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No Joshin’ Ya Nicholls Is In!

Josh NichollsIt appears as though Saskatoon Blades 20 year-old sniper Josh Nicholls has been given a reprieve from the WHL.

Numerous sources in Medicine Hat indicate that the Tsawwassen, BC native will be in the Blades line-up as they try to stave off elimination in game four of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final with the Tigers tonight.

Nicholls status was somewhat in question after he was assessed a slashing major and game misconduct at the end of Tuesday night’s game 3.

Through the regular season Nicholls scored 47 goals and added 38 helpers which lead the team in scoring. However, in the three previous games in this series Nicholls has only recorded one assist and is a minus-4.

Puck will hit the ice tonight at 7pm at the Medicine Hat Arena.

Huskies Announce Top Dog Nominees

UofS Huskies logo

Huskie Athletics is proud to announce the nominees for the Major 7 Awards to be handed out at the 2013 Huskie Salute on April 5 at TCU Place.

The Major 7 Awards are handed to those athletes who have had outstanding seasons for the green and white, as well as made big contributions on the field, in the classroom and in the community during their time with the Huskies. Huskie Athletics will also honour Canada West All-Stars and Major Award Winners, CIS All-Canadians and Major Award Winners and fifth year athletes, as well as hand out the Trainer of the Year award.

And the nominees are…

Howard Nixon Trophy – Male Rookie of the Year

Starting all but one match as a rookie in midfield…
Mitch Bauche, Soccer

Leading rookies in conference scoring…
Jimmy Bubnick, Hockey

Winning three conference medals…
Alex Fedyk, Track & Field 

Pat Lawson Trophy – Female Rookie of the Year

Canada West silver medalist…
Tye Buettner, Track & Field

Leading the Canada West in saves…
Cassidy Hendricks, Hockey

Averaging 16 minutes per game off the bench…
Desarae Hogberg, Basketball

Leading her team with eight goals to a first-ever playoff appearance…
Jenelle Zapski, Soccer

E. Kent Phillips Trophy – Male Athlete of the Year

Leading the Canada West in scoring….
Kyle Bortis, Hockey

Leading the Canada West in assists…
Chris Gilbert, Volleyball

Setting two school records, while leading the Canada West in receptions…
Kit Hillis, Football

Canada West MVP and leading scorer…
Stephon Lamar, Basketball

Starting all matches and scoring a conference second-best 15 points…
Brett Levis, Soccer

Mary Ethel Cartwright Trophy – Female Athlete of the Year

Capturing two Canada West medals…
Amanda Banks, Track & Field

Leading the Huskies in scoring and rebounds…
Dalyce Emmerson, Basketball

Winning her third straight CIS silver medal…
Koren Pitkethly, wrestling

Rusty McDonald Trophy – All-Round Male Athlete

A captain, all-academic and five-year HAC representative…
Jeff Grant, Volleyball

A Canada West champion track athlete, soccer player and master student…
Nick Clarke, Track & Field

A captain, All-Canadian and Huskie Athletics ambassador…
Bryce McCall, Football

Three-time All-Canadian, an All-Academic and HAC President…
Landon Squires, Wrestling

Valerie Girsberger Trophy – All-Round Female Athlete

A three-time All-Star, CIS Major Award winner and All-Academic…
Natasha Kramble, Wrestling

An all-star, leader for her team and All-Academic…
Morgan Sawatzky, Track & Field

Colb McEwon – Coach of the Year

This award’s winner will be announced at Salute

Doors open for Huskie Salute begins at 7 p.m. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Guest are encouraged to show their Huskie Pride and include a splash of green in their outfit.

Tickets are available for teams through a HAC representative or by calling 306-966-1023. Ticket prices are $10.

Party Pass Information

2013 Grey CupThe 101st Grey Cup Festival is pleased to unveil the all new “Team Party Pass.” This is the first time this pass has been available at a Grey Cup Festival and will allow patrons entry to all of the team hospitality rooms at Evraz Place and the Downtown Party Tent for one price. The Team Party Pass will allow entry to the hospitality rooms for the B.C. Lions, the Calgary Stampeders, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Toronto Argonauts, the Atlantic Schooners, the Hamilton Tiger Cats as well as Riderville and the Downtown Party Tent. Unlike previous Grey Cup Festivals where each team party charged a separate daily admission, one pass is good for ALL hospitality rooms at Evraz Place for all three days!  Thursday enjoy the hospitality at Riderville as well as with the Atlantic Schooners, Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  Friday and Saturday night the B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will also be extending their own unique welcome. “The Team Party Pass is an idea that has been discussed at Grey Cup Festivals for a number of years,” stated 101st Grey Cup Festival Executive Director Neil Donnelly. “This announcement is a culmination of months of work and discussion and we owe a huge thanks to members of the 101st Grey Cup Festival volunteer committee and to the other CFL teams that have joined us in this initiative. More importantly, this is a great opportunity for CFL fans looking to experience as much of the Grey Cup Festival experience as possible.” Team Party Pass tickets will be available to CFL season ticket holders from April 8th to April 19th. All CFL season ticket holders will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to purchase the Team Party Pass. All event tickets, including the Team Party Pass will be available to the general public in June, 2013. Team Party Pass Thursday November 21st – Saturday November 23rd 12:00 noon – 1:00am Daily Evraz Place Tickets: $60 plus applicable service fees for Season Ticket holders (online only)

· Your pass will include one (1) dated ticket for each of the three days. This will allow you to share the tickets with family or friends if you aren’t able to attend all three days. On the day indicated on your ticket, simply exchange it at the door for a wristband which is good for that day only. Wristbands are non-transferable.

· With your wristband you will also have access to the Downtown Party Tent located in Victoria Park in downtown Regina (subject to programming of other events and space available).

· Purchases will be limited to four (4) passes per season ticket account, subject to availability.  Any tickets purchased in excess of this amount may be voided.

· You must be 19 years of age or older to attend. In addition to the Team Party Pass we will also be hosting a number of exciting events including the CFL Player Awards, the Gala Dinner, the Countdown to Kickoff Party as well as concerts at the Brandt Centre, the CFL Alumni luncheon and a number of free events around the city.  Further details will be posted at 101greycupfestival.ca as they become available over the coming months.

Brooms Are Out In The Hat

BroomsThe Saskatoon Blades are reeling from an 11th consecutive play-off loss and now run the risk of a long layoff prior to hosting the Memorial Cup in May.

The Blades surrendered 4 goals in the first period to Medicine Hat and the Tigers then cruised to a 5-2 win over the Bridge City Bunch. The Tigers now lead the series 3-games-to-none and have a chance to wrap up the series tonight at home.

The Blades could be without sniper Josh Nicholls for the pivotal game as he was assessed a major penalty late in last night’s contest for slashing Medicine Hat’s Hunter Shinkaruk. That penalty will most certainly be looked at by the league with supplemental discipline likely. Especially, when you consider that forward Jesse Astles was banned two games for what many observers felt was not a severe hit.

As mentioned game four in the set goes tonight. Of note, only one team in WHL history has ever rebounded from a 3-nothing series deficit but that doesn’t mean that the Blades will throw in the towel. Blades Assistant Coach Jerome Engele spoke with CKBL-FM’s Les Lazaruk on his post-game show last night. You can hear the interview by clicking here.

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2013 WHL playoffsIn other play-off action last night:

Red Deer has forced Prince Albert to the brink. The Rebels scored a pair of second period goals just less than 3-and-a-half minutes apart to pace their attack on the way to a 3-1 win at Art Hauser Centre. The Rebels lead the series 3-nothing. Game four is tonight in P-A.

Meanwhile, Edmonton rebounded from a game two loss to Kootenay at home with a 7-1 victory in Cranbrook, last night. The Ice lead the set 2-1.

Elsewhere, for the third time in four games Calgary and Swift Current went into extra time, last night. This time Victor Rask needed just 37 seconds to net the winner for Calgary. The 1-nothing win gives the Hitmen a 3-1 series advantage.

Out west, the number two seeded Kelowna Rockets, like the Blades in the East, are in danger of being upset. Seattle scored a 3-2 OT win to take a 3-nothing lead in their affair.

In Victoria, the Royals edged Kamloops 2-1. The game was played in Victoria away from the Save-On-Centre. (That facility is preparing to host the World Men’s Curling Championship) The Blazers still lead the series 2-1.

AND Tri-City cut Spokane’s series lead in half with a 5-4 OT win over the Chiefs. Game four in that set is tonight in Kennewick, Washington.

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SJHLIn the lone SJHL game last night. Flin Flon blasted Humboldt 4-0. The Broncos still lead the North Division Final 2-1. Game four is tonight at the Whitney Forum.

Medicine Hat Tender Tops In CHL

Cam LaniganThe Canadian Hockey League today announced that Cam Lanigan of the Medicine Hat Tigers is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the opening week of the CHL Playoffs ending March 24 after posting a 2-0 record with one shutout and a goals-against-average of 0.50 and save percentage of .988.

Lanigan claims the award for the second time this season after backstopping the seventh seed Tigers to a 2-0 series lead in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Saskatoon Blades last week.  He stopped 42 shots in each of the first two road games of the series and also earned first star honours in both contests.  The Tigers grabbed a 4-1 victory over the Blades in Game 1 Thursday night before Lanigan picked up his first career post-season shutout in the 3-0 victory in Game 2 on Friday.

Lanigan, a 20-year-old from Calgary, AB, is playing in his fifth career WHL season.  Acquired from the Portland Winterhawks early this season, Lanigan posted a 20-18-1-1 record for the Tigers including three shutouts with a goals-against-average of 3.00 and save percentage of .910.

Preston Can’t Survive Hurricane

Courtesy Regina Leader Post

Courtesy Regina Leader Post

The Lethbridge Hurricanes announced today the club has relieved General Manager and Head Coach Rich Preston of his duties effective immediately.Last July, the Hurricanes Board of Directors unanimously agreed to exercise the 2013-2014 season option for Preston; however Board President Brian McNaughton says it was time to move in a new direction. “Rich has done what we have asked him by rebuilding the team through the draft and we appreciate all the work he has done. We are; however, not satisfied with the direction we headed in the last 30 games of the season and believe that making a change today is in the best interest of the franchise.”

Preston did start building the team by selecting players including Sam McKechnie, Adam Henry, Macoy Erkamps, Reid Duke and Ryan Pilon however during his four year tenure with the club, Preston failed to guide the Hurricanes to the playoffs finishing with a record of 100-156-13-19.

WHL Season:              Record:                       Conference Standing:

2009-2010                   20-44-5-3 (48 pts.)      11th in East

2010-2011                   23-36-5-8 (59 pts.)      9th in East

2011-2012                   29-42-0-1 (59 pts.)      11th in East

2012-2013                   28-34-3-7 (66 pts.)      9th in East

In relieving Preston of his duties, the club also announced Assistant General Manager, Brad Robson has been promoted to the position of General Manager. Robson has been with the club since 2007 and brings vast experience and knowledge to the club.

Blades Calling on Collin:

Collin ValcourtThe Saskatoon Blades are hoping that shuffling their lines will spark their offence tonight in Medicine Hat. Desperate for some offence and more specifically a victory the Saskatoon Blades will change-up their lines entering game three of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final with Medicine Hat.

The Blades will move 19 year-old Left-Winger Collin Valcourt up to the first line to play with Brendan Walker and Matej Stansky.  promotion means that overager Michael Ferland will drop down to the second line with Shane McColgan and Josh Nicholls.

Medicine Hat leads the best-of-seven series 2-games-to-none. Game three is tonight in the Hat. Puck hits the ice at 7pm.

Contacts Nip Mintos – Broncos Buck Hitmen – Monday’s Hockey Scores:

Saskatoon ContactsThe Saskatoon Contacts have taken a 2-1 lead in their series with the Prince Albert Mintos thanks to a 4-3 win last night.Saskatoon jumped out to a 4-nothing lead and seemed to be on cruise control last night until Prince Albert was able to tally three goals in just over three minutes to put the pressure on. However, Saskatoon goaltender Rylan Parenteau would stand tall in the final 90 seconds making a handful of saves in preserving the Contacts victory.

Game three in the best of five provincial final goes tomorrow night at Schroh Arena.

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Swift Current BroncosIn the Western Hockey League, the Swift Current Broncos have cut the Calgary Hitmen’s series lead in half with a 3-2 victory, last night.  For the second time in three games in this series the contest went into extra time as the Hitmen’s Cody Sylvester tied the game with a power play marker with just 33 seconds to go in regulation time. This time Speedy Creek would skate away with the win as at 10:14 of overtime Colby Cave would score his second of the game to salvage the victory for Swift Current.

Calgary still leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 2-games-to-1. Game three in the set goes tonight in Swift Current at the Credit Union I-Plex.

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SJHLAND in the SJHL, Melville was able to climb back into their series with the Yorkton Terriers. The Millionaires scored a 3-1 victory last night to cut Yorkton’s lead in the series to 2-games-to-1.

One More Game

Jesse AstlesThe Saskatoon Blades will be minus Jessey Astles when they try to climb back into their first round series with the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Western Hockey League removed the “tbd” from the suspension levied to Astles after game one of their opening round series with Medicine Hat and exchanged it for a two game ban, yesterday. The league according to numerous sources deemed the hit that Astles laid on Medicine Hat’s Matt Staples as being from the blind side. No penalty was assessed on the play.

Astles sat out game two of the series and will miss Tuesday’s game three before being eligible to return to the line-up in time for Wednesday’s game four.

The Blades trail their first round series with the Tigers 2-games-to-none.

Williams Back In Green and White

Rider LogoIt’s official!

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed free agent import linebacker Renauld Williams. Financial details of the signing were not released.

Williams (6’0 – 228) re-joins the Green and White after spending the previous two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Last season the 32-year-old recorded 94 defensive tackles, eight special teams tackles, three quarterback sacks and one interception in 18 regular season games. He was named a 2012 East Division All-Star.

The native of Westbury, New York had previously spent three seasons (2007-09) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he recorded 98 defensive tackles, 29 special teams tackles, six quarterback sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception in 31 regular season games.

The Hofstra product missed the entire 2010 season after suffering an injury while attending training camp with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. The nine year pro has also suited up with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.

The Riders also announced they have released import linebacker Joe Lobendahn. Last season, the 30-year-old played nine regular season games after joining the team in August.