Sunday, April 30, 2017

Regina Pats Will Play Seattle Thunderbirds in WHL Final

Make some room for another banner at the Brandt Centre.

The Regina Pats are going to their first WHL final since 1984.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but the Pats fought back to tie the game at 4 and then got goals from Jeff De Wit, Austin Wagner and Wyatt Sloboshan in an empty net to make the final 7-4.

Regina 2 2 3 - 7
Lethbridge 3 1 0 - 4

1st Period-1, Lethbridge, Babenko 10   1:43. 2, Lethbridge, Bellerive 7 (Babenko, Cozens), 6:56 (PP). 3, Lethbridge, Vandervlis 8 (Zborosky, Menell), 8:02 (PP). 4, Regina, Holmes 2 (Buziak, Lockner), 8:25. 5, Regina, Mahura 4 (de Wit), 10:46. Penalties-Wagner Reg (elbowing), 5:00; Leedahl Reg (slashing), 7:27; Babenko Let (slashing), 14:38; Zborosky Let (holding), 17:46; Holmes Reg (tripping), 20:00.

2nd Period-6, Lethbridge, Estephan 11 (Menell, Zborosky), 1:05 (PP). 7, Regina, Ahl 4 (Sloboshan, Mahura), 15:47 (PP). 8, Regina, Henry 4 (Leedahl, Zborovskiy), 17:20. Penalties-Prefontaine Let (holding), 14:30.

3rd Period-9, Regina, de Wit 4 (Brooks, Sloboshan), 8:41. 10, Regina, Wagner 14 (Ahl, Zborovskiy), 9:41. 11, Regina, Sloboshan 4   19:19 (EN). Penalties-Hobbs Reg (delay of game), 18:51.

Shots on Goal-Regina 18-20-7-45. Lethbridge 13-4-11-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 1 / 3; Lethbridge 3 / 3.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (28 shots-24 saves). Lethbridge, Skinner (44 shots-38 saves).
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Brett Iverson (24).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Michael Roberts (87).

The Pats will play the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the Ed Chynoweth Cup final as the T-Birds won the Western Conference with a 3-1 victory over Kelowna in Game 6 of that series.

The finals schedule is as follows:

Game Visitor Home Date Time
1 Seattle @ Regina Friday, May 5 7:00
2 Seattle @ Regina Saturday, May 6 7:00
3 Regina @ Seattle Tuesday, May 9 7:05
4 Regina @ Seattle Wednesday, May 10 7:05
5 * Regina @ Seattle Friday, May 12 7:35
6 * Seattle @ Regina Sunday, May 14 6:00
7 * Seattle @ Regina Monday, May 15 7:00

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Who Gets The Number One Pick At NHL Draft

Image result for nhl draft lottery 2017

The NHL Draft Lottery goes in Toronto tonight as we find out what team gets the right to select the number one pick in June's draft.

The odds are as follows:

Colorado Avalanche 18.0%
Vancouver Canucks 12.1%
Vegas Golden Knights 10.3%
Arizona Coyotes 10.3%
New Jersey Devils 8.5%
Buffalo Sabres 7.6%
Detroit Red Wings 6.7%
Dallas Stars 5.8%
Florida Panthers 5.4%
Los Angeles Kings 4.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 3.2%
Winnipeg Jets 2.7%
Philadelphia Flyers 2.2%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%
New York Islanders 0.9%

There will be three drawings to determine the top three picks, with the first draw determining the number one selection, the second draw for the second selection and the third draw for the third selection. Once the top three picks have been selected, the remaining 12 teams will be ordered based on the final standings from this past season.

The three lowest-ranked non-playoff teams now have worse lottery odds than they had in the past. For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished 30th in 2016, had a 20 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick (which they did). Colorado, which finished 30th this season, will see its odds reduced to 18 percent.

Last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs were awarded the No. 1 pick and chose Auston Matthews and the Winnipeg Jets moved up four spaces to win the No. 2 pick (Patrik Laine).

If you want to have some fun before the lottery starts, the ever-popular simulator is right here 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pats and T-Birds One Win Away From Date in WHL Final

Photo from Keith Hershmiller

Adam Brooks had four assists as the Regina Pats scored the only two goals of the 3rd period to take Game 5 of the WHL East final 5-3. 

Brooks set up Dawson Leedahl for the winner at the 6:25 mark of the 3rd and then had a helper on Austin Wagner's empty-netter with 2 seconds to play. 

The victory means the Pats can earn a spot into the WHL Final Sunday night in Lethbridge in Game 6. The Hurricanes will try to force a Game 7 on Tuesday.
 1st Period-1, Lethbridge, Tarzwell 1 (Vandervlis), 2:53. 2, Regina, Mahura 3 (Steel), 15:37. Penalties-Pouteau Let (tripping), 5:23.

2nd Period-3, Lethbridge, Vandervlis 7 (Estephan, Menell), 3:04 (PP). 4, Regina, Steel 8 (Brooks, Leedahl), 5:10 (PP). 5, Regina, Ahl 3 (Brooks, Wagner), 11:29. 6, Lethbridge, Babenko 9 (Cozens, Addison), 13:54. Penalties-de Wit Reg (tripping), 2:06; Merezhko Let (holding), 3:25; Henry Reg (high sticking), 11:39.

3rd Period-7, Regina, Leedahl 11 (Brooks, Wagner), 6:25. 8, Regina, Wagner 13 (Brooks, Zborovskiy), 19:57 (EN). Penalties-Zborovskiy Reg (cross checking), 8:44; Leedahl Reg (high sticking), 9:14; Menell Let (embellishment), 14:15; Henry Reg (hooking), 14:15; Estephan Let (cross checking), 19:57; Brooks Reg (cross checking), 19:57.

Shots on Goal-Lethbridge 10-15-7-32. Regina 11-12-8-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Lethbridge 1 / 4; Regina 1 / 2.
Goalies-Lethbridge, Skinner (30 shots-26 saves). Regina, Brown (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Steve Papp (17), Reagan Vetter (39).
Linesmen-Sean Dufour (50), Ryan Lundquist (106). 
Out west, the Seattle Thunderbirds got 3 assists from Matt Barzal in a 5-3 win over Kelowna to take a 3-2 lead in that series. They will look to end it Sunday in Kelowna.  The T-Birds once again did not have defenceman Ethan Bear in the lineup. It is thought he may have a broken hand after blocking a shot in Game 3 of the series. 

Riders & Lions Handed Fines; All Teams Under Salary Cap

The Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club have been fined $31,500 for two By-Law violations which included players attending practice while on the CFL suspension list and violations related to the recruitment of a junior player.

The CFL has also fined Chris Jones $5,000 for meeting with Johnny Manziel’s publicist, which constitutes tampering and is in violation of CFL By-Laws. Based on evidence to date, there is nothing that concludes that Saskatchewan held any workouts involving Mr. Manziel.

The BC Lions Football Club have been fined $2,500 for violating the CFL’s Constitution as it relates to matters concerning the contract of Adam Bighill.

An extensive audit process has confirmed that all nine teams were under the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Salary Expenditure Cap for the 2016 season, the CFL announced today.
The salary cap for the 2016 season was $5.1 million.

The system’s review process includes detailed field audits of all nine clubs. Teams are also required to provide regular updates on compensation levels at the six-game, 12-game and 18-game points of the season.

The salary cap for the 2017 season is $5.15 million.

Under the provisions set by the League’s Board of Governors, teams that exceed the salary cap are fined; in some cases, teams can also lose multiple draft selections.  
As no team exceeded the cap in 2016, the order for the 2017 CFL Draft on May 7 is not affected. The draft order for the first round remains (barring trades) in this order:
1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers via Toronto
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders
3. BC Lions via Montreal
4. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
5. Edmonton Eskimos
6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
7. BC Lions
8. Calgary Stampeders


Rams/Thunder Spring Camps This Weekend

Image result for regina rams

The University of Regina Rams will welcome a total of 115 players this weekend for spring camp, which will be held from Friday through Monday at Leibel Field.

66 of the 115 players return from the roster of last year’s team, which went 6-2 in Canada West play and finished in first place in the conference standings for the first time in program history. The list of returning players includes Hec Crighton Trophy-winning quarterback Noah Picton, who will be back for his fourth season of U SPORTS eligibility after a record-setting season in 2016 with the Rams.

38 players are new to the program as the Rams bring in 26 players straight from high school, 11 from Canadian Junior Football League teams, and one university transfer. Six of the new recruits hail from the powerhouse Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School program in Regina, while five of the junior players make the crosstown move to the Rams from the Regina Thunder – that number includes Polis Koko and Ryan Warner, who both started their post-secondary playing careers with the Rams before joining the Thunder.

The coaching staff will also bring in nine players to camp on a tryout basis.

“There’s going to be incredible competition at several positions this weekend and all of the coaches are excited to get out there and see what develops,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “Specifically, I expect there to be fierce battles at linebacker and offensive line with the quality of incoming players we have at those positions. It’s going to be a wake-up call for a lot of guys, and I can’t wait to see how some of the top high school and junior recruits match up against our returning players.”

With installation of a new turf surface ongoing at the on-campus practice field, the Rams will utilize Leibel Field for this year’s spring camp. They will practice there on Friday night (7:00 to 9:00), Saturday morning (9:00 to 11:45), and Sunday afternoon (12:00 to 3:00) before concluding camp with a scrimmage on Monday scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

The Regina Thunder Football Club will continue their 2017 roster selection by hosting their annual Spring Camp April 28th to April 30th presented by O&T Farms.

Spring Camp is an invite only camp and one of the final stages of the selection process for our 2017 roster. The Regina Thunder has hosted four off season indoor workouts in Moose Jaw since January to identify participants for this year’s camp. Spring Camp will host approximately 125 players from throughout the province.

Following this weekend’s Spring Camp, the Regina Thunder will host the NCAA Div III Concordia College Cobbers from Moorhead Minnesota as part of the 2017 CanAm Football Exchange presented by AGT Foods & Leak Technology, Monday, May 8th, starting at 5pm at Leibel Field.

The Regina Thunder go into the 2017 season looking to get back on top of the PFC (Prairie Football Conference) and Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) where they were the Canadian Champions in 2013. The 2017 Regular Season starts at home Saturday August 12th vs the Saskatoon Hilltops.

(U of R Athletics/Regina Thunder Football Club)

This And That

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

--I can't really give a lot of thought on the Saskatchewan Roughriders mini-camp. All I know from listening to Saskatchewan's #1 sports show besides Rod and Luc hitting a grand slam at Dodgertown with the three days of coverage was that the Vince Young comeback tour will most likely take him to Riders training camp as he did not disappoint.  As one Rider fan said to me on Wednesday after hearing VY on the Cage, "Is this really going to happen". I think the answer is yes! There is still a long ways for Young to go before he can be considered the starting QB, but he will be Saskatoon bound in about a month's time.

While Chris Jones gave him as many reps as he could, Young still hasn't played a game in the CFL and it has been a long time since he was under center in a game situation.  I don't know if that or the nuances of the Canadian game will be his biggest obstacle moving forward.

From all accounts, he has come in with the right attitude. He seems to have matured from his NFL days which is something he has acknowleged, and he is having fun.  Let the debate continue.

One of the most interesting comments came from assistant GM John Murphy while on the Cage.  Rod asked Murph "Will Vince Young be content if he's not the starting quarterback?".  Murphy said "I hope not".  That's a valid question.  With the resume Young has. he may feel putting his name to paper and signing a contract guaranteed him the starting spot.  We all know that isn't the way it works.  Yes, he has said all the right things, and he has shown he is ready to resume his football career north of the border, but how will he react if he is told he is behind Kevin Glenn on the depth chart.  I think it's a valid question to ask.  What I did like from Young was him giving himself a C+ on his work over the 3 day affair.

It was refreshing to see some humility. I will take it as genuine humility as Young realizes he has a lot of work to do if he is going to become a CFL QB.  The job isn't over by a long shot.  Let's see how he progresses over the next month as he gets set to spend some time in Saskatoon at Riders camp. He will soon see he is the main attraction.

--Lets go from the Riders to the Pats. I think it is safe to say what type of atmosphere it will be at the Brandt Centre tonight.  It will be insane as it should be.  I said earlier this series is going 7 and I stand by that. I think the Pats win in Game 4 was the last time in this series a road team will win a game.  It has been the type of series I thought it would be. There are still some concerns on this Pats team, and I have to wonder about the health of everyone, but I think we are back at the Brandt for a Game 7 on Tuesday.  Out west, it's a battle there too.  I think a lot of people thought Seattle would win going away, but the Kelowna Rockets have said not so fast.  It's been great hockey!

--Zach Sawchenko has said thanks, but no thanks to coming back to Moose Jaw for his 20 year old season as he is opting to go to the University of Alberta.  I am not the only hockey person scratching my head on that one.  I have heard some stories that have not yet been verified, so I won't throw them out there, but there appears to be a lot of discord in Moose Jaw. As I was told this week, "There has been a lot of hostility there since the Pats swept a home-and-home from them in March. Things went downhill from there.  It will be an interesting summer in Moose Jaw as a contender for the Ed Chynoweth Cup next season now has a huge hole to fill.

--I walked into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, and one of the first people I saw was the legendary Dave "Tiger' Williams.

As Dave looked at some of the hockey players already enshrined in the Hall, I thought to myself that the former Leaf and Canuck had to have already been inducted. He hadn't! How?  The selection is long overdue.

One of the great things about the day the SSHOF announces their hall of fame class is that you are reminded about how diverse the Saskatchewan sports community. Including this year's inductees, there are 51 sports represented amongst the 512 including this year's class in the Hall.  We are so much more than football and hockey. A trip to the Hall one day would show you that.   Congratulations to all those going in this year. Thank you for your efforts.

Moments after seeing Tiger, I went back to the 620 CKRM studios where there was plenty of excitement.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came in to talk agriculture with "The Ayatollah of Canola"--the legendary Jim Smalley during his noon-hour show.  Regardless of your political affiliation, a chance to meet the Prime Minister is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  No, I did not get a selfie with the PM, but I did get an introduction and a hearty handshake. That's good enough for me.  From Tiger to Trudeau in a 90 minute span.....not many could say that.

UFC 216 will come to Edmonton in September.  The first ever appearance of the UFC in the Alberta capital will come on the same night as the Eskimos are hosting the Stampeders.  Was this not considered when the booking was made? The UFC and CFL appeal to the same demographic. This will hurt both.  The Eskimos should move their game to the afternoon so people can attend both, but why should they re-arrange their schedule just because the UFC is bullying in.  It's obviously too late for Dana White and crew to change the dates. It is a head-scratcher though as to why they would book an event at the same time as the Eskimos game. Someone had to have realized that.

If you didn't get a ticket for the Pats game, head over to the Highland Club for High Impact Wrestling's "Spring Meltdown".  It is their version of Wrestlemania, and it's a good time.  Sorry Gronkville, I'll be at the Brandt Centre.

That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!!  GO PATS!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

UFC 216 Heading To Edmonton's Rogers Place

The UFC is heading to Edmonton

It was announced Thursday UFC 216 will be held at Edmonton’s Rogers Place on Saturday, Sept. 9, No bouts have yet been announced for the card.

This will be the 24th UFC card in Canada, dating back to the memorable debut at UFC 83 in Montreal in 2008, in which welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre defeated Matt Serra to regain the welterweight title. Edmonton will become the 10th Canadian city to host a UFC card.

While this marks the first UFC event in Edmonton, the city did host a WEC 49 in June 2010 when the company was owned by then-UFC owner Zuffa.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pats Beat Hurricanes 6-2; WHL East Final Down to Best of 3

Picture: Lethbridge Herald

The Regina Pats needed to find a way to solve Lethbridge goalie Stuart Skinner in Game 4 of the WHL East final if they were going to even the series at 2.  They did!

It took a while to crack the armor of Skinner, but goals late in the second period from Adam Brooks and Dawson Leedahl just 70 seconds apart gave Regina a 4-2 lead. They added to that lead in the 3rd with goals from Connor Hobbs and Wyatt Sloboshan.

Brooks had 3 points on the night as did Hobbs while Tyler Brown stopped 24 shots to record the win.

Game 5 is in Regina Friday with Game 6 back in Lethbridge Sunday.

 1st Period-1, Regina, Buziak 1 (Harrison, Lockner), 9:53. Penalties-Franklin Let (boarding), 0:11; Vandervlis Let (delay of game), 5:39; Yewchuk Let (high sticking), 14:29; Leedahl Reg (slashing), 16:06.

2nd Period-2, Lethbridge, Cozens 3 (Zborosky, Addison), 2:21. 3, Regina, de Wit 3 (Brooks, Hobbs), 9:00. 4, Lethbridge, Vandervlis 6 (Bellerive, Baer), 9:34. 5, Regina, Brooks 5 (Ahl, Schioler), 18:06. 6, Regina, Leedahl 10 (Steel, Sloboshan), 19:16. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period-7, Regina, Hobbs 4 (Steel, Brooks), 7:53 (PP). 8, Regina, Sloboshan 3 (Hobbs), 17:04 (EN). Penalties-Yewchuk Let (hooking), 7:25; Holmes Reg (tripping), 8:38; Leedahl Reg (roughing), 16:15; Wong Let (roughing), 16:15.

Shots on Goal-Regina 11-17-6-34. Lethbridge 8-7-11-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 1 / 4; Lethbridge 0 / 2.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (26 shots-24 saves). Lethbridge, Skinner (33 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Jeff Ingram (82), Brett Iverson (24).
Linesmen-Jared Mackey (52), Michael Roberts (87).

The Western Conference final is also even at two as the Kelowna Rockets beat Seattle 4-2 in Game 4.

Nick Merkley, Tomas Soustal, Kole Lind and Nolan Foote all had a goal and an assist for the winners. 

Organizing Committee for 105th Grey Cup Announced

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) today announced the Organizing Committee for the 105th Grey Cup Festival, presented by Shaw. The Committee is a cross-section of Ottawa/Gatineau business and community leaders. Its role is to provide perspective on planned Festival events to help ensure they are embraced and enjoyed by the tens of thousands of residents and visitors that will be in attendance.

“I’m delighted to welcome this stellar list of leaders to our Festival Organizing Committee,” said Festival Chair, Jim Durrell. “They share a passion for the Ottawa/Gatineau region and their backgrounds and experiences will prove to be invaluable as we plan the most engaging Grey Cup Festival that’s ever been staged. And thanks to Lansdowne’s unique combination of restaurants, bars and gathering spaces, tens of thousands of Festival attendees will be able to celebrate together, making this the best Festival ever.”

The 105th Grey Cup Festival Organizing Committee Members are:

Jeff Avery Ottawa Rough Riders’ Alumnus
Lise Bourgeois La Cite Collegiale
Nathalie Brunette Gatineau 2017
Stephen Dean NCAFA President
Ian Faris Ottawa Chamber of Commerce
Mathieu Fleury Councillor, City of Ottawa
Richard Gray Bell Media
George Hanna Gabriel's Pizza
Cheryl Jensen Algonquin College
Nina Kressler Shaw Centre
Mark Laroche Ottawa Airport
Bob Monette Deputy Mayor, City of Ottawa
Andrew Peck Glebe BIA
Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin Maire de la Ville de Gatineau
Jo-Anne Polak Canada Post Corporation
Jeannine Ritchot RNation
Pierre Santoni VIA Rail
Maxime Tremblay Ville de Gatineau
Jim Watson Mayor, City of Ottawa

USA Today On Vince Young's Return To Football

As expected, many American media are checking out the Riders mini-camp in Vero Beach, Florida to check out Vince Young as he looks at continuing his football career.

USA Today's Lawrence Reisman is one of many to write a story on the former University of Texas standout.

His story can be found here

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pats Lose Game 3 3-1 To Lethbridge; Wagner Lost To Injury

The Regina Pats were hoping for a quick start in Game 3 of the WHL East final as the series moved to Lethbridge. It didn't happen.

While it didn't happen for the visiting team, it did for the home team as Brandon Menell scored just 16 seconds in to energize the pro-Hurricanes crowd at the Enmax Centre as Lethbridge took Game 3 of the best-of-seven series 3-1 to take a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 in Lethbridge Wednesday. 

The goal put Lethbridge in control and while the Pats outshot the Hurricanes 13-7 in the opening 20 minutes, Stuart Skinner once again shut the door to give the Canes all the momentum they would need. 

Regina did tie it on Dawson Leedahl's goal midway through the second, but Jadon Joseph scored about three minutes later after stepping out of the penalty box for what was the game-winner, 

Igor Babenko added a 3rd period marker which came after the referees decided not to call a penalty on Canes defenceman Brady Pouteau who clearly brought down a Pats player leading to Babenko's goal. 

Penalty or not, it did not take away from the fact Lethbridge controlled the game basically from the opening faceoff and would not allow Regina to play their game. 

Game 4 is Wednesday, and Regina may have more injury problems.  Austin Wagner left the game in the 2nd period after a slash and did not return. His status for Game 4 is not known.  The Pats are already missing defenceman Dawson Davidson. 

That 4th game goes in Lethbridge on Wednesday night with radio coverage on 620 CKRM and TV coverage on Access 7 or SHAW. 

1st Period-1, Lethbridge, Menell 5 (Estephan, Wong), 0:16. Penalties-Wong Let (hooking), 3:50; Nagel Let (high sticking), 16:28; Brooks Reg (high sticking), 17:41; Bellerive Let (roughing), 17:41.

2nd Period-2, Regina, Leedahl 9 (Mahura, Steel), 10:43. 3, Lethbridge, Joseph 2 (Pouteau), 13:54. Penalties-Joseph Let (slashing), 11:46; Steel Reg (tripping), 18:07.

3rd Period-4, Lethbridge, Babenko 8 (Wong, Pouteau), 4:08. Penalties-de Wit Reg (slashing), 11:41; Hobbs Reg (roughing), 15:31.

Shots on Goal-Regina 13-8-8-29. Lethbridge 7-10-10-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 0 / 3; Lethbridge 0 / 3.
Goalies-Regina, Brown (27 shots-24 saves). Lethbridge, Skinner (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Reid Anderson (53), Derek Zalaski (8).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Cody Huseby (88).

In the Western Conference final, Seattle beat Kelowna 2-1 to take a 2-1 lead in that best of 7.  For the 2nd time in the series, Seattle got the game-winner in the final 30 seconds of regulation as Keegan Kolesar scored at the 19:40 mark of the 3rd period. Game 4 is in Kelowna Wednesday. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rams Recruiting Class Grows by 9

University of Regina Rams head coach Steve Bryce announced Monday the commitment of nine more players for the team’s 2017 recruiting class, including four from the CJFL, four from high school, and one transfer.

The four junior players include offensive lineman Michele Vecchio (Okanagan Sun), linebacker Cole Benkic (Saskatoon Hilltops), defensive back Taylor Mayer (Regina Thunder), and wide receiver Kasim Ocaya (Regina Thunder). Defensive back Chase Ellingson (Royal Imperial Collegiate), wide receiver Zachary Shalley (Sheldon-Williams Collegiate), running back Semba Mbasela (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS), and offensive lineman Halem Hrizai (Murdoch MacKay Collegiate) join the Rams from the high school ranks. Defensive back Jack Louisdort joins the Rams after attending Concordia University in Montreal.

Michele Vecchio (OL • 6-1, 295 • 3rd • Kelowna, B.C. • Okanagan Sun)
Vecchio comes to the Rams after spending four seasons with Okanagan, earning CJFL All-Canadian status in two of those years. He attended training camp with the BC Lions in 2015 and went on to help the Sun to a British Columbia Football Conference title later that year. Vecchio, who will have three seasons of U SPORTS eligibility, attended Rutland Senior Secondary School in Kelowna before playing with the Sun. He will reunite with current Rams offensive lineman Andrew Becker at the U of R, as the two played together for the Rutland Voodoo back in 2012.

Cole Benkic (LB • 6-1, 215 • 4th • Saskatoon, Sask. • Saskatoon Hilltops)
Though Benkic (pictured) missed last year due to injury, he has been a huge part of the success of the Saskatoon Hilltops over the past half decade as he won Prairie Football Conference and CJFL championships with the Hilltops in 2012, 2014, and 2015. His finest season came in 2015, being named the Prairie Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earning CJFL All-Canadian honours after registering 19 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, three interceptions including a pick six, three pass breakups, and a pair of fumble recoveries. Benkic will have two seasons of U SPORTS eligibility.

Chase Ellingson (DB • 6-0, 180 • 1st • Swan River, Man. • Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada)
Originally from Swan River in western Manitoba, Ellingson is a highly regarded defensive back that comes to the Rams from Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada in St. Catharines, Ont. after spending his Grade 11 season with Canada Prep Academy in Welland, Ont. He twice competed for Team Manitoba at the U18 level, playing in the Football Canada Cup in both the 2015 and 2016 edition of the tournaments. Ellingson plans to enroll in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies at the U of R.

Taylor Mayer (DB • 5-9, 170 • 2nd • Regina, Sask. • Regina Thunder)
Mayer comes to Rams after playing three seasons with the Regina Thunder, earning PFC all-star honours in both 2015 and 2016. He also was named a CJFL All-Canadian last season after leading the league with a total of five interceptions. Mayer, a graduate of Winston Knoll Collegiate in Regina, had a total of eight career interceptions for the Thunder. Mayer has four seasons of U SPORTS eligibility and will pursue a degree through the Department of Justice Studies at the U of R.

Zachary Shalley (SB • 6-2, 190 • 1st • Regina, Sask. • Sheldon-Williams Collegiate)
Shalley put up huge numbers with Sheldon-Williams Collegiate last fall, catching 37 passes for 667 yards and nine touchdowns in just six regular season games for the Spartans to lead the Stewart Conference in all three categories. Also an accomplished hoopster at Sheldon, Shalley played basketball for Team Saskatchewan in each of the past four summers including at the 2015 Canada Summer Games in Alberta. Shalley, who has been accepted into the Faculty of Business Administration at the U of R, will join defensive back Dilan Elgert and quarterback Ellis Richards on the list of Sheldon alumni on next year’s Rams roster.

Semba Mbasela (RB • 5-9, 160 • 1st • Regina, Sask. • Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS)
A graduate of the LeBoldus program that has now won five consecutive provincial championships, Mbasela was third in the city in rushing last season with 74 carries for 599 yards and four touchdowns for the Golden Suns. He also had nine catches for 94 yards and a major, helping LeBoldus to an undefeated season last fall. As a Grade 11, Mbasela was named the Schwann Conference Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for over 1000 yards and running for 12 touchdowns in six regular season games for LeBoldus. At the provincial level, Mbasela was named to Team Saskatchewan for the 2016 Football Canada Cup but wasn’t able to participate due to an injury.

Jack Louisdort (DB • 5-10, 175 • 4th • Naples, Fla. • Concordia University)
Originally from southern Florida, Louisdort played for Naples High School before continuing his career at the junior level in Quebec with the St. Leonard Cougars and the St-Lazare Stallions. He attended Concordia during the 2015-16 academic year before transferring to the U of R in January, and is already taking classes in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies.

Kasim Ocaya (SB • 5-10, 175 • 4th • Regina, Sask. • Regina Thunder)
Ocaya played five full seasons for the Regina Thunder, helping the program to its first CJFL championship as a second-year player during the 2013 campaign. He was the team’s top receiver last season, pacing the Thunder in receptions (25), receiving yards (443), and touchdown catches (5). Ocaya also earned PFC all-star honours in 2015 after collecting 25 catches, 443 receiving yards, and five touchdown catches for the Thunder.

Halem Hrizai (OL • 6-3, 255 • 1st • Winnipeg, Man. • Murdoch MacKay Collegiate)
Hrizai comes to the Rams from Murdoch MacKay Collegiate, where he lined up at right tackle, at fullback, and on the defensive line as a versatile player for the Clansmen. Hrizai also gained experience at the provincial level last summer, being named to Team Manitoba and participating in the 2016 Football Canada Cup. He plans to enroll in the Faculty of Education at the U of R.

The addition of these nine commits gives the Rams a total of 39 incoming players for the 2017 season. That also includes Polis Koko and Ryan Warner, who both played for the Rams previously before heading crosstown to play in the CJFL with the Regina Thunder. That number also includes Layne Hull, who will join the Rams after being introduced as a U of R commit last season but ended up finishing off his junior career with Okanagan. The Rams are in preparation for their annual spring camp, which begins this Friday, Apr. 28 and runs through to Monday, May 1 at Leibel Field.

Riders Announce 2017 Coaching Staff

Chris Jones – vice president of football operations, general manager & head coach
Craig Dickenson – special teams coordinator
Stephen McAdoo – offensive coordinator & assistant head coach
Jarious Jackson – pass game coordinator & quarterbacks coach
Markus Howell – receivers coach
Kent Maugeri – running backs coach
Stephen Sorrells – offensive line coach
Jason Shivers – defensive backs coach
Ed Philion – defensive line coach
Merritt Bowden – linebackers coach & special teams assistant
Craig Davoren – defensive assistant
Mike Scheper – defensive assistant
Ty Robinson – quality control
Cam Robinson – quality control 
Clinton Spencer – strength and conditioning coordinator 

The news comes one day before the team begins its mini-camp in Vero Beach, Florida 

Eskimos Name Brock Sunderland GM and VP of Football Operations

Image result for edmonton eskimos

Brock Sunderland was named General Manager & Vice President of Football Operations on April 24, 2017.

“The Edmonton Eskimos are one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports and I couldn’t be more excited and honoured to be the new general manager of this great organization,” says Sunderland.

For the past four seasons, Sunderland has served as assistant general manager for the Ottawa RedBlacks. His term includes two division final victories and back-to-back Grey Cup appearances, winning the championship in 2016 – after just three seasons as an expansion team. Sunderland’s role included contract negotiations, assisting with salary cap management and overseeing the scouting department.

The native of Great Falls, Montana entered the CFL in 2004 as a scout with the Montreal Alouettes where he quickly advanced to Director of Scouting.

Now entering his 14th season in pro football, Sunderland spent six seasons (2007-12) with NFL’s New York Jets in various scouting capacities. The team made back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship during his time with the team (2009, 2010).

Sunderland is a former wide receiver and punt returner for the University of Montana (1998-2000). After appearing in three conference championships, he entered the coaching ranks a student assistant coach at his alma mater.

Something To "Mitch" About

Courtesy Keith Hershmiller

HERE WE GO AGAIN!! - What a tremendous sight! 

As people filed into the Brandt Centre Friday night for Game 1 of the WHL Eastern Conference final, they were getting set to see a Pats team who had not been this far since 1993.  I was not in Regina when that series against Swift Current was being played as I was working in Northern Alberta. 

For me, I had not been in the building for Pats hockey this late in a season since 1984. 1984!!! Those that have been around for the history of the Agridome know the building looked a lot different then than it did now.  Remember the big red bleachers in the east end! I could go on and on about how the building looked then to what it looks like now, but many of you have seen it and know exactly what I am talking about. 

I even went up to my old seats where I had season tickets back in the day and looked down as the excitement in the building started to grow. 

It's just another testament as to the type of job Anthony Marquart and Queen City Sports and Entertainmnt have done.  They promised you a winner, and they have delivered.  They promised you a product you would be proud of, and they have delivered.  The goal isn't over yet though, and it may never be over.   Every season won't be like this one and what next one will bring, but they had a desire to make the Pats the talk of the town in the winter and spring and they are succeeding. 

I had a fan ask me Saturday night if the good times come to an end once the Memorial Cup is over and the team rebuilds. I said no.  No one has a clue as to what the roster will look like going into the 2018-19 season, but QCSE isn't going to be content with letting this team slide.  I think it is too much to expect 50 win seasons or even 45 win seasons will be the norm, but this ownership group is determined to keep the Pats a force to be reckoned with in the WHL. It may take a year to rebuild like Brandon teams of old, but they're not going away.  

If you are a Regina hockey fan, you should be ecstatic with that. 

Now to the series itself.  On Friday night as the Hurricanes were putting the finishing touches on an opening game victory, I put out a tweet saying this series has 7 games written all over it.  As the two teams head back to Lethbridge, I am still of that belief.  That being said, Adam Brooks did a lot to cement that belief. 

There isn't a lot separating these two teams.  Like Jordan Papirny in the Swift Current series, the early story of the East final has been the play of Lethbridge goalie Stuart Skinner who came oh so close to stealing Game 2.. Lethbridge was the better team after the first half of the first period in Game 1, but the Pats were the better team in Game 2 outside of one bad minute in the 3rd.   There isn't a lot separating these teams, and I think we knew that going in.  The first two games have been outstanding.  Games 3 and 4 should be classics as well.  

ON TO ROUND 2 -  And just like that, the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is over. What a first round it was.  A record 18 games went to overtime to decide a winner including the elimination games yesterday as Boston and Washington moved on. 

I hope those two young ladies wearing Caps jerseys celebrating at Maple Leaf Square are safe this morning after the Leafs playoff run came to an end. Despite the six game loss, there is a lot of optimism with Leafs fans, and there should be.  Much like Edmonton, the young guns have given some reason for hope.  While Edmonton is going to the 2nd round, I would expect the Leafs to be there next year. 

As for Canada's team that was eliminated this weekend, it is brutally obvious again the Montreal Canadiens need goal scoring and established goal scoring that will come in the playoffs.  Did Max Pacioretty have any impact in the loss to the Rangers?  There was an outstanding question asked on NHL Radio about the Habs and offence. Would they sacrifice soon to be UFA Carey Price to get some.  Price has one year left on his contract.  There are teams out there like Winnipeg and Calgary who are in need of goaltending.  Add Philly to that mix too.  Would you trade Price if you could get a Schiefele, Monahan or Giroux.  You would have to sign Price to an extension.  It would be a gamble for all involved.  For what its worth, I don't see Price going anywhere.  This Oilers fan would not like seeing him in Calgary.

What do we see in Round 2. Well, we will get another Ovechkin vs Crosby battle. If the past is any indication, look for Sid and the gang to move through.. The other East semi has the Rangers and Ottawa.  It was great to see the Senators win just for Craig Anderson and Clarke McArthur, but I don't know if they have enough to beat the Rangers---especially when Erik Karlsson comes out and says he is playing with a broken foot. Why would he do that? 

In the west, the upstart Nashville Predators will play St. Louis and Anaheim gets Edmonton.  I can see the Preds and Blues going the distance, and I can see the Ducks outlasting the Oilers, but if Cam Talbot is better than John Gibson, who knows!  I can only imagine what satisfaction Todd McLellan had in eliminating the team he once coached in San Jose. Todd is too good a person to ever say anything about that in public, but in private, I am guessing he loved every second of that.  Just like Nashville made a statement in sweeping Chicago, Edmonton made a statement by ousting the defending Western Conference champs and bouncing back from that 7-0 bootkicking they took in Game 4 to win 5 and 6.  They even did it without Connor McDavid being a force.

OK VINCE -   The Riders mini-camp is underway in Florida.  All eyes will be on quarterback Vince Young.   HC and GM Chris Jones tells Riderville's Ian Hamilton "“We want somebody who can command our offence and who can be the leader that we need for our football team. That’s first and foremost what we hope to see.”

It has been just over a month since Young signed.  We have seen the video of him working out, but what has he learned about the Canadian game.  Can he show the coaching staff enough to keep this experiment going.  Time will tell.   Of course, 620 CKRM will be right there as Rod and Luc will be doing Saskatchewan's #1 sports show --the Sportscage-- from Vero Beach, Florida at historic Dodgertown. 

PAT C'S IN PRINCE GEORGE -  Good luck to the Regina Pat Canadians as they start play at the Telus Cup in Prince George, BC today.  The team was 3rd at the 2015 event, but only one player is on this year's team that was on the 2015 squad.  I am not 100 percent positive, but I am guessing you can go to Hockey Canada's website to catch the Pat C's in action. If they don't  have it, I don't know who will. 

CAN I BUY A VOWEL PAT?  -  If there is ever a sports spelling bee, the name of the Milwaukee Bucks up and coming star has to be at or near the top of the list.  For the record, it's  Giannis Antetokounmpo, and thankfully that name is easier to pronounce than it looks.  They call him "The Greek Freak", but I thought George Yannitsos had put a patent on that nickname. 


Speaking of greeks, I can't even start to describe how good it was to see Peter Loubardias back inside the Brandt Centre as he called Game 1 and 2 of the East Final for SHAW and Access.  Those who know me know the two of us are good friends, and those who know Pete know at this time last year, things were not going well for him health-wise.  As you can tell, he has turned the corner and is back to living at the rink.  He went from Anaheim to Medicine Hat to Calgary to Regina in the span of a week to call games and now he's in Lethbridge with at least one return trip if not two in the future.  The two of us were room-mates for a couple of years when he started doing Pats games. Let's just say there are stories that won't be told and there was decadence aplenty. 

Like someone else, he shouldn't be calling games in the WHL because he is too good for the  league. However, I am biased!

That's all I got.  Talk to you in the Cage at 4.  Have a great week!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stanley Cup 2nd RD Schedule Released


Ottawa Senators (A2) vs. New York Rangers (WC1)
Thursday, April 27, 7pm: Rangers @ Senators | CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 29, 3pm: Rangers @ Senators | NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 2, 7pm: Senators @ Rangers | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Thursday, May 4, 7:30pm: Senators @ Rangers | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 6, TBD: Rangers @ Senators | TBD
*Tuesday, May 9, TBD: Senators @ Rangers | TBD
*Thursday, May 11, TBD: Rangers @ Senators | TBD

Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (M2)
Thursday, April 27, 7:30pm: Penguins @ Capitals | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 29, 8pm: Penguins @ Capitals | NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, May 1, 7:30pm: Capitals @ Penguins | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, May 3, 7:30pm: Capitals @ Penguins | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 6, TBD: Penguins @ Capitals | TBD
*Monday, May 8, TBD: Capitals @ Penguins | TBD
*Wednesday, May 10, TBD: Penguins @ Capitals | TBD


St. Louis Blues (C3) vs. Nashville Predators (WC2)
Wednesday, April 26, 8pm: Predators @ Blues | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Friday, April 28, 8pm: Predators @ Blues | NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 30, 3pm: Blues @ Predators | NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 2, 9:30pm: Blues @ Predators | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Friday, May 5, TBD: Predators @ Blues | TBD
*Sunday, May 7, TBD: Blues @ Predators | TBD
*Tuesday, May 9, TBD: Predators @ Blues | TBD

Anaheim Ducks (P1) vs. Edmonton Oilers (P2)
Wednesday, April 26, 10:30pm: Oilers @ Ducks | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Friday, April 28, 10:30pm: Oilers @ Ducks | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 30, 7pm: Ducks @ Oilers | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Wednesday, May 3, 10pm: Ducks @ Oilers | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Friday, May 5, TBD: Oilers @ Ducks | TBD
*Sunday, May 7, TBD: Ducks @ Oilers | TBD
*Wednesday, May 10, TBD: Oilers @ Ducks | TBD

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Brooks Is OT Hero As Pats Even WHL East Final

No one in the Brandt Centre Saturday night should have fingernails after a Game 2 thriller.

The Regina Pats looked like they would even the best of seven East final with the Lethbridge Hurricanes at one when Austin Wagner scored a short-handed goal in the 3rd period to give Regina a 2-0 lead, but the plucky Hurricanes would not die and scored twice in a 33 second span to send the game into overtime.

In that overtime, both teams had their chances, but it was Adam Brooks who ended it as he put one past Stuart Skinner at the 17:05 mark for the winner.

The series will resume in Lethbridge with Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Wednesday. Game 5 will go at the Brandt Centre on Monday at noon.  Tickets can be purchased by going to the Brandt Centre box office, the Pats office, Ticketmaster or Canada Safeway stores in Regina. Note those stores may sell tickets upon opening.

1st Period-1, Regina, de Wit 2 (Schioler, Kjemhus), 9:44. Penalties-Schioler Reg (roughing), 16:29.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Bowen Let (slashing), 5:04; Estephan Let (slashing), 7:48; Ahl Reg (inter. on goaltender), 16:09; Baer Let (high sticking), 17:03.

3rd Period-2, Regina, Wagner 12 (Sloboshan, Zborovskiy), 7:21 (SH). 3, Lethbridge, Franklin 2 (Joseph, Merezhko), 9:21. 4, Lethbridge, Bellerive 6 (Baer), 9:54. Penalties-Riddle Let (hooking), 1:35; Hobbs Reg (tripping), 7:03; Leedahl Reg (tripping), 14:22.

OT Period-5, Regina, Brooks 4 (Zborovskiy), 17:05. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Lethbridge 3-8-11-9-31. Regina 14-12-11-14-51.
Power Play Opportunities-Lethbridge 0 / 4; Regina 0 / 4.
Goalies-Lethbridge, Skinner (51 shots-48 saves). Regina, Brown (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Chris Crich (20), Mike Langin (67).
Linesmen-Kelsey Mahoney (138), Tarrington Wyonzek (137).

The WHL West final is also even at one after Kelowna beat Seattle 4-3.  Reid Gardiner had the winner at the 4:56 mark of overtime. 

Flames Going to Plan "B" For New Rink

With Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi taking a strong stance against Calgary Next, a "plan B" has been proposed within an earshot of the current location between 5th Street SE and Olympic Way SE, south of 12th Avenue in Calgary, Alta., on April 21, 2017. The proposed location is currently a parking lot. Ryan McLeod/Postmedia Network

Hopes that Calgary’s nearly 34-year-old saddle-shaped arena could be replaced have been reignited more than a year and a half after the Calgary Flames’ ownership group unveiled plans for its ambitious $890-million megaproject dubbed CalgaryNEXT.

In recent months, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., city hall administration and the city’s land developer have met more than 25 times to discuss an alternative to the hypothetical CalgaryNEXT project that’s faced hurdles since renderings and details were made public in August 2015.

The substitute plan for an arena in Victoria Park, on a two-block site south of 12th Avenue S.E. between Olympic Way and 5th Street S.E. on land currently occupied by parking lots and roadways, “appears feasible to all involved parties,” according to a report scheduled to go before city council on Monday.

The five-page report released late Friday is light on details but offers Calgarians a first glimpse at the “Plan B” officials have been considering since April 2016, when a city report concluded the CalgaryNEXT pitch slated for creosote-contaminated land in the West Village could cost $1.8 billion and was not feasible.

“We know CalgaryNEXT can’t work, so let’s focus on something that has potential,” said Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell on Friday.

The “Victoria Park option report,” which council will debate next week, is meant to inform the public and council on the work to date and serve as a starting point for public discussions about Plan B.

The report doesn’t include renderings, or information about cost or funding, and city administration refused to answer questions about the report ahead of Monday’s meeting.

“We need to figure out whether this location works for people,” said Evan Woolley, councillor for the site’s ward.

“There are thousands and thousands of people that are impacted by what a potential (Victoria Park) arena site might look like, never mind that all Calgarians need to be engaged.”

Woolley said moving forward with the examination of a Victoria Park arena doesn’t mean CalgaryNEXT is dead, but other councillors said there’s no use keeping the West Village proposal on the table.

“As part of moving forward with looking at Victoria Park for an arena, we need to also very clearly say that CalgaryNEXT is dead,” said Ward 11 Coun. Brian Pincott. “We don’t need to compare the two.”

While Ken King, the CEO of the group behind CalgaryNEXT, has told Postmedia the project is simply on pause while Plan B is considered, Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters last month that CalgaryNEXT, in the West Village, was dead.

“Once you go through the numbers — and the Flames have looked at the same numbers — it’s pretty clear that the mayor wasn’t being ridiculous when he used the dead word,” Ward 8 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said Friday.

The city report on the Victoria Park option states an NHL-level arena, to-be-determined ancillary services and plaza space could fit on the 2.9-hectare site near Stampede Park and would be consistent with both local plans and council’s recent approval of a new downtown culture and entertainment district.

This east downtown area is envisioned as a centre for theatre, dance, music, sports, dining, shopping, tourism and housing, and it’s seen significant investment in recent years, including the National Music Centre, under-construction New Central Library and development of East Village.

An arena on the site would be located within the existing Rivers Community Revitalization Levy District, known as a CRL, which is forecast to tally $150 million more in revenue over the next decade.

“It makes much more sense,” Farrell said of the Victoria Park option. “The infrastructure is already there, with the addition of the Green Line, we’ll have the best transit access in the city. It has better potential for a CRL.”

The city report states the proposed arena would be situated on land owned by the Stampede, and the Stampede is amenable to swapping its land for the city-owned land where the Saddledome currently sits.

Unlike CalgaryNEXT, which included an arena, multi-sport field house and football stadium, the Victoria Park option is only for an arena, and the city report makes no mention of a substitute field house plan.

“We have this long overdue need for our first field house,” said Sport Calgary CEO Murray Sigler on Friday.

“We’ll be continuing to press for that dimension of the plan to be updated in the context of Plan B.”

(Calgary Herald)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pats Drop Game 1 Of WHL East Final

The Regina Pats got off to a good start in Game 1 of the WHL East Final, but it was the Lethbridge Hurricanes who were the better team as they skated off the Brandt Centre ice with a 3-1 win,

With a sold-out crowd behind them, the Pats got a goal just 70 seconds in from Austin Wagner, but that was all Stuart Skinner would allow.

Moments after Wagner's goal, Adam Brooks hopped the boards and took his first shift with his teammates since a lower-body injury suffered in Game 2 of the Swift Current series. Once fans realized Brooks was on the ice, the 20 year old captain was given a hearty salute by the sold-out crowd.

Giorgio Estephan tied it for the Hurricanes midway through the 2nd with Jordy Bellerive getting the winner two minutes into the third on a goal-mouth scramble.

Regina thought they had tied the game without about 8 minutes to go in regulation as Wagner beat Skinner for his 2nd goal of the game, but a video review showed the net had been dislodged before the puck crossed the line.

Estephan completed the scoring into an empty-net

Game 2 is at the Brandt Centre Saturday in a 7 o'clock start.

1st Period-1, Regina, Wagner 11 (Ahl, Zborovskiy), 1:10. Penalties-Bellerive Let (roughing), 2:53; Leedahl Reg (roughing), 2:53; Merezhko Let (roughing), 5:16; Babenko Let (inter. on goaltender), 16:31.

2nd Period-2, Lethbridge, Estephan 9 (Babenko, Merezhko), 13:23. Penalties-Buziak Reg (delay of game), 8:47.

3rd Period-3, Lethbridge, Bellerive 5 (Zborosky, Merezhko), 1:59 (PP). 4, Lethbridge, Estephan 10   18:38 (EN). Penalties-Ahl Reg (hooking), 1:02; Leedahl Reg (slashing), 19:39.

Shots on Goal-Lethbridge 8-10-7-25. Regina 14-12-11-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Lethbridge 1 / 3; Regina 0 / 2.
Goalies-Lethbridge, Skinner (37 shots-36 saves). Regina, Brown (24 shots-22 saves).

In the Western Conference, Ethan Bear's goal with 12 seconds left in regulation lifted Seattle to a 5-4 win over Kelowna in Game 1 of that series. Game 2 goes in Seattle Saturday. 

Live Hits on TV Can Be Great

Just ask Global Edmonton, and Saskatchewan born sportscaster Kevin Karius who was on the air when David Desharnais got the game winner in overtime to send Edmonton to a Game 5 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead

Riders Release Greg Jones

Image result for greg jones riders

The Riders have released linebacker Greg Jones.

He spent one year in a Rider uniform after coming from Toronto as a free agent. 

The 28 year old suited up in 16 games last season collecting 70 tackles and two sacks while forcing two fumbles. 

The Michigan State product lost his starting role when the club signed Canadian middle linebacker Henoc Muamba in late-September.

This And That

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

--Are you ready to blow the roof off the Brandt Centre tonight Regina? I think I know the answer to that. Regina Pats-mania is alive and well in the YQR as the Queen City Kids get ready to tangle with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL's Eastern Conference Final. The first ECF for the Pats since 1993!! I wasn't in Regina at that time as I was calling North Peace Hockey League games in Peace River, Alberta. You have to go back longer than 93 for this guy.  I think it might have been 84 when the Pats met Kamloops in the WHL Final. I still have nightmares over how that series ended.  Damn you Ryan Stewart, damn you Dean Evason!!

As I walk around Regina, people are going crazy over the Pats. Many a GO PATS GO sign can be seen, many are wearing a jersey or something with the logo on it.  I don't know if I have ever seen it like this. I'm not complaining.

As I watch the NHL games and see the "C of Red" in Calgary, the "Orange Crush' in Edmonton, whatever you want to call it in Nashville, I wonder if the Brandt Centre could be awash in blue for Pats home games the rest of the way.  Could the Pats for the WHL final if they get there put blue "Join the Regiment" T-Shirts on each seat for Game 1? It would be an awesome sight.  Why wait for Game 1 of the WHL Final? I'm sure you have blue in your wardrobe.  Wear blue to the orange-top tonight!!

Make no doubt about it, the Lethbridge Hurricanes will pose a stiff challenge.  They are an injured bunch, and they still found a way to get past Medicine Hat.  I don't know what the status of their injured players are, but if they get healthy they will be a better team much like the Pats will if Adam Brooks returns.   Regina in 6?  Why not!

Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt got it going Thursday when he responded to John Paddock's comments on Tyler Wong saying the Pats are known for running the other team's top players too. Damn, I  love this time of year. How can you not?!

-- The CFL has seemingly shut its doors again.  There is very little coming from the league offices these days.  It also seems the "Who will replace Jeffrey Orridge as Commissioner?" talk is one no wants to engage in.  Why is that?  I thought there would be column after column after column on people who could take over and why.   The Winnipeg Free Press' Randy Turner sent out a tweet this week that Wayne Parrish, who is the former CEO of Basketball Canada, and the former COO of Postmedia is interested saying he wants a "challenge". If Parrish worked with Postmedia, would his first order of business to be cut and slash the CFL to a six team league?

During the Monday edition of the Sportscage, Luc Mullinder threw out two names---Bombers president Wade Miller and former Rider CEO Jim Hopson.  With all due respect to both, I can't endrose that for one simple reason.  I don't think the new CFL commish can have any assumed allegiances to a team as these two would have. It would start them off on the wrong foot especially if something had to be done with the team they once worked for.  I believe the CFL has to find someone (if there is someone out there who wants the job) that has no ties to any of the clubs.

-- The Saskatchewan Roughriders did the right thing with Justin Cox. They got rid of him as soon as his domestic violence charge in Regina came to light.  The CFL did the right thing as well when they told the other eight teams not to bother signing him because the contract won't be recognized.

   Many were asking why the Riders would bother with Cox considering his past. He had two similar incidents in the U-S----one when he was at Mississippi State.  The Kansas City Chiefs took a chance on Cox and he failed them.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders took a chance on Cox and once again, he sadly let them down.  Justin Cox obviously needs help.  The Riders are not the only team to have someone of questionable character on their squad, and they won't be the last.   I hope for Cox he has a plan after football, because his football days are likely done. If he doesn't have one, his life could take a much darker turn.

--Teams in the Prairie Football Conference will be playing teams in the Ontario Conference this year,  The Thunder will take on the Hamilton Hurricanes while the Hilltops will battle the Ottawa Sooners. If they can do this in junior football, why can't they do this for University football?  There's no reason why teams couldn't play one game a year against a non-Canada West opponent. Oh yeah, there is one. The reluctance of the Ontario and Quebec universities to do so.

--So much for my Stanley Cup pick.  I never, ever thought the Nashville Predators would beat the Hawks in 4 straight! I really can't see Chicago blowing it up, but who knows,

--The Anaheim Ducks looked pretty damn good in taking out the Flames in 4 straight. They had control of that series right from the drop of the puck in Game 1.  Yes, Calgary let a big lead get away in Game 3, but there is no doubt who the better team was.  If you're a Calgary fan, you have to A) wait to see what happens with GM Brad Treliving and B)  Try again to upgrade your goaltending.  I have to think the Flames will throw money at Ben Bishop

  Speaking of the Flames, I am interested to see how far Don Henderson's 10 million dollar lawsuit against Dennis Wideman and the team goes.  I don't care what anyone says. Wideman is as guilty as can be and is using the "he was concussed" as a convenient excuse. The fact Wideman appealed his 20 game suspension and got it reduced shows what type of individual he is. Needless to say, here's hoping Henderson gets what he is looking for as the gutless act by Wideman cost him his career.

--That's all I got. I'm finishing this up as the Oilers and Sharks prepare for overtime.  It could be a short night!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Argos Acquire SJ Green

Image result for sj green

 The Toronto Argonauts have acquired international all-star receiver S.J. Green from the Montreal Alouettes in exchange for the Argos sixth round selection in the 2017 CFL Draft and a conditional draft pick in 2018.

Green, a 6-2, 216-pound native of Brandon, Florida, will enter his 11th CFL season in 2017, having spent the last decade with the Montreal Alouettes. The South Florida product has 444 receptions for 6,626 yards and 42 touchdowns in 116 career CFL games. The two-time Grey Cup Champion, five-time East Division All-Star and 2013 CFL All-Star eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in four of his last five full seasons with the Alouettes, with the most recent coming in 2015 when he hauled in 71 passes for 1,036 yard and three majors.

“SJ is a dynamic playmaker and a proven winner who gives our offence another weapon and brings veteran leadership to our locker room,” said Jim Popp, General Manager for the Toronto Argonauts. “We are excited to welcome SJ to the Argos family and look forward to seeing him in Double Blue.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

CFL Releases Statement on Justin Cox

Earlier today, the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club released Justin Cox after being informed of an incident involving domestic violence. Our clubs have been informed that should any team decide to sign Mr. Cox to a Standard Player Contract, I will refuse to register that contract. This authority rests with the Commissioner under our league’s Constitution.
The Canadian Football League is committed to doing its part to eradicate violence against women. As is stated in our Policy on Violence Against Women, “the CFL condemns violence against women in all of its forms, including domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and verbal abuse, as well as the disrespectful and demeaning attitudes that foster violence or the tolerance of such violence.” In keeping with the policy, the CFL has worked with Saskatchewan to ensure appropriate outreach is made to local police and support and counseling services. We must all do what we can to ensure the safety of women and to urge perpetrators to seek the help they need to change their behaviour and stop the violence.
-CFL Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge 

Justin Cox Released by Riders After Being Charged With Assault Causing Bodily Harm

Image result for justin cox riders

Justin Cox is  no longer a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The defensive back has been released by the club following a charge of assault causing bodily harm against him.

A 23 year old woman was allegedly assaulted at a home in Regina on the weekend.

The 24 year old Cox, who was named the team's top rookie, last season was taken into custody and will appear in court next month.

This is not the first time Cox has been in trouble with the law.

In 2015 Cox was released from the  NFL's Kansas City Chiefs after being charged with domestic violence, burglary and trespassing.