Sunday, January 21, 2018

Durant Signs In Winnipeg

RICK ELVIN / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p><p>Darian Durant played for the Montreal Alouettes last season and spent a decade with Saskatchewan Roughriders. "In many facets, it’s a great addition for us, and we welcome Darian to the Bomber organization," says Bomber GM Kyle Walters.</p>

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today announce the club has agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Darian Durant on a one-year contract.

The 12-year CFL veteran spent last season with the Montreal Alouettes and and previously with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, posting career totals of 31,740 yards and 167 touchdowns in 174 games (128 starts). Durant is currently 14th all-time in CFL passing yards, and has had 38 300-plus yard games, with seven 400-yard plus passing games. He’s also added 24 rushing touchdowns throughout his career.

“One of our objectives this offseason was to solidify depth at the quarterback position behind Matt Nichols,” said General Manager Kyle Walters. “Not only is Darian a veteran player in our league, but he brings a wealth of experience to our quarterback room and our locker room. In many facets, it’s a great addition for us, and we welcome Darian to the Bomber organization.”

Durant led the Riders to three Grey Cup appearances (2009, 2010 and 2013), winning the 101st Grey Cup in 2013. Durant was also the backup quarterback for Saskatchewan in the 95th Grey Cup in 2007. He played collegiate football at North Carolina, setting multiple school records, and finished as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Tar Heels history with 68 passing touchdowns and 8,755 passing yards.

(Winnipeg Blue Bombers) 

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Seattle Rainiers?

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Whether or not Seattle lands the 32nd NHL franchise, as many are predicting, the group vying for the expansion team reportedly already has a list of team nicknames registered for Internet domains.

If you like outside-the-box names, there's the Seattle Kraken, in honor of the mythical sea creature. For local flavor, it's hard to beat the Seattle Rainiers, for the majestic mountain that is visible from the city.

Those are just two of the 13 domain names recently registered by a person familiar with the expansion effort, according to Clark Rasmussen of Rasmussen broke similar news before the NHL's most recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, chose its nickname.

According to Rasmussen, 38 domains for 13 different names recently were registered in the name of an attorney with Oak View Group, the group that last month won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s KeyArena.

That redevelopment, expected to be complete by 2020, is central to Seattle's bid to land an NHL team. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last month that the league's Board of Governors has agreed to accept and/or consider an expansion application from Seattle and allow billionaire David Bonderman, filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer and a group of investors to conduct a season-ticket drive.

Most of the other possible NHL team names, notably Emeralds, Evergreens, Sockeyes and Totems, are heavy on symbolism from the Pacific Northwest.

Cougars, Eagles and Seals are all names used by NHL teams in the distant past, while the name "Whales" conjures images of the Whalers franchise that played in Hartford, before moving to North Carolina and becoming the Hurricanes in 1997.

The other domain names registered were for the Seattle Firebirds, Seattle Renegades and Seattle Sea Lions.

Of course, a good team name is critical in merchandise sales, and the ownership group will have plenty of expenses to recoup if it earns the franchise. The expansion fee is $650 million, a sharp increase from the $500 million the Golden Knights paid in 2016.

However, Bettman made it clear last month the league is not actively conducting an expansion effort but merely letting the Seattle group gauge interest.

"It does not mean that we are opening a new expansion process. We will let them make a case and if they also want to try to do a study for selling season tickets, they can," Bettman said.

(Sporting News)

Riders Make It Official -- Zach Collaros Signs New Contract

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced international quarterback Zach Collaros has agreed to a new contract for the 2018 season. 

The Riders recently acquired Collaros in a trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The 29-year-old University of Cincinnati product is a veteran of six CFL seasons. After spending his first two years with the Toronto Argonauts, Collaros signed with Hamilton in January, 2014 as a free agent.

Over the last four seasons with the Ti-Cats, Collaros has completed 930 of 1,396 passes (66.6%) for 11,342 yards and 66 touchdowns in starting 43 of 53 regular-season games. He also started two playoff games and the 2014 Grey Cup. 

Collaros was named the Tiger-Cats’ nominee as Most Outstanding Player in 2014 and 2015.     

He won his first career Grey Cup in 2012 as a backup quarterback with Toronto.

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.

--First off, best of wishes to former Rider Don Narcisse after word he has been diagnosed with Stage 1 of Prostate Cancer.  We are all pulling for you and hope this can be put in the rear-view mirror a-s-a-p. Rider Nation is behind you Narco!

--Was anyone surprised to see Kevin Glenn land on his feet?  Say what you will about KG, but he showed people last year he can still play.  The question now is can he stay afloat in the CFL until the Atlantic Schooners come on board seeing he has completed the CFL circle? I say Kevin has had a hall-of-fame career and will get there.  In baseball, you go in wearing a team's cap.  If KG had that, what team would he take?   My guess is Winnipeg! Would it be safe to say Glenn is the only athlete to have accomplished playing for every team in a professional league.  Considering the CFL doesn't have the teams the other pro leagues have, the answer would have to be yes!

--I wonder what a sit-down would be like between Kevin Glenn and Mike Sillinger.  It's not as if both wouldn't have stories about travelling from team to team. Sillinger would probably look at him and say you ain't done nothin compared to me kid.

-- Was anyone surprised to see Darian Durant get released by Montreal?  I think we all knew what choice Darian would make after getting a take it or leave it ultimatum from the Alouettes.  In all honesty, Darian likely wanted out and to get away from that tire-fire as quickly as possible.  Does he have a CFL home though?

Darian will have to eat some humble pie and realize his days as a full-time starter are likely done and with that comes the big salary as well.  I'm guessing he could still command a six-figure salary, but it would be nowhere near the six figures he was making.  Winnipeg would appear to be the best landing spot for him and I'm sure he wouldn't mind the opportunity to throw to Weston Dressler and be in a Paul Lapolice offence again.  I still think though if Ricky Ray retires that he ends up in Toronto backing up an unproven James Franklin and working with someone who has gotten older QB's like Anthony Calvillo and Ray to have a renaissance in their careers---and that is Marc Trestman.

--Tell me there isn't excitement for tonight's tilt at the Brandt Centre between the Warriors and Pats.  The new-look Pats want to send a message to Moose Jaw.  The Warriors want to let the Pats know that rebuilding their team meant squat as far as they are concerned.  It should be to quote the great Ed Whalen "a ring-a-ding-dong dandy"!

--The Regina Pats solidified their hockey operations staff with the multi-year contract extensions signed by John Paddock, Dave Struch and Brad Herauf.  What these three have done for the organization simply can't be measured in wins and losses.  They have helped make this organization the envy of many in the Western Hockey League and one of the flagship franchises.   This trio have worked together to devise a plan and vision for this team which is being met.  Yes, part of that plan was winning a championship---one they were oh so close to last year, but being oh so close was better than not having a sniff at one as we had seen for the last many years.  This is nothing but good news for Regina hockey fans. 

--Will WHL fans be able to enjoy playoff hockey this year?  Thanks to the bone-headed decision by those at SHAW to get rid of sports programming, will we be able to watch the battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup play itself out in our living rooms as it has for the past number of years.. Access has picked up the ball by having many Pats games, but will they want to go to Swift Current or Moose Jaw if that is where the final is this year and would they send a crew to whatever Western Conference team is playing.  It may happen in the East, but not in the West.  Here's hoping someone steps in to fill the void because as we have seen over the years, the WHL final and the entire playoffs is must-see hockey.

--I don't see the New England Patriots losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home on Sunday in the AFC Championship, but the Patriots will be dealing with their Kryptonite in a way. The man that beat them twice in the Super Bowl--Tom Coughlin-- is the executive director of football operations for the Jags. He knows how to win, and he knows how to beat the Patriots. Do you think he has been sharing some nuggets of wisdom with the team this week.

For what it's worth, this Jags D reminds me a lot of the young Seahawks D when they were starting to enter their prime.  Remember Richard Sherman coming up to Tom Brady after the Seahawks beat the Patriots in Seattle and said " Why you so mad Bro?".  That's when guys like Sherman, Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner were just starting to become household names.  Jalen Ramsey is the new Richard Sherman. He is as loquacious and as brash as Sherman and he is just as good as are several other members of that Jacksonville D.  Can they pull off an upset. It wouldn't surprise me, but I still have New England by a touchdown.

--There is no way the Vikings game can be as exciting as last week's.  They should have no problem in beating the Eagles right? That's what we said about Atlanta!  The Eagles will have a distinct homefield advantage.  If the Nick Foles that beat Atlanta comes out again, Philly could very well ruin the after-effects of the Minneapolis Miracle.   I will take the Vikings though.

--If Pats hockey isn't on your Friday night agenda, may I suggest U of R Cougars basketball?  They will be home to Brandon starting with the ladies game at 6 followed by men.   If that doesn't interest you, the stars of High Impact Wrestling are doing their thing at the Hungarian Club.  It's been a long time since I've been to Gronkville. Too long!

--Have a great weekend! I know I will!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pats Extend Contracts Of Paddock, Struch and Herauf

 The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce they have signed Head Coach and GM John Paddock, Assistant Coach and Assistant GM Dave Struch and Assistant Coach Brad Herauf to multi-year contract extensions.

 Paddock joined the Pats ahead of the 2014-15 season as Head Coach and General Manager. He has guided the Pats to a record of 149-83-19-12 in three plus seasons. The club has reached at least the second round of the playoffs in each of those three years, including a trip to the 2017 WHL Championship Series. In 2016-17, Paddock led the Pats to a franchise record 52 win season and the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular season champions. Twice in the last three years, Paddock has been named WHL Coach of the Year and in 2017 also received Executive of the Year honours.

 “We are very excited to extend the contracts of the leaders of our hockey club,” said Pats President Todd Lumbard. “The track record of our team both on and off the ice over the last three and a half years speaks for itself.  Their hard work, knowledge and care for our players and our community bodes well for the future of the Regina Pats.”

Paddock is a member of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame, he has won three Calder Cups as a coach and two as a player in the league. Paddock played in 87 NHL games, scoring eight goals and 22 points, he also played in 462 games in the AHL, amassing 282 points and 1235 penalty minutes.

 “It’s an honour to work here in Regina,” said Paddock. “We have the best ownership group in the league and I am excited to continue the work that was started four seasons ago.”

 Struch, also joined the Pats ahead of the 2014-15 season and has played an integral part in building the club into a contending team in the Western Hockey League. Struch is in his 12th year of coaching in the WHL, his fourth with the Pats.

 “I am very honoured and privileged to remain a part of the Pats family,” said Struch. “My family and I have been treated very well here and we look forward to the future.”

 Struch was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in four games. Struch played 13 seasons of pro hockey in North America, Italy, Germany and Austria.

Brad Herauf joined the coaching staff before the 2015-16 season and is in his third year with the Pats. Previously he was the head coach of the Regina Pat Canadians, leading them to a Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League Championship in 2015 and a bronze medal at the Telus Cup.

 “I am excited and honoured to stay with the Pats going forward,” said Herauf. “I grew up watching this team and getting the opportunity to coach here means a lot to my family and I.”

Herauf played eight seasons of pro hockey in the AHL and ECHL. In 148 game in the American Hockey League he had 22 points and 464 penalty minutes.

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Events – Friday
Women’s Basketball – vs. Brandon, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Alberta, 7:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Brandon, 8:00 PM (CKHS)

Home Events – Saturday
Women’s Hockey – vs. Alberta, 3:00 PM (The Co-operators Centre)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Brandon, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Brandon, 8:00 PM (CKHS)

Away Events – Friday
Track & Field – at Golden Bear Open, Day 1 (Edmonton, Alta.)
Women’s Volleyball – at Trinity Western, 6:00 PM PST (Langley, B.C.)
Men’s Hockey – at Alberta, 7:00 PM MST (Edmonton, Alta.)
Men’s Volleyball – at Trinity Western, 8:00 PM PST (Langley, B.C.)

Away Events – Saturday
Track & Field – at Golden Bear Open, Day 2 (Edmonton, Alta.)
Women’s Volleyball – at Trinity Western, 5:00 PM PST (Langley, B.C.)
Men’s Hockey – at Alberta, 5:00 PM MST (Edmonton, Alta.)
Men’s Volleyball – at Trinity Western, 7:00 PM PST (Langley, B.C.)

Away Events – Sunday
Women’s Wrestling – at Guelph Open (Guelph, Ont.)

Women’s Basketball (U SPORTS Ranking: No. 3) – The Cougars collected a nice road sweep over Alberta, defeating the Pandas by scores of 74-55 and 65-46 in Edmonton to improve to 13-1 on the season. The Cougars remain tied with Saskatchewan for top spot in the Canada West standings and are in a virtual tie for first in conference RPI, checking in with a .6483 RPI compared to .6488 for the Huskies. The Cougars are back at home this weekend for games against Brandon on Friday and Saturday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport. Start time is set for 6:00 both nights.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (6-10-1-3) will take to home ice for the first time in 2018 this weekend, as the third-place Alberta Pandas are in town for a pair of games. Regina is coming off a pair of losses against the first-place UBC Thunderbirds, stretching the team’s losing streak to five straight Canada West contests. The Cougars will look to bounce back as they fight for playoff positioning on Friday (7:00 PM) and Saturday (3:00 PM) at The Co-operators Centre.

Men’s Basketball – Though Regina made a strong bid on Friday to become just the second team to defeat Alberta in a conference game this season, the Cougars fell just short and are now 8-6 after a pair of road losses to the Golden Bears. The Cougars (8-6) are now at home for four consecutive games, starting this Friday and Saturday against Brandon. Game time is scheduled for 8:00 at the CKHS on both nights.

Wrestling (Women’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 2 / Men’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 7) – The women’s team took top spot in the team standings at the Golden Bear Invitational hosted by the University of Alberta last weekend, as Amber Wiebe and Inga Hammer won their divisions. The men’s team finished fifth overall, and will take this weekend off before returning to action in the Cascades Classic at the end of January. The women’s squad will travel to Guelph this weekend for the Guelph Open.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars (8-8) earned a critical weekend sweep at the CKHS over Thompson Rivers, defeating the WolfPack in five sets on Friday and following that up with a four-set victory on Saturday. Regina and TRU entered the weekend tied in the Canada West standings, but the two wins vaulted the Cougars up into a four-way tie for fifth place in the conference with three other teams also with .500 records on the season. The Cougars will hit the road this weekend for two matches against a Trinity Western team that’s currently ranked No. 9 in the country.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars will head to Edmonton this weekend for a pair of Canada West matchups against the first-place Alberta Golden Bears. Regina (3-15-2) has lost six consecutive games after 3-1 and 6-1 defeats against UBC at home last weekend. Regina took on the Golden Bears at home at the end of October, losing 4-3 and 4-1.

Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars were swept at home by Thompson Rivers last weekend, losing in straight sets on Friday and in four sets on Saturday to fall to 1-15 on the season. Regina will travel to the West Coast this weekend for matches against Trinity Western, which currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the nation.

Track & Field – Greg Hetterley led the Cougars at the Downtown Lions Sled Dog Meet in Saskatoon over the weekend with first-place finishes in both the 1000-metre run and the 1500-metre run at the meet. Hetterley put up a time of 2:29.43 to win the 1000 on Friday night, then followed that up on Saturday afternoon with a winning time of 3:57.71 in the 1500. Reagan Fedak had a first-place finish for the women’s team, winning the weight throw with a top toss of 15.60 metres. The Cougars will be back in action this weekend at the Golden Bear Open in Edmonton.

Swimming (Women’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 7 / Men’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 8) – Brian Palaschuk had the top result for the Cougars as five members of the men’s team competed at the TYR Pro Swim Series event held in Austin, Texas over the weekend. Palaschuk finished second in the B final in the 400-metre individual medley, registering a time of 4:29.46 on the long course to place 10th overall in the event. The Cougars will return to the pool at the Mountain edition of the Colleges Cup on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 in Calgary.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Memorial Cup Ticket Sales Start Thursday

Image result for 100th Memorial Cup

The Regina Pats 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee, together with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), is pleased to announce that ticket packages for the 100th anniversary Mastercard Memorial Cup championship will be made available for sale to Regina Pats season-ticket holders January 18, 2018.

“We’re thrilled to announce this ticket offering,” says Shaun Semple, President and CEO of the Brandt Group of Companies and chair of the Host Organizing Committee. “Our plans for the Memorial Cup event will make the 100th anniversary edition unique in the history of the championship and we’re very proud that it all happens right here in Regina; Canada’s hockey capital!”

Ticket packages for the ten-day event will include eight guaranteed games (plus a tie-breaker if needed), with season-ticket holder pricing set at $695.00 for Centennial-level seating and $645.00 for Festival-level seating. Regina Pats season-ticket holders will also enjoy an exclusive ticket presale opportunity from January 18-26, but are not guaranteed their current seat for the ten-day event.

Following presale, tickets will be released to the general public on January 30. Non-season-ticket holders interested in reserving ticket packages can do so at, starting January 19th.  A four-installment payment plan will be available to all ticket package purchasers. Brandt Centre suite holders will have the opportunity to reserve their suites by contacting Evraz Place.

There will be numerous additional entertainment opportunities for fans to enjoy at this unique hockey event.

The Centennial Celebration Zone, located in the EventPlex at Evraz Place, will be open daily in conjunction with Memorial Cup game times and will feature full food and beverage services. Daily entertainment will feature bands such as Loverboy, Emerald City Band and Emerson Drive, with more acts and venues to be announced in the coming weeks.

Demand for tickets to the Regina Pats Foundation Honours gala, Memorial Cup opening ceremonies and Eagles concert has been strong and the team is anticipating that they will sell out well in advance.

The Pats are anticipating strong demand for ticket packages and are urging hockey fans to act quickly to avoid disappointment. Fans planning to attend this 100th anniversary championship can purchase their packages by visiting, clicking on ‘Tickets’ and following the purchase instructions.

(Regina Pats Hockey Club)