Monthly Archives: February 2015
Well the arctic air continues to descend upon the Bridge City but that isn’t stopping us… In no particular order here are some random thoughts from the week that was in the world of sports.
Perception is everything! While we here in Saskatoon are (rightly so) applauding the Saskatoon Blades and Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon for the Team Up for Respect game on Monday morning at Sasktel Centre, some in the Queen City aren’t exactly enthralled with the idea. Reading some media posts and fan forums there are numerous questions about having a game that early in the day and messing with the player’s game clocks. Truth be told when planning the event the Blades realized the toll that the idea may have on their opponents, that’s why they offered the Pats the opportunity to host a similar game in the Queen City with the Blades as the opposition. For whatever reason the idea didn’t materialize in Regina hence the home-and-home early game series never materialized.
The Montreal Alouettes have been busy the last 48 hours bolstering their offensive depth.
The Alouettes announced on Wednesday that the team has signed international slotback Nik Lewis to a one-year deal with the club.
Lewis (5’10”, 240 lbs.) has had an exceptional CFL career thus far he has won the Grey Cup twice (2008, 2014) and sits 11th on the all-time CFL receiving list with 11,250 yards. Throuhgout his career, the 32-year old caught 805 passes, including 65 for touchdowns. He played eleven seasons in the CFL, all with the Calgary Stampeders, where he was named to the CFL All-Star team three times (2010, 2011 and 2012) after being named the CFL Most Outstanding Rookie in 2004.
“Nik is another piece of the puzzle to an outstanding receiving corps for 2015,” declared Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp. “His body of work speaks for itself and his style of play is very difficult to defend. We feel he adds a twist that every team in the CFL wish they could have.”
The former South Arkansas University Mulerider caught at least one pass in 166 consecutive games leading up to week 5 last season, when the sequence ended. He had nine seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards, which places him tied for third in the CFL all-time list. In three Grey Cup games, the Mineral Wells, TX native caught 17 passes for 235 yards. In 11 career playoff games he amassed 413 yards on 38 catches.
In Montreal, Lewis will join forces with Tom Higgins once again, as the latter was Lewis’ head coach in Calgary from 2005 to 2007.
Additionally, Montreal announced that the club has signed free agent quarterback Dan LeFevour to a one-year contract.
LeFevour (6’03”, 230 lbs.) spent all three of his seasons in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he completed 141 of his 211 passes (66.8% completion rate) for 1,670 yards, while throwing five touchdown passes. The mobile pivot also added 631 rushing yards on 104 carries. The 27-year old had his best season in the CFL last year as he completed 101 of his 149 passes good for 1,276 yards and four touchdown passes.
“We are excited to add Dan to our mix of quarterbacks,” said Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp. “He has continued to grow and build off his outstanding collegiate career. He brings quality, experience, leadership, and competition to our team.”
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today national defensive back Michael Carter, national linebacker Kyle Jones, and national defensive back Kristopher Robertson have signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contracts were not released.
Carter (5’10 – 175) has signed with the Riders after spending the last three seasons with the Montreal Alouettes. The Windsor, ON native spent his first CFL season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after originally being selected by the by B.C. Lions in the 3rd round (19th overall) of the 2011 Canadian Draft.
Through his first four seasons, the 28-year-old has collected 15 defensive tackles and 10 special teams tackles in 39 career games.
Jones (6’2 – 209) will join the Green and White for what will be his sixth CFL season. The Mississauga, ON native spent last season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, appearing in 14 regular season games.
Through his first five seasons, the 28-year-old Bishop’s product has collected 36 special teams tackles, seven defensive tackles and one quarterback sack in 66 regular season games.
Robertson (5’9 – 185)
University of Saskatchewan alumni and Humboldt native Kelly Bates will be introduced today as the new Head Coach of the Simon Fraser Clan.
Bates spent the last four seasons in B.C. with the Lions most recently as the team’s Running Backs coach and Canadian Draft co-ordinator.
Prior to his coaching career Bates spent 10 seasons patrolling offensive lines in the Canadian Football League spending time with B.C., Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Edmonton winning a pair of Grey Cups and named as an All-Canadian once. Prior to turning pro Bates graduated from the University of Saskatchewan where he helped the Huskies win the Vanier Cup.
In addition to his duties with the Lions Bates continues to help grow the sport back at home. His annual Kelly Bates Football camp in Humboldt allows grade 9, 10 and 11 players the opportunity to learn from CFL greats and hone their skills.
Kelly, one of the all-time good guys in the CFL, was left off new BC Lions Head Coach Jeff Tedford’s coaching staff.
Bates will take over from Jacques Chapdelaine who vacated the post to take join the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their Offensive Coordinator.
For more information on Kelly’s camps click here. Note registration opens next week.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today the 2015 Football Operations staff.
For the sixth consecutive season the staff will be led by Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, Brendan Taman. The 2015 season will be the Saskatoon natives 28th season working in the CFL.
Assistant General Manager, Jeremy O’Day has signed a three year contract to remain with the Riders front office, adding Director of Football Operations to his title. O’Day will continue to assist in many day to day football operation activities, including player/roster evaluations and contract negotiations while taking an active role in the Club’s scouting department and overseeing the equipment, video and athletic therapy divisions. He also continues to play an integral role in preparing the teams transition into the new Mosaic Stadium.
Craig Smith will return for his sixth season as the Director of Player Personnel and Canadian Scout for the Green and White. Smith is responsible for the identification and evaluation of collegiate and junior players across Canada and the United States while also coordinating visits to NFL training camps. He plays an integral role in the Riders selections during the CFL Canadian Draft.
2015 Football Operations Staff
(All Images Courtesy Steve Hiscock)
Yesterday at Sasktel Centre was one of the most fun and energetic times that I have had at a Saskatoon Blades game in an awful long time.
The Team Up For Respect program with the Saskatoon Blades and Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon that brought out 8,681 fans was a huge success. From carefully organizing the arrival of all 5500+ students to the relatable and positive messaging on the scoreboard was outstanding.
The children were engaged in not only the game but also the extras that they were afforded not the least of which was a well thought out workbook, that brought numerous murmurs throughout the building as the students scurried to complete their word search or the answer to a fill in the blank that was flashed on the scoreboard at predetermined intervals.
All in all, a huge tip of the cap needs to go out to the Saskatoon Blades, Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon and their community partners for making the event possible for the youngsters at no cost making the outing priceless!
Oh by the way the game ended in a 5-4 shootout victory for the Regina Pats over the Saskatoon Blades after an entertaining see-saw battle.
So, in light of yesterday’s action here are my top ten thoughts and overheard comments from the Team Up For Respect game between the Saskatoon Blades.
10 – Class Act! Regina Assistant Coach Dave Struch
Another interesting seven days has come and gone with a lot going on.
In no particular order here are a smattering of my thoughts from the week that was:
If I were to grade Saskatchewan Roughrider General Manager Brendan Taman and Assistant G-M Jeremy O’day they both would get solid A’s for the work they have done this off-season. Re-signing two of their top three free-agents, bolstering their Canadian Content, solidifying their back-up quarterback and middle linebacker positions and perhaps having the coup of the off-season in signing veteran rush end Alex Hall.
No surprise but the Riders just get it! They sign quarterback Kevin Glenn to a contract Thursday and have him in Moose Jaw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts that night. Genius public relations moves.
Timing is everything! Not quite getting it was Auto Clearing Motor Speedway.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today international free agent quarterback Kevin Glenn has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.
Glenn (5’10 – 200) joins the Riders for the second time in his career ahead of what will be his 15th season. The Illinois State product originally entered the CFL with the Green and White in 2001, spending three seasons in Saskatchewan.
Last season, Glenn started 17 regular season games for the B.C. Lions completing 302 of 479 pass attempts (63.0%). He finished second in the league with 3,918 passing yards and third in touchdown passes with 17. He also added 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The 35-year-old Michigan native sits 8th all-time among CFL quarterbacks with 43,336 career passing yards. His 238 career touchdown passes rank 10th all-time. In addition to the Riders Glenn has also spent time with Winnipeg (2004-08), Hamilton (2009-11), Calgary (2012-13) and B.C. (2014) through his 222 career games played.
Meanwhile the Green and White also announced today
The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that international defensive lineman John Chick has signed an extension to remain with the team through the 2016 season. As per club policy, financial details of the contract were not released.
Chick (6’4 – 250) will be entering his sixth year with the Roughriders after originally signing with the team ahead of the 2007 season. Last year, the Utah State product started all 18 regular season games at defensive end where he led the CFL with 15 quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for loss while also collecting a career high 45 defensive tackles. At seasons end he was named a CFL All-Star and the Riders nominee as Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The 32-year-old has played 73 career regular season games, all with the Green and White. His 42 quarterback sacks currently place him 5th on the Riders all-time list. Chick is a two-time Grey Cup champion (2007, 2013) and was named the 2009 CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The Kindersley Klippers have joined the Weyburn Red Wings announcing that they may not be able to ice a team for the 2015-2016 SJHL season.
The club decided to make their financial plight public in an attempt to involve the community and gauge the interest of the area in maintaining their junior hockey franchise.
President Garnet Gramlich spoke with the community paper and announced that the team is $150,000 in debt and cannot continue to operate in a deficit situation. The team’s budget for 2014-2015 was between $500,000 and $600,000 and according to Gramlich in order for the team to achieve financial stability they need to sell 400-500 season tickets annually, however, that number currently stands at 200.
In the off-season, the club reached out to the community and was able to secure $70,000 in new corporate sponsorships. However, the prior debt incurred by the club did not allow that money to be applied to this season’s operating costs.
When asked when the team started to see their numbers go into the red