Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tigers Told To Leave Their New Rink by City of Medicine Hat

The Medicine Hat Tigers have been told to vacate the Canalta Centre unless a permanent lease agreement is in place by April 7.

“We are disappointed that a fair and reasonable permanent license agreement has not yet been completed for use of the Canalta Centre,” said Mayor Ted Clugston. “The Tigers are part of the history and the fabric of our community. We want to see them make the Canalta Centre their home for many years to come.”

A news release from the city states that if a deal is reached between the hockey club and SMG, the company contracted by the city to operate the Canalta Centre, the Tigers would be welcomed back to the Canalta Centre.

Clugston says the majority of city council is on board with the eviction notice.

“This has been going on for quite a while and the citizens — and council has to represent all 63,000 citizens — have a massive financial investment in the building. Ultimately we have to look after all the taxpayers,” he said. “If there’s one item or a hundred items outstanding the fact remains that we don’t have a lease. The city and SMG have been very patient waiting an entire hockey season and now it’s time to make a move.”

Asked about the possibility of the team leaving, Clugston said that’s a worst-case scenario that nobody wants to see happen and the best-case scenario is that a lease deal is made by the end of the day today.

A temporary access agreement was put in place in August 2015 prior to the start of the Western Hockey League season. The city says that agreement was renewed 11 times over the course of the season, with the most recent agreement expiring March 24.

(Medicine Hat News) 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

UFC Adding Canadian Content to Its Ottawa Show

The UFC has added six Canadian fighters to its June card at The Arena at TD Place in Ottawa.

The MMA organization had previously announced the card's main event No. 1 welterweight contender Rory (Red King) MacDonald against No. 2 Stephen (Wonderboy) Thompson but the venue was not made public until Tuesday. The UFC also unveiled eight more fights on the card.

Montreal-based MacDonald (18-3-0) is coming off a UFC 189 loss to 170-pound champion (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler while Thompson (12-1) stopped former welterweight title-holder Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks last time out.

Also on the Ottawa show, Montreal welterweight Patrick (The Predator) Cote takes on American Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone. Ranked No. 9 at 155 pounds, Cerrone (29-7-0 with one no contest) won his welterweight debut in February when he stopped Alex Oliveira.

Cote (23-9-0) has won his last three fights and is 5-1 since dropping to welterweight three years ago.

In choosing The Arena at TD Place, the UFC opted for the smaller of the two main arenas in Ottawa. The televised card will be held at the 10,000-seat home of the OHL Ottawa 67's rather than the larger Canadian Tire Centre where the Senators play.

Tom Wright, the UFC's executive vice-president and general manager for Australia, New Zealand and Canada, said the smaller venue was chosen because its location allowed for ``fan experience'' and other events prior to the show.

Venue size was not a major factor, he said, adding that the Canadian Tire Centre capacity would be reduced to 16,000 or less due to the fight night setup.

In other fights on the card;

Former minor-league hockey enforcer Steve Bosse (11-2-0) of St-Jean Sur Richelieu, Que., meets American Sean O'Connell (17-7-0). Bosse is coming off a first-round KO win over James Te Huna in Brisbane on March 19.

Toronto's Elias (The Spartan) Theodorou (11-1-0) takes on American Sam Alvey (25-7-0 with one no contest).

Charlottetown's Jason Saggo (11-2-0) tackles Brazil's Leandro Silva (19-2-1 with one no contest).

Toronto light-heavyweight Misha Cirkunov (11-2-0) looks for his third win in the UFC when he faces Moldovan newcomer Ion Cutelaba (11-1-0).

Montreal lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier (8-2-0) fights France's Thibault Gouti (11-1-0).

American middleweight Tamdan McCrory (14-3-0) faces Poland's Krzysztof Jotko (17-1-0)

Montreal-based Dominican welterweight Alex Garcia (13-3-0) meets American Colby Covington (8-1-0).

Ottawa becomes the ninth Canadian city to host a UFC show, joining Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. It will mark the UFC's 20th event north of the border.

The UFC plans two more cards in Canada this year, including one pay-per-view. Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver are in the mix for the shows.

(Canadian Press)

Monday, March 28, 2016

NHL Three Stars Of The Week

Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott and Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 27.

Parise paced the NHL with five goals and shared the League lead with seven points in three contests to help the Wild (37-28-11, 85 points) extend their winning streak to a season-high five games and move back into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He posted one assist in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings March 22. Parise then registered 3-1-4, including his fifth career hat trick and League-leading third of the season, in a 6-2 triumph over the Calgary Flames March 24. He closed the week with a pair of goals, including the winner, in a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche March 26. The 31-year-old Minneapolis native paces the Wild with 24 goals in 65 games this season (24-25-49), his eighth career and third straight 20-goal campaign.

Elliott stopped all 52 shots he faced over two appearances to help the Blues (45-22-9, 99 points) extend their shutout streak to a franchise-record four consecutive games and clinch their fifth straight playoff berth. He made 37 saves in a 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks March 22, followed by 15 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks March 25. In doing so, Elliott matched a career high with his third consecutive personal shutout - a feat last achieved April 7-11, 2013. The 30-year-old Newmarket, Ont., native - who is 20-7-6 with four shutouts in 37 outings this season - paces the NHL with a 1.95 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 2015-16.

 Kessel shared the League lead in assists (5) and points (7) to help the Penguins (42-25-8, 92 points) win two of their three starts and finish the week in third place in the Metropolitan Division. After being held off the scoresheet in a 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils March 24, Kessel set career highs for assists (4) and points (5) in one game in a 7-2 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings March 26. He then recorded 1-1-2, including an assist on the overtime goal, in a 3-2 victory against the New York Rangers March 27. The 28-year-old Madison, Wis., native has 23-31-54 in 75 contests this season, his eighth consecutive 50-point campaign.

Something To "Mitch" About

--Tyler Brown and the Regina Pats are coming home for what will be a huge Game 3 Tuesday night at the Brandt Centre in front of what should be a sold-out crowd. How loud can you be Regina??? After playing an extremely undisciplined game in the opening game of the best of 7, Regina responded and found a way to shut down a potent Lethbridge offence in a 3-0 win. This series is a long ways from being over, but Regina got what they wanted. Tuesday and Wednesday should be a lot of fun under the orange-top.

--What the hell is happening in Brandon? Is there anyone out there, and I mean anyone who thought the Edmonton Oil Kings would walk into Westman Place and beat the high-flying Wheat Kings twice? An Edmonton win in this series might be one of the biggest upsets in WHL history.

--The Moose Jaw Warriors are showing they are a better team than the Prince Albert Raiders from top to bottom. PA's goaltending has let them down in watching the first two games of the series. Zach Sawchenko is winning that battle and he hasn't really been that spectacular.

--Speaking of the Warriors, remember Dustin Boyd? From the where are they now file, Boyd is going to play for Kazahkstan at the upcoming World Championships after gaining citizenship.  He has been playing in the KHL for the past number of years.

--The SJHL is getting attention around North America for the brawl in Flin Flon last week which started when a member of the Weyburn Red Wings tried to get away with a moose leg thrown on the ice after a Bombers win. The video clearly shows a Flin Flon player skating the length of the ice which started the whole event, yet when the discipline came down, that player that started everything got off with nothing.  That is just incredibly asinine if you ask me! It also makes me wonder how many three legged moose are wandering the forests in Flin Flon. Somewhere, Bullwinkle isn't happy!! One of the highlights during my time with the league was a visit to the historic Whitney Forum in Flin Flon. It is a building all hockey fans should spend time in. It is a hockey shrine! 

--55-thousand people showed at BC Place for a football game Friday night.  Canada's national soccer team got blitzed by Mexico in a World Cup qualifier by a score of 3-0 in a result which could have been much worse, but the fact is 55-thousand people showed up for the game. A friend of mine texted me just after the game started sarcastically asking if that crowd equals what the Lions get all season. In all seriousness, the Lions have to be looking at that crowd and wondering why they can't get that for their games. If they could find out, it would make BC Place the toughest place to play in the CFL.

--Canada's Chelsea Carey did not win the World Womens Curling Championship in Swift Current, but I don't think the locals are letting that get in the way of what looked to be a pretty good week.

After getting into the playoffs Thursday night to make the weekend a success, Carey's chances to win came to an end Saturday afternoon at the Credit Union I-Plex as she was beaten by Russia's Anna Siderova with Siderova preventing the Canadians from winning the bronze Sunday as well. The community was caught up in curling fever, and like they did years ago, Swift Current showed an event like this in their city can go off without a problem. Well done to all involved! The one thing I heard though is that the Canadian rink weren't exactly the most accomodating rink over the week, and that there were some who weren't disappointed with the fact the host side walked away without a medal. I am not sure exactly what went down, but there were quite a few people disappointed with the attitude of the Canadian reps.

--The Saskatchewan Rush are winning over more and more fans with each game. Many have made the trip up Highway 11 for a game this year and many have come back impressed. Will the Rush hold a training camp or a pre-season game in Regina so those who for whatever reason can't get to Saskatoon for a game be able to see what all the hype is about first-hand.  If the Riders can head to Saskatoon for training camp, I would think Saskatchewan's 2nd pro team can make the trip south for their training camp. It would benefit both cities tremendously.

--How about this stat from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun .... This is 10 straight seasons out of the playoffs for Edmonton. This is 10 of 11 for the Leafs. This is six of seven for Calgary. And this is 14 of 16 for Winnipeg, dating back to the Atlanta days.  WOE CANADA!!

--Prediction:  The Vancouver Canucks will end up with the worst record in the NHL and have the best shot at drafting Auston Matthews. Talk about falling completely off the deep end. Vancouver has seemingly forgotten how to score.

--Admit it, you love the puppymonkeybaby commercial. Don't deny it!!

--The Toronto Blue Jays need to find a trading partner for Drew Hutchison and they need to find one within the first month of the season. If they can get someone who can save 25-30 games a year, move Aaron Sanchez into the rotation and make Roberto Osuna an 8th inning guy, I like their chances of getting back to the playoffs. If they can't, I don't know if they will or not. One more question when it comes to the Jays---did Mark Buehrle ever officially announce his retirement? If he did, I missed it!

--Did you pick North Carolina, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Villanova to be in the final 4. If you didn't, don't worry, because less than a percent of people who made brackets in the ESPN pool had those teams.

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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ricky Ray Is Eager To Get His Career Back on Track

The giggle alone spoke volumes.

Ricky Ray is cool, collected and efficient, both on the field and during interviews. The veteran quarterback is almost as well-known for his friendly but button-downed approach to answering questions as he is for his hall of fame statistics. So it was noticeable when the Toronto Argonauts’ starting quarterback punctuated his answer with a little giddiness.

“That just makes things so much easier, mentally,” Ray said of the confidence he now has in his surgically repaired shoulder, laughter coating the sentence with an air of welcome relief. “Because you’re not getting out there every day feeling that pain and going through that.

“So that’s been awesome.”

The relief is quite understandable. Ray is hoping that he has fully emerged from two years of pain and rehab hell. Hoping that he can pick up where he left off before being injured during a game against the Calgary Stampeders on the night of Aug. 23, 2013.

“It was tough the last couple of years where you go out and it just doesn’t feel good everyday and you’ve got to fight through that,” said Ray over the phone from his home in Redding, Calif. “It feels good to just go out and throw again.”

(Toronto Argonauts)

BC Lions Issue Statement on David Braley

The BC Lions Football Club is pleased to provide the following update on owner David Braley who was admitted to a local Vancouver hospital Thursday morning:

“Mr. Braley’s condition has improved notably over the past two days. He is still in hospital at this time and will likely remain there until midweek.”

Friday, March 25, 2016

This and That

--Welcome to Friday! Good Friday! Here are the weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they come in no particular order!

--The question has been asked several times over the past few months. What do you think about what the Riders are doing? I state time and time again---I LOVE IT! Change was needed after a 3-15 season and while it does suck to see guys like Weston Dressler, John Chick and Chris Getzlaf continue their careers elsewhere, I get it. The game is different under the salary cap and as Chris Jones has stated so many times before he is not here to win a popularity contest, he is here to win championships.  We are quite a ways from training camp, and I do have some questions at this time---questions that I'm sure will be answered by the time everyone converges on Saskatoon.  Here they are


  Darian Durant will be back for 2016, but what is the plan when it comes to who the other QB's will be. Will Brett Smith definitely be the number 2 or is there a plan to bring in someone else with CFL experience and if so, who? James Franklin would probably top that list seeing Chris Jones knows what he can do, but there are others as well who could be called upon if there is to be a competition for number 2 at camp. I was hoping Keith Price would be back. If he had, I think he might have had a leg up on Smith because he appeared to be a little more polished than the improvisational Smith. That wish came to an end when Price went to BC. If he is given a chance, I say he flourishes there.


 Jerome Messam is gone, Anthony Allen is gone and  Kory Sheets is history (get used to that because he is).  I love the Matt Walter signing, but I don't know if he can be a starter or not. Stephen Houston could be a CFL running back as he fits that criteria, but we didn't see a lot of him. Terrence Cobb should be a Sheets 2.0. If Saskatchewan trades down in the draft, could they grab the University of Calgary's Mercer Timmis. Curtis Steele is also in the mix.  Running backs are said to be a dime a dozen, so maybe this isn't that big of a problem, but I would think the braintrust are seeking some more experience back there which makes me think Steele goes in to camp with it being his job to lose.


  Chris Jones and John Murphy have revamped what was a putrid defence by releasing guys like Tyron Brackenridge, Terrell Maze, and Jake Doughty, trading Andre Monroe and not re-signing John Chick. Tearrius George, Jeff Knox and Tyree Hollins are still around, but there isn't a lot leftover from the disaster that was 3-15. The line is solid with the additions of Justin Capiccotti and Shawn Lemon. Knox will have Greg Jones beside him in the linebacking corp, but even though guys like Otha Foster and Ed Gainey have been added, I'm still unsure about the secondary.

The bottom line here is the expectations one has about the 2016 Riders. I think it is too much to even consider this team to be a Grey Cup contender at this time. Yes, the West has been weakened somewhat, but I don't see the Riders finishing first or second as they battle Winnipeg for that 3rd spot in the West. There is nothing saying they can't do what Ottawa did last year, but realistically, I think you have to hope for an 8-10 win season which would be progress after last year. Hell, even 6 wins would accomplish that wouldn't it.

--The new /=S=/ is the old logo with a twist and I'm OK with that. I will admit when I saw the release come over from Ryan Pollock on Wednesday afternoon, I wasn't sure what I was going to see when I opened the picture of the new (old) logo, and I was somewhat relieved to see the new (old) logo was just the iconic "S" being modernized somewhat.  Many other teams have changed their logo without changing it. After a season of change, I don't know if Rider Nation would be ready for a new version of the "S".

--Brad Wall and Cam Broten went at it Wednesday night in the leaders debate. While both tried to get their point across, the debate (yelling session) only reinforced in my mind who I will vote for on April 4. I hope it did for you as well.  Neither would come out and say they will get Weston Dressler back in Rider colours though. I guess this truly means he isn't coming back. SIGHHHHH!!!

--At the end of the day, I am guessing the WHL East final will feature the Brandon Wheat Kings against either Red Deer or Calgary meaning the WHL final four will be void of Saskatchewan for another year, but I am looking forward to what should be two great first round series in this neck of the woods as the Pats play Lethbridge and Moose Jaw beats Prince Albert.  I think the Warriors should be able to handle the Raiders while the Regina-Lethbridge series is one I think will go the distance.  The addition of Colby Williams to the Pats blueline will be a huge factor in this series and it may be what pushes Regina over the top.  Lethbridge may have a better group of forwards from top to bottom (and that is certainly debatable), but Regina has a much better collection on the blueline and that should get them into Round 2.  This is the best time of year if you are a hockey fan so get out there and enjoy the twists and turns of what the playoffs bring.

--Thumbs down to the WHL for their "new" website.  That isn't what this junior hockey fan is looking for.

--Saskatoon Tourism wants a downtown sports facility. This just in-----they had a chance for that years ago and it got put out on Highway 16. How's that been workin for ya??!! Where was this thinking years ago. What's next, a decision to have a casino in downtown Saskatoon too? No, this isn't a Saskatoon-Regina thing as some of you want to constantly make it out to be. I would think many in Saskatoon know and realize a downtown sports facility is something that should have been in your fine city (which it is) many, many years ago. I hope you get it, but I also hope if you do, it doesn't swallow up the events Sask-Tel Centre has and wants.

--The World Womens Curling Championship will wrap up in Swift Current this weekend.  It has been another solid year for the sport thanks to TSN.  The Scotties final in Grande Prairie drew 825-thousand Canadians while the Brier final drew 1.1 million. That is more than many CFL games got this year. Is that a sign of curling's popularity or waning fan interest in the CFL? I think it is a little of both. Some will ask how curling can get so many viewers. The answer is easy----the curlers are miked and you can hear what they are thinking and discussing. You can then react and if you have any knowledge of the game you can openly debate what is about to be done. You can't do that in the NHL, NBA, NFL or CFL with consistency. I don't see those leagues opening the door as wide as what the curlers do so those leagues will have to find other ways to keep the fan engaged. Three of the four are doing it, but the 4th isn't. You can decide for yourself what league I am talking about.

--Say what you will about Jack Eichel in Buffalo, but the Sabres best young forward is Sam Reinhart. If his brother Griffin can be as special in Edmonton as what Sam is in Buffalo, the Oilers problems on defence won't  as large as some perceive it to be. Alas, Griffin has a long ways to go before he gets to Sam's status.

--RIP to Joe Garagiola.  Before the advent of cable television and MLB TV, the NBC game of the week with Tony Kubek and Joe were the only way to watch baseball games which didn't involve the Montreal Expos. He was great at what he did and he made me a fan of a game I still have a tremendous amount of passion for today.  Thanks Joe!

--Is RG3 really the answer for the Cleveland Browns? Is there any quarterback out there who is the answer for that team. Bring back the ghost of Bernie Kosar!

--That's all I got. Have a great Easter weekend! Don't tell your kids you are having rabbit stew for supper Sunday night---it may not go over well!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

WHL Eastern Conference Playoff Preview


The 2016 WHL Playoffs open tonight in Brandon, MB as 16 WHL Clubs begin the quest to become the 50th WHL Champions and earn a spot in the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Red Deer, AB.

In the WHL’s Eastern Conference, the Brandon Wheat Kings finished first in the Conference and scored the most goals amongst all WHL Clubs. Can the defending Eastern Conference Champions return to the WHL Championship Series? Will the MasterCard Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels be able to get in through the front door in the face of injuries? Can the resurgent Lethbridge Hurricanes continue their strong play into late May? Or, will another Eastern Conference Club make their statement in the post-season.

Here's a look at the WHL’s Eastern Conference Round 1 match-ups:

2015-16 regular season record 
Brandon:                            48-18-4-2, 102pts (L10: 9-0-1-0) 
Edmonton:                         29-36-6-1, 65pts (L10: 2-8-0-0)
2015-16 head-to-head record 
Brandon:                            1-1-1-1, 6pts
Edmonton:                         3-1-0-0, 6pts
2015-16 head-to-head top scorers 
Jayce Hawryluk                 3gp-1g-5a-6pts
Tyler Coulter                      4gp-2g-3a-5pts

Brett Pollock                      4gp-3g-5a-8pts
Lane Bauer                         4gp-3g-2a-5pts

The Brandon Wheat Kings come into the playoffs as the regular season’s East Division and Eastern Conference Champions. Jayce Hawryluk and Nolan Patrick head up an attack that ranked first in the WHL in regular season scoring and boasted seven players with 20 or more goals this season. Hawryluk finished fourth overall in WHL scoring with 106 points (47g-59a) while playing in just 58 games. Patrick was not too far behind as he placed fifth overall in WHL scoring with 102 points (41g-61a) in 72 games played. Not bad for a player that isn’t draft-eligible until 2017. Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Provorov was solid on the blue-line all season long as the native of Yaroslavl, Russia finished first in scoring amongst defencemen with 73 points (21g-52a) and also posted a league-best plus-64 rating. The Wheat Kings ranked second in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall in power play efficiency, executing on 23.4% of their chances. The Wheat Kings also posted a record of 43-11-3-2 when they outshot their opponent this season. Goaltender Jordan Papirny has been steady all season long for the Wheat Kings as he posted a record of 31-17-4-2 to go along with a 2.61 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and six shutouts.

The 2014 WHL and MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings battled their way into the playoffs and earned the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference after defeating the Medicine Hat Tigers in a tiebreaker game by a score of 6-4. Veteran forward Brett Pollock led the Club in scoring with 78 points (30g-48a) to go along with a plus-21 rating and four short-handed goals. The Oil Kings owned the ninth-best power play in the WHL with a success rate of 22.4%. Oil Kings defenceman Dyson Mayo and Aaron Irving were productive from an offensive stand point as they ranked third and fourth in Club scoring. Mayo collected 43 points (6g-37a) while Irving notched 40 points (9g-31a) and combined for nine power play goals. Former Vancouver Giants Payton Lee will get the nod for Edmonton as starting goaltender Patrick Dea recovers from injury. Lastly, Edmonton will be seeking vengeance as it was Brandon who eliminated the Oil Kings in Round 1 of the 2015 WHL Playoffs in five games.

Series A Schedule 

Game Visitor   Home Date Time
1 Edmonton @ Brandon Thursday, March 24 7:30
2 Edmonton @ Brandon Friday, March 25 7:30
3 Brandon @ Edmonton Wednesday, March 30 7:00
4 Brandon @ Edmonton Thursday, March 31 7:00
5* Brandon @ Edmonton Sunday, April 3 4:00
6* Edmonton @ Brandon Tuesday, April 5 7:00
7* Edmonton @ Brandon Wednesday, April 6 7:00
*If necessary

2015-16 regular season record 
Prince Albert:                   38-26-5-6, 84pts (L10: 4-6-0-0)
Moose Jaw:                       36-27-7-2, 81pts (L10: 4-5-0-1)
2015-16 head-to-head record  
Prince Albert:                   2-5-1-0, 5pts
Moose Jaw:                       6-2-0-0, 12pts
2015-16 head-to-head top scorers
Prince Albert:                     8gp-2g-5a-7pts
Jordan Tkatch:                  8gp-2g-5a-7pts
Moose Jaw:
Dryden Hunt                      8gp-9g-6a-15pts
Brayden Point                    7gp-7g-8a-15pts

The Prince Albert Raiders head into the WHL Playoffs as the second seed in the East Division and finished with 84 points. In addition, Prince Albert collected the second most wins on home-ice with 23. Led by Reid Gardiners’ 43 goals, the Raiders boasted four players who gathered at least 58 points. Gardiner finished eighth overall amongst all WHL skaters with 92 points (43g-49a) while defenceman Jesse Lees scored the second-most goals by defenceman with 23. The Raiders own a 22-1-2-1 record when leading after two periods of play this season. Veteran goaltender Rylan Parenteau and rookie netminder Ian Scott were solid for the Raiders this season as they combined to post 38 victories. Parenteau posted 25 wins and a 2.82 goals against average while Scott earned 13 victories and .892 save percentage.

The Moose Jaw Warriors return to the WHL Playoffs after an absence last season. Warriors’ leading scorer Dryden Hunt had a consistent campaign as he recorded 58 goals along with 58 assists for 116 points. Hunt’s performance has earned him a nomination for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as WHL Player of the Year. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect and Warriors captain Brayden Point had a solid season on both ends of the ice as he registered 88 points (35g-53a) to go along with a plus-24 rating in only 48 games. The Moose Jaw Warriors are productive on special teams as their power play ranked eighth in the League while their penalty killing finished seventh overall. Expect Marc McNulty to play a significant role on the Warriors blue line. Goaltender Zach Sawchenko posted 28 wins this season and the three-year veteran will get his first taste of playoff hockey. The series will be broadcasted on Shaw TV and Shaw HD channel 304 to viewers across Western Canada.

Series B Schedule
Game Visitor   Home Date Time
1 Moose Jaw @ Prince Albert Friday, March 25 7:00
2 Moose Jaw @ Prince Albert Saturday, March 26 7:00
3 Prince Albert @ Moose Jaw Monday, March 28 7:00
4 Prince Albert @ Moose Jaw Tuesday, March 29 7:00
5* Moose Jaw @ Prince Albert Friday, April 1 7:00
6* Prince Albert @ Moose Jaw Saturday, April 2 7:00
7* Moose Jaw @ Prince Albert Monday, April 4 7:00
*If necessary

2015-16 regular season record 
Lethbridge:                       46-24-1-1, 94pts (L10: 6-4-0-0)
Regina:                             36-28-3-5, 80pts (L10: 6-3-0-1)
2015-16 head-to-head record 
Lethbridge:                       1-2-0-1, 3pts
Regina:                             3-1-0-0, 6pts
2015-16 head-to-head top scorers
Brayden Burke                   4gp-2g-11a-13pts
Tyler Wong                        4gp-6g-5a-11pts

Adam Brooks                     4gp-3g-7a-10pts
Cole Sanford                      6gp-4g-4a-8pts

The Lethbridge Hurricanes went from missing the post-season in 2015 to claiming the Central Division crown in 2016, collecting 46 victories along the way. The Division crown was the ‘Canes first in nearly two decades (1996-97). The Hurricanes ended a six-year absence from the playoffs and their offence played a major role in their success. Brayden Burke led the Hurricanes in scoring this year with 109 points (27g-82a), which placed him third overall in WHL scoring. Featuring seven players with 20 or more goals and eight players with at least 50 points, Lethbridge is a potent offensive group. The Hurricanes scored the second-most goals in the Eastern Conference with 304 while allowing the third-fewest goals against amongst all Eastern Conference Clubs. The Hurricanes enjoyed success on special teams this year, including a strong power play unit that was the WHL’s best with 86 goals scored and a 28.9% success rate. Andrew Nielsen ranked third amongst all WHL defenceman in scoring as he tallied 18 goals and 52 assists for 70 points. Goaltenders Stuart Skinner and Jayden Sittler look to keep the Hurricanes rolling as they are set to participate in their first post-season.

The Regina Pats won six of their last 10 games to wrap up a playoff berth with the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Adam Brooks led the way with 120 points (38g-82a) to win the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL’s top scorer. Forwards Cole Sanford and Sam Steel collected 70 points each to give the Pats a trio that combined for 102 goals and 260 points this season. Regina was boosted this season with effective play from their defensive core. Connor Hobbs and Chase Harrison notched 41 points (19g-22a) and 38 points (8g-30a) respectively. Scoring early and often is essential for the Pats success as they own a 23-1-1-1 record when leading after the first period of play. Pats goaltender Tyler Brown carried the workload this season playing in 50 games to earn 21 wins and a .909 save percentage with two shutouts.

Series C Schedule
Game Visitor   Home Date Time
1 Regina @ Lethbridge Friday, March 25 7:00
2 Regina @ Lethbridge Saturday, March 26 7:00
3 Lethbridge @ Regina Tuesday, March 29 7:00
4 Lethbridge @ Regina Wednesday, March 30 7:00
5* Regina @ Lethbridge Friday, April 1 7:00
6* Lethbridge @ Regina Tuesday, April 5 7:00
7* Regina @ Lethbridge Wednesday, April 6 7:00
*If necessary

2015-16 regular season record 
Red Deer:                           45-24-1-2, 93pts (L10: 8-2-0-0) 
Calgary:                              42-26-2-2, 88pts (L10: 7-3-0-0)
2015-16 head-to-head record
Red Deer:                            3-4-0-0, 6pts
Calgary:                              4-2-0-1, 9pts
2015-16 head-to-head top scorers 
Red Deer:
Adam Helewka                  5gp-6g-0a-6pts
Jake DeBrusk                     5gp-2g-3a-5pts

Jake Bean                          7gp-6g-4a-10pts
Travis Sanheim                  6gp-2g-8a-10pts

The Red Deer Rebels finished second in the Central Division after having been narrowly edged out by Lethbridge for first place in the division. However, the Rebels come into the playoffs having earned wins in eight of their past 10 games. The hosts of the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup were active in bolstering their roster, acquiring forwards Jake DeBrusk, Adam Helewka and Luke Philp through a series of trades this year. Led by playmaker Ivan Nikolishin, the Rebels demonstrated a balanced attack this season as 10 players recorded at least 40 points. Defencemen Colton Bobyk and Haydn Fleury lead a steady blue line that allowed the second-fewest goals against in the Eastern Conference. The Rebels have been very effective in closing out games as they are 36-1-0-0 this season when leading after two periods of play. Trevor Martin will carry the load for the Rebels heading into the WHL Playoffs. The 20-year-old netminder enjoyed a solid season with an 18-8-1-1 record in 38 appearances. Early season starter Rylan Toth is out with an injury, as is Arizona Coyotes prospect Conner Bleackley.

The Calgary Hitmen enter the post-season as the third seed in the Central Division and on a three-game winning streak. Calgary was consistent this year as they posted 23 of their wins at home and the remaining 19 on the road. Hitmen defenceman Jake Bean elevated his game to a new level in his second season, finishing first overall in goals amongst WHL defenceman with 24 and third overall in team scoring with 64 points (24g-40a). Five Hitmen skaters finished with 20 goals or more and eight players notched at least 43 points. The Hitmen clicked for 74 power play markers this season as they converted on 23.1% of their man advantage opportunities, good enough for fifth-best across the League.  The Hitmen’s 81.0% conversion rate on the penalty kill was ranked sixth overall this year. Goaltenders Cody Porter and Nik Amundrud will look to provide stability in the Hitmen goals to slow down the Rebels offence.  Porter posted 25 wins and three shutouts while Amundrud collected 13 victories for the Hitmen this year.

Series D Schedule
Game Visitor   Home Date Time
1 Calgary @ Red Deer Friday, March 25 7:00
2 Calgary @ Red Deer Saturday, March 26 7:00
3 Red Deer @ Calgary Sunday, March 27 4:00
4 Red Deer @ ^Calgary  (Corral) Friday, April 1 7:00
5 * Calgary @ Red Deer Saturday, April 2 7:00
6 * Red Deer @ ^Calgary  (Corral) Monday, April 4 7:00
7 * Calgary @ Red Deer Wednesday, April 6 7:00
*If necessary

^The Stampede Corral will be the home for the Calgary Hitmen in games four and six of this Eastern Conference Round 1 series. The Corral was also the host to the 1974 Memorial Cup when the Regina Pats became the first team in League history to win the national title. The MasterCard Memorial Cup returns to Alberta for the first time in 42 years this May in Red Deer.

Great Day For U of R Cougars Mens Basketball

University of Regina men’s basketball head coach Steve Burrows announced Thursday that the Cougars have received commitments from Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School players Ben Hillis, Brayden Kuski, and Carter Millar.

The trio just lifted LeBoldus to its fourth consecutive 5A provincial championship last weekend in Moose Jaw. All three were named RHSAA all-stars this season for the Golden Suns.

“I’m very excited that all three decided to stay at home despite having other offers,” Burrows said. “They’ve played together for a long time, they’ve been well coached and know how to win, and as importantly they’re all extremely good students. We see Ben, Brayden, and Carter as being important contributors for our program in the near future.”

Hillis, a point guard, won provincial and city championships with LeBoldus in both his Grade 11 and Grade 12 seasons. He’s no stranger to the University of Regina program, as his father James Hillis was the team’s head coach from 1994 to 2013 and his older brother Samuel Hillis just completed his first season with the Cougars. Hillis was also part of Team Saskatchewan last summer at the 2015 17U National Championship in Halifax.

Kuski was also a two-time city and provincial champion with LeBoldus. Considered by Burrows to be one of the most athletic players in the city and projected as a shooting guard at the CIS level, Kuski shot 40.2% from three-point range for the Golden Suns during this past season.

Millar has played for the LeBoldus senior team since his Grade 10 season, winning both city and provincial championships and being named a league all-star in all three of his years with the Golden Suns. Miller has played for Team Saskatchewan on two occasions, earning second-team all-tournament honours at the 2014 17U National Championship in Edmonton and also representing his province at the 15U level in 2012.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Riders Sign Former Calgary RB Matt Walter

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced national running back Matt Walter has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.

Walter (5’10 – 215) will join the Riders after spending the last four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders. In 59 career regular season games with 14 starts, the 26-year-old has totaled 237 carries for 1,264 yards (5.3 yard average) and four touchdowns, while adding 28 receptions for 217 yards.

He has appeared in eight postseason contests, winning his first Grey Cup with the Stampeders in 2014.

“Matt has proven to be a versatile running back through his first four seasons in the CFL,” commented Riders General Manager and Head Coach, Chris Jones. “He is a powerful young guy and proven winner that will help our national depth and give us options in the backfield and value on special teams.”    

Walter was originally selected by the Stampeders in the 4th round (34th overall) of the 2011 CFL Draft out of the University of Calgary.

Riders Tweak Their Logo

The Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club officially unveiled an updated logo today. The original logo was developed in 1985 and has essentially remained unchanged for over 30 years.

“The timing was right for us to refresh and update our logo as we begin a new jersey partnership with adidas, and prepare to move into new Mosaic Stadium,” noted Riders Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing, Gregg Sauter. “While the changes are subtle, the logo more accurately reflects our official colour scheme with a clean and modern feel, while still maintaining the iconic image.”

There are four main changes made to the logo:
•         Inside liner has been eliminated
•         Three inside horizontal lines are now straight instead of staggered
•         Shortened tail on the ‘S’ which is now equally balanced with the top
•         Silver has been replaced with white

“The Rider logo is one of the most recognized marks in Canadian sports,” added Sauter. “Our goal was to evolve the logo in such a way that it becomes more vibrant with a distinct focus on the green and white. We feel the modifications will have a positive impact across the growing number of digital and physical mediums we are reaching.”

The new logo will be integrated wherever possible beginning immediately, with a full takeover in 2017.

Rider merchandise with the new logo, including the launch of the new adidas jerseys, will be available soon at all Rider Store locations.

BC Lions Sign Keith Price

The BC Lions Football Club today announced that international quarterback Keith Price has signed with the team.

Price spent the better part of the past two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders after signing in Regina in September 2014 and returning to the club in July 2015. The former University of Washington Husky standout who set school marks for completion percentage (64%) and career touchdowns (75), appeared in 17 career games for the Green and White throwing for 407 yards on 32 completions with three majors. In total, Price owns 11 career or season passing records for the Huskies.

“Keith is a very athletic quarterback,” offensive coordinator Khari Jones says. “On top of his athletic ability and football smarts, we feel having him on our roster puts us at the top of the league in terms of QB depth heading into camp.”

Before signing in Saskatchewan, the Compton, California native attended Seattle Seahawks mini-camp in 2014, but was released after the Seahawks brought in Terrelle Pryor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bombers Release Two Vets

Image result for winnipeg blue bombers

 The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released veteran American players Bryant Turner and Clarence Denmark on Tuesday.

Turner, a defensive tackle, and Denmark, a receiver, both originally signed with Winnipeg in 2011.

``These are the types of difficult decisions that must be made throughout the off-season,'' Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters said in a statement. ``Both Bryant and Clarence have done great things for this organization both on and off the field for a long time now.

``The Winnipeg Blue Bombers sincerely thank both men for the dedication, hard work, and effort they put forth. We wish them the very best moving forward.''

The six-foot-two 279-pound Turner had 89 tackles, 26 sacks and four forced fumbles during his tenure with Winnipeg. He had a career-high 20 tackles in 2012, then followed that up by registering a career-best seven sacks in 2013.

Turner recorded 17 tackles and four sacks in 10 games with Winnipeg last season.

(Canadian Press)