A Sporting Letter To Santa:

Thank-you for following along during the entire year.

From my family to yours may you have a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2016!

I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year than by sharing my sporting letter to Santa. Here’s hoping that he’s good to all of us in 2016!

Enjoy…

 

Dear Santa,

Saskatchewan RushHope that all is well with you. It has been another year of highs and lows in the world of sports.
As you know Saskatoon is now home to a champion. The reigning NLL champion Edmonton Rush’s move to the Bridge City in the off-season has been met with curiosity and anticipation. As you know I truly experienced the game for the first time this summer taking in the Saskatchewan SWAT at Kinsmen Arena. The sport is fast paced and entertaining. The Saskatchewan Rush have done all the right things coming into the community and are working hard to deliver their professional product to the Bridge City and capture the engagement and imagination of the city. Santa please bring the Rush success on the floor and fans into the seats. This may be the Bridge City’s last shot at a professional sports franchise if the sporting community doesn’t support it!

Staying with professional sports and I’m sure that Rider Nation doesn’t deserve the lump of coal that you delivered to us in 2015. There must have been a lot of naughty people, especially in sectionChris Jones 23 lol, if all you could deliver was a three win season. That being said I always have been a things are never as good or as bad as they seem kind of guy. Injuries are not supposed to be used as an excuse but clearly they were a big contributor to the Riders woes this season. Losing your starting middle-linebacker and quarterback in the first game of the year is the same as losing your goal-scoring forward and shut-down defenceman in hockey. Here’s hoping that you bring the new Rider football operations regime wisdom to make the moves they need to in overhauling the roster. Also maybe delay on the lump of coal that I was asking for Chris Jones before (I was a little outspoken on his refusal to shake the opposing coaches hands in his first season as Head Coach in Edmonton) as it should be a fresh start for everyone in Green and White.
One more for the Green and White and Santa please take care of the players that will be moving on. I get the idea that in professional sport you can be moved/released/traded/demoted at any time. With that being said, knowing a number of the veterans on a personal level being released is a life altering decision. Take care of them and their families this holiday season and into the future.

20150904_190303Back in the Bridge City, and  Santa I would have to suggest that Saskatchewan Huskies deserve a stocking full of gifts! It was a tough year for the Huskies as they just couldn’t quite recover from a tough oh-and-two start to the season. That being said the future looks bright for the team. Quicker and stronger are the two words that the coaching staff are using in relation to the 2016 season. Here’s hoping a solid off-season pays dividends in September.

 

 
20150925_175328Santa, I know the sleigh is probably getting weighted down a little, but if you could sneak a little extra something for my broadcast partner Barclay Schlosser that would be great! The knowledge and passion that he brought to the broadcast booth was simply outstanding! At a number of times I found myself in awe listening to his analysis but also his experiences with the program. I sure hope that he gets as much out of being around the team and broadcasts as I, and our audience do! Can’t wait for the 2016 season to arrive as I am sure that the hardwork being done by Brian Towriss and the coaching staff will pay immediate returns.

 

TurkNow Santa I know that they are going to get another ring this spring but the Saskatoon Hilltops I am sure are on your nice list. The team successfully flexed their muscles and defended their national championship in 2015. The work that Tom Sargent and his coaching staff puts in, in order to reach their ultimate goal every season is outstanding.

Hilltops ChampionshipIn addition, the work that the directors do to keep the train on the track is incredible. Lastly, on the Hilltops a number of their athletes should be extra rewarded for the work that they do in the community. For example, receiver Evan Turkington spent his own “free” time (no athlete gets free time) to come out to my son’s Flag Football practice. Before leaving he made sure that every 6 or 7 year-old could throw a pass to a Rider/Hilltop. Should the pass not be complete he would run the route again. I think he was sprinting for 40 minutes! The kids loved it and even noted that “he didn’t even have ice cream when he was done!” That’s just one example but there are many, many more. If you look top to bottom in the Saskatoon Minor Football League there are many former Huskie and Hilltop athletes that are giving back by developing the sport that they love.

Blades On Ice(Photo Courtesy: Steve Hiscock/Saskatoon Blades) On the ice I know it may be hard Santa but if you could deliver a little more patience to fans of the Saskatoon Blades that would be an amazing gift. I know the goal in this second year of the rebuild under GM/Head Coach Bob Woods is to make the play-offs, if that is achieved or not is yet to be determined. However, the younger players that are coming into the program are exciting and skilled and if they can continue to develop they will change the culture around the Blades dressing room and their fortunes on the ice. As you know I was fortunate enough to be back in the broadcast booth for two games this season. That opportunity has allowed me to see the direction that the franchise is heading in, it is just going to take a little more time, which I know is wearing thin on the fans.

 

Winter ClassicNow this is a big one Santa! I know that asking for good weather is a tough one especially in Saskatchewan. As you know January 22-23 I am hoping to pull off another Winter Classic Experience for 80-plus 7 and 8 year olds on the west side of Saskatoon (The AGI Aces Winter Classic). I truly believe this is an opportunity to give back to the game but also give some of the kids an opportunity that they may never had imagined possible. So if you could work with Mother Nature to come up with a warm day that would be awesome, just not too warm as I still need ice. On the subject of the Winter Classic, a huge thanks to the Saskatoon Blades for making their players/coaches available for the event. Also a big thanks to the sponsors who not only are helping make this event a reality but maybe more importantly trusting me with their corporate name to create and event that emulates that high standards that they have set for their business; AGI InsuranceBill and Rudy (it’s OK Jeff’s mom calls him Rudy too) at AGI Insurance have been amazing to me but incredibly generous for kids not just in the Aces zone, but Junior Hockey and Racing and throughout our community as a whole. Phil at Smiley’s is top drawer. His restaurant is aptly named as I cannot recall ever seeing him without a smile on his face. The opportunity that he provides people from every walk to achieve their goals with his restaurant is inspiring. Gord and the crew at SMP and what they give back to community is outstanding. The Bow Tie Till I die shirts throughout minor football are awesome and something the kids love. Their trust in me in this event is flattering. Jeff and the crew at Adessa. If something has to be done Jeff will get it done whether it be building Pac Man or being the first one to volunteer when help is needed Jeff and his company are top drawer. Barclay at Aarons, Councillor Anne Iwanchuk, Trent at MNP, the Saskatchewan Party, Lindsay at Saskatchewan Blue Cross, and Brian at Burco all have allowed their company to be associated with this event. Here’s hoping I can deliver a product worthy of your reputation. So Santa if you could take care of the weather that would be awesome and a load off my mind.

That’s all for now Santa all the best tonight and may 2016 may be one we never forget in sports!

Your friend,

Dave Thomas