Monday, March 21, 2016
Something To "Mitch" About
--Kudos to Sportsnet for what was a great weekend of university sports---Canadian university sports! Sportsnet had the semi-finals and finals of both the mens and womens basketball championship and the mens and womens hockey championship. It was fantastic. The only question I have now is "Why can't we see more of this?". Yes, the CIS will never, ever be up there in popularity with the NCAA, but I have long maintained there are some excellent athletes and excellent games at the Canadian university level that few know about. All I have to do is look at the quarter-full Co-Operators Centre for Cougars hockey and the less than full CKHS for Cougar basketball games. Make no doubt about it, having more CIS games would help increase that fan attendance and give University athletes like Atlee Simon, Katie Polischuk, Jonathan Tull and others across this fine country some added attention to the sports they play.
It can be done. Vancouver's Jim Mullin worked tirelessly to get Canada West football games on network TV and it happened this year thanks to Global. I would love to turn on one of our sports networks on a Friday night and see a University basketball game between the Huskies and Cougars or a hockey game between the Huskies and Alberta. I would even watch games from Eastern & Atlantic Canada, and I think others would as well. It won't happen overnight though and it will need a lot of people smarter than me to get this going, but it can happen. It might be tough at the start, but what isn't? In the meantime, I can only hope Sportsnet will continue doing what it did this weekend and think of expanding things. If they can give us curling provincials from many different places, they can give us not only national championships, but conference championships as well. At the end of the day, the plea probably falls on deaf ears, but who knows.
Speaking of the Huskies, a tip of the hat to Dave Adolph's mens hockey team. The effort they gave at the University Cup beating Carleton in four overtimes and then following it up a with a three overtime loss to St F-X was literally amazing. While I didn't see the four overtime game, I did see a good portion of the three overtime loss on Saturday. That game was outstanding. Was the Friday night game better? Again. those two games were a showcase for CIS hockey, and there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to access more of it on TV. A tip of the hat to tthe womens basketball program as well as Lisa Thomaidis' crew won their first national title beating Ryerson in what was a tight game throughout. Like the Cougars, many girls on the Huskies call Saskatchewan home so its great for Saskatchewan basketball to see the Canadian title settle in the wheat province.
--South of the border, brackets have exploded. Have we ever seen the amount of upsets and great finishes that the first weekend of March Madness brought. My bracket ended when Michigan State lost----many were in that boat. I guess Kansas is the team now, but who knows?
--The WHL playoffs are here, and the first round should be a dandy. It was great to know as we went into the last weekend of the season, not one of the eight first round matchups had been determined. Talk about parity! In he end, the Pats will go to Lethbridge and Moose Jaw is off to Prince Albert. Regina had a lot of success against the Hurricanes this year. Could they pull off a major first round upset? We will see. I am expecting to see some goals scored in that series.
--There is some talk coming out of Edmonton that the Ivan Hlinka tournament may be moving to North America and could be played in the Alberta capital. That would be a tremendous coup for Edmonton and Canadian hockey. That is a great tournament and if TSN hops on board and promotes it the way they do the World Juniors, there could be a win-win here for everyone. If you don't know what the Ivan Hlinka tournament, it is basically one step below the world juniors and is played in the late summer. That's an event you should check out if this comes to fruition.
--Some sad news late Sunday afternoon as former CFL ref Ken Picot passed away after a battle with cancer. Another one of the good ones has left us.
--I didn't attend the Thunder dinner Saturday night, but I am guessing it was a first class show. Why wouldn't it be? Congratulations to Marco Ricci (he didn't cater this thing did he) and Frank McCrystal for being recognized and saluted. I see on Rod's blog there was an Eskimos Getzlaf jersey up for auction. That picture simply didn't look right. I am guessing the first time I see Weston Dressler in blue, it won't look right either.
--Is anyone noticing the Raptors outside of the GTA yet?
--That's all I got. Have a great week!!