Monday, February 20, 2017
Something To "Mitch" About
IS IT 2018 YET? - As I saw Regina mayor Michael Fougere outside the Regina Pats dressing room on Sunday morning, I asked him if he was going to re-brand the city as Canada's Sports Capital. Why not? 2018 is going to be a very busy one in the YQR and arguably the biggest one we've ever seen, You could stretch it out and make it 18 months as when the calendar hits July 1 and Regina showcases New Mosaic Stadium to the rest of Canada, it will be something never before seen here as Regina will be opening its new jewel while preparing to host events like the Grand Slam of Curling, Skate Canada, the Tim Hortons Brier, the USports Canada university womens basketball championship and now the Memorial Cup.
When word got out about how good the presentation Shaun Semple and the Pats bid committee made to the Canadian Hockey League, I think we were all just patiently waiting for approval to be given. There were rumblings the announcement was going to be made, and I was sent a text Friday night saying it would be announced in Regina during "Hockey Day in Canada" festivities. Sportsnet's Carly Agro was in Regina for the day, but it was just coincidence as it turned out. When Ron McLean ever so casually mentioned that a special surprise for Saskatchewan was coming, we all knew what i was.
Queen City Sports and Entertainment told us good times were coming for Regina hockey fans, and they have delivered. The Brandt Centre started becoming the place to be late last season, and the momentum has carried on. The Pats have not disappointed this season, and John Paddock will make sure they don't disappoint next season either. There is no guarantee the Pats will hoist the Memorial Cup trophy this year or next, but they will have as good a shot as anyone. Git your popcorn ready. It is going to be a helluva show as this team celebrates its 100th anniversary with the 100th Memorial Cup being played as well.
Some have asked if Regina can handle so many events in such a short time. We will find out! This city is known for the passion it has for sports and its volunteers. Many an event whether it be the Grey Cup, the Queen City Marathon, the Junos, the Memorial Cup or Brier has succeeded because of the volunteer committment this city has. I have no doubt that by the time all these events are over, Regina can be referred to as "Canada's Sports Capital". Oh yeah, we will have a Grey Cup soon at NMS so get ready for that too. In the words of John Frenzy, "it's just gonna be fantastic!"
HEY MOOSE JAW, CAN YOU JOIN US? - As Rob Vanstone so aptly said it on Saturday, the Moose Jaw Warriors-Regina Pats rivalry has become one of mutual respect. Yes, the two teams still don't like one another on the ice, but there is now some love between the two organizations. The Warriors allowed the Pats to use one of their board-rooms to watch the Memorial Cup announcement before the two teams played at Mosaic Place. Hell, years ago, the Warriors would have told the Pats if they wanted to watch the announcement to trudge across the parking lot from the old Civic Centre to Zellers in the Town n Country Mall to watch it on TV there. When the announcement was made, I couldn't help but think if the Warriors could join the Pats May 17-27, 2018. If that happened, I don't know if Belle Plaine, Pense and Grand Coulee would survive. Highway 1 between the two cities would be a steady stream of traffic. With the likes of Brett Howden, Josh Brook, Jayden Halbegewachs and Zach Sawchenko, they will give it a good chance!
IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? - It started Friday night at High Impact Wrestling, continued Saturday morning at London Drugs and went all the way through the weekend. Many asked the same question. That question being "Is Vince Young really coming here?". You know what, I think he is. Will he take a snap for the /=S=/? That is another story.
Agent Leigh Steinberg was with Rod Pedersen Friday on Saskatchewan's #1 sports show--the Sportscage, and he said everything an agent should say. He said Young still has a desire to play the game, that he isn't using the Riders and CFL as a stepping stone back to the NFL, and that he is healthy. The fact remains he has not played in a game or thrown a pass in a professional football game since 2011. Doug Flutie and Tommy Maddox are the only other QB's to have that distinction according to ESPN, but I think the four-letter is forgetting about Flutie's time in Canada.
The fact also remains Vince Young will be 34 when training camp starts. He will be learning a new version of a game he is familiar about. The wider field, the 12th man, the motion, etc. etc. etc.
I put a poll up on Twitter asking if you think Vince Young will ever take a snap for the Riders or any team in the CFL in a regular season game and 70 percent of you said no. I tend to agree. Dwayne Jarrett and Limas Sweed (remember them) came to Saskatchewan with hopes of reviving their football career, and both didn't last. I see that scenario happening here as well. If I am wrong, then it may be good news for the Riders.
WHO IS GOING WHERE AND WHEN? - The Riders already had a talented receiving group with the likes of Naaman Roosevelt, Rob Bagg, Duron Carter and Caleb Holley to name a few. Add the names Chad Owens and Bakari Grant to that list and it has some wondering about the stockpiling of receivers and what it means. With the ongoing chatter about James Franklin or Vernon Adams Junior wearing Rider colours in 2017, it has many wondering about who is going to go since all the pass-catchers can't stay. With Ottawa losing Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams to free agency, do they enter the equation? I can't see Trevor Harris coming here and I can't see Brock Jensen being the guy either. We will wait and wonder I guess. Chris Jones has something up his sleeve, but what it is remains a mystery. Will this take us up to draft day or not? That's my question!
FIND A GOALIE CHEVY! - It is no secret that I am an Oilers fan, and even this Oilers fan was skeptical whether or not the team could get to the playoffs. They could still collapse down the stretch, but I don't see it happening, Playoff hockey appears to have a date at Rogers Place in its first year of existence thanks to Connor and company. While an Oilers fan, I do keep a close eye on the team to the east of us as well and I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to cheer for the Jets. Some weeks they are on, and others they are off. A win over Ottawa yesterday has them within a point of a playoff spot. They have the talent with the likes of Schiefele, Laine, Little, Byfuglien and Myers, but its obvious they need a goalie they can depend on. Connor Hellebuyck, Ondrei Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson can't be counted on from game-to-game. A "tender" is needed at the deadline, but where. Could they get Mike Smith from Arizona? Could they get Marc-Andre Fleury from Pittsburgh? Could they get Ben Bishop from Tampa. The Jets have a lot of good young assets. They need to make sure a top-notch goalie is calling Winnipeg home by the time the trade deadline expires. It may be the deciding factor as to whether or not GM.
COME BACK!!! - Many Regina wrestling fans made the trip to Saskatoon Sunday night for a WWE card. The stars of "Smackdown Live" made an appearance at Sask-Tel Centre. How long has it been since the WWE came to Regina? It's been too long! For those who were there, how was the show?
UH-OH! - Saskatchewan has started 0-3 at the Scotties. YIKES! It is safe to say early on that the debut of Moose Jaw's Penny Barker has not been what they wanted it to. It is never easy making your first appearance on the big stage. Hopefully the jitters can go away and Penny can calm down to roll off a few wins before the week is over. Hey, she won her last 5 to win in Melville, so who knows.
WELCOME BACK WASKIMO - The Waskimo Winter Festival was a great thing that was put on ice (no pun intended) when the Big Dig of Wascana Lake started. It is great to see the event get revived. The weather is more than co-operating so if you get a chance, spend some time on the lake today and have fun while out there enjoying the activities that will be going on.
That's all I got. Enjoy the holiday Monday and the rest of the week.