Thursday, November 14, 2019

Riders Are Confident Cody Will Play

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Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson said he's confident Cody Fajardo will be ready to go for Sunday's CFL West final after seeing his star quarterback in a full practice.

Fajardo missed Saskatchewan's 23-13 home win over Edmonton on Nov. 2 with an oblique injury. He returned to practice Wednesday, but was limited to a handful of throws near the end.

Dickenson said Fajardo was still easing back into action Thursday, but should be ready to go when the Roughriders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a Grey Cup berth on the line.

"Cody looked all right. We had him do limited stuff, but he was able to throw with the team and move around well," Dickenson said. "So we'll look at the film to get a better idea, but all signs pointing that he's going to be good to go."

Dickenson said Fajardo threw mainly short to intermediate routes.

"I think he's going to have enough in the tank to throw a deep route," he added. "We'll have to see how he feels but he certainly looked like he was able to do what he needed to do to help the offence move the ball.

"Today was going to be kind of a test day for him, and so far he's passed the test."

If Fajardo can't play Sunday, the Roughriders will likely turn to Isaac Harker. The rookie went the distance in Saskatchewan's regular-season finale, completing 23-of-28 passes for 213 yards as the Riders (13-5) cemented top spot in the West Division for the first time since '09 with a win over Edmonton.

Dickenson said that even if Fajardo — the CFL's leading passer with 4,302 yards — is relegated to holding the clipboard, he expects the third-year pivot to bring a steadying influence to the sidelines.

"He still brings an element of calmness and professionalism and coolness to the team, where things don't rattle him to much. So he helps us that way even when he's not playing," Dickenson said.

Regardless of who is under centre, Dickenson said he wants to get Saskatchewan's ground game going. He admits that will be a challenge against the Blue Bombers' run defence.

"They do a good job of forcing you into second and long, and when you do that it's hard to run for first downs," he said.

Receiver Shaq Evans also practised Thursday after suffering a toe injury in the season finale. Dickenson said Evans would be a game-time decision for the West final.

A favourite target of Fajardo, Evans racked up 72 receptions for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns this season.

The Bombers advanced to the West final with a 35-14 upset of Calgary in last week's division semifinal. The Roughriders and Bombers are bitter rivals and Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris expects a charged atmosphere at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday.

"It's gonna be nuts. We all know how passionate those fans are," Harris said after Winnipeg's practice on Wednesday. "We're in their way right now to go into a Grey Cup so it's gonna be absolutely chaos in there, but that excites me and I know it excites the guys in this locker room.

"There's no better feeling that going into an atmosphere like that and shutting up their fans and coming out with a W, so that's the goal."

This Week In Cougar Athletics

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

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

Friday – Away Events
Women's Volleyball - at Thompson Rivers, 12:00 PM PST (Kamloops, B.C.)
Men's Hockey - at Alberta, 7:00 PM MST (Edmonton, Alta.)

Saturday – Away Events
Women's Volleyball - at Thompson Rivers, 12:00 PM PST (Kamloops, B.C.)
Men's Hockey - at Alberta, 7:00 PM MST (Edmonton, Alta.)

Women's Hockey – The Cougars took five out of a possible six points over the weekend at Manitoba with twin 1-0 victories powered by the netminding of Jane Kish, who was named the Canada West Second Star of the Week after registering 24-save and 26-save shutouts. Paige Hubbard scored the game-winning goal on Friday, while Tamara McVannel notched the winning goal in overtime on Saturday. The Cougars (2-6-2-0) are back at home this weekend to host No. 9-ranked Alberta on Friday night (7:00) and Saturday afternoon (3:00) at The Co-operators Centre.

Men's Basketball – The Cougars ended up with a road split with Mount Royal, losing 96-87 on Thursday but throttling MRU by a 101-59 score on Friday. Carter Millar was named the Canada West Second Star of the Week after getting double-doubles in both games, collecting 26 points and 17 rebounds on Thursday and 17 points and 11 rebounds on Friday. The Cougars (1-3) host Winnipeg this Friday and Saturday at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport with tip-off set for 8:00 both nights.

Women's Basketball – Regina ended up with a weekend split at Mount Royal in a rare Thursday/Friday series in Calgary. The Cougars won 67-52 in the first game of the weekend series, but lost 71-68 to MRU on Friday night. The Cougars (1-3) are back at home this weekend with two games against Winnipeg at the CKHS. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 on both Friday night and Saturday night.

Men's Hockey – The Cougars played two tight games with Manitoba last weekend at The Co-operators Centre, falling 4-3 in overtime on Friday before collecting a 3-2 shootout win over the Bisons on Saturday afternoon. Ben Duperreault and Isaac Schacher both scored in Saturday's shootout, while Brandon Holtby made 29 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping both of Manitoba's attempts in the shootout. The Cougars will hit the road to Edmonton this weekend for games against No. 1-ranked Alberta on Friday night and Saturday night.

Women's Volleyball – The Cougars lost a pair of four-set decisions to Manitoba last weekend at the CKHS, falling 3-1 to the Bisons on both Friday and Saturday. The Canada West schedule continues for the U of R this weekend as the Cougars will travel to Kamloops, B.C. for Friday and Saturday matches that will both start at noon Pacific time.

Cross Country – Three Cougars finished off their season at the U SPORTS Cross Country Championships hosted by Queen's on Saturday at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ont. Kaylee Tymo was the top finisher for the U of R, ending up in 84th place with an 8K time of 31:02. Matthew Johnson ran in his final U SPORTS meet and placed 91st with a 10K time of 33:40, while Sarah Novakowski ran with Tymo on the women's side and finished 135th (32:27) in her first national meet.

Week 11 NFL Capsules

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Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns are home to the Pittsburgh Steelers to start Week 11 of the NFL season.  For a preview of that game and others, click here

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Collaros Getting Ready For His Return to Mosaic Stadium

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Picture: Winnipeg Free Press 

It has been quite the season for Zach Collaros.

The man who Rider Nation hoped would quarterback their team to a Grey Cup is now the man trying to prevent the Riders from getting to the Grey Cup.  The 31-year-old is expected to be the starter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when the two collide Sunday in the Western Final in what will be his first game at Mosaic Stadium since being hurt in the 2018 season finale against B.C when he had to leave the game following a headshot from Lions defensive end Odell Willis.

When asked if he is relishing the opportunity to knock off the team that dispatched him to Toronto midway through the season, all Collaros would say is it is a chance to go the Grey Cup.

“I don’t think it would mean any more or less than any of my teammates, right?” Collaros said “That’s the ultimate goal when you start every single season, to get to the Grey Cup and win it. We’re excited for this challenge, this opportunity.

The Collaros returns to Regina storyline is perhaps the biggest one in what is a series of storylines going into Sunday’s game which can be heard on 620 CKRM starting at 3:30. Collaros realizes what is at stake and says this will be much bigger than the annual back-to-back matchup between the two two teams in September for obvious reasons.

“It’s  obviously a big-time rivalry between Labour Day and the Banjo Bowl,” said Collaros. “So there’s that and when you factor it in with it being the West Final, it’s a game of pretty big magnitude but, again, we have to treat it like every other game.  Do our best, execute our gameplan and let the chips fall where they may.”

The winner of the game will battle the winner of the East final between the Edmonton Eskimos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup which will be played in Calgary November 24.  The Riders have not been to the Cup since winning it all at Taylor Field in 2013 when they beat Hamilton.

Canada West HOF Welcomes Cymone Bouchard

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Picture: University of Regina 

Arguably the best women’s basketball player to have worn a University of Regina Cougar uniform and one of the top athletes in Cougar Athletics history is being recognized by the Canada West conference.

Cymone Bouchard (now known as Bernauer) was a part of the team from 1999-2004.  In that time, Bouchard had   1,439 points in 96 conference games and was part of two historic Regina teams including the 2001 season when the Cougars claimed their only national title.  She was also named MVP of the national tournament.

In 2003-2004, Bouchard was not only the conference player of the year, but the national player of the year as she led the Cougars to a silver medal at the national championship.

She had an average of 22.2 points per game in 2002-03 along with winning team MVP in 2002-03 and 2003-04. In that 2003-2004 season, she was named the U of R’s female athlete of the year. She was put into the University of Regina Sports  Hall of Fame in 2009.

Bouchard joins former Regina Ram Jason Clermont and former U of R director of athletics Dick White as members of Cougar Athletics in the Canada West Hall of Fame.

Pats-Broncos To Play Makeup Game Tuesday

The Regina Pats Hockey Club has announced their regular season game with the Swift Current Broncos has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 19 at the Brandt Centre. All tickets from November 8 will be valid for the new game date.

The game was postponed on Friday, November 8 due to a malfunction with the ice plant at the Brandt Centre.

Season ticket holders can use their season ticket cards and will have the same functions as any other game – Transfer, Exchange, Resale or Donate through their My Pats Account. Any tickets that were transferred or sold will remain with the recipient for the rescheduled game. Should they be unable to attend the contest, they may transfer them back to the previous holder.

Fans who cannot make the rescheduled game and redeemed vouchers including Safeway or bring a friend will need to go back to the point of redemption (Brandt Centre Box Office or Regina Pats Business Office) with their ticket to receive a replacement voucher. If you are able to attend, then no action is required.

Fans who purchased on Ticketmaster can expect an email directly with instruction on how to request your refund should you not be able to attend the rescheduled game. If you purchased from the Brandt Centre Box Office, please return to the point of purchase for a full refund. Refunds will be provided upon request only.

All refund requests including voucher replacement must be done prior to 5 p.m. on November 18. Anyone in need of additional help can call the Regina Pats Business Office at 1-306-522-7287.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game are available now at, the Brandt Centre Box Office or at any Regina Safeway where Fun Zone vouchers are $13 plus tax.

(Regina Pats) 

George Reed Honoured By City And Riders

Photo: Ryan McNally (620 CKRM)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders alongside the City of Regina and the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) are pleased to announce a section of 10th Avenue will be renamed to honour Roughrider legend George Reed.

George Reed Way will begin at Elphinstone Street and run west down along the stadium to Crescent Point Energy Gate 2. In addition to the street being named after Reed, the new address of Mosaic Stadium will be 1734 George Reed Way in a kismet nod to Reed’s jersey number.

“George Reed is a living legend and such an important part of the Roughriders past and present,” said Saskatchewan Roughrider President and CEO Craig Reynolds. “We wanted to find a way to honour George, not only for his commitment to the team and his excellence on the field but for all of the inspiring work he’s done for the community. With Mosaic Stadium now residing on newly minted George Reed Way, we believe we’re giving back to George just a fraction of what he’s given Saskatchewan.”

Since the opening of Mosaic Stadium in 2017, the Club has dreamt of the possibility of naming the street in front of their new home after Reed.  When the Roughriders approached the City of Regina and REAL with the potential name change several months ago, both the City and REAL worked eagerly with the team to make this dream a reality.

“As the owner of Mosaic Stadium, the City recognizes and appreciates the legacy that the Roughriders and Mr. Reed have created,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “Every time a minor sport athlete travels George Reed Way to play or watch a game at the stadium they will be reminded that greatness is within their grasp. That is a powerful message for young people in our community.”
“We are thrilled that the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team with such a storied history and devoted fan base, call the Evraz Place campus home,” said Tim Reid, President and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited. “George Reed Way is a fantastic addition to our property, and we are extremely proud that residents and visitors will experience a piece of our province’s rich football tradition each time they come to our campus.”

Reed, who just turned 80 in October, is known as one of the greatest running backs in Canadian Football League history. He had an incredible 13-year professional football career with the Saskatchewan Roughrider and retired as the game’s all-time leading rusher with 16,116 yards and a record of 134 career rushing touchdowns that still stands today. He was a key part of the 1966 Grey Cup Championship where he rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown and was named the MVP.

Reed’s number 34 jersey is one of just eight numbers that has been retired by the Club.

Off the field, Reed jumped in the Saskatchewan Community headfirst creating the George Reed Foundation which focuses on helping the physically and intellectually disabled and the disadvantaged. Reed is also a long-time supporter of Saskatchewan Special Olympics.

(Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Don Cherry Fired By Sportsnet

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Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry was never afraid to ruffle feathers during his "Coach's Corner" segment on "Hockey Night in Canada."

His latest outburst cost him his job.

In a two-paragraph statement Monday afternoon, Sportsnet confirmed that it was cutting ties with Cherry.

"Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night's broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down," said Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley. "During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.

"Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada."

Cherry's ouster came after a segment that sparked a swift backlash from inside and outside the hockey world. The network apologized Sunday for Cherry's comments about his belief that new immigrants don't wear poppies, and in turn, don't support veterans.

On Monday — Remembrance Day — the network took it one step further.

Cherry, 85, had singled out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where he lives, for not honouring Canada's veterans and dead soldiers.

"You people ... you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that," Cherry said Saturday night. "These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price."

"Coach's Corner" and HNIC are broadcast on CBC in a sub-licensing deal with Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet.

Cherry did not respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment. He has yet to publicly apologize.

Budweiser, the sponsor of "Coach's Corner", put out a statement condemning Cherry's comments after Sportsnet's decision.

"The comments made Saturday on Coach's Corner were clearly inappropriate and divisive, and in no way reflect Budweiser's views," says the statement from Todd Allen, vice-president of marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada, which has Budweiser as one of its brands.

"As a sponsor of the broadcast, we immediately expressed our concerns and respect the decision which was made by Sportsnet today."

Outrage over Cherry's words mounted over the weekend and into Remembrance Day until the broadcaster's dismissal was announced Monday afternoon.

Shakir Mousa, who came to Canada from Iraq roughly 30 years ago, said earlier Monday he was hurt and disgusted by Cherry's words and worried they could ignite hatred and discrimination.

Though he wears a poppy to mark Remembrance Day, Mousa said there are many ways to honour those who serve their country — like his son, who served in Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq and just returned to Ottawa from his most recent deployment.

"I come from a dictatorship country," the Montreal resident said. "There is a real appreciation for Canada and what Canada represents...I appreciate what democracy is and what liberty is and the freedom that we enjoy."

"I don't need somebody like Don Cherry to tell me about it because he doesn't represent the good side of Canada with comments like these," he added.

Others noted many newcomers have relatives who fought and lost their lives in various conflicts, including the world wars, something Cherry overlooked in his comments.

"Canada is my country as much as it is yours, both of us are settlers on this land," Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada in Mississauga, said in an open letter to Cherry posted over the weekend.

"When you are talking about 'our way of life', people who look like me have 'built' your way of life. It isn't something exclusive, the sacrifices were made for us. Shame on you. You don't deserve to wear the poppy."

The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council said it was so overloaded with complaints about the segment that it exceeded the organization's technical processing capacity. The CBSC said it was dealing with the broadcast under its normal process, but was not able to accept any further complaints.

Segment co-host Ron MacLean apologized Sunday evening.

"Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory, which were flat out wrong ... I owe you an apology, too. I sat there, did not catch it, did not respond," MacLean said. "Last night was a really great lesson to Don and me. We were wrong, and I sincerely apologize. I wanted to thank you for calling me and Don on that last night."

Criticism of Cherry's comments poured in quickly as video clips of the segment circulated online. A consistently polarizing figure throughout his long broadcasting career, Cherry also had his share of supporters weigh in on social media over the last couple days.

A hard-nosed career minor-leaguer who won coach of the year honours with the NHL's Boston Bruins in 1976, Cherry moved in front of the camera in 1980.

Known for his outlandish suits and thumbs-up gesture, Cherry was liable to say anything during the popular first-intermission segment on Saturday nights. Over the years, he occasionally weighed in with thoughts on European players, francophones, and politics — to name only a few subjects — which often landed him in hot water.

"Hockey Night in Canada" was a longtime CBC Saturday night staple, but the show and its games moved to Sportsnet when Rogers landed a $5.2-billion, 12-year national broadcast rights deal with the NHL that began in 2014.

There was no immediate word on who might replace Cherry on "Coach's Corner" or if the segment would continue in its current form.

(Canadian Press)

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Three Stars of the Week 11/11/19

 Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 10.


Nilsson stopped 96 of the 101 shots he faced, compiling a 3-0-0 record, 1.64 goals-against average and .950 save percentage to backstop the Ottawa Senators (6-9-1, 13 points) to wins in each of his three starts. Nilsson turned aside 32 shots in a 6-2 triumph over the New York Rangers Nov. 4. He then made 26 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings Nov. 7 and capped his week with 38 stops in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 9. The 29-year-old Lulea, Sweden, native has played in eight total games this season with a 4-3-1 record and ranks tied for sixth in the NHL with a .930 save percentage.


Matthews factored on nine of his team’s 11 goals last week, leading all NHL skaters with 2-7—9 in four appearances to help the Toronto Maple Leafs (9-6-4, 22 points) to a 2-1-1 record. Matthews opened the week with 1-1—2, including the game winner, in a 3-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Kings Nov. 5 and scored the game-tying goal in the third period of a 2-1 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights Nov. 7. He closed the week with a pair of helpers in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Nov. 9 and a career-high four assists in a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 10. The 22-year-old forward from Scottsdale, Ariz., ranks tied for third in the NHL with 13 goals this season and sixth in points (13-12—25 in 19 GP).    


Makar tied for the NHL lead among defensemen in goals and points last week with 3-3—6 in three contests to propel the Colorado Avalanche (10-5-2, 22 points) to a pair of wins in three outings. Makar opened the week with an assist in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars Nov. 5. He then put up back-to-back multi-point outings with a career-high three points (1-2—3) in a 9-4 victory over the Nashville Predators Nov. 7 and his first multi-goal performance – including the game-winning tally – in a 4-2 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets Nov. 9. The 21-year-old Calgary, Alta., native leads all rookie skaters in assists and points with 4-13—17 in 17 contests to become the fourth defenseman in NHL history and second in the modern era (since 1943-44) to collect at least 17 points through his first 17 career regular-season games.         

Something To "Mitch" About

--The Patriots seemingly get to the Super Bowl this year while the Stampeders seemingly get to the Grey Cup.  NOT THIS YEAR CALGARY!!!

This blogger had a swing and a miss when it came to the Western Semi-Final.  Did I ever!  I thought Calgary would easily defeat Winnipeg and when Reggie Begelton scored early on a third and one play where Willie Jefferson looked ridiculous, I thought it might be a long afternoon for Winnipeg.  NOPE!

As a result, Rider fans will get to see what they wanted back at the start of the season as Zach Collaros will be on the field for the Western Final playing quarterback---albeit for the Bombers as this crazy CFL season now gets down to four teams.

Collaros had one big pass on a cold Sunday afternoon in Calgary, but it was all Winnipeg needed as the Stampeders and Bo Levi Mitchell in particular looked horrible.  Horrible may be too kind for BLM when it comes to his efforts.

--The question now Rider fans is how are ya feelin knowing it will be Labour Day in November next Sunday.  I think a lot of you are over the moon knowing the Stampeders are out.  Hey, I'm in that boat too, but now you face the prospects of seeing Collaros and Willie Jefferson accept the Western Division championship trophy at Mosaic next week.  That would be a cold dagger, but the reality is it can happen and very well could if Cody Fajardo can't go.   He says he will be playing and one has to hope that will occur, but until I get a 100 percent confirmation from the club that he is, I wonder.

--The temperature calls for a high of plus 5 on Sunday.  We will take that.  Yes we will!!

--I guess we won't be hearing about Jason Maas being let go this week.  Credit to the Eskimos for going in and knocking down and knocking out the Alouettes.  I can't see them beating Hamilton, but can you imagine the wailing in Calgary if the Eskimos and Riders were to meet in the Grey Cup?

--How many NFL survivor pools blew up because of the Atlanta-New Orleans result on Sunday.  Sadly, I was out of both of my pools weeks ago, but I probably would have been done after that game.

--If you watch US College Football and you watched the Penn State-Minnesota game followed by LSU-Alabama, you may have seen two of the best games of the year at any level of football.  The game between LSU and Alabama was an instant classic!

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was on the Riders neg list at one time. Is he still there?  I will never understand why the CFL keeps these lists quiet especially at this time of year when US College Football is getting more interesting.  If you know this guy or that guy is playing in a huge game you might just tune in because you are a CFL fan wondering if this guy could succeed at the CFL game or if he has a bonafide NFL'er. 

The league does reveal part of the neg list which is better than what it was, but I'd like to see the whole list be revealed November 1.  Is the list that secretive?  All teams have a copy so its not like they are hiding something.

--One can only wonder if Don Cherry will make it to next Saturday's Coach's Corner.   The words spewed by Grapes on Saturday night were over the top. There is no doubt about that.  However, on Saturday I was out and there had to be a dozen people (people of all races and colour) who were not wearing a poppy.  I do question that.  While Ron McLean apologized, it came too late.  Sportsnet never really came down on Jim Hughson for his comments earlier this year so while an apology did come, I have to wonder if Cherry will apologize on Saturday.  If he does or doesn't, his time has to be coming to an end,  Who's next?

--I am told the Brandt Centre was close to full for Remembrance Day Ceremonies.  That was good to hear.

--Former NHL'er Matthew Barnaby sent out this tweet on the weekend.

Seriously? If you are a hockey parent and you have this app, you have a serious problem.  Tracking the ice time of a 10 year old.  Is this where we are going?

--I keep waiting for the Edmonton Oilers to fall.  They don't.  They are now 12-5-2 after demolishing Anaheim.  At what point do you start to think maybe they have what it takes?  Its nice to see the top three teams in the Pacific all being Canadian teams as well.

--That's all I got.  Have a great week!

Friday, November 8, 2019

This And That

--Welcome to Friday and the usual assortment of things running through my muddled mind.   As always, these come in no particular order

--The CFL knows it can't compete with the NFL.  The league has been shying away from Sunday games for the past few years because they know they simply can't draw the way the NFL does. They are content to let the NFL take the Canadian football landscape on a Sunday.

However, the league that doesn't want to play a regular season game on a Sunday once the NFL season starts has no problem in playing on Sundays with the playoffs on. Why?   When you have told your fan base you are conceeding Sundays to another league, why wouldn't you just continue with playoffs on a Saturday.

Yes, I will have interest in the Bombers-Stampeders game, but I will have very little interest in watching the Eskimos-Alouettes game because of the NFL factor.  The hardcore CFL fans will be there, but they would be there if the game was on a Saturday as well.  They would be there whenever the game is played.  The league is looking to attract fans, but they want to compete against a much bigger league that gets just about as much attention north of the border as it does in their own country.

I would be all for Saturday playoff games and that includes the Grey Cup.  The Grey Cup party on a Saturday night after the game and during the game would be something to behold. Would you be OK with going to the Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium at 5 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon next year?  I would be!

--Rider Nation, who are you cheering for this weekend?  Having to root for either Winnipeg or Calgary is somewhat nauseating if you ask this blogger.  At the end of the day, I don't think Calgary loses at home, but the playoffs are when strange things happen as we all know.  Can Zach Collaros beat Calgary twice?  If he does, the storyline for the Western Final will have been created and what a storyline it will be.

If its Calgary, it means trying to knock off the Patriots of the CFL with everyone wondering if the first time Craig defeats brother Dave is in the Western Final.  Remember, two of the five losses sustained by the Riders this season came at the hands of the Stampeders. I realize the two teams played three very close games this year, but I see Calgary winning by more than a TD.  The bottom line is BRING IT ON!

--The Eskimos won eight games this year. Seven were against teams that aren't in the playoffs and the eighth was against a Montreal team to open the season when Antonio Pipkin and not Vernon Adams JR was the QB.  The Alouettes are easy money this weekend aren't they?

--If you've followed this blog over the past number of years, you know I think the CFL should be one nine-team conference instead of East-West because of the disparity between the two divisions. Has the East ever crossed over into the West?  If you look at what it would be this weekend if you had one nine-team league it would be

1) Hamilton 2) Saskatchewan with byes

3) Calgary vs 6) Edmonton
4) Winnipeg vs 5) Montreal

The Bombers get a home game and the Alouettes don't.

--Why do I feel that even though the Riders were recognized with eight all-stars, they should have had at least 10.  William Powell and Cam Judge were the biggest omissions for me and yes, Loucheiz Purifoy probably should have gotten all-star consideration as well.  A Twitter poll I ran had 46 percent of you voting for Cam Judge

--Whoever is in charge of the Riders social media gets an A plus for the video this week narrated by Dakoda Shepley.  Great stuff!

--Are we ready for a CFL coaching carousel?  One has to think Rick Campbell will end up in Edmonton and many feel Jason Maas will be reunited with Mike Reilly and Ed Hervey in BC.  Does Mike O'Shea leave Winnipeg and if so does Khari Jones take over? Then there is the shadow of the man in black.  If the Cleveland Browns continue to disappoint, will they get rid of Freddie Kitchens? If they do, does Chris Jones return to the CFL. I say he comes back and leads the Argos. He won't have the power there though that he had here because of MLSE and yes, the Pinball-Jones dynamic would be interesting.  Would Hervey spurn Maas to reunite with Jones? Doubt it! Coaching movement may have more interest than player movement this off-season.

--Week 10 NFL Lock of The Week -- Saints over Falcons
  Week 10 NFL Upset Of The Week -- Lions over Bears

--NHL referees let a lot of players get away with should be penalties against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiatl.  Just sayin!

--Saskatchewan came through in a big way for the Jim Pattison Childrens Hospital.  The radiothon, which 620 CKRM was a part of as was MY92 and The WOLF 104.9 raised 750,000.  Nice work people! Be proud!

--An automated strike zone is coming to minor league baseball.  I don't think it will ever hit the majors while I am still breathing.

--A special thanks to Rob Vanstone.  He gave me a copy of his new book "100 Things Roughriders Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die".  He inscribed that the final two words in the book were my name.  What??  I turned to Page 299 and sure enough there it was. I had helped Rob with his first two books by interviewing some subjects and he used some of that material in this book. I had no idea that was coming and I was truly touched and honoured that he did that.  Those who have seen Rob and I together know we can truly act about 1/10th of our age when we want to and we don't really seem to care.  There are times you just need to be stupid with someone and Rob is that for me and vice-versa.  Thanks again!

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend.  Thank you to all of those who have served our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Without these people, we aren't who we are today. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Three Riders Up For CFL Awards

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are proud to announce three members of the 2019 team were named West Division award winners including Head Coach Craig Dickenson (Coach of the Year), Cody Fajardo (Most Outstanding Player) and Cameron Judge (Most Outstanding Canadian).


In his first year as the Roughriders Head Coach, Dickenson led the team to a first-place finish in the west division and a 13-5 record – the third best record in the Club’s 109-year year history.

The Roughriders had a slow start to the season, beginning the year at 1-3, but Dickenson never lost faith in what the men in the locker room could accomplish. Under his leadership, the team came back from their first bye week to win six straight games.

After stubbing its toe against the Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Rematch, the team rebounded quickly. The Roughriders won six of their last seven games and ensured the Western Final would be played at home for the first time since 2009 and just the third time since 1975. The Club’s eight wins ties the franchise record for most home wins in a season.

Dickenson has not only coached the players on the field but has acted as a mentor off the field, introducing a pivotal motto to the Roughrider locker room encouraging players to put the “team before self.”

Dickenson signed on as the Roughriders 47th Head Coach in January of 2019. He has seventeen years of coaching experience under his belt, 14 of which he spent as a Special Teams Coordinator – a title he continues to hold with the Roughriders alongside his head coaching duties.

Throughout his CFL career, he has been a part of the Roughrider organization for six years acting as the Special Teams Coordinator for the past four years and as a member of the special teams coaching staff in 2011 and 2012.

Dickenson will face Hamilton Tiger-Cats Head Coach Orlando Steinauer in the final round of voting.


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It’s been an incredible year for quarterback Cody Fajardo, capping his exceptional regular season performance as the West Division nominee for Most Outstanding Player.

Fajardo started the season as the back-up before being pressed into action during the first drive of the Roughriders season. He didn’t look back.

With Fajardo under centre the team put up a 13-5 season and is first place in the West Division for just the third time since 1975. Time after time this season Fajardo rose to the occasion acting as a leader both on and off the field, guiding the team to a seven-game home win streak – the first since 2010 – and an 8-1 home record.

In Fajardo’s first year as a starting quarterback, he led the league with 4,302 passing yards, threw for 18 touchdowns and added an additional 611 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. He was named a Top Performer of the Week in weeks three, eight and 20 and is a West Division All-Star.

Fajardo will face Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Brandon Banks in the final round of voting.


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Since being drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017, Cameron Judge has shown he will only continue to improve with experience.

The 24-year-old put up an exceptional 2019 season including a career-high 61 tackles, 11 special teams tackles, five quarterback sacks, one touchdown, two interceptions and one forced fumble in 17 games played.

A consistent contributor to the team’s defensive success, the third-year linebacker was instrumental in clinching first place in the West when he made a vital pick-6 against the visiting Edmonton Eskimos to help secure the team’s win.

Judge will face Montreal Alouettes linebacker Henoc Muamba in the final round of voting.

Other awards not involving Riders are: 

Defence:  Willie Jefferson (WPG)  vs Simoni Lawrence (HAM) 

O-Lineman:  Stanley Bryant (WPG)  vs Chris Van Zeyl (HAM) 

Special Teams:  Mike Miller (WPG) vs Frankie Williams (HAM) 

Rookie: Jake Wieneke (MTL)  vs Nate Holley (CAL) 

(Saskatchewan Roughriders) 

This Week In Cougar Athletics

This Week in Cougar Athletics

Friday – Home EventsWomen's Volleyball vs. Manitoba, 6:00 PM (CKHS)
Men's Hockey vs. Manitoba, 7:00 PM (The Co–operators Centre)

Saturday – Home EventsMen's Hockey vs. Manitoba, 3:00 PM (The Co–operators Centre)
Women's Volleyball vs. Manitoba, 6:00 PM (CKHS)

Thursday – Away EventsWomen's Basketball at Mount Royal, 11:00 AM (Calgary, Alta.)
Men's Basketball at Mount Royal, 1:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)

Friday – Away EventsWomen's Basketball at Mount Royal, 12:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Men's Basketball at Mount Royal, 2:00 PM (Calgary, Alta.)
Women's Hockey at Manitoba, 7:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)

Saturday – Away EventsCross Country at U SPORTS Championships, 1:00 PM (Kingston, Ont.)
Women's Hockey at Manitoba, 2:00 PM (Winnipeg, Man.)

Cross Country – The Cougars will finish off the 2019 season on Saturday at the U SPORTS Championships, which Queen's University will host at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ont. Three runners will represent the U of R at nationals, including Kaylee Tymo and Sarah Novakowski on the women's side and Matthew Johnson on the men's side. The women's 8K race is set for 1:00 PM EST with the men's 10K event to start at 2:00.

Women's Volleyball – The Cougars are back at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport this weekend for two matches against Manitoba. Regina enters the weekend at 1-3 after a home split against UBC Okanagan and two road setbacks to MacEwan, while the Bisons are 0-4 after being swept by both Mount Royal and UBC Okanagan to start the year. Match time is set for 6:00 on both Friday night and Saturday night.

Men's Hockey – After a bye last weekend, the Cougars are back at The Co-operators Centre this Friday and Saturday for their third and fourth consecutive home games. Regina (1-7-0) will host the Manitoba Bisons, a team which has split each of its first four weekends and comes into the weekend in fifth place in the Canada West standings with a 4-4-0 record. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 on Friday night and 3:00 on Saturday afternoon.

Women's Basketball – The conference schedule opened up on Friday and Saturday at the CKHS as the Cougars matched up with UBC. The Thunderbirds took both ends of the weekend series, winning by scores of 70-58 and 74-56. The Cougars (0-2) will now prepare for a rare Thursday/Friday series as they'll head to Calgary to face a Mount Royal squad that's 1-1 after the first weekend of Canada West games.

Men's Basketball – The Cougars opened Canada West play at home last weekend with 83-72 and 82-71 losses to the UBC Thunderbirds, two very different games that managed to end up with almost identical final scores. Regina (0-2) will hit the road to face Mount Royal (2-0) on Thursday afternoon (1:00) and Friday afternoon (2:00).

Women's Hockey – The Cougars return to the Canada West schedule this weekend for a pair of away games against a Manitoba squad that's just one point ahead of them in the conference standings. The Cougars (1-6-1-0) will face the Bisons (2-6-0-0) on Friday night (7:00) and Saturday afternoon (2:00) at the Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg.

Swimming (Men's U SPORTS Ranking: No. 9) – Etienne Paquin-Foisy led the Cougars as they competed at their first major meet of the season over the weekend at the Odlum Brown Colleges Cup Pacific in Vancouver. Paquin-Foisy had podium finishes in all four of his individual events, including in the 100-metre butterfly where he placed first with a time of 55.43 seconds. Bree Crookshanks was second in the 100-metre breaststroke and third in the 200-metre breaststroke, while Kareem Tarek Mohammed was second in the 1500-metre freestyle. Next up for the Cougars is the Canada West Championships later this month at the University of Lethbridge.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics)

Week 10 NFL Capsules

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The LA Chargers and Oakland Raiders get the NFL week started.  For a preview of that game and others this weekend, click here 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fajardo To Be Named CFL West MOP/Riders Gain 8 Western All-Star Nominations

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The CFL will officially announce on Thursday what players will represent the East and West at the player awards which will be handed out during Grey Cup Week in Calgary

620 CKRM has learned Riders quarterback Cody Fajardo will go up against Hamilton receiver Brandon Banks in the most outstanding player category.   Fajardo led the CFL in passing in 2019 with 4302 yards.  He also threw for 18 touchdowns while running for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns.


15 National players named Division All-Stars
TORONTO (November 6, 2019) – The Canadian Football League (CFL) has announced the 2019 East and West Division All-Stars. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats lead all teams with 13 All-Star selections, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders top the West Division with eight.
The East Division All-Stars were selected by the voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) from the East Division markets, the National Chapter and the East Division head coaches. 
The West Division All-Stars were selected by the voting members of the FRC from the West Division markets, the National Chapter and the West Division head coaches.
The CFL All-Stars will be announced in early December. 


West Division

East Division

Cody Fajardo (SSK)

Vernon Adams Jr. (MTL)
Andrew Harris (WPG)*

Will Stanback (MTL)
Bryan Burnham (BC)

Brandon Banks (HAM)
Reggie Begelton (CGY)

Bralon Addison (HAM)
Shaq Evans (SSK)

Derel Walker (TOR)
Greg Ellingson (EDM)

Eugene Lewis (MTL)
Eric Rogers (CGY)

S.J. Green (TOR)
Stanley Bryant (WPG)

Chris Van Zeyl (HAM)*
Derek Dennis (CGY)

Ryker Mathews (HAM)
Shane Bergman (CGY)*

Brandon Revenberg (HAM)*
Matt O’Donnell (EDM)*

Nolan MacMillan (OTT)*
Dan Clark (SSK)*

Kristian Matte (MTL)*


Almondo Sewell (EDM)

Dylan Wynn (HAM)
Mike Moore (EDM)

Cleyon Laing (TOR)*
Willie Jefferson (WPG)

Ja’Gared Davis (HAM)
Charleston Hughes (SSK)

John Bowman (MTL)
Solomon Elimimian (SSK)

Simoni Lawrence (HAM)
Larry Dean (EDM)

Henoc Muamba (MTL)*
Derrick Moncrief (SSK)

Patrick Levels (MTL)
Tre Roberson (CGY)

Tommie Campbell (MTL)
Winston Rose (WPG)

Delvin Breaux (HAM)
Marcus Sayles (WPG)

Greg Reid (MTL)
DaShaun Amos (CGY)

Richard Leonard (HAM)
Mike Edem (SSK)*

Tunde Adeleke (HAM)*

Special Teams

Special Teams
Sergio Castillo (BC)

Lirim Hajrullahu (HAM)*
Jon Ryan (SSK)*

Richie Leone (OTT)
Mike Miller (WPG)*

Frankie Williams (HAM)
 * Denotes a National player

(CFL Communications)