Thursday, March 12, 2020

Taking a Break

Like basically everything else, this blog is cancelling all posts until further notice.

COVID 19 Continues To Impact Sports World


“This is a difficult time for so many people in so many countries around the world. And it is certainly a difficult time for the Canadian Football League. At our very core, we are about bringing people together: teammates, competitors, fans, sponsors, Canadians, and at this point in our history, football playing and football loving people from partner countries on four continents.

But the health and safety of the entire CFL family is paramount — and it is  increasingly clear that we owe it to each other to take some extraordinary and temporary measures. That is why, effective immediately, we are cancelling our plans for regional scouting combines (in Montreal March 13 and in Edmonton March 20) and the CFL Combine ( in Toronto March 26-28).

We want the young athletes involved to know that despite this delay their dream remains very much alive and we will use every other possible tool at our disposal to evaluate them fairly prior to our Global Draft (April 16) and National Draft (April 30).


(National Lacrosse League)

The Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously. CHL President Dan MacKenzie with Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robison have been monitoring the situation in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended. Following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and regional league Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.

(Canadian Hockey League) 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Touchdown Atlantic Sold Out

Image result for touchdown atlantic

 The 2020 edition of Touchdown Atlantic has sold out in one day after opening to public sale. The Toronto Argonauts are set to play host to the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders in the east coast contest on July 25 at Huskies Stadium on the grounds of Saint Mary’s University.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the response to this year’s Touchdown Atlantic,” said Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “Our incredible fans from every corner of the country have come together to deliver the league a clear message: that Canadian football has a home in Atlantic Canada.

“We have fans of the Riders and the Argos who are excited to see their teams in action. We have individuals from BC who are eager to take in the stunning opposite coast. And of course, we have fans and families from across Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada who are ready to welcome everyone to this beautiful part of the country.”

For the game, capacity at Huskies Stadium had been increased to approximately 10,000. Given the community’s quick response, the CFL has begun exploring options to welcome more fans to the annual event.

“We anticipated that a quick sellout might be possible and we have a number of plans to increase capacity for the big game," said Duane Vienneau, the CFL’s Chief Grey Cup and Events Officer. "We are actively exploring options with Saint Mary’s University to potentially expand fixed seating and to increase capacity in both the Family and Party Zones."

In addition to the Touchdown Atlantic matchup, the game will be preceded by a three-day ‘mini Grey Cup festival’, a series of media events and community visits by both teams. Further details will be announced in the months leading up to the game.

(CFL Communications)

Monday, March 9, 2020

NHL, MLB, NBA and MLS Release Statement on Coronavirus

Coronavirus, Locker Room, NBA, MLS, NFL, NHL

Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) today issued the following joint statement:

“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow’s games and practices.

“We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of the Week, Zibanejad, Landeskog, Draisaitl

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog and Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 8.


Zibanejad topped the NHL with seven goals in three games to help the Rangers (36-28-4, 76 points) move within three points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He potted New York’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues March 3. Zibanejad then scored five times, including the overtime winner, in a 6-5 victory against the Washington Capitals March 5. He became the third player in Rangers history to record a five-goal game, joining Don Murdoch (Oct. 12, 1976 at MNS) and Mark Pavelich (Feb. 23, 1983 vs. HFD). Zibanejad also became the second player in League history to register a five-goal performance that included an overtime winner. The other: Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov (Dec. 26, 1996 vs. WSH). Zibanejad added one more goal in a 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils March 7. The 26-year-old Huddinge, Sweden, native ranks fifth in the NHL with a career-high 39 goals in 55 games this season (39-33—72). That includes a League-best 21 goals in his past 20 outings dating to Jan. 31 (21-12—33).


Landeskog led the NHL with 3-6—9 in four contests to power the Avalanche (41-19-8, 90 points) to a 2-1-1 week and within two points of first place in the Central Division. The Colorado captain collected the primary assist on Logan O’Connor’s decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 2. Landeskog then posted multiple points in each of his next three games, registering 1-2—3 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks March 4, 1-1—2 in a 6-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks March 6 and 1-2—3 in a 4-3 triumph over San Jose Sharks March 8. The 27-year-old Stockholm, Sweden, native ranks fourth on the Avalanche with 21-21—42 in 52 appearances this season, including 5-8—13 during an eight-game point streak dating to Feb. 22.


Draisaitl placed second in the NHL with 4-4—8 in four outings as the Oilers (37-24-8, 82 points) went 3-1-0 to move within two points of first place in the Pacific Division. Draisaitl posted 4-1—5, his first career four-goal game and second career five-point performance (also Nov. 14, 2019 vs. COL: 0-5—5), in an 8-3 win over the Nashville Predators March 2. He added one assist in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars March 3 and two helpers in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks March 5 before being held off the scoresheet in a 4-1 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 7. The 24-year-old Cologne, Germany, native tops the NHL with a career-high 67 assists and 110 points through 69 games this season (43-67—110).

(NHL Media)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

2020 IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship Cancelled

player on ice with logo

 The world women's  hockey championship has been wiped out by disease for a second time, with host Canada the loser of this year’s tournament.

The International ice Hockey Federation cancelled the tournament scheduled for March 31 to April 10 in Halifax and Truro, N.S., because of concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus.

“It is with great regret that we must take this action,” IIHF president Rene Fasel said Saturday in a statement.

“Nevertheless, the decision has been made due to safety concerns for the well-being of players, officials, and spectators.

“Ultimately the IIHF Council feels that there has not been enough of an improvement to the coronavirus situation to allow us to safely host a 10-team international tournament within this timeframe.”

The 2003 women’s championship in Beijing was called off because of the SARS outbreak in China.

Subject to approval by the IIHF Congress, the 2021 women’s world championship will be held in Nova Scotia.

“The International Ice Hockey Federation has diligently monitored the development and risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and under the recommendation of the chief medical officer of health of the Province of Nova Scotia and the IIHF, it was determined the best course of action was to cancel the even,” Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said in a statement.

“This decision was made in the best interest of the players, fans, staff, volunteers and the general public, and we fully support the IIHF’s decision.

“A tremendous amount of work has been put forth by our athletes, staff, the host organizing committee and our partners, and we look forward to continuing to prepare for this world-class event when it returns to Nova Scotia in 2021.”

Fasel told The Associated Press the difficulties some of the eight nations will encounter in simply making travel plans, such as Japan, where almost all sports events and large gatherings have been cancelled.

“It’s scary,” Fasel told The AP.

The cancellation of the year’s marquee event in international women’s hockey is yet another blow for the top female hockey players in the world.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League collapsed last year. November’s Four Nations Cup in Sweden was called off due to a dispute between the Swedish federation and the national women’s team.

More than 200 of the top women players formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Association in the wake of the CWHL’s collapse.

They refused to compete in the five-team NWHL because they don’t feel its financially sustainable.

“This has been a very unique and difficult season, and while it has given us the opportunity to prepare for worlds with our mini-camps, this is tremendously disappointing for our athletes, coaches and staff who have been working tirelessly all season,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of female hockey teams.

The escalating virus outbreak has played havoc with numerous sporting events across Europe and Asia with games being cancelled or played without spectators.

The women’s world curling championship, slated to start next weekend in Prince George, B.C., and world figure skating championships, scheduled for March 16-22 in Montreal, still had the green light as of Saturday.

Halifax hosted the 2004 women’s world championship, which Canada won.

“This is tough for players, fans organizers and our local .Halifax community,” Halifax mayor Mike Savage said on Twitter. “But a sound decision based on public health recommendations. We look forward to hosting when the time is right.”

Fasel said the status of other upcoming international hockey tournaments will be determined in the coming month, starting with the under-18 men’s championships in Michigan from April 16-26.

Fasel said a decision regarding that tournament likely will be made within 10 days.

The IIHF will await until mid-April to determine whether to proceed with May’s men’s world championships in Switzerland.

The virus has led to the NHL and NBA considering taking precautionary measures.

On Friday, the NHL issued a memo to its teams urging players to limit contact with fans.

The move followed a similar directive this month by the NBA, which has told its players to stop high-fiving fans and strangers, and avoid taking items for autographs.

(Canadian Press)

Friday, March 6, 2020

This And That

--Welcome to Friday and the weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order

--The argument over "the rouge" has started again.  The CFL doesn't need the single point.  Just abolish it.  You shouldn't be rewarded for failure.. If a kicker misses a field goal whether it be from 25 or 55 yards, you shouldn't have the chance at adding to your score.  I've always thought it was a dumb rule from the time I started watching the CFL and that was a long time ago.   Imagine Grey Cup 2020 in a tie game when the team with the ball at the opposition's 20 with 10 seconds left decides to just punt the ball through the endzone or have his kicker just drill it with no desire of it going through the goalposts.  What a momentous victory it would be!  It would be a huge black eye on the league..  Remove the Rouge I say!

--The UFC is coming back to Saskatchewan much to the delight of many.  I was at SaskTel Centre five years ago when it came here for the first time.  That was a great night and I am guessing it will be this time around as well.

I completely understand there are some who wouldn't walk across the street to watch.  I am the same way with reality television, but there are many who are excited to see the UFC return and the UFC obviously sees a market in Saskatchewan.  They could go to bigger venues like Winnipeg, Calgary or Edmonton, but they are coming to Saskatoon,  That should tell you something

--The WWE is returning to Saskatchewan as well with some April dates. Chances are you will see me at the Brandt Centre that night.  I've been hooked on wrestling from the days of Stampede Wrestling (RIP Exhibition Auditorium).  Its my Grey's Anatomy! Its a "rope opera" for this blogger.

--Waking up to a fresh covering of snow wasn't a surprise as we can expect that in March and April.  It just makes things so much better though when you can turn on the TV and see baseball highlights knowing opening day is one day closer.

--Is it just me or has the Vladimir Guerrero Jr hype been replaced by Bo Bichette hype?  I am not hearing a lot about VGJ so far, but I'm hearing a lot about Bichette.

--The Twitter account @asterisktour that just trashes the Houston Astros is gold!

--The Warriors-Pats rivalry will never be what it used to, but every now and then you get glimmers of the past.  There were post-game fights after Regina's win at the Brandt Centre Tuesday night that resulted in suspensions.  It all started when one of the Warriors decided to flip the puck into the stands instead if allowing Regina to have it to give to 17-year-old goalie Spencer Welke who had just gotten his first WHL win.   Yes. it was a d-bag move on behalf of the Warriors player who did it, but it shows you that even though the rivalry isn't close to the good old days, there is still a hate on when it comes to the two teams.

   If the situation had been reversed, would a Pats player do the same thing?  Yeah, I'm guessing they would!

--If there has been a Brier with more big highlight reel shots from the skips than this year, I don't remember it.  The curling we have seen in Kingston this week has been spectacular.  The Matt Dunstone rink had a tough Thursday losing both of his games in championship pool play and is now 6-3.  A playoff spot is still there for him though and  many in the  province are cheering for him.

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Riders Have New DL Coach

Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson has announced Ben Olson as the Club’s defensive line coach.

Olson is entering his first season with the Roughriders after spending the 2019 season as the defensive line coach at McNeese State University. Olson has seven years of coaching under his belt, first as an undergraduate assistant at his alma matter, Eastern Illinois, before moving to Rose-Hulman as the linebackers’ coach. From there, Olson coached at Bowling Green, Syracuse, Colgate and Yale from 2013-2018.

(Riders PR)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Jovon Johnson Retires As A Bomber

Image result for jovon johnson winnipeg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have announced that defensive back Jovon Johnson has signed a one-day contract with the club to officially retire as a member of the Blue and Gold.

Johnson, 36, spent 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League, including six in Blue and Gold from 2008-13.

During his time in Winnipeg, Johnson was twice named a CFL All-Star (2009, 2011) and was a three-time East Division All-Star (2009, 2010, 2011). He was also an East All-Star in 2012 and 2015 as a member of the Ottawa REDBLACKS.

“Winnipeg will always be my second home,” said Johnson. “My professional career grew up there. I have so many memories to share, so many tears shed, so many friends who are now family, fans who are still actively a part of my life. As I close this chapter of my career I will always be forever grateful to the city of Winnipeg, the fans, my coaches that I had the pleasure to play for, management, support staff, everyone apart of the organization, thank you!”

Johnson’s 2011 campaign with the Bombers was sensational, as he was named a CFL All-Star and honoured as the CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player, becoming the first defensive back in league history to win the award. That year, he was named the Bombers’ Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

In his six years with the Bombers, Johnson had 363 tackles, 23 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and seven defensive touchdowns. Johnson ranks second on the Bombers’ all-time interception return yardage list with 500 and his six interception return touchdowns are a club record.

A gifted kick returner, Johnson is the Bombers’ all-time leader in punt return yards with 2,933.

Johnson spent the 2014-15 season with Ottawa, the 2016-17 seasons in Montreal before finishing his playing days with Saskatchewan in 2018.

He’s now the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach with Defiance College in Ohio.

(Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Monday, March 2, 2020

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Three Stars of the Week, Fiala, Ellis and Francouz

NEW YORK (March 2, 2020) – Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 1.


Fiala had four multi-point games to lead the NHL in goals (4; tied) and points (4-5—9), pacing the Wild (32-26-7, 71 points) to a 3-1-0 record and within one point of a playoff spot. He had 1-1—2, including the winning goal, Feb. 25 in a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He then posted 1-2—3 in a 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 27 followed by another 1-1—2 outing versus Columbus, in a 5-0 triumph Feb. 28. He closed the week with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on March 1 to become the third player in club history with multiple points in four straight games, joining Marian Gaborik (2006-07 & 2007-08) and Brian Rolston (2005-06) who had equal runs. Fiala is the 19th player to achieve that feat in 2019-20, with only Leon Draisaitl and Nikita Kucherov extending to five games. Fiala, 23, a native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, was selected 11th overall by Nashville in the 2014 NHL Draft. In his second season with the Wild, he leads the team with a career-high 49 points in 60 games (20-29—49).


Ellis had multiple points in all three contests to lead defensemen and tie for second in the entire NHL with seven points (1-6—7), factoring on seven of nine Nashville goals to guide the Predators (32-24-8, 72 points) to a 2-1-0 record and into a playoff spot for the first time since Nov. 13. Ellis began the week with one goal and two assists in a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 25. Two days later he notched 0-3—3 in a 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames, matching career highs for assists and points in a game. He closed the week with two assists in a 3-2 loss to the Avalanche on Feb. 29. This is the third time this season that Ellis has posted multiple points in at least three straight games, with the first such run matching a franchise record at four games (Oct. 12-19, 2019: 0-8—8 in 4 GP). Selected 11th overall by Nashville in the 2009 NHL Draft, the 29-year-old native of Hamilton, Ont., is in his ninth season with the Predators and sits six points shy of a new career high despite playing in only 44 games in 2019-20 (7-29—36).



Francouz went 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .946 save percentage as the Avalanche (39-18-7, 85 points) maintained their rank of second place in the Central Division. After leading the NHL’s “Three Stars” last week, Francouz posted a trio of 3-2 victories beginning Feb. 26 against the Buffalo Sabres (31 saves) followed by a career-high 45-save performance Feb. 28 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. He closed the week with a 30-save triumph Feb. 29 in Nashville, extending his overall win streak to six games and point streak to seven contests (6-0-1). Only eight different goaltenders in franchise history have posted a longer win streak, with Jonathan Bernier (9-0-0 in 2017-18) and Andrew Raycroft (7-0-0 in 2008-09) the only ones to do so since 2006-07. Francouz, 29, a native of Plzen, Czech Republic, owns a 19-5-3 record over 29 games in his first full NHL season (2.24 GAA, .929 SV%, 1 SO).

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame Announces 2020 Inductees

Image result for saskatchewan hockey hall of fame

The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame has announced its 2020 inductees. Those being honoured will be officially enshrined in Yorkton this summer. 

A list of who is going in can be found here 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Dunstone In Tough at Tim Hortons Brier

Image may contain: 5 people, basketball court and indoor
Picture: Curling Canada

Calgary’s Kevin Koe will be in the spotlight when the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, gets underway on Saturday at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston, Ont.

The 45-year-old Koe, skipping the defending champions Team Canada from The Glencoe Club in Calgary, will be trying to win his fifth Tim Hortons Brier title as a skip, which would break the record he currently shares with Randy Ferbey, Kevin Martin and Ernie Richardson.

And Team Canada’s lead, Ben Hebert, also has a chance to win his fifth Tim Hortons Brier title (his first two came with Martin), and with a win, he and Koe would move into second place for most Tim Hortons Brier championships, behind only Ferbey, who also won twice as a vice-skip.

Team Canada — the team is rounded out by vice-skip B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, alternate Ted Appelman and coach John Dunn — makes its 2020 Tim Hortons Brier debut on Saturday in the opening draw at 2 p.m. (all times Eastern) with a tantalizing matchup against the host Ontario team from Toronto, skipped by 2018 Tim Hortons Brier bronze-medallist John Epping. It’s a rematch of the 2019 Home Hardware Canada Cup men’s final, in which Epping prevailed 7-4.

While Koe’s (and Hebert’s) drive for five is the main storyline in Kingston, it’s hardly the only one.

Brad Gushue, making his 17th Tim Hortons Brier appearance, and his Newfoundland/Labrador team from St. John’s is seeking a third Tim Hortons Brier title in four years after his wins in 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile, Brad Jacobs’s Northern Ontario team from Sault Ste. Marie enters the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier as the country’s top team on the Canadian Team Ranking System, with ambitions of winning a second Brier title after winning in 2013. Team Epping is No. 2 on the CTRS, followed by Team Gushue at No. 3.

The No. 5 team is Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, who is looking to ascend to the top step of the Tim Hortons Brier medal podium after silver medals in 2018 and last year.

Sixteen teams, representing the 14 Curling Canada member associations, Team Canada and the winner of the Wild Card Game, have been seeded based on their CTRS ranking as of Dec. 31, 2019, and separated into two pools. The Wild Card Game winner will automatically go in as the No. 3 seed.

They’ll first play a round robin within their pool, after which the top four in each advance to the Championship Pool for four games against teams from the other pool. Upon completion, the top four teams (best overall won-lost records) proceed to the Page Playoffs on Saturday (1 vs. 2, winner to final, loser to semifinal; 3 vs. 4, winner to semifinal, loser eliminated).

The semifinal is Sunday, March 8, at noon, while the gold-medal game is at 7 p.m.

The winning team will represent Canada at the 2020 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by BKT Tires, March 28-April 5 in Glasgow, Scotland. The winner will also defend its title as Team Canada in the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, in Kelowna, B.C., and earn a direct-entry berth into the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by AGI, in Saskatoon — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Here’s a look at how the two pools set up:

(teams listed according to seeding, and listed in order of skip, vice-skip, second, lead, alternate, coach/High Performance Consultant; hometown)

1. Northern Ontario, Brad Jacobs (Marc Kennedy, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden, Lee Toner, Rick Lang; Sault Ste. Marie)
4. Alberta, Brendan Bottcher (Darren Moulding, Brad Thiessen, Karrick Martin, Patrick Janssen, Don Bartlett; Edmonton)
5. Newfoundland/Labrador, Brad Gushue (Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker, Jeff Thomas, Jules Owchar; St. John’s)
8. Manitoba, Jason Gunnlaugson (Adam Casey [throws second], Alex Forrest [throws third], Connor Njegovan, Garry Van Den Berghe; Morris)
9. Nova Scotia, Jamie Murphy (Paul Flemming, Scott Saccary, Phil Crowell, Kevin Ouellette, Bruce Lohnes; Halifax)
12. Quebec, Alek Bedard (Louis Quevillon, Émile Asselin, Bradley Lequin, Daniel Bedard; Lacolle/Boucherville/Glenmore)
13. Prince Edward Island, Bryan Cochrane (Ian MacAulay, Morgan Currie, Mark O’Rourke, Ken Sullivan; Cornwall)
16. Nunavut, Jake Higgs (Dale Kohlenberg, Christian Smitheram, Ed MacDonald, Sheldon Wettig, Quentin Vanderschaaf; Iqaluit)

2. Ontario, John Epping (Ryan Fry, Mat Camm, Brent Laing, John Morris, Jim Wilson; Toronto)
3. Team Wild Card:  Mike McEwen (Reid Carruthers, Derek Samagalski, Colin Hodgson; Winnipeg)
6. Team Canada, Kevin Koe (B.J. Neufeld, Colton Flasch, Ben Hebert, Ted Appelman, John Dunn; Calgary)
7. Saskatchewan, Matt Dunstone (Braeden Moskowy, Catlin Schneider, Dustin Kidby, Adam Kingsbury; Regina)
10. British Columbia, Steve Laycock [throws third] (Jim Cotter [throws last], Andrew Nerpin, Rick Sawatsky, Brad Wood; Vernon/Kelowna)
11. New Brunswick, James Grattan (Paul Dobson, Andy McCann, Jamie Brannen, Chris Jeffrey; Oromocto)
14. Yukon, Thomas Scoffin (Trygg Jensen, Brett Winfield, Joe Wallingham, Wade Scoffin; Whitehorse)
15. Northwest Territories, Jamie Koe (David Aho, Shadrach Mcleod, Cole Parsons, Matthew Ng; Yellowknife)

UFC Heading Back To Saskatoon?

UFC reportedly heading back to Saskatoon

It’s not final yet, but there are reports the UFC is heading back to Saskatchewan.

The website “MMAJunkie” says UFC is finalizing a deal which would see the event be staged on June 20 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.

The only other UFC appearance in Saskatchewan was in August of 2015 when Fight Night 74 came from Saskatoon with Max Holloway fighting Charles Oliveira in the main event.

It is not known who would be fighting in this card if it comes to fruition.

This And That

--Welcome to Friday and the weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order

--At what area do the Riders need to upgrade?   This is a very solid team and one that shouldn't fall too far from its 13-5 campaign last season in what will be a very competitive Western Conference.  Another D-Tackle would be nice with the departure of Micah Johnson, but Mak Henry will have every opportunity to show his time is now.   The o-line depth took a hit with the loss of Dariusz Bladek and Philip Blake, but one has to believe the cupboard will get re-stocked at the draft.

--With Toronto and Ottawa not doing enough at this point in time to be considered for a playoff spot in my mind, what Western team will miss the playoffs.  I would say with the improvements BC has made that the honour might go to Edmonton.  It could be Calgary if BLM's injury woes continues because I don't think they have another Nick Arbuckle ready to go.  BC should be a playoff team this year shouldn't they?

--A lot of people I have spoken to aren't happy with the fact Naaman Roosevelt is  no longer a Rider.  It will be different seeing him in a different uniform this season, but Roosevelt is not the Jenga block that sends this team tumbling.  With Shaq Evans, Jordan Williams-Lambert and Kyran Moore, the team is set when it comes to pass-catchers.  Add Justin McInnis to that list as well.  We'll also see if Paul McRoberts and Carlos Henderson can fit in at a cheaper price.  Its not the end of the world.  Fan favourites can't play in green forever!

--We have gotten a taste of what CFL Commish Randy Ambrosie is saying in his 3rd "Randy's Road Trip" series, but some Rider fans will get a chance to hear first-hand what his thoughts are on Saturday in Regina.  I'm guessing many will have some good questions for the Commish as he outlines his vision for the league.

--Why is Joe Thornton upset with the Sharks for not trading him at the deadline? If Thornton wanted that Cup so bad, why not go somewhere last year in free agency when he had a chance?   How long has Thornton been in San Jose and how long have they had good hockey teams?  Perhaps Joe should look in the mirror and tell his agent to find him a home with a Cup contender next year!

--The Hurricanes, Oilers and Penguins were the big winners at the NHL trade deadline.  Carolina did a great job and will be tough should they get in.  The acquisition of Patrick Marleau by Pittsburgh has the potential to be huge while Ken Holland got what the Oilers needed for the stretch drive and beyond.  The last few weeks of the NHL season are going to be fun.

--Congrats to U of R Cougar mens hockey coach Todd Johnson for being named the Canada West coach of the year.  A strong second half helped Johnson get that honour.  I've often said it is hard for the U of R to compete when teams like the U of A, U of S and U of C have many WHL grads on their team, but Johnson still does what he can to find who he can and field the best team he can.  He may have gotten a huge committment from Pats captain Austin Pratt.  He told me this week that if a pro opportunity doesn't happen, he will likely play at the U of R next year.  That would be a big get for the program.  That being said, Pratt deserves a shot at the next level as does Robbie Holmes.

--Hey Bobby Ryan!  Getting a hat-trick in your first game after being in rehab for alcohol is a pretty solid thing to see.

--Was it really 10 years ago since the Vancouver Olympics?  It was 10 years ago today that Sidney Crosby scored what might be the biggest goal in Canadian history.  Where were you?  FWIW, I say Paul Henderson's goal in 1972 was bigger, but for today's generation, its definitely Sid!

--I just can't see Tom Brady wearing another uniform, but it looks like it may happen. To me, it will take away something from his career if he suits up for another team.  I like the guys that did it all for one team.  Players playing their whole career for one team is something that is becoming few and far between these days.

--The Brier starts tonight.  Matt Dunstone will be in tough to end the Saskatchewan drought, but he is more than up to the challenge.  If Dunstone can get into the final four it will be an accomplishment with the likes of Koe, Jacobs, Gushue, Epping and either Howard or McEwen though.  All you need is a break or two.  At the end of the day, I see Brad Jacobs and his Northern Ontario rink getting their hands on the Brier Tankard.

--All Elite Wrestling is crazy!

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

Thursday, February 27, 2020

CFLPA Announces New Executive

Las Vegas, NV – During it’s 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Canadian Football League Players’ Association today elected its new executive team, including a new CFLPA president. The executive team is elected biannually by player representatives.

“On behalf of the CFLPA, I would like to thank our outgoing executive team for their tireless work and commitment toward advancing issues that impact CFL players,” said Brian Ramsay, CFLPA Executive Director. “I would also like to welcome and congratulate the incoming executive team that will lead our Association and serve our members over the next two years. I am confident this team can provide strong leadership and represent the needs of our membership.”

“This new executive is made up of a majority of active players interested in the membership’s input and guidance to work together in moving our agenda forward in a positive way. I am excited for the opportunity to work with this talented group of individuals to work together in adding value to the players and grow the game we all love,” said Solomon Elimimian, CFLPA President.

We would like to additionally thank our outgoing; President Jeff Keeping, and 1st Vice President Marwan Hage, and 3rd Vice President Rolly Lumbala for all of the work they did as longstanding executive members of the CFLPA.

The new CFL Players’ Association Executive Team:

President:                            SOLOMON ELIMIMIAN
1st Vice President:             JOHN BOWMAN
2nd Vice President:            CHAD REMPEL
3rd Vice President:             RYAN KING
Treasurer:                            PETER DYAKOWSKI
Executive Director:             BRIAN RAMSAY

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Alouettes Make Roosevelt Signing Official

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The Montreal Alouettes announced on Wednesday that it has come to an agreement with four American players, the star receiver Naaman Roosevelt, the defensive back Davante Davis, the defensive lineman Elijah Norris as well as the half Dominick Bragalone.

Roosevelt (5'11 ", 195 lbs.) Spent five seasons in the CFL, all with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 2019, the 32-year-old managed 77 catches for 946 yards and a touchdown. In career, the Buffalo, New York, native catcher played 67 games, catching 301 balls for 4134 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The former University of Buffalo Bulls was named to the CFL all-star team in 2017 and has had two seasons of over 1,000 yards on receipt. Before playing in the CFL, Roosevelt fielded for the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions .

Monday, February 24, 2020

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of the Week 022420

NEW YORK (Feb. 24, 2020) – Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 23.


Francouz went 3-0-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and one shutout to help the Central Division’s second-place Avalanche (36-18-7, 79 points) gain seven of a possible eight standings points for the week. Francouz opened the week making 23 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 17 and followed it up by stopping 27 of 28 shots in a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders Feb. 19. He closed the week by stopping all 26 shots to earn his first career shutout in a 1-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks Feb. 21 and then one day later registered a 20-save performance in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Feb. 22. A 29-year-old native of Plzen, Czech Republic, Francouz is in his first full NHL season with the Avalanche where he has gone 16-5-3 in 26 appearances while ranking in the top five in goals-against average (5th; 2.27) and save percentage (t-4th; .927).


Zibanejad tied for the League lead with eight points in three games (3-5—8) to help the Rangers (33-24-4, 70 points) win all three outings on the week and move within four points of the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. Zibanejad opened the week by matching a career high with four points (1-3—4) in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Feb. 19 and followed it up with a 1-2—3 performance in a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 21. He closed the week by scoring the game-tying goal in an eventual 3-2 triumph over the San Jose Sharks Feb. 22. Zibanejad, a 26-year-old native of Huddinge, Sweden, ranks second on the Rangers with 28-32—60 in 48 games this season – his 1.25 points per game in 2019-20 rank tied for eighth among all skaters with at least 25 appearances.


Mangiapane led all skaters with five goals in three games (5-1—6 in 3 GP) to help the Flames (32-25-6, 70 points), who occupy the first Wild Card position in the Western Conference, earn two wins in three contests. Mangiapane opened the week with a career-high four-point outing (3-1—4), including his first career hat trick, in a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks Feb. 17. He was held off the scoresheet in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins Feb. 21 before closing the week with a pair of goals, including the game-winning tally, in a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 23. Mangiapane, a 23-year-old native of Toronto, Ont., has appeared in a career-high 61 games this season ranking fifth on the Flames in goals with 15-12—27.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Manitoba Takes The Scotties

Einarson makes most of second chance to win first Scotties
Picture: Curling Canada

It went longer than it should have, but Kerri Einarson has won the Canadian women’s curling championship for the first time.

Einarson needed an extra end to beat Rachel Homan’s Ontario team 8-7 in Sunday night’s nail-biting final at Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place to end nine fantastic days of curling,

Einarson had a chance to win it in the 10th end, but an attempted draw with Homan sitting two was heavy meaning the game had to go to an extra end.  In that extra end, Einarson was not going to let a second chance at the title slip through her fingers as her last rock glided to the button sending her and her team consisting of third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur into celebration mode.

“What an emotional roller coaster,” Einarson said . “This means absolutely the world to me. I absolutely wanted to do this for myself and my teammates and especially Val. She’s lost two big finals and we really put it together this week. I’m so proud of everyone.”

The win means several things for the rink from Gimli.  They will represent Canada at the World Women’s Curling Championship in Prince George, B.C, they will be Team Canada at the 2021 Scotties in Thunder Bay and they will be in Saskatoon for the “Roar of the Rings” Olympic curling trials in 2021.  The win was also worth $105,000

Total attendance for this year’s event was 59,298 which is down from the 70,000 that went to the Scotties in 2015 when it was held in Moose Jaw.  However, that figure is the highest amount to watch the Scotties since 2015.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

TSN and Curling Canada Sign Extension

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 A relationship that has thrived for nearly four decades is confirmed to continue for an additional eight years. Curling Canada, TSN, and RDS announced jointly today that Bell Media’s sports networks continue to be the exclusive English and French broadcasters of Curling Canada Season of Champions events.

The agreement, which includes both broadcast and digital media rights, takes effect in the 2020-21 season and will carry through the 2027-28 season. The announcement was made during TSN’s Curling Day in Canada broadcast during the 2020 SCOTTIES TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS, from Moose Jaw, Sask.

Season of Champions curling is available to TSN, RDS, TSN Direct, and RDS Direct subscribers through the networks’ streaming platforms, available at,, and the TSN and RDS apps.

“There are so many exciting aspects to this new agreement, but greatest of which is that curling fans will continue to receive a broadcast package that is unparalleled in Canadian amateur sports,” said Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. “No other broadcast platform offers this kind of access to our sport, with TSN and RDS showing more than 300 hours of championship-level curling over the course of the season. As well, we have shared ambitions of continuing to grow our game at all levels, from clubs all the way up to our high-performance events, and reach new audiences that will position curling in a highly visible, innovative, and popular place in the Canadian sports scene, and provide tangible benefits to both Bell Media networks as well as Curling Canada and its stakeholders.”

“We’re thrilled to announce this long-term extension of our great partnership with Curling Canada, through which we will continue working together to showcase the sport of curling to Canadian viewers for many years to come,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice-President, TSN and Discovery. “Season of Champions curling is a cornerstone of our programming strategy, as it shines the spotlight on the most significant events in the sport. With our world-class curling productions showcasing the game’s brightest stars to a national audience, we’re very excited to continue to elevate the game and be Canada’s home for the tournaments that are so beloved by fans across the country.”

Curling Canada’s Season of Champions series includes the SCOTTIES TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS, the TIM HORTONS BRIER, the HOME HARDWARE CANADA CUP, the TIM HORTONS ROAR OF THE RINGS, the ROAD TO THE ROAR PRE-TRIALS, the OK TIRE & BKT TIRES CONTINENTAL CUP, as well as the World Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships.

TSN first began broadcasting curling in 1984, and has been the exclusive broadcaster of Season of Champions events since 2006.

(Bell Media)

Friday, February 21, 2020

This And That

--Welcome to Friday and the weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order

--I had no doubts in my mind that Moose Jaw would not deliver as the host venue for the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.  As expected, this year's Canadian women's curling championship has been tremendous both on and off the ice.

The organizing committee has basically done what they did five years ago to make Curling Canada ecstatic over what had gone on at Mosaic Place and that is the story again this year as it has been a first-class show.   Robyn Silvernagle will be in tough to get to the playoffs.  Having her in the final would be a dream scenario for organizers, but you can't have it all. 

--At some point, someone in Moose Jaw has to approach the Canadian Hockey League with a Memorial Cup bid.  You can't tell me it couldn't be done here.   

--Is the XFL a threat to the CFL?  Not in my mind.  Yes, some CFL free agents have decided to try the new league out by signing on, but I see the XFL on the same path as the AAF.  TV numbers are down from the first week to the second and attendance isn't that great.  The XFL will likely get a whole season in unlike the AAF, but I wouldn't be making any  plans to go watch the DC Defenders or Seattle Dragons in 2021 if you know what I mean. 

--I have no problem with Randy Ambrosie wanting to change the playoff format in the CFL, but having one team choose their opponent is dumb.  Why are some leagues advocating for this?

--The Sportscage "Way to Early Power Rankings" have Hamilton atop the ladder followed by the Riders and Winnipeg . I have the Riders at 1 with Hamilton at 2 and Winnipeg at 3.  If Winnipeg were to get an established back-up QB, I might have them at the top of the ladder. 

--I don't know who Ken Holland is going to get at the trade deadline for an Edmonton Oilers team that is hanging onto first in the Pacific, but guys like Blake Coleman and Tyler Toffoli are gone.  Both would have been a good option.  Is Andreas Athanasiou the answer?  It just may be the default choice.  What will the cost be?

--I want the Winnipeg Jets to get in the playoffs.  I don't want the Calgary Flames to get in. It's as simple as that. 

--Raisins are gross!  It had to be said! 

--I have to wonder what the football future of Chris Jones will be after this season. He will remain in Cleveland just because he is under contract, but what happens when next season ends.  I don't think he'll return to the CFL, but who knows.  I seem to think the man in black will have an NCAA job next season with either a Division 1 or 2 school.  

--I can understand getting caught with a little bit of weed, but Alouettes receiver Quan Bray got caught with 157 pounds of it in his vehicle.  157 POUNDS!!! That's a whole lotta weed ladies and gents. 

--The Kelowna Rockets are the host team for the Memorial Cup. They just fired their head coach and they are 4th in the BC Division with 52 points.  If the Rockets have a magical week and win the damn tournament, it is time to either scrap the host team or do a massive revamp.  It will be very embarassing for the Canadian Hockey League if the Rockets win.   By the way, Kelowna has 52 points while the Pats have 43. 

--Deja Vu and the Mad Greek are two must stops in Moose Jaw when wanting food, but there are so many good places one can drop some $$$ down when in the city.  The fine people of Moose Jaw are spoiled with all the options they have at their disposal.  

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

Monday, February 17, 2020

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of Week 021720

NEW YORK (Feb. 17, 2020) – Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and Los Angeles Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 16.


Draisaitl led all skaters in assists and points with 3-7—10 in four games – including three multi-point performances – to lead the Oilers (32-21-6, 70 points) to a 3-1-0 record on the week and propel the club to first place in the Pacific Division standings. He opened the week with 1-3—4 in a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Feb. 11 and added an assist in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 13. Draisaitl closed the week with his League-leading 28th and 29th multi-point games of the season, notching 1-1—2, including his NHL-best 10th game-winning goal of 2019-20, in a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Feb. 15 and 1-2—3, including an assist in the extra frame, in a 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 16. Draisaitl, a 24-year-old native of Cologne, Germany, has opened up a 13-point lead in the Art Ross Trophy race with 34-61—95 in 59 games – the fastest player to 95 points in a season since Sidney Crosby in 2006-07 (56 GP).


Vasilevskiy recorded a perfect 3-0-0 record with a 1.64 goals-against average and .949 save percentage to help the Lightning (39-15-5, 83 points) earn a victory in all four games on the week and extend the team’s overall winning streak to 10 games. He opened the week by making 35 saves in a tightly-contested 2-1 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Feb. 11 and then turned aside 29 shots in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Feb. 13. Vasilevskiy closed the week with 30 saves in a 5-3 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Feb. 15 to improve to 19-0-2 in his last 21 appearances, including eight straight wins, and become the sixth different goaltender in NHL history to record at least one standings point in 21 or more consecutive appearances within a regular season. A 25-year-old native of Tyumen, Russia, Vasilevskiy leads all goaltenders with 32 wins in 2019-20 – seven more than the next highest total.


Toffoli recorded four goals across two appearances as the Kings (21-33-5, 47 points) earned two victories in two games. He opened the week with one goal in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames Feb. 12. Toffoli then notched all three Kings tallies, including the game-winning goal in the final minute, in a 3-1 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche at the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series Feb. 15 to become the first player in League history to record a hat trick in a regular-season outdoor game. A 27-year-old native of Scarborough, Ont., Toffoli (18-16—34 in 58 GP) leads all Kings skaters with 18 goals in 2019-20 and sits two tallies shy of his fourth career 20-goal campaign.  

(NHL Media) 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Saskatche'WINS:; Silvernagle Stars Scotties With "W"

The Robyn Silvernagle team representing Team SK at the Scotties gets in one last practice before the event begins on Feb 15/2020.

A successful start in Moose Jaw for Robyn Silvernagle and her North Battleford rink at the Scotties.  For a recap of the first day, here is the story I did for the mighty 620. 

Tweaking the CFL Playoffs? Ambrosie is Considering It

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The CFL’s Man of the People again lifted the cone of silence Saturday to give community leaders and Ottawa Redblacks season-ticket holders a look at what the future may hold for the league.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, in the first stop of his cross-country Randy’s Road Trip that will visit each of the league’s nine cities along with a Feb. 23 stop in Halifax, spoke with passion about the CFL 2.0 initiative, how the CFL hopes to engage fans across the league but especially in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, a joint venture with U Sports to have the Vanier Cup and Grey Cup both played in Hamilton on the same weekend in 2021 and how the league may change the way it runs its playoff system.

Here’s how Ambrosie, who loves getting feedback from fans, answered some of the questions from the audience in an hour-and-a-half session at TD Place’s Otto’s Club.


“We need to make the CFL more cool, being more international is part of that. You’re going to have, this year, two active (roster) spots for global players. We’re asking community associations to form a welcoming committee for the athletes coming to our training camps? Why? To re-energize the league, we have to get a Canadian but much more international audience to come to our games. At our scouting combine in Japan, our head global scout Greg Quick said there was a running back who looks like he was born to play CFL football. He had staggeringly good results. Let’s use that as an example. There are tens of thousands of Canadians who have Japanese heritage. We can use that to get the Japanese Canadian community to come and watch a kid from Japan play football. It mostly matters in our three biggest cities (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver). (B.C. Lions owner) David Braley is in the hospital right now and I’ve been spending time visiting with him — we’ve been talking about a strategy to re-energize the Lions. David is really passionate about getting B.C. Place back to where it was. When I played there — 1985 my rookie season and we went there — B.C. was 5-0, we were 0-5 — there were 54,000 people for a regular-season game. I’m not that old, that’s not that long ago. We have a bunch of strategies we’re working on, but it’s got to be about diversifying our fan base. Our international strategy is not just about 100 million watching around the world on TV, it’s about reaching into the communities in Canada that aren’t necessarily familiar with football and welcoming them in through the introduction of athletes they can relate to.”


“We need to do more. As much as our coaches and players are among the most active in all of sport in community involvement, I want to create a ten-fold increase. We should be in Grade 4, 5 and 6 classrooms in every school in Canada promoting football and flag football. My wife says, ‘Can’t you just be satisfied with something small?’ I like doing big things. I want to do a 20-fold increase in the number of community visits. Every ethnic community — whether you’re Irish or Scottish or English or French or Italian, whatever it is, there’s probably a community association. We need to go see every one of them. We need to go knock on their doors and welcome them into the CFL community. In the next three years, I want us to do more community outreach than any other sports league in the world. I think that’s going to be a way to energize and re-energize our league and especially in those three biggest cities. They will not come unless we reach out and invite them.”


“I think we have to create a roster spot for them. Last year (the CFL’s first year with global roster spots) would have been too early. It would have been too much to ask for those players who were making a pretty big jump from the football they were playing in their world. I think the quality of the international players will rise. The (CFLPA) is excited about it. They see the potential for our game. There are about 457 draft-eligible players from Canadian universities every year. There are about 12,000 U.S. college graduates (football players) every year. There are roughly 8,000 global players who are eligible to play CFL football every year. Put aside your national passions, you’d say there’s a lot of talent out there. We have to try to build our game and make it bigger. How do we do it? We’re going to have scouting combines on four continents this year. We’re already big and we’re getting bigger every day. There’s always, always going to be a big place for Canadians in our league — always. That’s an undeniable truth. But there’s certainly room for international players and U.S. players. Thirty percent of the players in the NHL today are international, they’re not North American. You don’t see Canadians up in arms that 30% of the NHL players are not (North American). I don’t see the villagers with pitchforks and torches burning Lansdowne because there’s an international playing for the 67’s. If we’re going to unlock the potential for a really big CFL, we’re going to have to find a way to get those players on the field. We are the second biggest football league in the world and I believe we’ll be the biggest global football league in the world.”


“Last year when I was here, it was the Alliance of American Football. I went through several months where the sky was falling, it was, ‘Oh, my gosh, the Alliance is coming and they’re going to eat your lunch.’ They didn’t last half a season. Now I get the same volume of calls that the XFL is coming and they’re going to eat our lunch. Before that, it was the USFL and they were coming. We have to be careful we aren’t spending too much of our time worrying about what somebody else is doing. We need to focus on our own game and build the biggest, strongest CFL we can build together. You can still learn good lessons. When someone else is innovating the game, you can learn good lessons from that.”


“It was really a discussion among the teams. They didn’t think they were getting as much value from those mini-camps as they wanted to get. So the question was, what was another way of doing it?’ Mini camps used to connect you to your players. If they left your city on Dec. 1, you might not see them again until training camp in May. Today, there’s so much more connection between players and coaches. You’ve got FaceTime. Players and coaches can stay in touch. The coaches and GMs felt it wasn’t a great use of resources and wanted to make that change.”


“We were going to have it last year (in Ottawa), but because we were in CBA negotiations, we weren’t sure the players were going to come to CFL Week. I’m not saying that with any negativity. It was hard to imagine we could do it successfully so we decided to park it while we had the negotiations. It’s back on the docket around something we’re going to talk to the teams about. We had some success with it (in Regina and Winnipeg). One of the things that was really great is it brought a lot of our game’s biggest stars out and TSN did what they call their car wash, where they do all their pre-season video. It’s not dead, it was put into a pause.”


“We’re going to try and have a combined Vanier Cup and Grey Cup in Hamilton in 2021. Our two biggest national football championships should be on the same weekend. Those kids who are playing great college football, we should give them the best opportunity to play in front of a huge crowd of football fans. U Sports football is very good football, how we help it grow is one of those things we’re talking about. We haven’t finalized it, but we’re getting close. This is an idea I’m passionate about it. Graham Brown from U Sports is passionate about it. Now we just have to iron out the final details. One of the things we’ve promised each other is if we do it, we’ll make at least a few-year commitment. It’s important for us to be leaders in the world of football, in particular football in Canada.”


“Major League Baseball is thinking about changing its playoff format where more teams would be involved. Here’s an idea that’s been floated (in the CFL). The first-place teams in the East and West would win their divisions and would host a playoff game — the same as we currently have. The difference would be that the third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place teams in the league would make the playoffs, regardless of division. Third would play sixth and fourth would play fifth. It makes the late-stage competition for a playoff game more important. Here’s the next change: After the two semi-final games are played on Saturday, Sunday would be decision day for the first-place team. On a nationally broadcast show, the first-place team would pick who they’re playing from the (two semi-final winners). It’s something we’re talking about. If we did this, what we might have to agree on is we would do this for a limited amount of time until we got Halifax into the league — then we might have to make a different decision.”

(Tim Baines/Ottawa Sun)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Eskimos Not Changing Name


The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League have decided to keep their team name.

The club says consultations in the North provided no agreement on whether the name should be changed.

Concerns were originally raised in 2015 by the head of Canada’s national Inuit organization.

Natan Obed has said that Inuit people are not mascots.

Over the last year, the team met with Inuit leaders and people in the northern communities of Iqaluit in Nunavut and Inuvik, Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories.

It also did a telephone survey among Inuit.

The team has also conducted surveys that suggested a small majority of Canadians found the Eskimos name acceptable.

(Canadian Press)

This Week In Cougar Athletics

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Away Events – Friday
Women’s Hockey – at Mount Royal, 2:30 PM MT (Calgary, Alta.)
Women’s Basketball – at Victoria, 6:00 PM PT (Victoria, B.C.)
Women’s Volleyball – at Alberta, 7:30 PM MT (Edmonton, Alta.)
Men’s Basketball – at Lethbridge, 8:00 PM MT (Lethbridge, Alta.)

Away Events – Saturday
Women’s Hockey – at Mount Royal, 2:30 PM MT (Calgary, Alta.)
Women’s Volleyball – at Alberta, 6:00 PM MT (Edmonton, Alta.)

Away Events – Sunday
Women’s Hockey – at Mount Royal, 2:30 PM MT (Calgary, Alta.) *if necessary

Women’s Hockey – After a weekend split with Saskatchewan, the Cougars head into the Canada West playoffs as the No. 5 seed and will match up against Mount Royal in a best-of-three conference quarterfinal series in Calgary. Friday’s Game 1 will mark the first ever postseason meeting between the two teams, with Game 2 set for Saturday and Game 3 – if it’s needed – will be played on Sunday. All games will start at 2:30 PM at the Flames Community Arenas.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars scored a nice 87-70 road win on Friday to break up what had been a nine-game winning streak for Fraser Valley, but lost 85-74 to settle for a weekend split and a 10-10 conference record for the year. Regina goes into the Canada West postseason as the No. 9 seed and will hit the road to square off with No. 8-seeded Lethbridge in a conference play-in game on Friday night. The winner advances to the Canada West quarterfinals next weekend, which will be hosted by either top-seeded Alberta or No. 2 seed Calgary.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars finished off the Canada West schedule with a pair of road losses at Fraser Valley, falling 63-60 to the Cascades on Friday and 74-65 on Saturday. That sends Regina (8-12) into the playoffs as the conference’s No. 10 seed, which will match up the Cougars with No. 7 Victoria in a play-in game on Friday night in Victoria. It’s a familiar situation for both teams as it’s the seventh time in the last 10 seasons that they’ve met in the postseason. Regina has a streak of 10 straight playoff wins over the Vikes, but only one of those games – a U SPORTS consolation semifinal contest in 2017 – was in Victoria.

Track & Field (Women’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 5) – The Cougars had a brilliant outing at the Windsor Team Challenge on Sunday, setting two new school records (Joely Welburn in the 60-metre hurdles and Ron MacLean in the 1500-metre run) and four U SPORTS standards (Welburn and MacLean’s record-setting performances, Erika Stockhorst in the triple jump, and Welburn in the high jump). The Cougars, who had eight podium finishes at the meet, will have next weekend off from competition before the Canada West Championships are hosted by Saskatchewan on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22.

Swimming (Men’s U SPORTS Ranking: No. 10) – The Cougars got a seventh qualifier for the U SPORTS Championships at the last possible meet as Brenan Alejado travelled up to Saskatoon for the Goldfins Invitational and hit a U SPORTS standard with a long-course time of 56.48 seconds in the 100-metre butterfly. Alejado will join Mitchell Brough, Bree Crookshanks, Brian Palaschuk, Etienne Paquin-Foisy, Kareem Tarek Mohammed, and Brendan Van Herk at the national meet hosted by the University of Victoria later this month.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars lost twice to No. 5-ranked Mount Royal in their final two home matches of the season on Friday and Saturday. They’ll head up to Edmonton to finish off the 2019-20 campaign with two matches against No. 6 Alberta in what will be the final time in a U of R uniform for graduating players Diana Lumbala and Kirstin Greve.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars went into the final weekend of the Canada West schedule knowing they’d likely need at least three points in their last two games to qualify for the postseason, but lost 4-0 and 6-2 in a home-and-home series against a Saskatchewan team that ranks No. 2 in the nation. Regina, which finishes just out of the playoffs despite collecting 13 out of a possible 16 points during one eight-game stretch in January, honoured fifth-year players Dawson MacAuley and Landon Peel and graduating fourth-year player Isaac Schacher prior to Saturday’s game.

This and That

--It's not surprising, but some Rider fans are upset because no "star power" has been brought in.  One said the team isn't as good as it was without Micah Johnson who is now in BC.  What do you want?  In a salary cap world, you can't keep everybody and sometimes the player doesn't want to be here as there is a desire to go elsewhere.  The almighty $$$$ has a role to play too as many would rather go where they are going to get the biggest paycheque.  I'm OK with that and so should you.

GM Jeremy O'Day did a tremendous job in the off-season and getting a majority of the key pending free agents back.  When you look at last year's starting 12 on D, 10 will be back.  The only two who won't be are the aforementioned Johnson and Derrick Moncrief.   Offensively,  Fajardo, Powell, Evans and Moore are around.  On paper, the Riders have the best team in the West in my opinion right now.

--Having Derek Taylor in the building and yapping with him every day brings a new look to the game and the players that play it---especially at this time of year.  Those who know DT or have listened to the Sportscage know he is a numbers nerd (which he is fine with).  He brings out some interesting numbers when it comes to certain players that obviously had no idea of.  At the end of the day, I think too much emphasis is put on numbers and not enough on actual game play, but there are little nuggets of info I get from him each day on players that are interesting.

--The BC Lions are making sure they aren't bottomfeeders again this year. They have made some substantial upgrades to their squad.  It could be said every year, but the Western Conference is going to be a dogfight this year.

--The Argos signed DL Drake Nevis.  Toronto finally has a Drake they can be proud of!

--For the second straight year, I question what Ottawa is doing.

--I am shocked guys like Derel Walker, Derek Dennis and Naaman Roosevelt are still without a team.  What's the holdup?

--Randy Ambrosie will bring his Randy's Road Trip back to Regina for a 3rd  year on February 29.  This is Ambrosie's chance to hear from fans and give his state of the league address.  What is your number one concern about the league right now? 

--Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had LASIK surgery this week to correct his vision. That one is too easy.  Way too easy!

--Looking forward to being at Mosaic Place for the next week for the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.  Rachel Homan and her Ontario team are favoured, but the website has Robyn Silvernagle at 15-1.  It was 19-1 on Thursday afternoon.  I'm putting 5 bucks down on her to win.  Betting in curling? Love it!

DT and I will be at Mosaic Place to bring you Sportscage.  It should be a lot of fun.  I did the Cage from there five years ago and it was a blast.  I'm just hoping the roads aren't as slick as they were five years ago.  There were a couple of interesting drives home that week. 

--I'm an Oilers fan, but Zack Kassian needs to sit down for at least five games for his kick on Tampa's Erik Cernak on Thursday.   You can't do that Zack.  You just can't!

--The Pats had created a lot of good talk before heading to Alberta.  The key word being "had".  Getting their doors blown off 7-0 and 8-1 by Medicine Hat and Calgary takes the team back to square one after that 5 game win streak they had.  Despite the two beatdowns, Regina continues to play much better hockey in the second half of the season. That won't translate to a playoff spot, but it will give them momentum if they finish strong going into next season.

--It's hard to like the Houston Astros these days.  What a gong-show their press conference was to talk about the sign-stealing scandal in 2017.  It embarrassed not only themselves, but Major League Baseball.  The Astros hope this story will go away.  Its not!

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Randy's Road Trip Back For Another Year

Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie will travel across Canada to meet with fans in every CFL market. ‘Randy’s Road Trip’ will kick off on February 15 in Ottawa and conclude on March 11 in Toronto, marking the Commissioner’s third annual trek from coast-to-coast to engage fans in a series of town halls.

“It’s so important to truly connect with our incredible supporters and take in their feedback,” said Commissioner Ambrosie. “At the heart of the CFL is our fans. I’m excited to continue building our league together with them as we take our great game to new heights.”

The Regina stop will be on February 29.  The time and location of the event has not been released.

(CFL Communications)

Bouwmeester Suffers Cardiac

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Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is conscious and alert after suffering a "cardiac episode" during St. Louis' matchup against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, the Blues announced. Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench during the first period, causing the game to be stopped and postponed to a later date.

"With the quick response of our medical trainers, Anaheim medical trainers and their team physicians, they were able to stabilize Jay," the Blues said in an announcement. "He was alert and moving all of his extremities as he was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center. Currently, Jay is conscious and alert as he undergoes further testing by Anaheim's physicians. We will update Jay's condition on Wednesday morning."

The television broadcast showed Bouwmeester suddenly collapsing after finishing his shift. Teammates immediately called for medical personnel, who loaded Bouwmeester onto a stretcher and took him out of the Honda Center.

The teams agreed not to continue the game Tuesday, instead resuming it at another date.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Franklin, Elimimian, Reaves Come To Riders As CFLFA Begins

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The Roughriders have signed American linebacker Solomon Elimimian to a one-year contract extension.

Elimimian (6’0 – 225 lbs) returns to the Roughriders after a strong CFL season that saw him named a West Division All-Star. The 33-year-old middle linebacker played in 15 games earning 88 defensive tackles – the third highest total in the CFL – and also added four sacks and one forced fumble.

The ten-year CFL veteran has had an incredible CFL career so far that includes being awarded the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2010, Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2014 and 2016 and became the first defensive player in the modern era to win Most Outstanding Player in 2014.
Elimimian is a four-time CFL All-Star (2011, 2014, 2016, 2017) and a six-time CFL West Division All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019). He is also a Grey Cup Champion winning the trophy with the Lions in 2011.
In 118 career games, Elimimian has collected 833 defensive tackles, 22 sacks, eight interceptions and eight forced fumbles. Additionally, he’s surpassed 100 defensive tackles three times in his career (2014, 2016, 2017) and holds the CFL’s single season record for most tackles in a season (2014).


The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed American quarterback James Franklin to a one-year contract.

Franklin (6’2 – 235 lbs) joins the Roughriders after spending the previous two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. The 28-year-old pivot played 27 games for the Double Blue, throwing 2,836 yards on 187 passes and scoring 11 touchdowns. He added 448 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. As the primary short yardage quarterback in 2018 Franklin scored 14 rushing majors – and led the CFL in that category.

Prior to his trade to Toronto, Franklin spent three seasons in Edmonton – winning the Grey Cup with the team in 2015. Over his time with the Eskimos Franklin completed 116 passes for 1449 yards including 12 touchdowns and just one interception. He also rushed 18 times for 145 yards and an additional TD.

Franklin attended the University of Missouri for four seasons (2010-2014) playing in 42 games and throwing for 6,962 yards and 51 touchdowns. He rushed for an additional 1,729 yards and 21 touchdowns. In 2011, the Texas native was named MVP of the 2011 Independence Bowl. In 2014, he led the Tigers to a win at the Cotton Bowl.


The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed National defensive lineman Jordan Reaves to a one-year contract extension. 
Reaves (6’4-225lbs) returns to the Riders for his third season in Green and White after an injury at training camp sidelined him for the 2019 season. 

A gifted special teams player, the 30-year-old played in 17 games for the Club in the 2018 season making 12 special teams tackles. The Winnipegger initially signed with the Riders in 2016 and went on to play in five games that season registering two special-teams tackles. Prior to arriving in Saskatchewan, Reaves spent the 2015 season on the Blue Bombers practice roster. 

The well-rounded athlete played five collegiate seasons on the Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team before shifting to football. He participated in 2015 Edmonton Regional combine earning the fourth fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds), tied for third in the three-cone drill (7.06 seconds) and had the third longest broad jump (10’0.50”).

McDavid To Miss 2-3 Weeks With Quad Injury

Picture: Edmonton Journal 

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid will miss two to three weeks with a left quadriceps injury, according to general manager Ken Holland.

McDavid was injured in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. He practiced Monday but his status for Tuesday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks had been up in the air.

Holland said that they're hoping McDavid is "out less than that," after giving the two- to three-week timeframe.

He said that McDavid's leg was stiff and swollen the past few days, so he underwent an MRI Monday, which showed the quad injury.

"Since we're going on our road trip to Florida tomorrow, Connor has decided to go back to Toronto," Holland said. "He's got his team of people there, the facility. He's going to do his treatment there while we're on the road trip and we expect to see Connor back here when we get back next Monday."

McDavid had said that this ailment isn't related the posterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered last April in the regular-season finale. Holland reiterated that, saying that the MRI also showed that his knee looks good.

The is a big blow for Edmonton. McDavid is second in the league to teammate Leon Draisaitl with 81 points. The Oilers have been a on solid run of late and sit in second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind Vancouver.