Category Archives: Top Stories

U of S Apologies Over Handling of Towriss Departure

The University of Saskatchewan has apologized for their handling of the announced resignation of Head Coach Brian Towriss last week.

After a hastily called news conference last Monday, where the Huskies Head Coach of 33 years announced he was stepping down, there has been significant push-back from the community as well as current and former Huskie athletes.

Yesterday on the Huskie athletics website an apology (below) from University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff was published. However, a news release or media availability was not issued.

The Huskies hope to name an interim Head Coach next month with a full-time replacement in place by the end of February.

A message from President Stoicheff and Coach Brian Towriss
Dec 27, 2016

Statement from University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff

B-T Steps Down As H-C –> With AUDIO

After 33 years as head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team, Brian Towriss is stepping down.

Affectionately known as BT, Towriss, made the announcement Monday afternoon after four decades with the Huskie Athletics football program. Towriss took over the Huskie program in 1984 after serving as an assistant coach to Val Schneider since 1980. He spent four seasons as a defensive lineman for the Huskies from 1974-77 and was named a conference all-star in 1974.

Towriss, 60, holds the national record in wins by a football coach at 196 and has coached the most games in University sport with 315.

“I want to thank all of those that have supported me throughout my career at the University of Saskatchewan and all of the fans in Huskie Nation,” said Towriss. “I have had a fulfilling and wonderful career here. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my wife, Vicki, and my two wonderful children, Kellie and Jake. I have also had the pleasure of working with a loyal group of coaches and support staff that have shared my vision and passion for the program for a longtime. I am proud to say that we won a lot of football games and we did it with honesty, respect and hard work. I wish the program continued success and a return to national prominence.”

The Moose Jaw native has led Saskatchewan to three Vanier Cup titles, 11 Hardy Cup titles and nine Vanier Cup appearances. He is a nine-time Canada West coach of the year and one-time national coach of the year. In his tenure, 154 Huskies have been named conference all-stars, 71 All-Canadians and 160 to a Huskie or national all-academic team. He has coached 47 players who went on to play in the CFL.

He joined an elite group in 2007 when he was handed Saskatchewan’s highest honour by the Government of Saskatchewan, the Order of Merit.

“BT has had a long distinguished career as a coach, but moreover as a well-respected leader in sport across the Canada West and U Sports,” said athletic director and long-time friend Basil Hughton. “He has impacted many young athletes, coaches and staff throughout his years of service as their mentor and friend. BT has devoted countless hours to the University of Saskatchewan as an ambassador promoting our University to not only prospective athletes but to many other audiences across Canada.

Huskies In Search Of New AD

Basil Hughton announced Monday morning he will retire after nine seasons as the University of Saskatchewan’s director of athletics and nearly 40 years in education.

“For nine years, Basil Hughton has been instrumental in the development and growth of Huskie Athletics at the University of Saskatchewan,” said Dean of the College of Kinesiology Dr. Chad London. “He has shown tremendous commitment and leadership within the College, our University, the Canada West and to our student-athletes. He has played a major role in the many academic and athletic successes the students and coaching staffs have achieved. I personally, and on behalf of the College and Dean’s Leadership Team, want to thank Basil for his contributions and leadership at the University of Saskatchewan.”

Hughton started at Huskie Athletics in the 2008-09 season. Under his leadership, the university’s athletics department has won two program-first national basketball titles and 15 Canada West championships. He has seen almost 1,300 student-athletes named to either the national or school All-Academic teams. Hughton also guided Huskie Athletics to a successful bid to host the 2013 and 2014 University Cup men’s hockey championships, and the 2015 men’s volleyball championship.

His leadership extended into the Canada West and the Saskatoon community, serving on the conference Board of Directors for six years — two as president, as well as the Board of Saskatoon of Sport Tourism. He has been chairperson for a number of conference committees including the membership committee, the WHL-partnership group and as sport liaison for women’s hockey, men’s hockey and football.

World Juniors Pass On Saskatoon Bid

Hockey Canada has awarded the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship to the cities of Vancouver and Victoria. Winnipeg and Saskatoon partnered in a bid to host the 2019 event.

“While we’re disappointed that Winnipeg and Saskatoon did not secure the championship this time around, Saskatoon Sports Tourism would like to congratulate Vancouver and Victoria and its bid committee for successfully landing this world-class hockey event,” said Hugh Vassos, Project Development Consultant with Saskatoon Sports Tourism. “The competition for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship was extremely competitive and there were strong hockey markets from across Canada interested in hosting. Our fans can be proud knowing the Winnipeg and Saskatoon bid met or exceeded every measurable aspect of Hockey Canada’s criteria, leaving us well positioned to bid on the event in the future.”

“We would like to thank Saskatoon Sports Tourism, the City of Saskatoon, the Province of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Blades and SaskTel Centre for their commitments and expressions of interest in supporting our bid for 2019,” said Jonathan Huntington, Saskatoon’s bid committee chair.

Top 10 Tuesday – Wrapping Up The Football Season

Well it’s amazing that the football season has come and gone. With that in mind and a closer look at championship week here are my thoughts in no particular order on this top 10 Tuesday.

10 – Despite, from all accounts, no one in Toronto being aware that the CFL showcase event was on in their city the 104th Grey Cup game itself seemed to go off without a hitch. The question that will always hang over the game itself will be why would Calgary try to throw the ball on 2nd and Goal from the 2 yard line with their third string quarterback as opposed to running the ball with the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian (Jerome Messam) or having the league’s Most Outstanding Player (Bo Levi Mitchell) throw the ball.

9 – The play also should trigger the debate; why do CFL teams bring in their 3rd string quarterback to run short yardage plays? It seems that the risk for things to go wrong is much higher than the reward of keeping the starter healthy. I can’t recall a quarterback injured on a short yardage sneak.

8 – One troubling fact from the highly entertaining overtime championship game was that the excitement did not translate into television numbers. Viewership was down from 4.3-million viewers in 2015 to 3.9-million this year. Some are pointing to the idea that the game was anticipated to be a blow out. I wonder if TSN is the right carrier or whether or not the game should be broadcast on one of the big three national networks (Global, CTV or CBC).

Riders Sign Four…. No Durant

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

SIGNED:
• International quarterback Bryan Bennett
• International offensive lineman Terrence Campbell
• International defensive lineman Kenny Horsley
• International wide receiver Thomas Mayo
Bennett (6’3 – 215) spent all of last season on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers practice roster after originally signing with the team in October, 2015. The 24-year-old previously spent two seasons at Southeastern Louisiana where he completed 358 of 643 pass attempts (55.6%) for 5,522 and 39 touchdowns while adding 320 carries for 1,715 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.

Campbell (6’3 – 308) joins the Riders after starting six games for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2016. The 28-year-old South Carolina product spent the remainder of the season on the practice roster. After signing with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Campbell spent two seasons in the Arena Football League.

Picton Rams To Top Of U-Sports Football

University of Regina Rams quarterback Noah Picton has become the first player in school history to earn the Hec Crighton Trophy, awarded annually to the top player in Canadian university football.

In addition, both Noah Picton and slotback Mitchell Picton were named first-team All-Canadians.

Simply put, Noah Picton had one of the best statistical seasons in U Sports history. He set a national record with 3186 passing yards. His 224 completions set a Canada West record and are the second most by any quarterback in a single season. He led the conference with a 69.3% completion rate. And if that isn’t enough, he threw four touchdown passes in five of the team’s eight Canada West games and also led the nation with 25 on the season.

Picton was also 25-for-35 for 364 yards and one touchdown in the team’s postseason game against UBC. And he was a three-time recipient of U Sports Offensive Player of the Week honours this year, earning the award following the team’s Week 1, Week 2, and Week 8 games.

“It’s just a fantastic honour for Noah,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce. “Given his leadership qualities, the time he devotes to watching tape, his academic performance, and of course his on-field accomplishments, he’s tremendously deserving of being called the best player in the country. He is a cornerstone of this program and played a huge role this year in turning this team around.”

For the Rams, this was the fourth time they’ve had a player nominated for the Hec. Jason Clermont won the Frank Gnup Memorial Trophy as the Canada West Player of the Year in 2001, while Teale Orban won it back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.

Noah Picton still has two years of U Sports eligibility remaining. In his first three seasons, he has completed 513 of 767 pass attempts and has accumulated 7349 passing yards and 46 touchdown passes. His completion rate of 66.9% is the highest in U of R history, while he ranks second in the school record book in completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes.

Mitchell Picton joined his cousin Noah as a first-team All-Canadian after setting a school record with 58 receptions, tying Jason Clermont’s U of R record with 11 touchdown catches, and leading Canada West with 834 receiving yards. Considered a prospect for the 2017 CFL Draft, the fourth-year slotback joins elite company – Clermont, Chris Bauman, Chris Getzlaf, and Addison Richards are the only other Rams receivers to be named first-team All-Canadians.

2016 U Sports Football Awards
Hec Crighton Trophy (Player of the Year) – QB Noah Picton, Regina. Also nominated – QB Samuel Caron (Montreal), QB Tivon Cook (St. Francis Xavier), QB Derek Wendel (Ottawa).

President’s Trophy (Defensive Player of the Year) – LB D.J. Lalama, Manitoba. Also nominated – DL Jonathan Boisonneault-Glaou (Montreal), LB Nakas Onyeka (Wilfrid Laurier), LB DeAndre Smith (Saint Mary’s).

J.P. Metras Trophy (Lineman of the Year) – OL Mathieu Betts, Laval. Also nominated – OL Geoff Gray (Manitoba), OL Sean Jamieson (Western), OL Vernon Sainvil (St. Francis Xavier).

Peter Gorman Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – QB Jakob Loucks, Mount Allison. Also nominated – DB Adam Auclair (Laval), DL Nicholas Dheilly (Regina), K Adam Preocanin (McMaster).

Frank Tindall Trophy (Coach of the Year) – Michael Faulds, Wilfrid Laurier. Also nominated – Steve Bryce (Regina), Danny Maciocia (Montreal), Gary Waterman (St. Francis Xavier).

Russ Jackson Award (Academics and Community Service) – DB Cam Teschuk, Manitoba. Also nominated – LB Shayne Cowan-Cholette (Bishop’s), DL Mark Mackie (McMaster), DB Will Wojcik (Acadia).

2016 U Sports First-Team All-Canadians – Offence
QB Noah Picton, Regina
RB Tyler Chow, Saskatchewan

Top 10 Tuesday – Getting Back At It

To say the last little while has been a bit auspicious would be an understatement. However, time to get back on the saddle so to speak with my random thoughts from the world of sports.

So in no particular order here is today’s Top 10 Tuesday:

10 – Well it may be a week late but definitely never too late to recognize excellence. Congratulations to the Saskatoon Hilltops on the winning of their third consecutive Canadian Bowl. Unbelievably one critic pointed out to me that the only reason the Hilltops win is that they are able to keep their older players on their roster. My response, I think that speaks to the program not the athletes and perhaps if other teams could get the same dedication and commitment they would could emulate the success.

9 – Question, if a Grey Cup is held in Toronto and no one knows does it really happen? It will be curious to see the number of butts in the seats for Sunday’s Grey Cup game in the big smoke. Right now the forecast for Saturday is calling for a Mix of Sun and Cloud and high of +6.

8 – Organizers of the Grey Cup have to be ecstatic that Ottawa will provide the opposition for Calgary on the weekend. I don’t think that it has to do with the East vs. West tradition argument that now can be avoided (With Edmonton eliminated in the Eastern Final). Instead, I think that organizers can thank their lucky stars that Ottawa fans who may be more apt to travel than those of the Eskimos will make the trip to scoop up some tickets.

7 – What is the CFL doing Part 1: Did you catch who will be performing the national anthem on Sunday? The CFL is bringing out The Tenors to sing O Canada. If the group sounds familiar they are the Canadian crew that performed at the MLB All-Star game while holding up cards and changing the words to the anthem. What could possibly go wrong?

Dinos Vanier Cup Bound

It was the home finale Calgary fifth-year quarterback Jimmy Underdahl had hoped for, but wasn’t sure he’d get.

Sparked by the return of Underdahl to the lineup, the University of Calgary Dinos earned a trip to the Vanier Cup Saturday with a 50-24 win over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl at McMahon Stadium.

Underdahl made his return to the lineup count, sparking Calgary to 32 second half points in his first action since suffering an injury Oct. 14.

The veteran pivot entered the game to start the second half for the Dinos and helped the Hardy Cup champions race away from the Atlantic University Sport champion X-Men, who had given Calgary all they could handle in the first half.

With the score 18-14 after 30 minutes, Underdahl took over for starter Adam Sinagra, who just a week earlier was named Hardy Cup offensive MVP after guiding Calgary to the program’s 16th conference title.

Underdahl needed less than four minutes of action to stretch the Dinos lead to 32-14, en route to being named Mitchell Bowl MVP after going 11-for-16 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“We just felt that Jimmy needed to play in the game at some point. We talked about putting him in about halfway through the second quarter. We decided to let Adam finish off the quarter and then at halftime we had another discussion just around if it was the right time or not,” explained Dinos head coach Wayne Harris of the QB switch.

“It wasn’t anything (Adam) had done wrong, we just wanted to have that opportunity to see just what Jimmy would be able to do in a game situation. We were confident that he’d be able to come in and execute, but until you get him in there with the bullets flying, you’re just not quite sure how he’ll handle all of that pressure with the injury he’s coming off of.”

Toppers Complete Three-Peat

The Saskatoon Hilltops have won their 19th National Junior Football championship with a 37 to 25 score over the Westshore Rebels on Saturday November 12th on a windy rainy day at Westhills Stadium in Lanford BC a suburb of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

Since the turn of the century this team has won the Canadian Bowl in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Do the math as that is 10 in 17 years with three 3-peats. Will any other team ever equal this feat and will they even better this phenomenal achievement?

Congratulations to all the players, coaches, supporting staff and directors for an outstanding season in 2016.