Monthly Archives: July 2016
Well it’s been a little slow around here for a couple of weeks thanks to me taking some time off!
It’s been eventful since I’ve been gone. The Riders picked up their first win of the Chris Jones era on Friday night, the Toronto Blue Jays stumbled a bit coming out of the All-Star Break, they reached the halfway point of the Wyant Group Raceway, and Team Canada won gold at the World Junior Football Championships in China.
With all of that being said here is my take from the World of Sports and a look inside the Toronto sports scene after spending some quality time in the ‘Big Smoke.’ So in no particular order here’s today’s Top 10 List:
10 – How about this first? For the first time in Toronto sports history the Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays played a home game at the same time. Since moving to separate facilities this off-season this was the first time that it has happened and the numbers are not pretty for the Argos. The Boatmen drew 16,048 fans or 59% of BMO Fields capacity while the Jays across downtown brought in 41,483. SO of the total paying sports customers in Toronto on a Monday night 72% chose MLB over the CFL. Further inside the numbers the Blue Jays over the weekend drew 138,000 fans not including Monday’s draw. I’m just sayin’
9 – Doing the Argos no favors are the CFL schedule makers, who by the way are the Argos owners (TSN who factor in big time in broadcast timing). The Argos after opening BMO went not only out on the road but also away from Toronto for two straight games as they stayed in Western Canada between games in Regina and Vancouver (Hard to create buzz about the team when they are not around). In addition, the league scheduled home games for the Boatmen on a Wednesday, Thursday and Monday (thus far this season) which are not exactly big nights to draw fans. Now the Argos will point to the weather being so nice that people didn’t want to sit in a stadium on a summer night. That’s hog wash as the 138,000 fans for Blue Jays baseball on the weekend sat through Humidex factors of 42+ degrees. Not to mention sitting in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day and not in the evening or under the shades of BMO.
Single-game tickets go on sale Tuesday morning for the SaskTel Fall Classic, a Canada West clash between the University of Regina Rams and the Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 1 that will be the first football game played at the new Mosaic Stadium.
Tickets will be available beginning on Tuesday at 10 a.m. through www.reginarams.com, the Rams administration office (306-585-5480), www.riderville.com, www.ticketmaster.ca, and in person or via phone through the Saskatchewan Roughriders box office (1-888-4-RIDERS).
“There’s been a lot of interest in both flex packages and single-game tickets for this game,” said Chris Briltz, director for the Rams. “With attendance limited to 16,500 for this game, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to be a part of history at the first game in the new stadium.”
The Rams are extremely pleased to have SaskTel recently come aboard as the major sponsor for the game.
“SaskTel is a long-time supporter of both the University of Regina Rams and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, so we are especially pleased to be able to be the title sponsor for the SaskTel Fall Classic,” said Darcee MacFarlane, SaskTel’s vice president of corporate relations.
Flex packages remain on sale at $80 each and include five adult tickets (one exclusively for the SaskTel Fall Classic and four which can be used interchangeably for any of the other three home games), eight child tickets (can be used for any of the Sept. 8, Sept. 23, or Oct. 21 home games), entry into the Football Dream Trip draw, and the immediate ability to purchase up to three additional tickets for the SaskTel Fall Classic.
The weather Gods were with us on Saturday as you couldn’t have asked for a better day for racing at Wyant Group Raceway. A heavy downpour passed by the track mid-morning and the skies remained threatening for the next few hours and you could see rain pass through the city, but by the time the gates opened it was blue skies all around the track.
The Super Trucks made their second and final stop in Saskatoon for 2016.
A little light on the count as several trucks were heavily damaged in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago. Only five managed to patch things up enough for this weekend.
As always though, the Super Trucks showed they are competitive and pretty well any of them can win the race. Given a 40 lap feature, the
#18 of Ron Elder Jr. came out on top at the end, being chased down by Terry Kovacs’ #43 truck and the #19 of Cody Lang.
It looks like the racing bug may have bitten Chelsey Wilson again as she had her #13 Sportsman out for the second time in as many weeks. Damen Meier was also able to hit the track as his crops mature, so the Shell V-Power Sportsman had a good car count and put on a terrific race program
Running a 75 lap Shell feature race, it wasn’t until the final couple of laps the finishing order would be settled. At the checkered flag though, it was Cale Siemens in the #28 Lucky Bastard Distillers Pontiac Grand Prix claiming its third feature win in a row. Nicole Sheetka was second in the #42 Rainbow International Restoration Grand Prix and the
#49 Northern Lights Casino Monte Carlo of Ben Busch was third.
Canada and the U.S. have faced one another in each of the first four U19 World Championship finals.
With a victory in the latest installment, Canada has evened up its U19 World Championship finals record at two wins and two losses. Canada previous captured gold at the 2012 worlds in Austin, Texas to go along with a pair of silver medals from the inaugural 2009 event in Canton, Ohio as well as the 2014 edition in Kuwait.
The latest win also marks outgoing head coach Warren Craney’s final game as head of the program. Craney served as defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2012, before first adding the head coach responsibilities in preparation for the 2014 worlds.
“I’m very proud of these men, they overcame a lot and worked their butts off!” said Craney of this team which faced both Mexico and the U.S., the defending bronze and gold medalist, twice during tournament play. “They executed the game plan to perfection.”
The win is even more impressive considering that early on, Canada looked to be in serious trouble.
Following a failed Vincent Blanchard field goal from the 32-yard line, quarterback Lindell Stone found a wide open U.S. receiver down the sideline, however, linebacker Nick Cross (Regina, SK) had other ideas. He neutralized the threat as he forced and recovered a U.S. fumble at the Canada 24-yard line.
It was a wild night on the race track Wednesday night as it seemed there was more black flags flying than checkered flags. Racers had asked for a clamp down on rules after the wreck-fest in the Sky Financial Series race a couple of weeks ago, so clamp down they did.
Ryan Fredrickson was tossed from the Street Stock feature race, while Alex Leschenko, Aaron Anderson and Bill Zubrecki were all sent to the pits during the Pro Truck feature.
By the end of the night Brad Wrennick took home the Tiger Automotive Pro Truck feature flag, proudly posing for pictures with his first flag since moving to pro trucks last year. The #88 Prairie Dent Repair Silverado was moving the right direction all night, forward instead of backwards. It was only a matter of time for Wrennick to claim a win, which he did Wednesday night.
The #49 of Shantel Kalika took second place and rookie driver Cpl William Stelzner brought the #14 Silverado across for third.
In the Golf’s Car Wash street stocks, substitute driver Alex Leschenko showed the #81 Camaro owned by Curtis Houben knows how to win races, taking the Golf’s Car Wash Street Stock feature. #18 Mike Rea was second, with Kevin Mclaggen bringing up third in the his #63 Chevelle.
The WSSL Auto Parts Super Late Models were looking bright and shiny as usual, considering the number of them that went home in pieces and with pieces missing only a couple of weeks ago. Kenny Heintz was shining too, picking up the feature win in the #62 Floorit Monte Carlo. The win had him dancing on the rooftop, grinning ear to ear.
Rookie Matthew Shirley picked up second in his #12 Saskatoon Co-op Chevy and Rob Janzen in the #17 J&A Heating and Plumbing Chevrolet was third.
Next racing action is Saturday with the Shell Nitro Plus Sportsman running the 100 lap Race for the Cure Feature. Also here on Saturday is the Golf’s Car Wash Street Stocks and the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stocks.
This race is in place of the rained out date of June 25. Front gates open at 6:00, with racing starting at 7:00pm on Saturday.
The Red and White are final bound at the Under-19 World Football Championship in Harbin, China. The Canadians were on the field early this morning (Saskatchewan time) taking on the Mexicans, who they opened the tournament with a victory over.
From the onset it was very evident that the Red and White were prepared and ready to go. Early in the contest the Canadians would move the ball into scoring position and come away with a field-goal to open the scoring. Canada 3 – Mexico 0.
To the second Quarter, and after trading possessions and field position, Canada would move the ball into the score zone to see their drive seemingly stall. That’s when the Canadians would execute a perfect fake field goal. The ball ended up in the hands of Regina’s Nic Cross, from LeBoldus, and he would scamper 20-yards to pay dirt to give Canada a 10-0 advantage.
Canada wasn’t done there as the defence came up with a big play of their own. University of Saskatchewan Huskie,
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced details of the 1966 Grey Cup Championship reunion to be held July 16th, when the Riders take on the visiting B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium.
Throughout this year’s Farewell Season, the Riders will be celebrating the moments and memories that have made Mosaic Stadium special. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Grey Cup Championship, and to commemorate the occasion the Football Club will be welcoming back 17 members of the 1966 team, with a day full of events including a morning autograph session and half time ceremony to honour the players that brought the franchise and province its first Grey Cup championship.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders kicked-off their 2016 season on Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays played a marathon game on the weekend, and Team Canada is going strong in China that and more on the way with my top ten musings from the week that was.
So buckle-up in no particular order here we go:
10 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped their opening game of the season, 30-17 to Toronto. Some of the descriptors from the game were; Disappointing, predictable and not as bad as it could have been. In all honesty the Riders were a handful of plays away from a different outcome. The one sure thing to come from the contest is the fact that the group assembled by Chris Jones et all is fast, focused and fierce. This is going to be a fun team to watch when they come together.
9 – Credit where it is due! Lost in the loss to Toronto was the return of Quarterback Darian Durant to the field from his Achilles injury a year ago. In his first game action in a year the Rider pivot only went 31-48, for 310 yards 1TD and rushed for 15 yards. Not to mention catching his own pass for 3 yards. Not bad for a guy who only had one quarter of pre-season action to get up to game speed.
7 – Cudos to the Riders for sticking to their guns this week, Part 1: First overall pick Josiah St. John was on the field after signing with the club late last week. The Riders took a hard-line stance on the number one pick sticking to their salary structure. Good on the Riders now St. John can show his worth on the field.
6 – Sticking to their guns, Part 2:
Another week has come and gone in the Canadian Football League with more “Only in the CFL” moments, some great plays and some not-so-great ones too. Here’s my view from week two:
Ottawa REDBLACKS 28 at Montreal Alouettes 13:
Very early on in this game another two major injuries one where a player needed to be stretchered off. Is it just me or does this seem like the norm for the CFL over the past couple of seasons? Just speculating but with starters, essentially, only getting a quarter or a half of pre-season football before being expected to put it all on the line in the regular season are they prepared to play? OR are they at risk not getting better acclimatized to “game speed.” Would a possible solution be to have every team play a third pre-season game (I know impossible with 9 teams) but play four games in neutral sites (Victoria, Saskatoon, Grande Prairie, London ON, Quebec City, Moncton, St. John’s, etc.) to build the brand and split the revenue.
To the game itself and Ottawa has not lost a step without Henry Burris at Quarterback. Trevor Harris looks as good if not better guiding the REDBLACKS offence. I wonder if Burris could be on the move before the end of the season. (Hello Winnipeg!)
The Montreal Alouettes seem to be void of identity. There seems to be a lot of individuals on the team. That being said I thought both the offensive and defensive lines performed admirable.
The difference in this game was simply that the REDBLACKS made more plays that the Als.
Toronto Argonauts 30 at Saskatchewan Roughriders 17:
The experts will agree that any given football game will come down to a handful of plays. This one may have come down to one very early in the first quarter. After an early score by Toronto the Riders moved the ball only to have the drive stopped on a 3rd and short by Toronto.
The Team Canada Under-19 squad played their second game of the World Championship in Harbin, China early Sunday morning against their rivals from the United States.
The game was pushed back to a 3am Saskatchewan start time but the hour delay didn’t faze the Canadians as they jumped out to an early 7-nothing lead after a short run by Laval native, Samuel Makwanda.
Then it was the Canadians defence that stepped up when Toronto’s Deshawn Stevens dropped the American Quarterback for a sack in the back-field to get the Canadians the ball back.
The teams would then trade field position until the mid-point of the second quarter when the Americans would connect on a 35-yard passing play to draw within one. The extra-point was no good and the Canadians lead was cut to 7-6.
The Americans seemed to get some momentum from that score and came out and connected on a long pass before punching it in from 3-yards out on their next possession to take a 12-7 lead on the Canadians.
Before the half was out the Red and White would answer back when Quarterback Dimitri Morand would spot running back Felix Lussier-Roy along the sideline to regain the Canadian lead 14-12.
That lead was short-lived, as the Americans drove the ball once again on the Canadian defence and capped the drive with another short pass to take an 18-12 lead, an advantage that they would hold into halftime.
To the second half where the teams traded field position throughout the third quarter, but early in the final frame the Americans would strike pay dirt, once again through the air to add to their lead. The scoreboard would show the U-S in front 25-14.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Canadians as on the ensuing drive the Americans would intercept Morand and return it to the house to make it a 32-14 lead.
Team Canada would not stop forcing the Americans, desperately trying to get back into the game. That’s when Saskatchewan Huskie defensive-back, and Saskatoon Native, Ben Whiting