Monthly Archives: June 2016

Regina Native Blocks Mexican Upset At World Football Championship:

The World Under 19 Football Championship opened yesterday in Harbin, China.

Day one action saw the tournament open with the host Chinese on the wrong side of 72-nothing loss to Team Australia.

Game two saw Team Canada take the field against Mexico. In the Early going the Mexicans came out firing building up a 16-3 lead at halftime over the Canadians.

However, Team Canada would come marching back. Early in the third stanza after a Deshawn Stevens interception at midfield, QB Dimitri Morand would find KJ Johnson, of the Langley Rams, in the end zone to narrow Mexico’s lead to 16-10.

Before the quarter was out Morand would cap a long drive scampering into the end zone himself to even the score at 16 through three quarters. (The extra-point attempt was blocked)

In the final frame, the Canadians special teams would exact some revenge. Regina’s

Blades Bolster D Through Euro Draft

The Saskatoon Blades have selected 17 year old Russian defenceman Mark Rubinchik in today’s CHL Import Draft. The left-shot defenceman split last season between Moscow Dynamo U17 and HK MVD Balashikha, totaling a combined 4 goals and 7 assists in 27 games. He also played for the Russia national team at both the U17 and U18 world championships. The 6′ 0″, 163 pounder is a native of Moscow.

“Mark was the number one player on our list and we’re thrilled we got him at 7,” says Blades GM Colin Priestner. “He was the assistant captain as an underage player at the World U18 this spring for Team Russia and played prominent roles on the powerplay, penalty kill and even strength.  He’s very physical and has a great one-timer. After he adds some weight to his frame, some expect he’ll be an early round NHL draft pick next year.”

Rubinchik played on the Dynamo youth team but it didn’t take him long to test his skill against skaters in North America. Rubinchik played with the Little Caesars Bantam program in Detroit for the 20012-13 and the 2013-14 seasons.

“It’s great he already learned English as when he was a 12-13 year old in Detroit. We expect him to be a big time player for us for the next 2 to 3 years.”

The International Scouting Service’s Dennis McInnis described Rubinchuk this way:

Top 10 Tuesday: Has Hockey Lost Its Appeal? Are The Riders Ready?

Lots to get to in today’s top 10 so let’s get at it! In no particular order here are my ten random thoughts from the week that was in the world of sports.

10 – The million-dollar question in the province this week is how will the Riders be this season? The general consensus is that they will be OK after taking some early lumps to start the year. With that being said the formula is simple. The Riders will rise and fall with the fortunes of Darian Durant and his grasp of the offence, health and cohesion with the receivers.

9 – One more thought from the Riders is the fans negative response to VP of Football Operations, G-M, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Chris Jones bringing in more players after training camp. As I mentioned on the air last week, it’s like doing a remodel of your home and then finding the furniture just don’t fit with the renovation so you go looking for a better fit. Plain and simple! No disappointment in what is or isn’t in the locker room, just looking to upgrade which is what makes organizations successful.

It’s Official! Huskies Rams To Open New Mosaic!

Circle Saturday, October 1 on your calendars. That date will be one to remember in Regina, as the University of Regina Rams open a new chapter in Saskatchewan football history when they welcome the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for the first game at new Mosaic Stadium.

The game was announced Monday by the City of Regina and Rams and will be the first event of any kind in the new $278 million stadium, which will welcome the Rams and CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders full-time beginning in 2017.

“We are thrilled to play our first game in our new home this season,” said Dan Johnston, president of the Rams. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our organization to showcase our product while making history alongside every other participant at new Mosaic Stadium.”

A total of 16,500 seats will be available for the Oct. 1 matchup between the Rams and Huskies, as the two teams are expected to break the existing Canada West football attendance record of 10,199. The old mark dates back to August 30, 2013 when the University of Manitoba Bisons welcomed the University of Alberta Golden Bears to Investors Group Field for the first game in that stadium’s history.

In addition to breaking the Canada West football attendance record, the game is also aiming to break the overall Canada West single game attendance record of 12,859, which was set last January when the University of Calgary Dinos and Mount Royal University Cougars squared off in men’s hockey at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

For fans interested in attending the Oct. 1 game, flex packages go on sale Tuesday, June 28 at 10 a.m. Saskatchewan time. Each flex package includes one ticket to the Oct. 1 game, as well as an option to purchase up to three additional tickets during the pre-sale window. Flex packages are available through www.reginarams.com, the Rams administration office (306-585-5480), www.riderville.com, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders box office (1-888-4-RIDERS).

Tickets for the general public

What I learned Week 1 CFL: The Beast And Shame Of The East?

Week one of the CFL season is in the books and judging by the play and the results there should be a lot of optimism in the East Division. Heck some social media-ites are already calling for an Eastern cross-over this year. Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s take a look at week one:

Hamilton 42 – Toronto 20

The Ti-Cats spoiled the party embarrassing Toronto in their BMO Field home-opener. To be fair the Argos did it up right bringing out some bring name to break in the new digs. The Ti-Cats, however, showed off their execution and mental sharpness in the dominating win. Don’t forget that this team is only going to get better with the return of Zach Collaros from the injured list, likely around Labour Day.

The only thing, in my mind, more embarrassing than the result for the Argos is that they could not sell-out BMO Field for game one. 24,812 took in the game, 188 shy of a sell-out. Could the Boatmen have not given those tickets away to fill the stands or more importantly create a demand for their tickets? It will be interesting to see how many take in game two after a thumping at home in week one.

Montreal 22 – Winnipeg 14

Well the power went out on the Bombers long before the lightning caused a 60 minute delay at Investors Group Field on Friday night. Winnipeg is in win or else mode, and they were definitely else. Free-agent signee Weston Dressler was taken out of the game after a vicious helmet to helmet hit. The loss of Dressler seemed to take the wind out of the offence’s sails. The O-Line could not open any holes for Winnipeg-native (only alluded to in the broadcast 20 times) Andrew Harris and when it came time to thrown the ball the only target that Drew Willy, who was under pressure all night, could find was Ryan Smith.

The Als overcame a red zone turnover early and did just enough to win with Kevin Glenn at the helm. His progression and the entire offence’s will be interesting to watch.

Ottawa 45 – Edmonton 27

Riders Add To Roster As Practice Resumes

The Saskatchewan Roughriders returned to the practice field yesterday after an opening week bye.

The Green and White will open the season against Toronto on Thursday night, the final home-opener at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders made some roster shuffles over that time and made them official yesterday. Here are the official releases:

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

SIGNED TO ROSTER:
• National offensive lineman Dillon Guy
• National defensive back Raye Hartmann
• National defensive back Shane Herbert
• National defensive lineman Ese Mrabure-Ajufo

ACTIVATED FROM RETIRED LIST:
• International receiver Armanti Edwards

ADDED TO PRACTICE ROSTER:
• International running back Lache Seastrunk

• The Riders also announced they have added two territorial juniors to the practice roster. Defensive back Menedum Menegbo and wide receiver Kristopher Calcutt of the Regina Thunder will begin practicing with the team today.
TRANSFERRED FROM SUSPENDED TO DISABLED LIST:
• International defensive lineman Sammy Brown

– Shortly after originally signing in April, Brown suffered an off-field injury while training and was unable to attend training camp. He has reported to the team in order to continue rehabilitation.

RELEASED FROM PRACTICE ROSTER:
• International defensive lineman Tony Criswell

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today international quarterbacks G.J. Kinne and Bryant Moniz have signed with the team. As per club policy details of the contracts were not disclosed.

Kinne (6’2 – 218) joins the Riders after spending parts of the last four seasons in the NFL. The Texas product originally signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in April, 2012 before going on to spend time with the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad.

Last season, the 27-year-old attended training with the Eagles playing three preseason games. He went on to sign with the New York Giants practice squad where he remained for the season.

Woods Leaving Prompts Blades Hockey Ops Shake-up

The Saskatoon Blades have named Dean Brockman as their 21st head coach, with news Bob Woods is returning to the NHL.

Woods, who joined the Blades two years ago, has signed on to be the right hand man to Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma.

“This was too great of an offer to pass up,” says Woods. “It’s a chance to work alongside a Stanley Cup winning coach who also coached in the AHL. It’s an example I’d love to follow. I have mixed emotions leaving the Blades since the team is turning the corner but I know the players are in great hands.”

Brockman, 48, who was alongside Woods for the past two seasons, is thrilled with the opportunity.

“We’ve come through three difficult but necessary years but the time for talk is over. It’s time for results and we are committed to take a major step forward this season. We have a room full of great players who have outstanding character. They’ve taken great strides during our time together and I can’t wait to work with them to seize the opportunity we have in front of us.”

Brockman is well-suited to take the top job. Previous to his two years with Woods, Brockman coached the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to incredible success over 17 years. He led the team to victory in the Royal Bank Cup on two occasions, 2003 and 2008. In two other appearances at the national championship, Humboldt was the runner-up in 2009 and lost the semi-final in 2012.

The product of St. Benedict, Saskatchewan, also guided the Broncos to four Anavet Cup Championship titles in five appearances at the event, which matches up SJHL champion against the winner of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Brockman was named SJHL Coach of the Year four times.

Brockman also has a history of success with Hockey Canada. He coached Canada West to a silver medal at the World Junior A Championship in 2012, taking home a gold medal at that same event as an assistant coach one year earlier in 2011.

While Brockman has some strategic thoughts on adjusting the team’s play on the ice for more wins, he also sees opportunity on the mental side of the game. “I have great passion for our players and I want to help guide them through the obstacles that stand in their way so we can together find – and enjoy – success.”

Top Ten Tuesday – Welcome to Summer AND Panic-ville!

Summer officially arrived in our province yesterday afternoon! However, panic arrived early Saturday evening after the Riders dropped their second, and final, pre-season game in Edmonton. Is it panic time? No! BUT there is some cause for concern.

To help ease the panic, I think, here are my weekly thoughts in no particular order.

10 – So what to make of the Riders oh-and-2 pre-season in which they were outscored 53-26 by B.C. and Edmonton? I think a fair assessment is that the Riders were doing just that. With only thirteen hold-overs from last year’s 3-and-15 team the Green and White had to figure out what exactly they have as opposed to preparing for the regular season. So no need to panic but there should be some concern especially on the offensive side of the ball.

9 – Calling a spade a spade; So, while the Riders needed to upgrade in all areas of the team to me the most pressing need was finding someone to develop at Quarterback behind Darian Durant. Unfortunately, for the Riders Darian lost two years of his prime dealing with injuries. The cold hard fact was that no one was able to step up and guide the offence in his absence in either 2014 or 2015. I am not entirely sure that the Riders have that on their roster yet, however, there are whispers around the league the Riders are shopping to address that need.

8 – Back to the offence and all isn’t doom and gloom when you look at the stat line that the Green and White only put up 26 points in 8 quarters of football. Keep in mind that the Riders did turn the ball over in the score zone a couple of times last week which could have padded those numbers. Additionally, the Riders being on a bye week (despite no formal work-outs) will allow the number ones an opportunity to study film and learn more of the play-book which should allow them to hit the ground running when they return to the practice field on Saturday.

Sparks Fly – Metal Twists Saturday At WRG

Saskatoon race fans witnessed a Bristol style ‘big one’ as an accident in lap 71 saw five cars retired from the Sky Financial Series Astro Towing 150.

The race started good enough.  18 drivers from Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC were picturing the checkered flag as they cruised the 3/8 mile oval at Wyant Group Raceway.  A little bit of slippage as the green flag came out with the 09 of Clint Habart in the lead, followed by Matthew Shirley and Kenny Heintz.

Anticipation was high as a couple of veterans made their way back to racing after a couple of years off.  Trevor Emond made his first trip to Saskatoon in a couple of years and Trent Seidel was sporting new wheels after a few years on the sidelines.

Maybe they were a little too anxious as already in lap five Seidel’s #70 and the #88 of Jason Gervais got together through corner three, sending Trent to the back of the pack and the #88 to the garage for the night.

While Clint Habart led the first five laps, Kenny Heintz took over the lead coming out of caution, a spot he held onto until lap 44, when in two laps the #17 of Rob Janzen dispatched both Habart and Heintz, taking over the lead for the next 20 or so times around the oval.

But what’s this, by lap 63 Trevor Emonds #17x is knocking on Janzens’s door and he takes over the lead by lap 67.  Dean Braham’s #99 is off the pace and coasts to the bottom of the track in lap 69, bringing out the second caution of the race.

The two #17’s are side by side on the restart with 09 in the mix.  Emond gets the edge and pulls ahead leaving Janzen and Habart battling behind.

As they go through corner one and towards corner two the two come together and start to slide, it causes a collection of cars behind as drivers check up.

It’s a mess as you see the rookie driven #12 car of Matthew Shirley literally drive right over top of the #1 of Tony Mikulcik and Seidel’s

2016 Chevy SS.  The #38 of Dave Bone and #15 2016 Challenger of Andrew Hardy take damage as well, knocking all five from the race.  The 09 and

17 come out with rub marks, but have to take the ensuing green from the back of the inside line.

Down to ten cars on the track, Kenny Heintz makes his way back as the cars are lining up for green, two laps down, but still running.

Trevor Emond’s #17x Chevy got the jump, taking the lead he would not relinquish for the rest of the race.  Jim Gaunt tried to run Emond’s tires off, but it was clear Jim’s tires were fading as quickly as Trevor’s.  Jim settled into second, waiting for a mistake, an opportunity to pounce and slide past Emond.

Emond is a seasoned driver though, testing out dozens of tracks around western Canada and the western US.  You don’t see him make a mistake very often, and we didn’t see one Saturday night.

Maybe the Gods were on Jim’s side though.  Habart spins in lap 124 bringing out the caution once again, putting Trevor and Jim side by side for the green.  Clearly Trevor’s car had more left in it than Jim’s, as the 17x drives away like Jim didn’t know where the gas pedal was.

Debris on the track brought out the caution again on lap 140, giving them one more chance to battle it out.  Those last 10 laps though Emond was consistently running 1/10th of a second faster than Gaunt or Janzen.

Emond just had to keep it clean to take home the first win in the 2016 Sky Financial SLM Series.

Riders QB Smith Among Final Cuts

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced their final cuts on Sunday Afternoon ahead of the CFL’s mandated cut-down time.

Among the group was veteran Quarterback Brett Smith, who made eight starts for the Green and White last season.

Also released was former Huskie defensive lineman Tim Agbaje.

The Riders are now on a bye week and won’t suit up until Thursday June 30th when they host the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium.

Here is the complete list of the Rider’s roster moves:

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

 

RELEASED:

  • National offensive lineman Kadeem Adams
  • National defensive back Troy Adams
  • National defensive lineman Tim Agbaje
  • International offensive lineman Tre’Von Armstead
  • International wide receiver Damarr Aultman
  • International running back Terrance Cobb
  • International defensive back Victor Dean Jr.
  • International wide receiver Clarence Denmark
  • International defensive back Marquis Drayton
  • International running back Michael Dyer
  • International wide receiver Qudarius Ford
  • National linebacker Dillon Grondin
  • International defensive back Tyree Hollins
  • National wide receiver Kyle Kawamoto
  • National offensive lineman Aaron Picton
  • National wide receiver Randy Roseway
  • International linebacker Marte Sears
  • International quarterback Brett Smith
  • International defensive back Xavier Walker
  • International defensive lineman Markus White