Roy Halladay's son will pitch against Blue Jays in spring training game

The loss of Roy Halladay still hangs heavy on the baseball community, especially in Toronto, where the Blue Jays have plans to honor their former ace on opening day by retiring his number.

But this weekend, those same Blue Jays will also be facing a younger Halladay in a special spring training game. On Saturday, Braden Halladay — Roy’s eldest son — will face the Blue Jays as part of the Canadian Junior National Team that plays the Blue Jays every spring.

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Braden, a 17-year-old pitcher and high-school junior in Florida, was born in Toronto and spent his youth there, watching his dad pitch for the Blue Jays. He told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani this week that Canada feels like home for him, which is why he wanted to play for the Canadian Junior National Team. It’ll happen in Florida, at the Blue Jays’ spring training home in Dunedin, but Braden will wear a maple leaf like his dad often did.

Saturday’s game will be an interesting one in many ways for the Blue Jays and baseball fans in general. The Blue Jays plan to play a number of their second-generation players, including top prospects Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but also Kacy Clemens and Cavan Biggio, the sons of Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio, respectively. And Jays ace Marcus Stroman, who has been sidelined with a shoulder issue, will make his Grapefruit League debut Saturday against Halladay and the Canadian Junior Team.

Look back at Roy Halladay's career: 

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Roy Halladay throughout his career
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Roy Halladay throughout his career
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies in the dugout during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 29, 2013. The Braves won 12-5. (Photo by Pouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (L) and catcher Carlos Ruiz celebrate after Halladay's no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 8: Former Major League pitcher Roy Halladay talks to the media prior to the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on August 8, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies starter Roy Halladay pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a MLB spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Florida, March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dec 9, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Roy Halladay announces his retirement the MLB Winter Meetings at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Halladay signed a one-day contract and retired with the Toronto Blue Jays. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of their MLB Grapefruit League baseball game in Dunedin Florida, February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay takes a breather during a workout before a MLB spring training baseball game with the New York Yankees in Clearwater, Florida, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay (34) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth inning of their National League MLB baseball game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 5, 2012. REUTERS/David DeNoma (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 4: Former player Roy Halladay #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays with his sons before MLB game action against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Pitcher Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 23, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Phillies 4-0. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Chase Utley #26, Jimmy Rollins #11, Roy Halladay #34, and Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies meet on the mound in the sixth inning of Game Five of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
28 Feb 1998: Pitcher Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays in action during a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in Clearwater, Florida. The Blue Jays defeated the Phillies 3-0. Mandatory Credit: S
Philadelphia Phillies' starting pitcher Roy Halladay speaks with umpire Gary Cederstrom during the first inning of Game 5 of their MLB National League Divisional Series baseball playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Philadelphia October 7, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Slocum/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay smiles while sitting in the dugout before their MLB National League baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 11, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay talks with manager Charlie Manuel (R) before their MLB Grapefruit League baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin Florida, February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitchers (from left) Roy Halladay, Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels attend a news conference at their MLB National League spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida February 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
ST MARYS, ON - JUNE 24: Former pitcher Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays acknowledges the reception after being honored during the induction ceremony at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 24, 2017 in St Marys, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Former manager Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies is presented with his Wall of Fame plaque by Roy Halladay as Dallas Green looks on, after being inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame during a ceremony before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 25: Starting pitcher Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park on August 25, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 9-5. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: Starting pitcher Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies (R) celebrates the Phillies 11-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals with teammate Hunter Pence #3 (L) after Game One of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 30: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with pitching coach Rich Dubee #30 during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 30, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Phillies won 9-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 21: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) confers with Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay, center, as second baseman Chase Utley (26) listens in, during a tight spot in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.Monday, May 30, 2011. Halladay pitched out of the jam. (Chuck Myers/MCT via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 14: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs in the first RBI of the game during the top of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 14, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 30: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (R) talks to catcher Carlos Ruiz (L) in the fourth inning during play against the Atlanta Braves of their MLB baseball Civil Rights game in Atlanta, Georgia, May 15, 2011. Major League baseball is honoring the civil rights movement by playing the Civil Rights baseball game and honored heroes of the movement before the game. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 06: Roy Halladay #34 and Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate Halladay's no-hitter and the win in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on October 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Reds 4-0. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 29: Chase Utley #26 and Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies attend the 3rd Annual Utley All-Stars Animal Casino Night to benefit the Pennsylvania SPCA at The Electric Factory on April 29, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - MAY 01: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch to Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - MAY 01: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Spring Training- 02/16/2007 - Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, Roy Halladay talks to members of the media after training at the Bobby Mattick Training Centre in Dunedin Florida on February 16, 2007. (Photo by Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay on the Field in Dunedin before tonights game. @*@*@*HOLD FOR SPECIAL SECTION DO NOT USE@*@*@* March 25 2003 (Photo by David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
22/03/00Dunedin Florida Spring Training Jays/Phillies Rick Eglinton Toronto Star. Jay's Joey Hamilton (center) shown being helped back to the clubhouse by fellow jay players Billy Koch and Roy Halladay.Hamilton appeared to have injured his ankle while on the running track. (Photo by Rick Eglinton/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
STRHD13-03-31-03-Toronto Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay sits in the dugout after giving up a grand slam homer to Yankees Alfonso Soriano in Toronto Monday, Mar. 31, 2003. (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
BRONX, NY - JULY 15: Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees shows Roy Halladay #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays a pitching grip before the 79th MLB All-Star Game at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on July 15, 2008. The American League defeated the National League 4-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BRONX, NY - JULY 15: Roy Halladay #32 of the Seattle Mariners sits on the field before the 79th MLB All-Star Game at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on July 15, 2008. The American League defeated the National League 4-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 1, 2010: The Philadelphia Phillies pose for a team picture at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August 2010.Back Row: Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Jayson Werth, Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton, Jose Contreras, David Herndon and Joe Swanhart. Third Row: Sean Bowers, Jesus Tiamo, Greg Dobbs, Chad Durbin, Brian Schneider, Chase Utley, Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Ross Gload, Danys Baez, Ali Modami, Duane Wyse. Second Row: Kevin Camiscioli, Richard Collinson, Wilson Valdez, Antonio Bastardo, Juan Castro, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jamie Moyer, J.C. Romero, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz, Phil Sheridan. Front Row: Dong Lien, Mark Andersen, Scott Sheridan, Sam Perlozzo, Mick Billmeyer, Charlie Manuel, Pete Mackanin, Milt Thompson, Rich Dubee, Davey Lopes, Frank Coppenbarger, Dan O'Rourke. Bat Boy: Rob DiClementi. (Photo by Miles Kennedy/Philadelphia Phillies/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 18: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies takes a short break from the heat as Chase Utley ties his shoe against the Chicago Cubs on July 18, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Halladay left the game in the fifth inning. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 29: Pitcher Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches celebrates with teammates Carlos Ruiz #51 and Ryan Howard #6 after pitching a perfect game against the Florida Marlins in Sun Life Stadium on May 29, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 08: Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws to Ryan Howard #6 in the first inning of the game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 8, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels (L), Roy Halladay (C) and Ryan Howard watch as the San Francisco Giants celebrate their victory in Game 4 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in San Francisco, October 20, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
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Still, seeing a Halladay on the mound against the Blue Jays is sure to make quite a few people emotional. For Braden, however, the No. 1 emotion seems to be excitement.

“As a high school kid, to pitch against the Blue Jays, that’s insanely cool,” Braden told Sportsnet. “It means a lot.”

The entire video feature with Sportsnet is touching and worth a watch. In it, Braden talked about how much Canada means to him and his perspective, almost six months later, about losing his father in a plane crash.

“Instead of grieving and saying like ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’ You kind of just have to appreciate that we had him for this amount of time and he did everything for our family. It’s awesome that I got to have a dad like that for that long.”

After his stint with the Canadian Junior National Team, Braden will return to high school baseball. He’s on track to graduate in 2019 and is committed to playing college baseball at Penn State.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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