Monday, August 21, 2017

U of R Cougar Hockey Adds Four WHL Recruits

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If the Regina Cougars are going to claw their way back into the Canada West playoffs this season after a four-year absence, Todd Johnson's latest recruiting class will surely play a major role.

Johnson, who's entering his sixth season behind the Regina bench, will once again welcome a handful of former Western Leaguers he hopes can spark a resurgence in the Queen City.

And when it comes to the pieces that make up Johnson's latest recruiting puzzle, the biggest ones are clear – forward Zak Zborosky and goaltender Michael Herringer.

Together, the pair represent two of Johnson's best recruits since taking the reins of the Cougars prior to the 2012-13 season.

Zborosky, a Regina native, heads home following an outstanding four-year career in the WHL, where he recorded 203 points in 262 regular season games. The six-foot forward had a career season as a 20-year-old in 2016-17, registering 74 points combined between Kootenay and Lethbridge. That scoring touch will be a welcome addition to a Regina team that scored a conference low 60 goals last season.

"He's born and raised in Regina and for me to turn the program around and get it going the direction that I want to, I have to retain those higher quality graduates of the WHL who are born and raised in Regina," commented Johnson. "This is the first year where someone has come out and he's wanting to stay here, which is important for me and the program."

"He scored goals (in junior) and he's going to score for us this year, but I think more importantly as we move forward, he's going to be a guy that hopefully will bring a few more of these local guys and they're going to want to stay here," added Johnson of Zborosky, who was a standout at the midget AAA level with the Regina Pat Canadians before going onto the WHL.

Michael Herringer
Comox, B.C.
Kelowna Rockets (2014-2017)
Top WHL season: 2016-17 / 55 GP / 33-15-3 / 2.78 GAA / .904 SV%

While Zborosky represents a major local addition up front, Herringer's commitment addresses Regina's most glaring area of need.

The former Kelowna Rocket enters the goaltending fold in Regina with the No. 1 job within grasp after Regina struggled last year in between the pipes, posting a combined 4.47 GAA and .872 SV%.

Herringer joins the Cougars with a proven WHL track record, which saw him hold down the starting job each of the last two seasons for Kelowna, following in the footsteps of former Rocket netminders like current Saskatchewan Huskies standout Jordon Cooke (Kelowna – 2010-2014).

"Something I've felt we've really needed to improve upon from the last couple of years has been our goaltending. When I think of all the starting goaltenders in our league, they're all graduates of the Western League," said Johnson. "It was very important for us to get a 20-year-old graduate from the WHL and I think Michael is going to do a great job for us."

If Herringer and the rest of his recruiting classmates take Regina back to the post-season, the 2014-15 WHL champion will have no shortage of WHL playoff experience to lean on, after playing a combined 25 playoff games over the last two seasons.

"He's a very competitive guy and he knows how to win. He's been in an organization that has produced teams that have won. When you look at our league where we play two games a weekend, it's almost like every game is a playoff game and with his experience I really think he's going to shine for us."

( U of R Cougars)

Something To Mitch" About

What did I learn this weekend?  Here ya go

1.  Like it will soon be for school kids across Regina, summer vacation is over.  The Riders have exhausted not one bye week, but both and now we will see them in action the rest of the way. As they did the first time, the team went off on its bye week feeling good about themselves after a win. That was followed up by a less than ideal effort in Calgary.  If the Riders are going to be serious about this season and take a run at the teams ahead of them, they need to compete on the road and that starts Friday at Commonwealth. That isn't a surprise, but it is a message which hasn't seemed to get through this year. 

2. John Chick is an Eskimo? I had to do a double-take when I saw that Sunday morning. The injuries to the Edmonton defense are obviously starting to affect what they do. Andrew Harris had his way with the Edmonton D thanks to an offensive line that dominated a group of mostly second-stringers. Chick helps, but an inside presence might have been a better acquisition.

3.  The Bombers may be 6-2. They may be getting Weston Dressler to do radio ads for the Banjo Bowl saying they don't want to see any green in the stands (that one hurts), and they are puffing their chest out saying they have the loudest fans in the CFL. Puhleez!!! It's time to end this charade once and for all.  Can we get some noise-meters at both IGF and Mosaic Stadium and see just what fan-base does have a louder crowd? Can it be done for the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl?  Maybe it should be done at a time when both teams are playing someone else.  However you do it, and whatever way you do it, let's just end this with Rider Nation coming out on top the way I know they can.

4. Bo Levi Mitchell doesn't look right. The Calgary quarterback seemed to be very content in just throwing the football while doing no running against the Lions. It showed as he was very ordinary in the victory over BC.  There were whisperings a couple of weeks ago that the CFL's MOP last year was not 100 percent.  That may have been evident with his play against BC in a game I thought Calgary was very fortunate to win.

5. I was asked again on the weekend if the Ti-Cats could go 0-18 this season.  I don't think they will do that, but I wouldn't make a big bet on that. They look horrible! Brandon Banks found himself behind the Ottawa defence Friday and dropped what would have been an easy six. That play killed the Tabbies as it was all REDBLACKS after that.  I can't even think about what is being said by Kent Austin behind closed doors. I'm guessing it isn't PG-13 though.
6. I thought the Argos-Montreal game started at 5 on Saturday and not 2. Evidently, the Alouettes thought the same thing.

7. After missing the first Seahawks pre-season game due to the Rider-BC game, I sat back and saw the dismantle the Vikings at CLink on Friday.  Yes, it's pre-season, but Russell Wilson looks sharp which shouldn't be a surprise.  Can I just pencil them in as NFC West champs now?  Can't wait for Week 1 at Lambeau against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.  Both teams have found it tough over the years to win at the other guys place. That is going to be the game of Week 1 for this guy, and Week 1 is getting closer and closer. That is a good thing!

8. Baseball has opened up a real can of worms.  Umpire Joe West was suspended for three games for criticizing Texas' Adrian Beltre earlier this week.  However, when Detroit's Ian Kinsler criticized controversial ump Angel Hernandez saying he is ruining the game and that he should find another career-choice, he only got fined. What is the difference here?  Hernandez is an embarassment to his profession, but if you are going to suspend an ump for being critical of a player, don't you have to do the same when its the other way around. The umps went to wearing white wristbands to protest the fact Kinsler wasn't suspended. Maybe if the umps did a better job of policing themselves this wouldn't be an issue. West shouldn't have been suspended, but Hernandez shouldn't be on a major league field.

9. Sunday's bottom of the 10th inning at Wrigley Field was beautiful.  Just beautiful. Yes, it was! On another note, you can't say the Blue Jays don't have a solid crew that follows them. There was a lot of blue at Wrigley this weekend much like there is when the Jays visit Seattle and Minneapolis. During Friday's broadcast, Cubs p x p man Len Kasper (who was much better to listen to than Buck Martinez all weekend) said this series was basically sold-out the moment the schedule came out and that the only series that sold out quicker was the first St. Louis visit.  Too bad for those Jays fans that they made three visits to Wrigley and didn't see one win. I know I'm heartbroken. HEE HEEEEE!!

10. The poor Edmonton Wildcats. The poor, poor Edmonton Wildcats.  That's what you get when you play a Thunder team that is po'ed.  That my friends was downtown ugly!

11. Grown men are not supposed to do to their bodies what Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe did at the main event of Summerslam. Scripted or not, that will leave some marks.

12. Pats rookie camp starts today. Main camp starts in just a few days. Summer is coming to an end. Where did it go?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eskimos Get John Chick In Trade With Hamilton

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 The Edmonton Eskimos have landed defensive end John Chick in a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Chick heads to Edmonton along with a fifth round draft pick while the Eskimos send a second round pick to the Ticats. Both draft picks in 2018.

The trade was confirmed by both teams on Sunday.

Now in his eighth CFL season, Chick is widely considered one of the league’s most dominant pass rushers. The 34-year-old has recorded 69 sacks in 117 career outings for Saskatchewan and Hamilton along with 15 forced fumbles.

While he’s mostly remembered for his time in Saskatchewan, which includes two Grey Cup Championships in 2007 and 2013, the Utah State alum enjoyed a rebound season with the Ticats in 2016 after being released by the Riders that off-season.

This season, however, has seen a drop-off in production for Chick, who’s recorded only two sacks over eight games. Over that span, the Ticats have failed to win a football game while their defence ranks at or near the bottom of the CFL in nearly every major statistical category.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

3Down Nation: Former NFL RB Trent Richardson Added To Riders Neg List

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Vince Young's comeback attempt appears to have failed, but maybe another one-time high draft pick in the NFL can resume his career in the CFL with the Riders.

3 Down Nation's Justin Dunk is reporting the Riders have added Trent Richardson to their negotiation list.

The article can be found right here

Friday, August 18, 2017

Riders Send RIcky Collins To Hamilton

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Friday that the football club has acquired international wide receiver Ricky Collins Jr. and a seventh round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft from the Saskatchewan Roughriders in exchange for international defensive end Mike McAdoo and a sixth round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft.

Collins Jr., 25, has appeared in 15 games with the Roughriders over the last two seasons (2016-17), posting 48 receptions for 720 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned eight kickoffs for 151 yards (18.9 average) and five punts for 42 yards (8.4 average). Prior to joining the Roughriders, Collins Jr. had a brief stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2016 and spent time with the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers in 2015.

McAdoo (6’7 – 250) has spent the last two weeks on the Tiger-Cats practice roster after signing with the team August 7th.
The University of North Carolina product has had previous stints with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys since turning pro in 2011.
The 27-year-old Tennessee native also played two games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013, registering one tackle and one quarterback sack.

This And That

Welcome to Friday!  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--Jaws started flapping Tuesday morning when word came down the Riders had traded for Vernon Adams Junior. Make no doubt about it, this trade is for next year as barring an injury to Kevin Glenn, he won't see much time. If he does get hurt, do you go with Brandon Bridge or Adams?  I am guessing short term it would be Bridge, but long-term it would be Adams. He seems to have a better grasp on the game, and I think he has more game experience.

There is also talk this could either A) mean the Riders send Adams to Edmonton in a deal for James Franklin or B) the dream Chris Jones has had in getting Franklin has gone up in smoke. I'm not convinced its "B", but if he is traded before the season is over, I will feel that way.  No team is getting a young quarterback for a couple of months and then losing him before free agency. Any deal will be a sign and trade. That would be the smart way to go. As for "A", I don't see that happening.

--The new commissioner of the CFL has made quite the impact in his first month on the job, and he isn't stopping in his quest to get the league back on solid footing.  Randy Ambrosie hit the ground running with his almost immediate tweak to the challenges, to the solid decision to release the "Diversity is Strength" t-shirts campaign in Regina in the days after the extreme stupidity we saw in Virginia to now saying he is considering making a change to the playoff format.

Sorry, but East vs West doesn't do it for me. Yes, an Eastern team won the Grey Cup last year, but it was a team that was under 500 who got hot at the right time and capitalized.  For years, I have favoured having 1 and 2 get a first round bye with 3 playing 6 and 4 playing 5 in the first round of the playoffs.  You then have your CFL semi-finals the week after that followed by the Grey Cup.  Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages, but isn't it that way with just about everything. At the end of the day, I want to see the two best teams competing.  If that were to mean a Stampeders-Eskimos Grey Cup this year than so be it.  If it meant somewhere down the road, the REDBLACKS played the Argos than so be it.

The argument was made "The Nashville Predators were the number 16 seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs" and they just about won!  This is true.  However, the Predators didn't play one game series to get there, If Ottawa and Calgary had a best of 7 to decide the Grey Cup, is anyone going to tell me Calgary wouldn't have won?

--When do we start to stand up and say Winnipeg is for real? We've seen this act before, and we've seen how it ends. #swaggerville.   Have fun while it lasts. 

--When news came out Tuesday that Regina and Mosaic Stadium had been put on a list for potential venues for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, I raised my eyebrows.  Many questions went racing through my mind.  Is the stadium big enough?  Is there enough room for the teams, fans, dignitaries, etc. etc that would be needed? Why would FIFA look at Regina when there are much bigger venues like BC Place, Commonwealth Stadium and yes, even the archaic Olympic Stadium in Montreal?  However, after processing all that, I went why not.  Yes, I will admit the chances of Regina having a small part to play in the world's biggest sporting event would be remote, but there are a lot of good people in this city and this province that could make it happen.  Would I expect a world powerhouse like Brazil, Italy or Portugal to play here? The answer to that is no, but could you put a game involving Canada here? Why not?  When Canada played in its only World Cup in Mexico in 1986, they played Russia.  Canada/Russia on grass instead of ice, that would be outstanding!

--Two sure signs that hockey is right around the corner came this week.  1) My Hockey News yearbook arrived in the mailbox and 2) The Pats held their annual Wickenheiser Golf Classic which from what I have heard was once again a first-run show.  Why wouldn't it be that way when you have top-notch people running it? Rookie camp starts right away and then main camp which will lead into what should be a tremendous winter at the Brandt Centre!  Some don't like the new Pats 100 logo that was unveiled.  It doesn't do anything for me, but I'm not in it for the logo. I'm in it for the performance. If the iconic logo we have known for years was going to be front and center on the jersey, I might have been a little upset, but its not.

 I don't know if the Pats are as good coming into this season as they were last, but I know they will do everything they can to get back to the WHL Championship and hopefully provide Regina hockey fans with a moment in May that the Riders gave their fans in November of 2013 at Mosaic.  That my friends would be something special, and I won't lie. For this Regina boy, it would be a little emotional as well.

--The Oilers have now locked up Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and there is talk of a second dynasty about to erupt in the Alberta capital. Let's put the brakes on that talk a little. Connor and Leon are not Crosby and Malkin, they are not Kane and Toews, they are not Yzerman and Fedorov.  The blocks are there, but the onus is on Draisaitl.  He is making an awful lot of money and has been rewarded for one good season, and one good playoffs. He needs to do more moving forward. A lot more seeing that paycheque is north of 8 million dollars.  It will be fun to watch though, there is no doubt about that.

--With Draisaitl signing for what he did, what does it mean for guys like Mitch Marner, Max Domi, Dylan Larkin  and Matthew Tkachuk? What about Patrik Laine?  I think its a given Auston Matthews will make McDavid money as he deservedly should.

--What are the best  sports podcasts out there? (besides Sportscage!!) When I go for an evening walk, I usually listen to the Cubs game if they are playing or will find something to listen to for the 20-25 minutes that I am out and about.  I can't sit at a computer and listen to podcasts while doing things  so what are the best ones out there?

--Congratulations to the Swift Current 57's. They made it back-to-back WMBL championships Thursday night at home. The defending champs were close to seeing their run end a few times in the playoffs, but they found a way.

--The Regina Thunder are back on home soil after losing the season opener to Saskatoon last weekend. I am guessing Scott McAulay and company will be looking for a much better effort than the one given against the Hilltops when the Edmonton Wildcats come a callin. Game time is 7 o'clock. If you can't make it, it will be on Access.

--That's all I got. Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Regina Sports Hall of Fame To Add 6 in October


For the 15th straight year the Regina Sports Hall of Fame is honouring
people who have contributed to sports within the city by inducting
them into the Hall.

This year’s inductees into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame are: Jackie
Moore (Athlete; basketball); Brian Desjarlais (Athlete; weightlifting);
Kim Bergey Kaip (Athlete; judo, wrestling); Jerry Zbytnuik (Builder;
football); Don McDougall (Builder; multi-sport); and Kim Walker
(Athlete; golf).

The 15th annual induction ceremony is slated for Thursday, October 5 at
Evraz Place. Reception starts at 7:30 p.m. with the ceremony slated
for 8:15 p.m. Snacks and a cash bar are available. Tickets cost $35
each and $20 for children (12 & under). Tickets are available from
RSHF directors, Ceremonies chair Cathy Glasser (306-584-7230)
and Security Key & Lock (306-525-5651), 2512 Dewdney Ave.

There are now 90 inductees in the RSHF — 38 athletes, 35 builders, 13
teams and four patrons. There are also 150 honourary members with
Regina connections who had previously been inducted into the
Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

The Regina Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that was
formed to honour athletes, builders, teams and patrons who have
contributed to sports in
Regina. Our display site is in the Co-Operators Centre inside Evraz
Place. Information and the list of past inductees are on our website: Nominations must be submitted by June
1 annually.


RSHF 2017 Inductees

Kim Walker (Athlete; golf)
-- Still active; won Regina amateur championships in 1993, 2002 and six
straight from 2012-17; Saskatchewan amateur champ in 2016 after
runner-up finishes in 2014-15, represented province at Canadian
championships 2014-16; Saskatoon amateur champion in 2015; provincial
mixed team champ (with Randy Gilewich) in 2014-15; Royal Regina
women’s club champion in 1993-94, set record for winning 12 straight
club championships at Wascana Country Club 2005-16; Saskatchewan
Women’s Order of Merit Tour winner in 2015-16; born May 28/67 in
Logan, Utah.

Don McDougall (Builder; multi-sport)
 -- Long-time teacher and principal in Regina Public School Board,
served on numerous boards and coached boys and girls school teams while
also active member of Order of Demolay, Masons and Wa Wa Shriners;
board member, president (1997-98) of SaskSport, with whom he chaired
several committees and served as president of the Hall of Fame
(2003-04); committee member and provincial chair of KidSport; minor
football coach-of-the-year in 1967; director and president of Regina
Rams (1980-81, winning national championships both years) and presdient
of Prairie Junior Football Conference; game-day productions for
Saskatchewan Roughriders and served on team’s management committee;
born Nov. 17/43 in Regina.

Jerry Zbytnuik (Builder; football)
 -- Coached Miller High School football team for 10 years before
joining junior Regina Rams (1977-83), spending last six years as head
coach and appearing in three straight national championships, winning
in 1980 and 1981 with teams since inducted into SaskSport Hall of Fame;
also coached high school wrestling before coaching sons and daughters
in ringette, hockey, t-ball, baseball and soccer; teacher and
vice-principal for 30 years with Regina Catholic School Board; received
numerous volunteers awards for long-time work with Football
Saskatchewan and Football Canada, both of whom he served as president;
born Jan. 30/44 in Kamsack.

Kim Bergey Kaip (Athlete; judo, wrestling)
 -- Canadian judo champion in 1991 and junior champion in 1989, world
masters champ in 2003; first female in Judo Saskatchewan’s history to
attain 5th degree black belt; CIAU wrestling champion in 1997-98 and
four-time winner at Canadian championships (1993, ’95, ’96, ’97);
attended international competitions in both sports, highlighted by
three first-place finishes in Sunkist International Wrestling
championships and silver medal at 1991 US Open International Judo
championships; four-time SaskSport athlete-of-the-year also served as
official in both sports; born Aug. 7/72 in Brandon.

Brian Desjarlais (Athlete; weightlifing)
-- Started weightlifting after playing competitive softball; after
winning Master category (40-49) bench press at 1998 Can-Am Police Fire
Games, he moved to Grand Master (50-59) and won seven more golds at
subsequent events; also has six gold medals and two silver medals from
four World Police Fire Games between 2003 and 2013; list of gold-medal
performances includes 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2015 Canadian championships,
2015 North American Powerlifting championships (for three lifts: squat,
bench and deadlift) in the 60-69 category; won bench-press and 3-lift
gold medals at provincial championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013; born
June 17/49 in Fort Qu’Appelle.

Jackie Moore (Athlete; basketball)
-- Competed in basketball, volleyball and athletics at Thom Collegiate
before five-year basketball career at University of Regina; won three
straight GPAC championships and qualified for CIAU tournament, winning
silver in 1991, her final appearance; only player in U of R history
with three All-Canadian and five conference all-star selections -- GPAC
second-team in 1987, first team 1988-91 and All-Canadian 1989-91;
university’s record-holder for points per game (18.5); playing for
Canada, she averaged 5.4 points for Canada at the 1992 Olympic
qualifying tournament, won bronze at 1991 Summer Universiade and played
in 1991 Pan-American Games; played professionally in Germany’s second
and top division until 1997, un-retired in 2009 to form a successful
club team; teaches phys ed and English at a high school in Cologne;
born Nov. 11/68 in Regina. 

(Darrell Davis/Regina Sports Hall of Fame)