What I’ve Been Up To On A Top 10 Tuesday

It’s another collection of my Top 10 Thoughts on this Tuesday monring plus a special plug for an amazing event coming up this week!

10 – Love the move by General Manager Brendan Taman to bring in Non-imports Josh Bartell and Showmari Williams, not to mention moving up a spot in the Canadian College draft all for a second round pick. Yes folks that’s two players, and a better first round player for a second round pick. Oh and when you consider that the Riders now have two picks in the top 8 in the draft and things are looking good moving ahead.

9 – More on the deal, while Showmari is no Craig Butler his salary is nowhere in the ball park of what Butler got but keep in mind his versatility is a huge upside for the Riders in their defensive scheme.

8 – One last one on the deal and I think it’s also a coup for Taman to get Bartell in the deal. The Aussie rules punter and his versatility is huge especially with the wind that presents itself at Mosaic Stadium. While a return of Rick Schmitt isn’t out of the question the ability to play a non-import at the position will definitely change the Riders ratio. A transition that could allow the Riders to employ an import interior defensive lineman.

7 – If you haven’t seen the Sid rant from the Tim and Sid Show on Sportsnet 360 it is definitely worth the google. Essentially he is agreeing with my commentary from Friday calling for the ban of the Ice Dance competition from the Olympics after the allegations of corruption in the judging. Yes, I took it a step further calling for the ban of the sport but the sentiment is there and it is hard to argue.

6 – More from Sochi and some are pointing out the inequity in the women’s Ice Hockey Competition noting that Canada and the United States are all but guaranteed Gold and Silver with the rest to play for bronze. I still don’t understand why the so called strong countries in the sport don’t submit multiple teams? It happens in bob sled and Nordic events. May be a way to ensure competitive games.

5 – That being said the same argument could be made in curling as well, no?

4 – To hockey and a hearty congratulations to Les Lazaruk on calling his 1500th WHL game on Saturday night in Red Deer! It was my pleasure to have been riding shotgun for 378 of them.

3 – Looking at those games I often am asked about the highlights OR in my case the low lites… lol. One that stands out in particular was back September 10th of 2000 when Les, who I had met, a week earlier pulled me aside and asked if it was true that I had broadcast hockey games. And that was it. For the next 10 seasons I had a chair next to his. No sound check, no do you know anything about the Western Hockey League. Just a let’s meet at the rink on Thursday night before the home opener on Friday and I can show you around. Yikes.

2 – The first game the next night was memorable! However my favorite game of all time was on a cool March night in Prince Albert when Les and I made one of our many journeys to P-A, this time to see if the Blades could clinch their first pennant in for what must have seemed like ever for Blades fans. A tight contest came down to the final minute and with the Raiders net empty the Blades scored the insurance goal to clinch the Pennant. Les went nuts, the Saskatoon fans in the building were over the moon with join while then Blades Assistant Coach Dave Struch launched himself into the arms of General Manager and Head Coach Lorne Molleken! Boo-Yah!

1 – Lastly, on a personal note hockey to me is about experiences relationships and memories! For the last five months I have been working on making some for my son and 69 other 7 and 8 year old hockey players. Like the pros they are going to experience a Winter Classic Weekend. Companies like Kal Tire have stepped up to help me make this a truly memorable weekend. From skating with the Blades on Friday afternoon to an NHL style game on Saturday where they will be introduced, hear the national anthem sang and wear Winter Classic Jerseys that they will get to keep, this hopefully will be a memory that they can hang on to for a long time. Additionally, a number of generous pro athletes have indicated that they will come down to further inspire the kids! An official news release is below. Come out and join us if you can and cheer loud as these players enjoy their Winter Classic!

The Saskatoon ACES Winter Classic Presented By Kal Tire!

What: On February 21-22 Novice players in the Saskatoon Aces Zone will participate in the first ever Saskatoon Aces Winter Classic presented by Kal Tire.

When: On Friday February 21, 2014 all Novice players will have a chance to participate in a practice with the Saskatoon Blades in the great outdoors. The practice sessions with the five teams will run from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.

On Saturday February 22, 2014 the players will get to compete in an NHL style Winter Classic Game. The players will get to experience player introductions, national anthems and a truly big league feel. Additionally, a number of special guests from various pro sports are expected to be on hand to interact with the players. An opening ceremony is also planned for 11:40am Saturday morning with numerous guests and dignitaries expected to be in attendance. Games will run from 10:30am – 2:00pm.

Where: The Parkridge Community Association rink off of McCormick Road, immediately west of St. Marguerite School.

Who: Approximately seventy 7 and 8 year-old hockey players from the Aces Zone along with a number of special guests.

Why: Hockey is more than just wins and losses or making it to the next level. Instead the game is about physical participation, including social skills and having fun. That doesn’t mean you can’t dream…….. Thanks to amazing corporate partners each players will receive their own vintage Winter Classic Jersey, a commemorative water bottle, Saskatoon Blades tickets and a lifelong memory.

Additionally, with the support of the Parkridge Community Association Saturday will also be a day for the community to not only rally around the game but also gather in the park, the jewel of the neighborhood. Sleigh rides and a number of other family events have been organized for the day.

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