Friday, March 24, 2017

The Captain Comes Through In Game 1

The WHL playoffs are underway and it was a nerve-wracking 30 plus minutes for the Regina Pats and a sold-out crowd at the Brandt Centre.

The Calgary Hitmen stayed stride for stride with the Pats and scored the first goal of the series when Jake Kryski beat Tyler Brown on the power-play at the 10:50 mark of the 2nd period.  Regina responded with a power-play goal of their own courtesy Josh Mahura at 16:28 setting the stage for Brooks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick deftly converted a Filip Ahl pass into the net to make it 2-1 4 and a half minutes into the 3rd and then added another under two minutes later as Regina took Game 1 by a score of 5-2.

The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 6484--the Pats 15th sellout of the season.

Game 2 will go tomorrow at the Brandt Centre starting at 7. Phil Andrews will have the radio call on 620 CKRM starting with the pre-game show at 6:35 while those with Access can watch the TV broadcast with Rod Pedersen starting at 7.


Calgary Hitmen 2 at Regina Pats 5 - Status: Final
Friday, March 24, 2017 - Brandt Centre - Regina, SK

Calgary 0 1 1 - 2
Regina 0 1 4 - 5

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Reagan Cgy (cross checking), 11:01.

2nd Period-1, Calgary, Kryski 1 (Bean, Stukel), 10:50 (PP). 2, Regina, Mahura 1 (Brooks, Hobbs), 16:28 (PP). Penalties-Mahura Reg (hooking), 9:55; Fyten Cgy (interference), 15:03.

3rd Period-3, Regina, Brooks 1 (Ahl, Hobbs), 4:25. 4, Regina, Brooks 2 (Ahl), 6:03. 5, Calgary, Kryski 2 (Mrkonjic, Reagan), 9:04. 6, Regina, Lockner 1 (Steel), 14:14. 7, Regina, Wagner 1 (Brooks), 16:59 (SH). Penalties-Hobbs Reg (holding), 10:50; Leedahl Reg (tripping), 16:27.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 2-9-11-22. Regina 9-11-12-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 1 / 3; Regina 1 / 2.
Goalies-Calgary, Porter (32 shots-27 saves). Regina, Brown (22 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Kyle Scrivens (77), Reagan Vetter (39).
Linesmen-Kelsey Mahoney (138), Devan Thiessen (94).


Other WHL Playoff Scores

Eastern Conference

Swift Current 2 Moose Jaw 0   --  Jordan Papirny (SC) 40 saves (Broncos lead 1-0)
Medicine Hat 7  Brandon 2  -- Mark Rassell (MH) 3 goals  (Tigers lead 1-0)

Western Conference

Portland 4 Prince George 2 -- Keegan Iverson (Port) GWG (Winterhawks lead 1-0)
Kelowna 4 Kamloops 0 --  Rockets outshoot Blazers 48-15 (Rockets lead 1-0)
Seattle 4 Tri-Cities 2  -- Keegan Kolesar (SEA) 2 goals 1 assist  (T-Birds lead 1-0)
Everett 4 Victoria 2 -- Patrick Bajkov (EVT) 2 goals 1 assist  (Silvertips lad 1-0)

Josh Harding Happy After Hockey

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Former Pats goalie Josh Harding had to cut his NHL career short after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

The Regina native is doing quite well though as evidenced by this story from the Minnesota Wild. 

The Pats Playoff Road Begins Tonight

The Regina Pats (52-12-7-1) kick off the 2017 WHL Playoffs tonight, at home to the Calgary Hitmen (30-32-8-2). Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats wrapped up the regular season on Saturday in Brandon with an eighth straight win, 6-0 over the Wheat Kings. The Hitmen won their last two games of the regular season against the Kootenay ICE. The Pats went 3-1-0-0 against Calgary during their regular season series. The game can be heard on 620 CKRM with Bennett Dunlop Ford Pats Hockey beginning at 6:35 p.m. The game will also be broadcast on Access 7.

Lead Up: Pats Win 8th in a Row Saturday
The Regina Pats closed the 2016-17 season with a 6-0 win in Brandon over the Wheat Kings on Saturday night. The Pats got a 34 save shutout from Jordan Hollett while Adam Brooks led the offence with a goal and two assists. The Pats led 1-0 after 1, 4-0 after two and 6-0 at the end of the contest. Regina finishes the year on an eight game winning streak and a 52-12-7-1 record. Regina outshot the Wheat Kings 44-34 in the win, the powerplay was oh for one and the penalty kill seven for seven.

Head to Head
The Pats went 3-1-0-0 against Calgary in their four game regular season series. The Pats scored 19 goals in the four games to the Hitmen’s 13. Regina was six for 17 on the powerplay and the penalty kill 17 for 20. The Pats outshot the Hitmen 138-125 in the four games. Sam Steel scored seven goals and added five assists against Calgary. Connor Hobbs recorded eight points, Adam Brooks seven and Nick Henry and Dawson Leedhal each had six. Goaltender Tyler Brown was 2-0-0-0 with a 0.99 G.A.A., a .965 save percentage and one shutout. The Hitmen were led by Jake Bean, Matteo Gennaro and Luke Coleman who put up five points against the Pats. Three others had three points in the four meetings.

Franchise Record
Pats defenceman and Washington Capitals prospect Connor Hobbs set a franchise record for goals in a season by a defenceman in the final game of the regular season. Hobbs recorded his 31st goal of the campaign in the club’s 6-0 win over Brandon on Saturday. The previous record of 30 goals was held by John Miner from the 1984-85 season. Hobbs led all WHL defenceman in goals (31) and points (85).

WHL Awards
Five members of the Pats organization were among the WHL’s All-Stars and Conference Awards announced on Wednesday. Head Coach and GM John Paddock was named the Eastern Conference Executive and Head Coach of the Year. Sam Steel, who won the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, is the Eastern Conference Player of the Year, Steel was also named a First Team All-Star. Connor Hobbs was named the Eastern Conference Defenceman of the Year as well as a First Team All-Star. Forward Adam Brooks, who finished a point behind Steel in the WHL scoring race with 130, was also a First Team All-Star in the East. Finally defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy, who led the league at plus 72, was named a Second Team All-Star.

Upcoming Schedule
Game 2, Pats Vs Calgary – Saturday March 25, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Game 3, Pats @ Calgary – Tuesday March 28, 7 p.m. – Scotiabank Saddledome (CKRM)
Game 4, Pats @ Calgary – Thursday March 30, 7 p.m. – Scotiabank Saddledome (CKRM)

(Phil Andrews/Regina Pats)

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.

--The CFL has scored a touchdown! The lead-up to CFL Week may not have been the best, but the CFL has done a tremendous job this week with everything that has been going on over at EVRAZ Place.  It has been fantastic, and as one fan said to me on Thursday while I was touring through Fanfest, they should have this here every year. I don't know if that would happen, but I wouldn't complain, Good job CFL!

I don't know if the fans are enjoying this more or if the players are,  They have conducted many informal interviews with members of the media from across the country who have come. They have had a chance to socialize with one another in an environment where they can relax and not prepare for a game and have some fun they might not otherwise have when visiting Regina.  As for the fans, they are loving it and why wouldn't they.

Gainer is having fun, but does he realize whose neck he is squeezing. Riders chair Wayne Morsky could have him digging holes in Grand Coulee if he doesn't smarten up! Somehow, I don't think Wayne minds. Like everyone else, he's loving what has been happening at Evraz Place. 

While the players are enjoying it, Darian Durant may be enduring it.  It doesn't look right seeing him in the colours of the Alouettes and I am sure it is uncomfortable for Durant to be in Regina not wearing green-and-white. You can tell by listening to him that his heart is still in Regina. It will probably be that way until he heads to training camp, and it may never ever leave.  I think the same can be said for Weston Dressler.  He's had his  year away from it, but Darian hasn't.  You have to wonder if at some time those two have spoken about what could have been here,  They arguably could have ended up as the greatest passer-receiver combo in Riders history,

--Congrats to former U of S Huskies football coach Brian Towriss for getting named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. That didn't take long!

--Congrats to former Rider Tyron Brackenridge who has joined Marc Trestman's coaching staff in Toronto. I get the feeling Brackenridge could join the likes of guys like Orlando Steinhauer, Barron Miles and Mark Washington as former CFL players who are going to go a long way in this league as a coach.

--The CFL love gets put on hold tonight as the Regina Pats start what will be hopefully a long playoff road as they take on the Calgary Hitmen to start the WHL playoffs. Playoffs are a different animal, and things can change from shift to shift.  There's no reason to think Regina won't skate to 4 or a 5 game win, but in the playoffs anything, and I mean anything can happen and we all know that!

--The Portland Winterhawks won 40 games this year and it was only good enough for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. There is going to be some great hockey played across the mountain during these playoffs.

--The player who delivered a blind side elbow to former Edmonton Oiler Ryan Smyth during an Alberta senior league game leaving him with a concussion was handed a 16 game suspension this week.  I am guessing if this similar incident had occurred in the NHL, the guilty party would have had about 2 or 3 games. Would I be right NHL player safety?

--Would NHL player safety even consider calling Sidney Crosby? The Penguins captain left Ottawa's Marc Methot with a dangling finger after a two handed slash on Thursday. It was dirty. The slash shattered Methot's finger and he will be out for weeks. Should the NHL suspend Sid? Would the NHL suspend Sid? If it was Chris Neil doing that to Evgeni Malkin or Milan Lucic doing it to Nathan McKinnon, there would be a suspension. Your move NHL! Do you want to open this can of worms or not?

--Some in Edmonton believe Oilers goalie Cam Talbot is making a late run at being a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.  Is he? He has had a solid year, but he isn't one of the top 3 tenders in the league as far as I am concerned.  That would go to the trio of Bobrovsky, Dubnyk and Holtby.

--A massive investigation led to the discovery of Tom Brady's Super Bowl winning jersey in Mexico.  The FBI were involved in this.  The FBI? Local law enforcement is left to deal with missing persons and other more serious matters, but damn it when a Super Bowl winning jersey goes missing, the FBI is brought in.  I can't be the only one shaking my head on that one!  By the way, does this enhance Trump's argument to build a wall?

--The University of Regina's athletic review is out.  That's about all you can really say on it.  Let's just say I weeded through 21 pages expecting more. Did I miss a page or two?  The one thing that did stand out besides a new AD needs to be hired to replace Dick White is Cougar Athletics needs a re-brand. Yes, it does. I hope the U of R even after losing some money in the provincial budget can find the right amount of cash to do a proper job of marketing. I think a limited budget in that area hurts them a lot.  There are good people, and good athletes at the U of R who deserve more than they get.  I am also guessing there are many businesses in our fair city who would like to throw some dollars the U of R's way, but they don't get a call for whatever reason.

 --That's all I got. Enjoy your weekend. Get down to Evraz Place and take in some of CFL Week while catching the Pats in a sports weekend we haven't seen like this around here in a long time.  Maybe even go check out "Hoopla" if you can!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Heavy Regina Rams Presence at Mark's CFL Week

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A total of 37 University of Regina Rams players will be participating in various segments of the first annual CFL Week being held this week at Evraz Place in Regina.

The list of participating Rams includes slotback Mitchell Picton and offensive lineman Jeremy Zver, who have both been invited to the CFL Combine to be held on Friday and Saturday. Picton was named a first-team All-Canadian this past season, while Zver started all nine games at left tackle for the Rams in his final season of U SPORTS eligibility.

“I’m very excited that the Rams are heavily ingrained in the first ever CFL Week happening in Regina,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “We are involved in many of the facets of the week, including coaching, players participating in the combine, and volunteers. We’ve reached out to assist in any way possible to help make this week a tremendous success.”

The Rams also have six players in Thursday’s CFL Western Regional Combine, each hoping to gain an invitation to join Picton and Zver in the national combine. Wide receiver Andrew Bennett, offensive lineman Matt Degelman, linebacker Zack McEachern, defensive lineman Bryce McKinnon, defensive back Jeff Propp, and linebacker Michael Stefanovic will all participate on Thursday, while the Rams coaching staff will also get involved – they’ll run the position-specific drills at the regional combine.

Three Rams quarterbacks will also serve as throwers in the combines. Seb Britton, Noah Picton, and Tyler Vieira will all throw at the regional combine on Thursday, while Picton will also throw at the national combine.

CFL Week will also feature the Canada West Passing Showcase, a 7-on-8 non-contact tournament for players completing their first or second seasons of U SPORTS eligibility. On the offensive side of the ball, the Rams will showcase quarterback Seb Britton, running backs Scott Jones, Sam Varao, and Brayden Wagg, and receivers Colton Friesen, Kyle Moortgat, Adam Rask, Ryan Schienbein, Daniel Scraper, Michael Scraper, Josh Tipton, and Tanner Zaharia. The defensive roster features linebackers Aidan Anderson, Brody Dirk, Kaiden Jones, Marcus Kuling, and Alex Rorke along with defensive backs Cord Delinte, Dilan Elgert, Royce Hanna, Polis Koko, Liam Lerat, Braedy Will, and Luke Wilson.

The Rams will play three games on Friday night, taking on Saskatchewan at 4:30 before meeting Manitoba (5:25) and Alberta (7:15). The playoff round for the four-team Canada West Passing Showcase will take place on Saturday morning.

A total of five Rams will also volunteer as guest coaches for CFL Flag Football. Kuling, Rask, Blake Anaka, Eric Eads, and Jack Loisdort will all coach at the clinic, which will be held on Thursday night.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics) 

A-C Going To the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as is Geroy Simon & Brian Towriss

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum’s stellar Class of 2017 features the Canadian Football League running back with the most consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, the game’s leading passer, one of its top tacklers, its all-time leading receiver, an Alberta football stalwart and a legendary university coach from Saskatchewan.

“Every class is special and this one is exemplary,” said Mark DeNobile, Executive Director of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum (CFHOF), as he officially announced the names of this year’s inductees at a celebration event at the new Mosaic Stadium.

“The Inductees are Kelvin Anderson, Anthony Calvillo, Mike O’Shea and Geroy Simon in the player category. In the Builder category, long time administrator Stan Schwartz and recently retired Coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Brian Towriss have been selected.”

The introduction of the class is one of the highlights of Mark’s CFL Week, a new series of signature events that celebrate Canadian football and herald the approach of the upcoming Canadian Football League season, which kicks off this June. Formal induction ceremonies for this year’s CFHOF class will be held later this year, at the Hall of Fame game in Hamilton on September15th and during the week prior to the 105th Grey Cup presented by Shaw in Ottawa.

Here’s a closer look at its members:


Kelvin Anderson played for the Calgary Stampeders from 1996 to 2002 and joined the BC Lions for his final season in 2003. He was a CFL Rookie of the Year, a three-time CFL All-Star (1998, 1999 and 2001), and the West Division’s leading rusher four times (1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001). He was a league finalist for Outstanding Player in 1998 and 2001. He ranks first on the All-Time CFL list for consecutive 1,000 yard seasons with eight. Anderson also ranks first on the Calgary Stampeders’ All-Time list for carries, 1,000 yard seasons and consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.


Anthony Calvillo played for three teams (Las Vegas Posse, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and the Montreal Alouettes) during his 20-year career as quarterback in the CFL. He was a Grey Cup Champion three times during his career in 2002, 2009 and 2010, all with Montreal. Calvillo was a ten-time Eastern All-Star, a five-time CFL All-Star and a six-time CFLPA All-Star. Calvillo was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Player seven times and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player three times (2003, 2008 and 2009). In 2002, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Grey Cup. He threw for 79,816 yards, making him the CFL’s - and pro football’s - all-time leading passer.


Mike O’Shea played in the CFL for 16 seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts. He was Rookie of the Year in 1993, a CFL All-Star Linebacker in 1999, and won the John Candy Memorial Award (given to the Toronto Argonaut Player of the Year) in 1999. He ranks second on the All-Time CFL List for defensive tackles with 1,151, seventh on the All-Time CFL List for special team teams with 169, and second on the All-Time Toronto Argonaut List for Most Games Played with 205. To that impressive total he added 22 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries and 30 quarterback sacks. O’Shea is a three-time Grey Cup Champion (1996, 1997 and 2004).


Stan Schwartz has been part of Canadian football for five decades, dedicating himself to the Calgary Stampeders, the CFL and the game at various levels. He began his involvement in the 1970’s as the defensive coordinator for the Calgary Mohawks junior team and joined the Stampeders in 1976 where he served as assistant coach. He was the Calgary Stampeders’ President for eight years, starting in 1996. During his tenure, the Stampeders reached the Grey Cup three times and captured the trophy in 1998 and 2001. Schwartz was inducted into the Calgary Bantam Football Wall of Fame in 2003 and into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2005. He was awarded the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award in 2009 in recognition of his contributions to the CFL.


Geroy Simon’s 15-year CFL career brought him to three teams: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1999-2000), the BC Lions (2001-2012) and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2013). A six-time CFL All-Star (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), Simon appeared in four Grey Cup games and is a three-time Grey Cup Champion (2006, 2011 and 2013). In 2006, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player. He had 63 100-yard games and three 200-yard games. Simon is the CFL’s All-Time leading receiver with 16,352 receiving yards and 1,029 receptions.


A former defensive tackle for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Brian Towriss coached at his alma mater for 37 years. Joining the Huskies as an assistant coach in 1979, he served as Head Coach from 1984 to 2016, when he retired. Towriss led his team to nine Vanier Cup appearances (1989, 1990, 1994, 1996,1998, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006) and three national championships (1990, 1996, and 1998). He was the CIS Coach of the Year in 1994. During his tenure, Towriss coached 71 All-Canadians and had 47 players join the CFL and one go on to have a career in the NFL.

“I would like to thank the Selection Committee for their commitment and dedication in selecting a truly excellent Canadian Football Hall of Fame class. This is the fifth class selected under the new terms of reference under which we recognize all levels of football in Canada. We are very pleased to see significant representation in the 2017 class,” said Mark DeNobile.

“On behalf of the CFL, our Board of Governors and our fans, congratulations to this year’s inductees on this great honour,” said CFL Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge. “Every one of these gentlemen had a tremendous impact on the growth of football in our country, and for that we are forever indebted to them. Thank you to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Selection Committee for helping us all recognize dedication and greatness.”

The new inductees will bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to 289 in the Hall’s Zone of Champions, which features busts of each member of the Hall, and which will be relocated to Tim Hortons Field in 2017.

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum operates as a non-profit registered charity. Located in Hamilton, Ontario since 1963, it is home to more than 80,000 Canadian football artifacts, ranging from equipment and trophies to photos and videos.


CFL Rules Committee Recommending Changes

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 The Canadian Football League’s rules committee is proposing changing some rules and procedures around coaches’ challenges to improve the flow of the game and improve the fan experience.

“These measures would, in some instances, speed up when a coach issues a challenge, alter what he can challenge, and ensure more video reviews occur during commercial timeouts instead of on top of them,” said Glen Johnson, senior vice-president of football for the CFL and chair of the league’s rules committee.

“Finding the right balance between using technology to help officiate the game and protecting the flow of the game is a challenge facing all sports and leagues including the CFL. We are tackling that challenge with the best possible fan experience, in stadium and on broadcast, as a top priority.”

Specifically, a coach would no longer be allowed to challenge a play following a TV commercial timeout.

If the change is approved, a coach would have to throw his challenge flag within the first 30 seconds of the TV break.

Currently, where there is a TV timeout on the field, a coach can wait the entire duration of a break before deciding to challenge, as long as he does so before the next snap. The result can be a two-minute commercial break followed by a 90 second challenge, hampering the flow of the game.

The committee is also suggesting limiting the types of actions challengeable under Roughing the Passer to the pure definition of Rule 7.2.4. on page 56 of the CFL Rulebook, which applies to when a quarterback is in the act of passing or potentially passing the ball, and when the quarterback slides feet-first across the line of scrimmage.

Other unnecessary roughness penalties that may occur against the passer behind the line of scrimmage, such as grabbing the facemask or horse collar tackles, would no longer be challengeable.

As well, actions that occur when the quarterback is across the line of scrimmage running with the ball, a quarterback sneak and dead ball fouls on the quarterback would no longer be challengeable.

The committee believes this will reduce the number of challenges while still ensuring the quarterback is protected when in the act of passing or potentially passing he ball, the original intent of making roughing the passer reviewable.

It is also recommending retaining a rule change made at midseason least year, which put a timeout at risk for every coach challenge that is incorrect. The committee is also proposing that the replay official only a change a call where there is clear and indisputable evidence that it is wrong, rather than attempt to officiate plays to ensure they are correct.

Members believe these two combined measures, in place for a full season, will discourage coaches from using their challenges, especially as they put timeouts at risk. They estimate this can reduce the number of challenges by 20% or more while still allowing coaches to challenge big plays that have a material impact on the game.

Finally, TSN will go to commercial on every challenge it can. It’s estimated that 80% of challenges will now be done during a commercial, up from 20% last season. That will significantly reduce unnecessary stoppages in the game and improve the fan experience both in stadium and on broadcast.

The committee has also recommended increasing the duties of the video official in the Command Centre so they can correct errors when:

When a flag has been thrown for a line of scrimmage penalty (offside or procedure)
When a flag has been thrown for an unnecessary roughness penalty following a play and the video official sees other unnecessary roughness infractions
When a call for illegal contact on a receiver should be changed to defensive pass interference because the ball had been thrown

To further promote player safety, the committee wants to change all 10-yard illegal low block penalties to 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalties. The committee recognized the importance of signaling that such dangerous blocks have no place in the game.

The committee wants to prevent the return team on a kicking play from putting a player on the field a split second prior to the snap and trying to hide him so he can receive a lateral pass from the kick returner.

This sort of “sleeper play” would be subject to a 10-yard penalty.

All rules committee recommendations must be reviewed by the league’s competition committee and ultimately approved by its Board of Governors before they go into effect.

The rules committee includes representatives from every club, the Canadian Football League Players’ Association, the Canadian Professional Football Officials’ Association and the CFL.