, Higbe likes to spend time in the gym and the outdoors.

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Sales Executive

Jack Lust

Jack enters his first season as a sales executive in the Canaries front office.

Jack enters his first season as a sales executive in the Canaries front office, after previously serving as a sales intern. Jack currently attends Augustana University and is majoring in Business Administration and Finance. When Jack is not in the office or school he enjoys Traveling, playing sports such as basketball and skiing, and is an avid concert-goer.
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Sales Executive

Sebastian Nuñez

Sebastian was born and raised on the Northside of Chicago

Sebastian was born and raised on the Northside of Chicago. In May of 2022, he will receive his Sport Management degree at Northern Illinois University. Prior to working at the Canaries, he worked at his university’s recreation center as a facility supervisor. He also spent some time with the Chicago Dogs baseball team as a ticket sales intern. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Recreation, Sport, and Tourism.

In his free time, Sebastian enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He also enjoys watching sports, working out, and watching documentaries.

Sales Executive

Preston Kern

Preston enters his first season as a Sales Executive in the Canaries front office in 2022.

Preston enters his first season as a Sales Executive in the Canaries front office, after moving from the Twin Cities where he worked as a Membership Specialist at a local community center. Preston graduated with a degree in Sport Management from Minnesota State University-Mankato in the summer of 2021 where he also interned for the Mankato MoonDogs as a Promotions Intern. When Preston is not in the office he enjoys reading, working out, and spending quality time with his friends and family
Sales Associate

Nick Reiffenberger

Nick enters his first season with the Canaries front office.

Nick enters his first season with the Canaries front office. Nick is originally from Watertown, SD, and has earned his Bachelors and Master's degree in Sports Administration from Augustana University. Before joining the Canaries, Nick spent time with the Sioux Empire Baseball Association as well as the Sioux Falls Stampede.
Events and Activation Coordinator

Whitney Sitzman

Whitney enters her first season as the Events and Activation Coordinator.

Whitney enters her first season as the Events and Activation Coordinator. In 2021 she graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Strategic Communications degree. Whitney wanted a career where she could get involved with the community and build relationships, while still getting to do strategic planning/engagement – this is exactly what she found at the Canaries!

Outside of work, Whitney enjoys exploring new places, staying active and spending time with family and friends.

Executive Chef

Jess Blodgett

Jess comes to us in her first season for 2022 with over 10 years experience as a chef.

Jess comes to us with over 10 years of experience as a chef, several of those including catering and concessions as well as having owned her own food truck, Bite Me Mobile Bistro. She is passionate about all things food and loves to challenge the status quo. Mother to 3 boys, she is well versed in madness and mayhem and is excited to be a part of this new chapter with the Sioux Falls Canaries.
Director of Entertainment

John Gaskins

Being Harry Canary and other eccentric characters at Canaries games like "Sweet Caroline" crooner Neil Diamond...'s nephew Doug...

Being Harry Canary and other eccentric characters at Canaries games like "Sweet Caroline" crooner Neil Diamond...'s nephew Doug, Kenny Chesney's not-so-identical twin brother Denny (Some of the biceps, none of the talent), and Jon Bon Jovi's distant French cousin Jauques is the most fun John has ever had on a job.

But making sure fans leaving The Birdcage with a smile on their faces and eagerness to come back soon is a role the veteran sports radio host takes seriously and relishes.

The Omaha native and University of Nebraska alumnus spent the 2020 season and 2020-21 offseason as the team's Media Director, bringing over 20 years of radio, TV, and sportswriting experience to the team's branding on both social media and traditional outlets. Before that, John spent 15 years coming to The Birdcage as a casual fan and looks forward to introducing more fresh in-game entertainment to compliment the traditional family fun each Canaries game provides.

Tanner Hoopes
Voice of the Canaries

Tanner Hoops

Tanner is entering his 1st season as the broadcaster and the voice of the Sioux Falls Canaries.

Tanner is entering his 1st season as the broadcaster and the voice of the Sioux Falls Canaries.

Tanner is also the play-by-play voice of Golden Gopher volleyball and studio host for Golden Gopher football on the University of Minnesota’s Learfield radio network.

His background in baseball includes play-by-play for the Duluth Huskies, appearing as a guest broadcaster on the Notre Dame baseball radio network and his sit-down interview with Minnesota Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer won the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Golden Microphone award.

A fun fact about Tanner is that his younger brother, Brayden, plays football at Augustana University.

Full-Time Canary

Cagey

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Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Throws/Bats: Right Wing/Right Wing
Weight: 195 pounds
Height: 6’ 8”
Favorite Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Favorite Video Game: Angry Birds
Favorite Song: Bird is the Word
Role Model: Big Bird
Full-Time Canary

Peep

Peep is back for his 10th season with the Canaries after nesting with Cagey down South over the winter.

Peep is back for his 10th season with the Canaries after nesting with Cagey down South over the winter. Peep couldn't wait to get back to cheer on the Canaries and flap around the birdcage making people laugh.

Giving feathery hugs and pecks on the cheek, taking pictures with the fans, and giving high fives are what he does best!

He can also shake his tail feather...and the splits and the worm are just the beginning of his dance moves!

If you see Peep flying by the Peep mobile or hover board, you might want to step out of the way - he is a bird after all!

Cagey and Peep have hatched some fun plants for this summer - you never know what these cracked up Birds will be up to.

Hometown: Sioux Falls
Height: Short, but growing fast! (It's a touchy subject!)
Weight: Light as a feather
Bats: Ahh! Scared of bats! they are ugly with big, sharp teeth!
Throws: Strikes, fits, tantrums!
Hatch Date: 8-1-13
Favorite Food: Sunflower seeds

Looking for more information about the birds?

Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email below… we’re happy to help 👇

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