10: JILL SHUMAY CAPTURES PROVINCIAL SCOTTIES
The 2013 provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts went in Balgonie. The field was a great one led by Stefanie Lawton, defending provincial champ Michelle Englot and former Canadian champ Amber Holland. I had been asked earlier by both Access and the Saskatchewan Curling Association to do play-by-play of the provincial semi and final so I headed out to Balgonie on night one to check things out. On that night, a rink out of Maidstone skipped by Jill Shumay beat Englot and her rink looked damn good in doing so. I asked her after the game if she considered it to be an upset considering Michelle's resume and she calmly replied no because I feel my rink is just as good as everyone else's. She was right! Shumay breezed through the event losing only once and that was in the 1-2 game to Lawton. She rebounded by beating Holland 8-3 in the semi and then took her first provincial title with an 8-7 win. At the Scotties, she finished an impressive 6-5. Shumay is back to defend her crown in Tisdale in just a couple of weeks and while the other big names are there as well, Shumay has shown you can put her in that class of being one of Saskatchewan's top rinks.
9. SHOLO LEAVES FOR OTTAWA
The Ottawa Redblacks will become the CFL's 9th team when the 2014 season starts. Less than a month after the Grey Cup, the team had a chance to pick through the rosters of the other teams grabbing unprotected players to help them form their initial roster. Each team would lose one import player and two Canadians. With the Canadian talent on the Riders side of the ball, many Rider fans had come to the cruel reality that an impact player was going to be leaving. You could only protect six Canadians and there were many more than six quality Canadians on the roster. I don't think it would have mattered who Ottawa took, it would have left the Rider Nation reeling from a punch in the gut and when the choice was made, the punch followed. Six year vet Keith Shologan, arguably the best Canadian interior lineman in the CFL if not the best period, had been selected. GM Brendan Taman admitted after he rolled the dice on Shologan hoping his big contract would deter the Redblacks from taking him. That didn't happen. As tough as it was for many, including myself, to see Sholo leave, I could at least take solace knowing as one of the guys who went through the 2009 Grey Cup nightmare that he had his championship. I would love to see Taman try to get Shologan back here, but he seemingly made it clear hours later on "The Sportscage" the team was going to go American at that spot.
8. PAT CONACHER SAYS GOODBYE
That's my recap of 2013. Did I miss anything? What does 2014 have in store for us? I have no idea, but I'm sure there will be more than enough to talk about on both a local and national basis to keep us occupied.
Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for checking out this blog in 2013. There were over 190-thousand page views putting the total to over 1.3 million since I started doing this. Thank you again!