Category Archives: Top Stories

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

Top Ten Tuesday – No Garth… OK One Garth

Wow a week filled with highs and lows in and around Toon-Town last week. Time for my weekly recap and a warning if you are looking for a break from the Garth Brooks in Saskatoon stuff he does make his way into this week’s top 10 along with talk of a new downtown venue for Saskatoon.

That and more in my top 10 musings from the week that was in no particular order.

10 – First off need to start with condolences to the family of Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. I was fortunate enough to be in his presence on a handful of occasions. Of course, the most memorable was in the early 2000’s when he was the guest of the Saskatoon Blades at a hockey game. I knew that I was going to have a chance to meet him following our post-game show in the Blades offices and even was going to have a chance to ask a couple of questions for a feature that we would run later that season. After Les Lazaruk and I quickly wrapped up the post-game portion of the broadcast to get to the reception I needed to make a pit stop. Never being “the guy to ask the dumb question,” I was going over in my head some ideas of what I was going to ask the legend. After finishing the job I began making my way out to the office, obviously with my head down. That’s where I ran into Howe, literally! I tried to say something coherent and called him Mr. Howe-Key and mentioned that it was a great deal of my pleasure to meet him and something way more embarrassing, I’m sure. After babbling for what felt like an eternity Mr. Howe smiled ear to ear (you know the one that lights up a room) threw up his patented elbow and passed me into the washroom.  Later in the interview he talked about composure under pressure setting the great ones apart with a huge smile on his face while I probably soiled myself! Doh!

9 – Its’ too bad that a person’s death is the time when we further think of honouring someone. I read an article this week pondering whether or not the NHL should retire the number 9 for Gordie Howe like they did the 99 for Wayne Gretzky. Great question, better point.

Wednesday Night At The Races

Tired of dinner and a movie as the only option during the week? Wyant Group Raceway added another option this week with Wednesday night racing. This of course clears the track on the weekend for the Shrine Circus Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday we focused on the Saskatoon Shrine Club Sask Legends and they didn’t disappoint as they put on some tight action packed racing. Wait a minute…. we were supposed to see 20 clowns come out of one of the Legends cars. That didn’t happen.

None of the divisions racing Wednesday evening disappointed race fans.
Even though Jim Barnsley won all three races in the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stock division, he had to work his way to the front in every race, with both the #4 of Shawn Magee and #23 of Cole Nixey making that task extremely difficult. A couple of times it looked like Barnsley’s winning streak would come to an end, but alas he made it a perfect nine in a row.

The Law Enforcement Guardian Bandoleros have become a fan favorite, evidenced by the animated cheering from the crowd during their races.
Their skill and confidence grows with each race. The cars being so small, each move in and out of other cars looks gigantic.

Tun Maung, who drives the #1 Law Enforcement Guardian Bandolero has a large following amongst the fans. This is of course the young driver who didn’t know the difference between the brake and gas pedal only three weeks ago. Tonight he won the qualifier race and was on his way to winning the feature when he spun with a couple of laps remaining, putting him to the back of the field without enough time to recover. He did get back to a fifth place finish though.

Ty Stewart, in the #14 Country Style BBQ Bandolero won the heat and feature.

The #49 of Shantel Kalika won the Tiger Automotive Pro Truck heat race, with the #01 of Alex Leschenko taking the qualifier. It was a photo finish in the feature as Kalika and Anderson battled through corners three and four, back and forth for the lead. At the line though it was the #19 of Aaron Anderson across first by mere inches. Shantel had the edge before and after the line, but it’s that first nose over the line that counts.

In the Saskatoon Shrine Club Sask Legends, it was AJ Morrison and Blake Erb trading places all night. Morrison took the #84 to the line first in time trials and the qualifier, but it was Erb’s #21 Legend winning the heat and feature races.

Racing action is back at the Wyant Group Raceway next weekend, with the Sky Financial Series Astro Towing 150 Saturday June 18. The late models are joined by the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stocks, the Tiger Automotive Pro Trucks and the Shell Nitro V-Power Sportsman Divisions. Gates open at
4:30 with the first green flag at 6:05pm

Complete Results:

Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stock Division:

Young Racer Ready To Give Back

One of the most important and valuable things that an athlete can do is give back. And a 10-year-old races in Saskatoon is doing just that.

#93 Bandalero driver  Ryley Schneider is going to be raising funds for Autism prior to his race at Wyant Group Raceway on Wednesday night. He is going to be selling puzzle piece decals (puzzle pieces are the Autism symbol) that he will put on the back of his car for the rest of the season.

Through support from his Dad Ron, Ryley has taken on raising funds on his own and has already appeared at a number of events. Helping support Autism and giving back to his sponsors AGI Insurance and Burco Electric not to mention all of his family and friends who are supporting him.

Top 10 Tuesday: Talking Champions, Expectations AND The Late Ernie Harwell

Well there is a LOT of things going on in Toon-Town and the national sporting scene at the moment and in that vein it is my look at the top 10 observations from the week that was. In no particular order.

10 – Starting things off of the asphalt where I had a chance to announce my first race at the newly named Wyant Group Raceway. What an intriguing experience to be in the tower and hear the story behind the action. With that being said Richard Woodbine is a true treasure and amazing book of knowledge. The track is better for his efforts not to mention all of the great volunteers.

9 – I have tried to sneak into a couple of Rider work-outs to see who is who and what is what. It is pretty clear from the outside looking in that the Riders have some work to do. Fortunately for them I think that Chris Jones and company will be afforded a season or so to right the ship. The team is a work in progress and it could be a tough start to the campaign as the team gels.

8 – I still will wonder what might have been had Darian Durant, Sea Emery, Kevin Glenn, et all were dealt serious injury at the start of the season. With all of that being said I think the one area that the Green and White are focusing on shoring up is Quarterback. GM/Head Coach Jones knows the importance of a quality back-up in the CFL.

7 – More on the Riders and I applaud their stance on hold-out,