Sunday, May 19, 2013

Something To "Mitch" About

--Hope you are enjoying the long weekend wherever you may be.

--Its less than two weeks until CFL training camps begin! The finish line is in sight.

--Thumbs up to Lorne Molleken and the Saskatoon Blades. I think just about everyone had them written off after seeing Halifsx run over Portland Saturday night. I know I didn't think the Blades could give Halifax much of a game, but the Blades showed they belonged by beating the Mooseheads. I still think Halifax and Portland meet in the final, but the Blades told those who didn't think they could run with the big guns in the tournament a message. Its still sad though when a building that seats 15-thousand only gets 93 hundred for a game involving the home team.

--Hey Saskatoon, don't say you weren't warned! I told you that everyone would be all over you for not supporting the Memorial Cup and that is exactly what is happening as many media outlets are criticizing the city for the fact there are a lot of blue seats in the building that should be full. I'm not the only one. I hope you get another chance (and I think you will) to see the top three players in the NHL draft this year again on the same ice surface in Sunday's final otherwise you missed a huge opportunity. Kudos to those who are going to the game and kudos to those that helped that young woman finish off the national anthem Saturday night. Talk about your epic fails! Yes, it can't be easy to sing the anthem live in front of a few thousand people, but maybe take the words out or something if you're not sure. She is getting her 15 minutes of fame via YouTube and whenever networks have the top 10 anthem blunders, she'll be on it. Someone called it "Saskatoon's Star Mangled Banner". I can't disagree.

--Weyburn must be very proud of their athletes these days. You have Graham DeLaet, who had another great weekend on the PGA Tour. You have Brendon Labatte, who is doing his things with the Riders. You have Brett Jones, who is about to embark on what one would think is a solid CFL career with Calgary and you have Derrick Pouliot who is trying to help Portland win the Memorial Cup. His play is overshadowed somewhat by that of Seth Jones and Tyler Wotherspoon, but that kid can play and he will play for Pittsburgh in the NHL one day. There is a reason they traded up to get him. By the way, DeLaet's top 10 effort meant a paycheque of 174,200 giving him a yearly total of 637 thousand this year. This blogger says DeLaet takes home a first place cheque between now and the end of the 2014 season.

--If the U of R Rams can get former Hawaii quarterback Cayman Shutter to play for them, they could very well be playing for the Hardy and Vanier Cups this year. How much eligibility does he have?

--Good on Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks for their statement on the Raffi Torres suspension that cost them 100-thousand dollars. The Sharks were absolutely right in what they said. Can you really tell me that the Brad Stuart hit on Justin Williams Saturday was any worse than the Torres hit. As I said, I'm not the biggest Torres fan out there, but he got screwed on that one.

--Canada's Victoria Day weekend is here and the Chicago Cubs have a better record than the Toronto Blue Jays.

--Perhaps if the Blue Jays had hired Terry Francona to be their manager, that would not be the case. By the way, Francona's Cleveland Indians lead the American League Central.

--Canada hasn't won a medal at the World Hockey Championships in four straight years? Is that concerning? I realize we don't send our "A" team to the worlds, but we send over medal-worthy teams don't we?

--More than one Canucks fan has mentioned that Henrik and Daniel Sedin have played much better at the Worlds in their Swedish jerseys than they have in their Vancouver ones during the SC playoffs. Could the Sedins be two players that would rather win a World Championship for their country than a Stanley Cup championship for their team. There are many Euros out there like that and you might add the names Kovalchuk and Ovechkin to that as well.

--I still think the Oilers should kick the tires of Lindy Ruff and Dave Tippett and if they like what they see, make them head coach and ditch Ralph Krueger. I'm not a fan.

--Good news for High Impact Wrestling fans. The venue is changing to a bigger one. Starting with the July card, the action will happen at the Hungarian Club. Good for the performers to have a larger venue as more and more people are starting to come out to shows.

--11 years ago this past Saturday, Mrs. Scruffy made the biggest mistake of her life. She said "I do". What an 11 years its been! Many more are on the agenda I hope.

--I'm so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed.


Anonymous said...

I never understand why media people keep bad mouthing other cities in their own province. I worked on the administration side of media stations for 15 years in Alberta and Saskatchewan and I was so sick of that by the time I left. Unfortunately it is the so called "Sports Media" that is the worst at it. I read sports reports and blogs from all different locations and it does happen everywhere, but, at least in the last couple years, you and Pederson are the worst that I have seen. It is really sad, but obviously you must get some sort of pleasure from it and it is your blog, so am sure it will continue.

I was at the game on Sunday and it was great to see the Blades win - one of the most exciting games I have attended anywhere. I would have loved to have seen more people there but obviously they felt they had better things to do. As one person I was talking to from Ontario said, most CHL teams would be ecstatic to have close to 10,000 people at a game.

Keep cheering your own team and your own town/city - and make sure you go out and support them where ever they are and be happy for other places when they do well or have something that you don't

Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

You and pederson keep talking about media outlets and twitter being all over what you guys would describe a failure for the Blades organization.
And yet I have been looking for examples of people ripping on the Blades and Saskatoon and can't find any, can you provide some examples here??

Anonymous said...

Mitch - heads-up on DeLaet earnings. He was sitting at $637,000 prior to his finish this weekend. Add in the $174,200 he won at the Byron Nelson, and he is now at $811,384 for 2013 earnings/winnings. Pretty darn good !!!

Anonymous said...

Who is this Murray guy hassling you on Twitter? What a stain! He is exact proof of the mentality of Saskatoon sports fans. The Blades and Brodsky must be so disappointed with the way their fanbase has let them down. That rink was maybe three quarters sold last night.


Anonymous said...

Two more weeks is right. When June gets here, so does CFL football. WOOHOO!!

Mitchell Blair said...

Anon 2....this one is for you.

RT @HerbZurkowsky1: Why are there so many empty seats at the Memorial Cup game. Do people not realize host team's playing? Looks bush on Saskatoon.

@GlobalJesus: Hate to rag on my former city but cmon - how is Credit Union Centre not sold out for a @bladeshockey game in #MCMemorialCup game? #yxe #sad

tberbs ‏@tberbs18 18 May
Saskatoon Mem Cup half empty...proving again its a s***ty sports town #cantsupportjuniorhockeybutwantaCFLteam #brutal

Kelly Friesen ‏@KellyFriesen 18 May
Hey Saskatoon, MacKinnon, Drouin and Jones are playing in your backyard. You should check them out. I hear they're good at hockey

Guy Flaming ‏@TPS_Guy 18 May
Only 8871 fans to see the top two ranked teams in the CHL and this smorgasbord of future NHLers. #Hmmmm

Chris Hodges ‏@c_hodges 18 May
Top two teams and top three prospects playing in front of <9000 people. I never again want to hear how "great a sports town" Saskatoon is

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the fine folk in Saskatoon would say if the Grey Cup was played to a 70 percent sold Mosaic Stadium in a game where the Riders are playing? Exactly!!
The bottom line here is Saskatoon has proven again to the country that its unable and unwilling to support a major sporting event unless its university based.
They want the CFL, they want the NHL yet when the opportunity arises to show what a great sports city they are, they cower and stay away.
The excuses I have heard is long weekend, ticket prices, bad rink location, etc. etc. etc. As terrible as the Pats have been, Regina wouldn't embarrass themselves in front of a national audience the way Saskatoon has. You have to think the Blades are going to take a loss on this event unless they were budgeting for crowds of 10-grand. I hope last nights win spurs some people to go to the game against Portland. Its on TV though so they will stay home.


Anonymous said...

"If the U of R Rams can get former Hawaii quarterback Cayman Shutter to play for them, they could very well be playing for the Hardy and Vanier Cups this year. How much eligibility does he have?"

So a guy who has taken fewer than a dozens snaps in the NCAA is going to propel a team with no offensive or defensive linemen to the Vanier Cup? Stick to commenting on breakfast options at Tim Horton's, or some other subject you may have a clue about.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many folks from Regina are supporting the Memorial Cup?
I would certainly hope that it is comparable to support the Riders receive from Saskatoon.

Anonymous said...

meh. they are averaging 9300 fans a game. that would put them behind halifax, ottawa, hamilton, vancouver as the fifth highest attended memorial cup. vancouver averaged 14000 a game but the other three were around 10000. so its not all that bad i dont think

Anonymous said...

Mitch and everyone else is correct. Saskatoon choked on hosting the Memorial Cup which means this tournament will NEVER be in Saskatchewan again. That is a fact.

Kudos to H.I.W, moving to a bigger venue and gaining more fans. It is a great product, but Mitch has been pumping their tires on his Blog for years. To watch Mitch and Rex Roberts go at it is a must see event.

The Blades similar to the local team in Regina have a roadblock in getting to the next level. Saskatoon will not be in the final and this could have been avoided had the tough decision been made last season. Unfortunately it is a year to late, but when this tournament ends Lorne Molleken's days of coaching the Saskatoon Blades will be over.

Anonymous said...

A QB that went to a division 1 school and learned a pro-style offence from a former NFL offensive co-ordinator who also was on two national champ'ship teams at USC. No, he won't be any good at all in the CIS. One of the top 10 stupidest statements I have seen on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Mitch I know everyone has an opinion where I enjoy coming to your blog/twitter feed for news and knowledge but this week I've lost a lot of respect for you.

The trashing of Saskatoon calling it an embarrassment over and over is getting ridiculous. You just can't leave it alone. Yes seats were empty but I went to two games over the weekend and had a blast. And like many have said 9-10k for junior hockey are really good numbers.

I enjoyed it with family and friends where some of them have worked very hard at bringing the tournament to Saskatoon and ensuring fans are enjoying themselves. Many of them talked about loving to have more people in the seats but the show must go on and it was evident that they were ecstatic and excited to see the best under 20 hockey talent in the nation which the tournament should be about.

You've set a precedent that Regina will never fail at hosting a sporting event or have any types of hiccups and it's funny that I bring that up. I remember attending the most recent Rider home playoff game as a rabid Rider fan in 2010 where do you remember those 3-4k worth of empty seats? Remember that? Pot meet kettle much? I'm talking about the 'Nations Team' the Riders for crying out loud and a playoff game no less. Makes your comment of this isn't a Wednesday in January quite irrelevant and don't even bring on any excuses that it was cold or the team came into the playoffs not looking so hot. Saskatoon isn't supposed to make any excuses that this was a long weekend and the first nice weather Sask has had in 7-8 months. I'd say the same 'excuse' rules applied to Regina for a home playoff game in November.

We'll never know the answer if Regina could fill a 13k seat barn but as that Rider playoff game proved your city is not immune to having big events not sold out.

Saskatoon has had sports success and so has Regina. Enjoy the games and the entertainment which I know you have. And to let you know I'm not from Saskatoon or Regina for that matter but enjoy visiting both cities and plenty of the sports events they've held over the years in my home province.

Cheers Curt

Anonymous said...

There's a rumour going around that MJ wants to put a bid in for the MC in three years. I don't know if city can handle it or not, but I know we won't give up on the Warriors the way Saskatoon gave up on the Blades. I can't believe the ignorance of so many to turn their back on the team when the nation is watching.

75flyersbestteamever said...

Just hope the former "rainbow warrior" can adjust to the 7-11 slurpee once again from the Pineapple shaved ice of Hawaii.
He must have really ticked off the Dean's wife...daughter..son (not that there's anything wrong with that) that Regina from Hawaii is the next choice.(respect fullly given to the Queen City)

Anonymous said...

Who else bid for this event? Did Robinson and the WHL cronies go for the money here because Stoon had the biggest venue? Just wondering if Calgary or Edmonton made a bid and why it wouldn't have gone there.

BTW: The people of Saskatoon can defend their city all they want, but it looks real bad on TV seeing all those empty seats.


Anonymous said...

Weyburn is proud of those four and also proud of the fact that we hosted an RBC Cup to capacity crowds at the Colosseum when our team was terrible. We never abandoned the Wings the way Saksatoon has abandoned the Blades. Terrible!!

Anonymous said...

The Rider support compared to MC Support is apples and oranges. A Rider game is a one day affair in which many from Saskatoon drive back and forth.

I went to Friday's game because I was rolling through Saskatoon on the way home from Edmonton, but I don't think many Reginans are taking a week off and spending money for a hotel, etc. etc. etc. Do Saskatoon people do that for Rider games?

Being at the game Friday, I was very disappointed. Disappointed with the fact that no one in Saskatoon seemed to care about the Blades or the event. Embarassing might be too strong a word to use, but the people of Saskatoon should be ashamed of themselves for letting such a big event go by without even seemingly caring. You want an NHL or a CFL team and you get mad when people laugh. This is why!

That's my two cents on the matter


Anonymous said...

Someone in Saskatoon needs to answer me this. You want the NHL or the AHL in your town, yet when an event of this magnitude comes along you turn your back on it. Does Saskatoon think its above junior hockey? Winnipeg showed people how much it loved the game by selling out a World Jrs, selling out NHL exhibition games and having solid crowds for Moose games with frequent sellouts. How does anyone in Saskatoon expect to get a better caliber of hockey when they only barely fill half their building for a Memorial Cup game which is the best Jr Hockey has to offer.
Someone from Saskatoon needs to answer that question for me. Don't use the long weekend excuse or the tickets were too much excuse Tell me why!


Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the fan support or lack of it, but give credit to the fans who helped that poor young woman finish the anthem. What a nightmarish few minutes that was.

Anonymous said...

Perception is reality. The look on TV makes Saskatoon look extremely bad. I hear that its very loud in there and that's great. However, the rink should be sold out.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Are you talking the game where Clermont scored in double overtime. If it is, I hate to break it to you, but that game was sold out.


Anonymous said...

The only ones who say the empty seats make Saskatoon look bad are the Media! The attendance is the last thing on peoples' minds when they turn on the TV to watch some outstanding Canadian Junior hockey players/Teams. Since when do the media determine when and if an event is successful? I live in Regina and I am proud of BOTH of our Major Cities - Saskatoon and Regina. Saskatchewan folks are the BEST.... !!!!! Quit bashing each others`cities - they are Both GREAT Cities, where Saskatchewan Folk (THE BEST) live !!!

Anonymous said...


I am speaking about that exact Rider home playoff game the 2010 OT matchup between the Lions and Riders that went to double overtime. I was at the game and it wasn't a sellout or reported to be a sellout.

I was off on the 3-4 k as Mosaic Stadium capacity is 30,048 and announced attendance was 29,215. The facts are the facts but regardless it was just a comparison that Regina isn't immune to a slip up.

I'm just tired of the media types ecspecially Blair making this the story when it should be about the hockey. I really like the last paragraph Anon 1 made cause that is exactly what it should be about.


Anonymous said...

Curt, Rob:

You are both right. The game technically was a sellout because of the added seats, but was 800 shy of every seat being sold. I would know this since I worked in the Rider regime at that time.

Anonymous said...

Steve asks a very good question.

Anonymous said...

What the Blades should have done is close off the upper deck and sell in the lower bowl only. Once that was sold, start selling the upper deck on the side that will be seen on TV cameras. I don't think people would be saying what they are if they were to have done that.

Anonymous said...

To answer Steve...there are many people in Saskatoon that know that neither Saskatoon or Regina could support an Ahl or NHL team. It would get good support for a couple years but as soon as there are a couple bad years the support would be gone. The only thing that would save it would be the corporate support which is what the Blades, and Junior Hockey in general, do not have enough of.

As I said on the first post, we would all love the attendance to be more, but its not. it still will be about the fifth largest attended Memorial Cup, behind cities that, for the most part, are much larger. Also, one event that has lower attendance than we like, does not mean the end of any events coming to the province - remember Regina had poor attendance at a lot of the World Juniors and it didn't end events coming here. Quit being so damn dramatic!!!

Anonymous said...

They made fun of the singer butchering the US anthem on the Howard Stern show today. Heard she’s getting a second chance to get it right. She can’t screw this one up if she does.

Anonymous said...

7,500 fans last night to see the top 3 NHL draft prospects. Portland was drawing 11,000 fans for their series vs Edmonton earlier this month.

75flyersbestteamever said...

Any less crowd at the Mem Cup games and I will start to think I'm watching IIHF or World Juniors from anywhere outside North America.(
I think S'toon was in running with Red Deer for hosting, so,really the question is would you rather have a capacity 6500-7000 seat arena crowd (unsure what Centrium holds in R.D.) or possibility of getting more from larger venue and risking empty seats?...the money generated probably is equal, however,.
Can the organizers do the "ticket, drink and food combo for $___ to put more butts in seats, or ticket giveaways to kids, kicked out of Caucus Senators, or charities for the nosebleeds, etc.
Would the news that London is the site of 2014 Mem Cup discourage some of the Knights faithful from making the trip when its in their back yard next year?

mike from Vita, MB, formerly of the Yorkton area said...

Portland population- 583k- 2010 census
attendance 11k- 19%

Saskatoon population 222k- 2011 census

what's so great about Portland's attendance considering the size of their city?

reading through the comments, we're seeing "us vs them". We're Saskatchewannites 1st. Band together, do not be petty! That is allowed after the Cup is over. Bury the hatchet till next Monday

Anonymous said...

This population argument is a pile of crap.

Someone should perhaps start asking why Saskatoon built such a big building when they don't have the population to support it.

This is why Regina isn't building a 60-thousand seat stadium.

The bottom line here is that people in Saskatoon are not supporting this event and it looks bad on them.

Anonymous said...

At the current average fans per game, Saskatoon will have the highest attended Memorial Cup in the last six years, the second most in the last ten years and the fifth most ever. If Saskatoon is not supporting the Memorial Cup, then the only logical conclusion is that long ago the rest of Canada has stopped supporting it too.

Now before someone says that Saskatoon's arena has a larger capacity, then your argument becomes that if Credit Union Centre was similar in size to lots of CHL arenas and only held 7,500 then it's a success with four sellouts so far and Saskatoon sure does support the Memorial Cup. But because Saskatoon has a large arena that is too big for the ticket demand seen almost anywhere else in Canada, then Saskatoon has failed.

Brad T

Jim said...

The Riders were on life support for years, they needed telethon's to keep them viable. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Brad, if you build a rink that seats 15-thousand for hockey it means people there thought there was enough of an audience to fill it. There isn't and that means Saskatoon is a bad sports town. I'm not expecting you to fill it out the way the Riders fill Mosaic, but I do expect your city and surrounding area to watch the best in Canadian junior hockey compete for a championship. Just admit that the city has made itself look bad by turning their back on the Blades.

Chris G

Anonymous said...

The only thing that could make Saskatoon suck even more is if Chad Novak was their mayor!