Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pats Make Minor Deal With Everett

The Regina Pats Hockey Club has acquired a future pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for 18-year-old defenceman Riley Bruce.
Bruce was drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 Bantam Draft. The Winnipeg product appeared in 20 games in his Pats career, scoring once and adding two assists.
The Pats will open the 2017 pre-season on Thursday night against the Saskatoon Blades at 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. Tickets will be available at the door for $10.

Riders Pick Up Canadian DB In Trade With Calgary

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired the playing rights to national defensive back Adam Laurensse from the Calgary Stampeders in exchange for national offensive lineman Dillon Guy.    

Laurensse (6’1 – 185) was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the seventh round (61st overall) of the 2017 CFL Draft. The 23-year-old Sherwood Park, Alberta native attended training camp with the Stamps, seeing action in two preseason games, before returning to the University of Calgary for his final year of eligibility.     

(Riders PR)

Dressler Ready For Labour Day

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Weston Dressler was thrilled to be back on the field with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Wednesday and you can be sure his teammates feel the same way.

“I’m sure if you ask some of the guys in the locker room, they’ll tell you I was getting a little cranky, not quite myself the last few weeks,” the veteran receiver said after practice at Investors Group Field.
“It’s a lot better than watching from the sideline.”

Dressler missed four games with a lower body injury, but he’ll return to the lineup on Sunday when the Bombers travel to Regina for the Labour Day Classic against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
While a player of Dressler’s stature is always missed, the Bombers went 4-0 in his absence and finished off the first half of the season with a 7-2 record.

“We’re a fun team to watch, I will say that,” Dressler said. “It’s frustrating as a player when you don’t get to be a part of it on gameday and on the field but I felt like we’ve done a lot of good things throughout the last few weeks here.”

Dressler’s first game back will fittingly be against his old team. The Roughriders cut him in the off-season of 2016 after eight stellar seasons in Regina.

He still lives in the Saskatchewan capital in the off-season.
He’s glad to be back for this game, but would rather have returned to action a while ago.

“It never feels like you are getting back soon enough,” Dressler said. “I’d have liked to have been back a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, it wasn’t a serious injury and there’s no long-term damage or anything like that and I’m able to get back on the field this week.”
Dressler was leading the Bombers with 342 receiving yards when he got injured in Week 6 against Montreal.

“It speaks for itself what he’s been able to do in his career and I thought he was playing well early this season,” Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols said. “He’s a guy that draws a lot of attention and is a difference-maker and a guy I have a very good relationship with on and off the field. There’s a lot of times when I’m completing balls to him and I can barely even see him down there but I know where he’s going to be against every coverage in the league. He’s always in the right spot.
“He’s a big part of this team, whether he’s in (the lineup) or not.”

(Winnipeg Sun)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Regina Gets Ready for Grand Slam of Curling's Tour Challenge

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Regina will be home to the world’s biggest and brightest curling stars next month as the Tour Challenge – the first event of the 2017-18 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season – takes over The Co-Operators Centre at Evraz Place from September 5 to 10.

Marking the first time Regina plays host to a Grand Slam event, the Tour Challenge will shine the spotlight on the top 30 men’s and the top 30 women’s teams from around the world. The 60 teams will be divided into two tiers of 15 men’s and 15 women’s squads. Competing in a round-robin style bonspiel, the Tier 1 teams will be contending for a combined $200,000 purse, while the Tier 2 teams compete for $100,000 in prize money.

Winners of the Tier 1 event will receive invitations to the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Calgary (April 24-29, 2018), while the Tier 2 champions will secure a spot in the Masters event in October.

Sam Steel Named Pats Captain

(Keith Hershmiller Photo)

The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce their captain and alternate captains for the 2017-18 season.
Reigning WHL Player of the Year Sam Steel will wear the captains C for his 19-year-old season. The Anaheim Ducks prospect led all CHL players with 131 points last year. For his career, Steel has scored 90 goals and 165 assists for 255 points in 204 games.
Since joining the organization three years ago our staff knew this day would come as we moved forward in building the organization,” said Pats Head Coach and GM John Paddock.We are in a very special year and Sam is the right man to lead the team.
Defenceman Josh Mahura and forwards Jake Leschyshyn and Matt Bradley will serve as alternate captains.
Mahura, a signed prospect of the Anaheim Ducks, was acquired in a trade with the Red Deer Rebels in January of 2017. The 19-year-old scored 17 goals and had 53 points last year, adding 21 more in the post-season, which was third among all defenceman.
Leschyshyn is entering his 18-year-old season with the Pats. The Saskatoon product was drafted in the second round by the Vegas Golden Knights this summer. Leschyshyn had a career year in 2016-17 with 17 goals and 40 points in 43 games.
Bradley was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers this off-season. The overage forward comes to Regina after spending the first three seasons of his WHL career with the Tigers. Bradley has put up 74 goals and 168 points in 209 career games. Last year he set career highs in goals with 34, assists with 43 and points with 77.
Josh, Jake and Matt have the same goals as Sam individually and as teammates they are key contributors. They will aid him in getting the team to where we all plan to get to,” said Paddock.
The Pats will open the 2017 pre-season on Thursday night against the Saskatoon Blades at 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. Tickets will be available at the door for $10. 

(Phil Andrews/Regina Pats) 

Mosaic Becomes Presenting Sponsor For 2018 Tim Hortons Brier

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A company known for its strong community involvement across Saskatchewan has come on board with the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier in Regina.

Mosaic, the world’s leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash, will be the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Canadian Men’s Curling Championship, which is scheduled for March 2-11 at the Brandt Centre in Regina — just across a parking lot from Mosaic Stadium, home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Curling brings people together and Regina will be an excellent gathering place for fans across the country,” said Senior Vice President, Potash – Bruce Bodine. “At Mosaic, we support events and organizations that are meaningful to the people of Saskatchewan and find a platform to introduce the work our company does to help grow the food the world needs. We look forward to welcoming curling fans back to Saskatchewan — a place we are proud to call home.”

The 2018 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by Mosaic, will decide who wears the Maple Leaf at the 2018 World Men’s Curling Championship in Las Vegas.

Mosaic employs nearly 9,000 people in six countries and participates in every aspect of crop nutrition development. Its Canadian potash operations are headquartered in Regina, and includes three potash mines in Saskatchewan — at Belle Plaine, Colonsay and Esterhazy.

Full event packages for the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by Mosaic, are now available. Go to for more information.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Saskatchewan Loses A Hockey Icon -- Graham Tuer Passes Away

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The hockey world has a lost true character, and a true great.

Graham Tuer died in Regina on Tuesday morning at the age of 87.

Tuer did it all during his career in hockey in a variety of roles, and earlier this summer he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame.

Trips to the rink were more special when you had a chat to speak with this wonderful man who was as sharp as a tack, and had a special sense of humour.  His departure leaves a gigantic void in the Regina hockey community and knowing I will not see him or speak with him at the Brandt Centre this winter is very sad indeed.

He will be missed!

2017 Canada West Football Season Ready To GO

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A new Canada West football season hits the gridiron Friday, as a full slate of games opens the 2017 campaign.

Highlighting the Week 1 action is a rematch of last season's Hardy Cup semi between the UBC Thunderbirds and Regina Rams (Friday, Sept. 1 - 7 p.m. CST). The meeting marks the fourth time in the last 12 months that the two teams will meet, after the Rams swept the regular season series a year ago, only to fall 40-34 in the conference semis.

Both teams enter the new season with high expectations. UBC returns 21 of 24 starters, while the Rams have a few more holes to fill with a combined 15 starters returning, but also the nation's top player from a year ago in the form of Hec Crighton Award winner Noah Picton still in the fold.
Picton is coming off a magical 2016 season in which he led the nation in passing yards per game (398.3) and passing touchdowns (25).
Those numbers powered the Rams to 4,290 yards of total offence last season, which was the second highest total in U SPORTS behind Western.

Picton will once again have his favourite target in the fold this season, as cousin Mitchell Picton returns to the Rams for his final year of eligibility.

The Picton-to-Picton connection was unstoppable at times last season in the Queen City, as Mitchell led the nation with 11 touchdown catches and was first in CW in both receptions (58) and receiving yards (834).

While the T-Birds and Rams might provide the most compelling storyline based on their recent history, the other two season openers provide intrigue in their own right.

Manitoba welcomes Saskatchewan to Winnipeg, where first-year Huskies coach Scott Flory looks to get his first win out of the way in short order (Friday, Sept. 1 - 7 p.m. CDT).

While Flory is new to the head coaching role in Saskatchewan after serving the last severals years on previous head coach Brian Towriss' staff, he is far from the only change on the Huskies staff this season. Marcus Crandell (offensive), Warren Muzika (defensive) and Jerry Friesen (special teams) are also new to the fold, as the Huskies look to return to prominence.

Rounding out the Week 1 action is the Battle of Alberta, as the Alberta Golden Bears and Calgary Dinos go head-to-head in the Alberta capital (Friday, Sept. 1 - 7 p.m. MDT).

The storylines around this matchup are much the same as they have been for the last several seasons, as the Bears enter the season looking to end their playoff hiatus, while the Dinos are favourites to return to the Hardy Cup and challenge for a trip to the Vanier Cup.

This season might be different for the Bears, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2010, as quarterback Brad Baker has impressed in training camp. Whether that translates into an opening night win against Calgary remains to be seen, as the Dinos enter the contest having outscored Alberta by a combined score of 194-71 in three meetings since 2015.

All three games can be seen live by visiting the revamped Canada West TV.

Click here for the CW FB weekly notes as a PDF.

Saskatchewan Huskies vs. Manitoba Bisons

Friday, September 1
7 p.m. CDT
Investors Group Field - Winnipeg, Man.
WATCH: Canada West TV
For the first time since 1984, the Saskatchewan Huskies have a rookie head coach at the helm. Scott Flory's regular season tenure begins Friday. Flory replaces former HC Brian Towriss, who led the Huskies to three Vanier Cups between 1984 and 2016.

After an injury-plagued 2016 season, receiver Mitch Hillis is back and looking to return to his 2015 form. An 8th round pick of the Riders in this year's CFL Draft, Hillis averaged 131.5 YPG back in 2015 and finished second in the CW receiving race.

The Herd enter the season looking to avoid consecuitve seasons outside the playoffs for the first time since they missed the cut four consecutive campaigns between 2008 and 2011.

A big reason for the Bisons struggles in 2016 was their pass defence, which was the worst in the nation. Manitoba surrendered 361.8 YPG last season. The Herd were one of eight teams in U SPORTS to surrender 300+ aerial YPG.

UBC Thunderbirds vs. Regina Rams

Friday, September 1
7 p.m. CST
Mosaic Stadium - Regina, Sask.
WATCH: Canada West TV

Friday's season opener marks the fourth time in the last 12 months the T-Birds and Rams will meet. Regina took both regular season games in 2016, before UBC earned a semifinal win in the Rams' final game at the old Mosaic Stadium.

For the third straight season, the reigning Hec Crighton award winner hails from CW, as Rams QB Noah Picton enters the year with the honour to his name. This is the first time the national player of the year has come from CW three consecutive seasons.

Entering the season with plenty of expectations is UBC QB Michael O'Connor. The third-year pivot was sharp in his pre-season effort against Alberta, going 23-for-25 for 280 yards and three TDs in just a half of work.

Two years removed from their run to the Vanier Cup, UBC appears poised for another deep run through the conference and national playoffs. The T-Birds return 21 starters from a year ago, including 11 on offence

Calgary Dinos vs. Alberta Golden Bears

Friday, September 1
7 p.m. CST
Mosaic Stadium - Regina, Sask.
WATCH: Canada West TV

It's been nine years since Alberta beat Calgary on the field. Minus a forfeit win for the Bears, Alberta is 0-13 against their provincial rivals. The average margin of defeat over the stretch has been 40+ points.

Once again last season, the Calgary Dinos put up big offensive numbers. The Dinos rushing attack led the charge, as Calgary was one of six teams nationally to average 500+ YPG offensively, racking up 507.4 YPG.

Despite some recent struggles, Alberta's last season opening win wasn't long ago. The Bears opened the 2015 season with a 29-22 victory over Regina, followed by a Week 2 win over Saskatchewan. Alberta, however, would finish the season 2-6.

Leading the Bears this season at the QB position is Brad Baker. After missing all of 2016 with an ACL tear, Baker enters the season looking to follow in the footsteps of his former HS coach Darryl Salmon, who led the Bears to three Hardy Cup appearances (2003-05).

(Canada West) 

Monday, August 28, 2017

CFL Says No To Briles


Art Briles will no longer be joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a coach. We came to this decision this evening following a lengthy discussion between the league and the Hamilton organization. We wish Mr. Briles all the best in his future endeavours.

The Circus Continues in Hamilton

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Art Briles is heading to The Great White North.

It was only a matter of time before the former Baylor coach found another coaching job somewhere, and it appears that somewhere is Canada. The Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League announced Monday that they had hired Briles as the team's "assistant head coach offense."

The regular head coach is another name familiar to college football fans in Texas: June Jones, who went 112-84 over 16 seasons at Hawaii and SMU before being hired by Hamilton last week.

As for Briles, he's been out of work since May 2016 when he was fired by Baylor in the midst of a sexual assault scandal at the school.

Briles has denied having any knowledge of the numerous alleged rapes and Title IX violations within his program while he was at Baylor, and he filed a lawsuit because he believed school officials were implying in interviews that he did. Briles dropped the lawsuit in February 2017 after a new lawsuit against the school alleged that 52 "acts of rape" by 31 Baylor players occurred at the school between 2011 and 2014. The lawsuit also claims the program used sex to sell the program to potential recruits, with players arranging for "women, alcohol and illegal drugs" to be available for recruits at off-campus parties.

Something To "Mitch" About


What did I learn this weekend?  Here ya go!

1.  I said the Saskatchewan Roughriders had to show me they could compete with a Western Division foe if I, and many others, were going to take them seriously.  This just in.  You might want to change your mindset.  The question many were asking on Friday night and throughout the weekend was "What was that?" and it was in a good way.  I think some thought the Riders could turn it around and compete with the Eskimos, but did anyone see them coming into "Mike Reilly's house" and taking over with what was a good old fashioned beating.

I don't know about you, but when Reilly fumbled on 3rd and short early in the game, I had an inkling this could be a game that could go Saskatchewan's way. As we saw, it did!  Reilly looked uncomfortable all night long as the Rider defense picked up right where they left off against BC.  When is the last time Rider Nation enjoyed back-to-back decisive wins? It has been a while. Perhaps Chris Jones' team has turned the corner. It took longer than what many of us would have liked, but perhaps they are what we thought they could be with that victory making the upcoming back-to-back against Winnipeg a lot of fun.  

I put it out on Twitter for Winnipeg to bring it, and as expected, it got under the skin of our friends in the Manitoba capital including some Bombers personnel. I don't think they are for real despite their 7-2 record, but they think they are in Winnipeg. They're so cute when they're angry.  The complexion of the West could be a'changin as the end of summer arrives.  The message that was delivered on Friday night was one many noticed and one that didn't surprise some who had said this was coming. 

Get your popcorn ready!

2.  Do Rider receivers bet amongst themselves who is going to come up with the catch of the game?  The "year of the catch" continued with Naaman Roosevelt's first quarter touchdown catch.  When TSN compiles its top catches of the year, Duron Carter's nab against Toronto is still front and center, but the amount of great catches made by Rider pass-grabbers this year has been unreal. One or two if not more are happening every game.

3. I think it is a lock that Willie Jefferson will be named the Riders top defensive player at the end of the season if he stays healthy. The question I have is if the wins continue, how much attention will be paid to Jefferson as arguably the league's best on defense this year.  How many players have had a better year than Willie so far? Charleston Hughes and Odell Willis do come to mind, but Jefferson is right there with them. 

4. When is the last time all 3 Rider QB's dressed for a game had a touchdown. Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge each threw one and Vernon Adams ran one in.  For that matter, when is the last time the Riders had a game where they scored on offence, defence and special teams?

5. Not to beat a dead horse, but why is there a need for someone like Trent Richardson when Cameron Marshall showed again he is more than capable of doing the job. Barring injury, I think the Riders are fine at running back. 

6. Where are the Chris Jones haters now? Is he still wearing too many hats as HC, GM. DC and director of football operations?  

What a difference a couple of weeks make. Yes, it could all blow up again once the Riders are finished with the Bombers, but it may also mushroom in a positive way as well.  There might be some wanting to reserve a spot on the Green Mile if the Riders were to sweep the Bombers.   At the end of the day, the Riders still start this week last in the West, but the woes that have befallen this team after the Darian Durant injury at the 2014 Banjo Bowl may have exited stage right.

7. While many spent their Saturday night watching Mayweather-McGregor, I headed down to the Co-Operators Centre to see the official start of Pats training camp.

Head coach John Paddock watched his troops from the press area of the Co-Operators Centre with a solid crowd checking out the first scrimmage of the year between Team Staniowski and Team Gillies.  When you look at the roster, you see this team isn't close to being where last year's was for obvious reasons with guys like Zborovskiy, Brooks, and Hobbs no longer around.. Nick Henry is still rehabbing an injury suffered in last year's playoffs and Jake Leschyshyn hasn't been cleared yet. Make no doubt though there is a lot of talent on this team and there is good talent coming up as well.

The team could use some size and experience on the back end, but I'm pretty confident Paddock can find what he needs. The question remains though "What about Sam Steel?".  The Anaheim Ducks could care less about the Pats hosting the Memorial Cup and if Steel can help them he will.   It was suggested Saturday night Steel could stick with the Ducks until the World Juniors.  That would not be an ideal situation for a Regina team which could struggle a little in the first half, but be a team to be reckoned with in the second half.  It is going to be a great winter of hockey at the Brandt Centre. There's a lot of excitement in the air, and there should be.

8. I wonder how the Ontario Conference likes playing the PFC. The Thunder went to Hamilton and destroyed the Hurricanes 61-7 while the Ottawa Sooners came to Saskatoon and were beaten 49-15.  Is it safe to say the PFC is a little better than the Ontario league?

9. You can have your McGregor-Mayweather. From all indications, it was better than Pacquiao-Mayweather, and McGregor may have actually made some fans after his performance.  I didn't think Mayweather would take 10 rounds to take down the feisty Irishman.  While I had no interest in that fight, what a fight it was between Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson at the Northern Trust Open. What a final round that was as D-J came from way back to win in a playoff.  Great shots, clutch shots and plenty of drama from the top two players in the world in a duel we rarely see. It was outstanding.

10. Speaking of outstanding.....

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever see Guns N' Roses play in Regina.  I guess that is what a new stadium will do.  What a night at Mosaic! Axl, Slash and crew were unbelievable and I think 98.5 percent of those who were there would agree.  They played all the hits over a three hour time period  and they had everyone engaged and into it...that is except for the guy across the aisle from me who could barely get through the first hour without passing out before he eventually was taken home. You paid how much for that ticket? Hope it was worth it! Dude ,missed out on one of the greatest guitar solos I've ever seen. Slash went for about 5 minutes with a version of "The Godfather" that was the talk of the show as I exited the building.

Let's keep the memories of GNR alive, but lets tear down that stage and make Mosaic into a football stadium again, because we got a game to play Sunday and a big game it is.  Before that, the Rams kick off what should be a great 2017.

Have a great week everyone!