Monday, December 31, 2007

Pats lose to Blades

The Regina Pats had a two game winning steak snapped with a 2-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades, the WHL's worst road team, at the Brandt Centre last night. The game was broadcast on Access 7, but yours truly wasn't invited to take part. In the words of the great philosopher: whatever.

The game featured a line brawl, which would seem to indicate the Saskatoon-Regina rivalry still has some life left in it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pats named co-captains

Well, it was a terrific Christmas! I hope yours was full of good cheer and warm fellowship. Which, despite Jacob's fondness for the commercial aspect of the season, is really what it's all about. Again, deepest condolences to Regina's Davis family on the loss of patriarch Lorne Davis over the holidays.

Now let's get back to a bit of blogging. The two members of the Regina Pats on Team West for the upcoming World Under-17 hockey challenge have been named co-captains. I asked Garrett Mitchell if he'd like to wear a letter when he appeared on SportZone before we took a holiday hiatus. He said he was just excited to be wearing a Canadian jersey, and a letter would be an amazing bonus. Well, Merry Christmas Garrett! And you too, Alex Pym! The news release from the Saskatchewan Hockey Association is below.

Team West announces captains for the 2008 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge

Regina – The coaching staff of Team West announced Thursday the captains for Team West that will compete in the 2008 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in London, ON December 29, 2007 to January 4, 2008.

The roster for Team West includes eleven (11) players from each of the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Branches to represent Team West, bringing the total to 22.

Two members of the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats have been named co-captains for the event. Garrett Mitchell of Regina, SK, and Alex Pym of Winnipeg, MB will alternate wearing the “C” for Team West.

The alternate captains will also rotate, and will be represented by Carter Ashton (Saskatoon, SK), Jimmy Bubnick (Saskatoon, SK), Jared Cowen (Allan, SK) and Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon, SK).

The 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brings high level International teams to Canada. Ten teams will arrive in London to compete in this prestigious event. Canada is represented by five Regional teams Pacific (BC and AB), West (SK and MB), Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic (NB, NS, NF, PEI) and five international teams from Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and USA.

The World Under 17 Hockey Challenge is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence to identify players that will continue to the National Under 18 and National Junior Teams. This annual event showcases some of the best young talent in the world, and is often a young player’s first experience in international hockey.

Many of Canada's brightest young hockey stars made their international debut at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge such as Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews, Nathan Horton, Rick Nash, Eric Staal, Marc-André Fleury, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester and Vincent Lecavalier. The Under-17 challenge has also featured some international rising stars in Alexander Ovechkin, Nikolai Zherdev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Joni Pitkanen and the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SportZone lineup for Dec 17

Here's the lineup for the show. Due to the Christmas holidays, this show will air on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. for the next three weeks (!).

SportZone Guests for December 17/07
Christmas Extravaganza!
Community Co-Host – Carlo “Prancer” Palazzo

1. A Regina Pat rookie, and Regina native, will take part in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, to be held Dec 29 – Jan 4 in London, Ontario. Guest: Garrett Mitchell (Regina Pats forward).

2. A profile of the Regina Speedskating Club. Guests: Bill Christ (Coach), Marsha Hudey & Kali Christ (skaters).

3. A mid-term report on athletics at the University of Regina. Guest: Dick White (U of R Director of Recreation & Athletics).

4. A visit from the play-by-play voice of the Riders and the Regina Pats. Guest: Rod Pedersen (Harvard Broadcasting Sports Director).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pats limp into Christmas break

The Regina Pats were humbled 6-1 in Moose Jaw last night. Colten Teubert was the only Pat to beat Warrior netminder Joey Perricone. Frankly, the Tribe ran the visitors out of the rink.

The loss also dropped Regina a point back of Brandon for top spot in the WHL's east division. And, a technical snafu caused us to miss the first ten minutes of the 3rd period on the CKRM broadcast. It was that kind of night.

The Pats are now off (cynics might suggest they started the break early) until December 27th, when they travel to Brandon. Will the roster be different when the players return? I wouldn't bet against it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's on!

The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors kick off a home and home set tonight at the Brandt Centre. Recently the intensity of the rivalry has dropped off somewhat. Heck, I can't even remember the last real slug-fest between the two teams. Maybe we have to go back to the Sean O'Connor days? Heck, today's Leader-Post even contains a story about how the respective general managers (gasp) get along!

So, leave it to some other media types to stir things up. I imagine many of you also visit Rod Pedersen's blog on a regular basis. But, in case you don't, you have to read this post, including the comments. Oh, it's on! Let's hope that intensity carries over into the dressing rooms.

Suddenly, I'm really looking forward to being in the press box tonight. Tomorrow night's sojourn to Moose Jaw (I'll be doing the colour commentary on CKRM) should also be pretty interesting. Here's hoping, anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pyett makes the final cut

Regina Pats captain Logan Pyett has made the final roster of the national junior hockey team. That means the Pats will be without the services of their leader, and top defenceman, for at least eight more games.

Good for Logan, though. His game has really, really improved in the past year. And his maturity level has risen dramatically as well.

Among the notable cuts are Quebec Remparts forward Angelo Esposito (who failed to make the squad for the 3rd year in a row), Everett goaltender Leland Irving, Moose Jaw blueliner Keaton Ellerby and Calgary forward Ryan White.

Team Canada opens the World Junior tournament December 26th in the Czech Republic.

Update: Pyett has been named one of the alternate captains for Team Canada. Calgary defenceman Karl Alzner will wear the C for Canada.

Pats play Santa

Once again, the Regina Pats have done wonders for the confidence of a WHL bottom feeder. Talk about generosity! This time, the Pats (who firmly believe they're an elite-calibre team) dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in Saskatoon. The Pats led 2-0 before the game was six minutes old.

The win is just the Blades' 12th of the year, however Saskatoon does have an impressive home record of 10-4 so far this season. Still, Regina has now lost six times to the weakest teams in the league - twice to Saskatoon and Red Deer, and once each to Prince Albert and Portland. Elite teams shouldn't be losing those games. On the bright side, the Pats are still on pace for a 42 win season - so it's not as if the team is falling apart at the seams.

The Pats take on Moose Jaw in a home-and-home series this weekend. Obviously, a better effort will be required against the Warriors, who have only one regulation time loss in their last ten games.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SportZone lineup for Dec 10

Lots of hockey talk on this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. Here's the lineup:

SportZone Guests for December 10/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. An introduction to Krav Maga, a self-defense system used by law enforcement and military groups. Guest: Richard Kim (Owner, Krav Maga Regina), Angela Miller & Jeff Walker (Krav Maga students).

2. A preview of the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, to be held Dec 29 – Jan 4 in London, Ontario. Guest: Blaine Sautner (Team West Head Coach).

3. An update on the Regina Capitals junior B hockey club. Guest: Rob Dowie (Assistant Coach).

4. An update on the Regina Rebels midget AAA girls hockey team. Guests: Doug Folk (Head Coach) & Chelsea Bender (Forward).

5. The Regina Red Sox hire a new head coach, and prepare for the team’s annual winter baseball camp. Guest: Bernie Eiswirth (General Manager).

6. An update on the University of Regina men’s basketball team. Guests: Kris Heshka & Jordan McFarlane (Players).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Help is on the way

A high-scoring, bruising power forward has the potential to lift the Regina Pats to new heights. Granted, the kid I'm thinking of won't be eligible for full-time duty in the WHL for another EIGHT years, but still.

Young Jacob had a career day for the novice rec Bullets yesterday, notching three goals in tournament action. Maybe not Crosby-esque numbers, but let's keep in mind the Jakester did score 60% of his team's goals, while shutting down the opposition's top forwards. At least that's how it looked from my vantage point!

I really, really like that kid.

Update: The prodigy scored the winning goal in the Bullets' 3-0 victory this afternoon. I imagine Ripper will be calling any day now.

I see the Pats knocked off Kelowna this afternoon. Bonus.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cancer claims Knox

Update: For those wondering, the memorial service for Chris Knox will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Western Christian College in Regina.

24-year old Chris Knox of Regina lost his battle with cancer this morning. Knox won the hearts of Saskatchewan Roughrider fans everywhere, who were touched by his devotion to the green-and-white, and inspired by his courage. Rest in peace Chris. Here's the story that will appear in tomorrow morning's Leader-Post:

Inspiring man
Chris Knox, who captured hearts of many, loses battle with cancer at age 24

Rob Vanstone
Friday, December 07, 2007

Chris Knox touched the Grey Cup, along with the hearts of people who followed the Saskatchewan Roughriders during their storybook season.

"Chris, more than anybody else this year, really crystallized the understanding with the players that it's not about us individually. It's about other people,'' Roughriders head coach Kent Austin said after learning that brain cancer had claimed Knox at age 24 on Friday morning. "Chris was more of a blessing to us than we were to him.''

Knox's story became public in early September, shortly after his terminal illness was diagnosed. After Knox expressed a desire to attend the annual Labour Day Classic against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, his wish was brought to the Roughriders' attention. Team president-CEO Jim Hopson promptly arranged for two prime seats to a sold-out game.

After the Roughriders won 31-26, the 24-year-old Reginan was invited into the CFL team's locker room to help the players savour the victory. But there was a greater celebration to come. Knox flew to Toronto on a provincial-government jet with Premier Brad Wall to watch the Roughriders oppose Winnipeg in the Grey Cup. The Roughriders ended up defeating the Blue Bombers 23-19 on Nov. 25.

Following the game, Roughriders players Mike McCullough, Andy Fantuz, Marcus Crandell and Corey Grant took the Grey Cup to Knox's hotel room.

"Really, he has been the 13th man for the past number of weeks in the province," Wall told reporters at the legislature on Friday. "That was the case at the Grey Cup. His story is one that, I think, is a reflection of the story of our province when you consider that his cause also resulted in so much of an outpouring from Saskatchewan people that 10 others who are battling cancer were able to go to the Grey Cup because of the additional money that was just flowing in from everywhere."

After the Roughriders defeated the B.C. Lions in the West Division final on Nov. 18, Kelly Schermann launched a fundraising campaign in the hope that enough money could be generated to fly Knox and his loved ones to Toronto for the game. Trevor Lowey of Kelvington quickly joined forces with Schermann to organize the excursion.

More than $100,000 was donated or pledged in a matter of days. As a result, there were sufficient funds to send 10 young Saskatchewan-based cancer victims and 20 chaperones to the Grey Cup, along with Knox.

"These guys are going into the most important game of their lives -- maybe the only Grey Cup of their lives -- and they're inspired by these 11 young people who came to see them,'' Schermann said on Friday. "Usually we're looking up to the people with the money, the fame and the power and the glory and these football players are deriving inspiration from young kids who are battling some really tough stuff. The story just absolutely exploded. It just was amazing.''

Schermann and Lowey hope to use any money that remains from the "Rider Pride Ride For Cancer'' to start a legacy fund in memory of Knox and Regina's Erin Lawrence. The fund would enable children with cancer to attend sporting events in Saskatchewan.

Lawrence, whom Roughriders quarterback Kerry Joseph befriended early in the 2007 season, died of stomach cancer on Aug. 6 -- one day before her 21st birthday. Joseph wore an "I Love Erin'' wristband during games as a tribute to Lawrence.

"This has become something so much more than a football game,'' Schermann said. "It's something we need to perpetuate and keep going.''

Knox. who was at home with his family when he died, is survived by his mother (Sharla Folk), stepfather (Kim Folk) and father (Ron Knox). The family also experienced heartache in 2001 when Dustin Knox -- Chris's older brother -- died in a car accident at age 20. Funeral arrangements for Chris Knox are pending.

"Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to everybody who did everything to make his wish come true,'' Kim Folk said Friday afternoon. "He got to go with 10 other kids. As a family, we're just so humbled and so appreciative.''

People also rallied around Knox in the fall to help him to take a trip to Tofino, B.C. Money donated to the Chris Knox Fund enabled him to see the ocean for the first time. Before leaving for B.C., Knox discussed his situation with the Leader-Post.

"I just can't sit here saying, 'Poor me,' ''Knox, who was treated in the Allan Blair Cancer Centre's pediatric oncology department, said in a Sept. 17 interview. You should see the little kids who have cancer. I wish you could see (fellow patient) Braden. He has the biggest smile on his face ... just the happiest kid in the world. There's no way you can sit here feeling sorry for yourself after seeing all these little kids.

"I can't complain. I had it good.''

-- with files from Murray Mandryk
© Leader-Post 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Regina Pats column for the week of Dec 5

I've been remiss in posting these columns, which appear bi-weekly in the Regina Pats' CHL Insider e-newsletter. Here's this week's:

Pats captain packs his camping gear

Regina Pats captain Logan Pyett is hoping to sample some eastern European fare over the Christmas holidays. To do so, the 19-year old blueliner first has to crack the roster of the Canadian junior national team, which will represent this country at the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. The tournament opens December 26 in Pardubice and Liberec.

Pyett is one of 37 players invited to the Team Canada selection camp, which runs December 10 -14 in Calgary. The training camp roster includes 15 players from the WHL, 12 from the OHL, 8 from the QMJHL and two players from U.S. colleges. Only three returnees from last year’s squad will attend the camp.

"I was hoping to be on the list so it's a bit of a relief,” Pyett told the Regina Leader-Post. “I've always been looking forward to that next step. Now that the camp is finally here, it's really exciting. Hopefully I can play good hockey and make the team. It would be a dream come true."

Pyett is no stranger to representing Canada at international competitions. He was part of the gold medal Canadian team at the 2006 under-18 Junior World Cup championship, and also represented Canada at the World under-18 championships last year. Now, he has his sights set on the brass ring, a spot on the world under-20 team; skating alongside the top junior-aged players in the country.

“I've kind of taken every step along the way and each step has gotten a little bit bigger," Pyett said after being informed of his invitation to the selection camp. "I think they know what I can bring to the table offensively," said the smooth-skating native of Milestone, Saskatchewan. "I'm going to show them I'm not a liability defensively.”

Pyett was a key member of the Canadian team that beat Russia in this summer’s Super Series. He’s one of 22 players from that team to be invited to the world junior camp. Despite his offensive talents, his key to making the team will be strong play in the defensive zone. “That's going to be the biggest thing. In the Super Series I had a little bit different role that way. I was penalty killing probably more than I played the power play. I just had to make sure I wasn't getting scored on. It worked well for me in the Super Series and they liked what they saw so hopefully I can do it again."

Pyett is having an outstanding season with the Pats. He leads all WHL defencemen with 13 goals in 31 games. He also has 28 points and leads the team with a plus-11 rating. Obviously, he’ll be missed at home if he makes the national team. That scenario would take him out of the Pats lineup for up to nine games. The Pats will already be without the services of head coach Curtis Hunt, who will serve as an assistant coach with Team Canada for a second straight year.

"I'm excited right now, there's no doubt about it, but I have to stay focused here in Regina," added Pyett. "Hopefully while I'm still here with the Pats we can get some winning done. It's going to be tough leaving the guys. If I was to make the team I'd be away from them for a while so I just want to finish strong here in Regina. Hopefully things go well before I leave."

The Pats have a busy week ahead of them. Regina hosted Brandon on Tuesday night (a 5-2 loss), then visits Edmonton and Red Deer on Thursday and Friday, before returning home to host Kelowna Sunday afternoon at the Brandt Centre.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SportZone lineup for Dec 3

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for December 3/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. A preview of the annual Balfour Classic high school basketball tournament. Guest: Glen Fekula (Balfour Head Coach) & Bryce Patchyluk (Player).

2. The Regina Pats survive the annual west coast trip; now look to make some noise on home ice. Guest: Tim Kraus (Pats forward).

3. A profile of the Regina Ski Club, gearing up for a busy winter season. Guests: Judy Young and Brian Gray (RSC board members).

4. A profile of the Campbell Tartans boy’s volleyball team; which overcame some unique obstacles to finish third in the city. Guests: Calvin Toffan (Head Coach), Roger LePage (Assistant Coach) & James Bell (Player).

5. A profile of the Scott Collegiate junior boy’s basketball squad. Guests: Jordan Allary, Lelond Robillard & James Pratt (Players).

6. An update on the University of Regina women’s basketball team, off to a strong start in CIS play. Guests: Jessica Lynch & Jacquie Kenyon (Players).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pyett gets the call

Regina Pats captain Logan Pyett has been named to the 37-player roster for Canada's national junior selection camp in Calgary next week. Pyett is the lone Pat invited to the camp. Blueliner Nick Ross, a 1st round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007, is conspicuous by his absence from the camp roster.

Regina native Riley Holzapfel, a forward with the Moose Jaw Warriors, has also been invited to the training camp for the World Junior team. Pats bench boss Curtis Hunt is an assistant with Team Canada, which will shoot for a 4th straight gold medal at this year's tournament in the Czech Republic.

I suspect a pair of 17-year old Pats, forward Jordan Eberle and defenceman Colten Teubert, will get the call to skate with Team Canada next year.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Scoring sensation!

I am proud (holy crap am I proud!) to report 8-year old Jacob Paczko's 2-point performance led the Hockey Regina novice rec Bullets to a 3-0 victory today. Included in my offspring's offensive outburst was his first goal of the season. And since this is his first year of hockey, that makes it his first goal EVER!!!!!!!

I'd also like to take a moment to apologize to the parents sitting next to me at the moment young Jacob dented the twine. I'm sure the hearing loss is only temporary.

As for the Regina Pats, they dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Kootenay Ice last night. Jordan Eberle was the only Pat to score in the shootout. Does that surprise anyone? I assume General Manager Brent Parker's Christmas shopping list includes a little goal scoring support for Eberle. Certainly hope so, anyway.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Pats devour Tigers

Well, maybe "devour" is a bit over-the-top, but the Regina Pats did look good in blanking the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-0 on Friday night. The Pats winning streak now sits at three games, and goaltender Linden Rowat has notched two shutouts in a row. Regina's home-ice record is now 12-3 on the year. Not bad!

Super sophomore Jordan Eberle opened the scoring for the Pats on a ridiculous short-handed effort, demonstrating his impressive skills by stuffing in the puck from behind the Tigers' net. Newcomer Todd Kennedy was impressive, notching a goal (his first in the WHL) and an assist. He's a definite upgrade over the departed Levi Lind.

The Pats are back in action tonight at the Brandt Centre against the Kootenay Ice. Veterans Troy Ofukany and Tim Kraus, who sat out last night for disciplinary reasons, will likely watch this one from the seats as well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pats move to centre stage

Now that the dust has settled from the Saskatchewan Roughriders' thrilling run to the Grey Cup championship, it's time for the Regina Pats to move to the front of the sports pages and top of the local sportscasts. The Pats host the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight at the Brandt Centre. I'll be teaming up with Randy Merkely again on the tv (Access) broadcast.

The Pats go into the game with a record of 18-11 on the year. That's not great, but certainly not bad either! Regina sits in top spot in the WHL's east division, and in third place in the eastern conference. The Pats have also been terrific on home ice, with a record of 11-3 at the Brandt Centre.

20-year old forward Troy Ofukany will sit out tonight, and tomorrow night when the Pats host Kootenay, as he serves a team-imposed suspension. That's the second time in less than a month that Ofukany has been sidelined because of his actions off the ice. That's not exactly the veteran leadership the club needs or wants from a 20-year old.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

SportZone guests for Nov 26

Here's the lineup for this week's show, featuring plenty of chatter about the Riders' Grey Cup victory, as well as footage from the welcome home celebration at Mosaic Stadium. The show airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for November 26/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. An update on the fortunes of the Regina Pat Canadians midget AAA hockey club. Guests: Desmond Hartney (Assistant Coach) & Ben Findlay (Pat C’s captain).

2. The Leboldus Golden Suns capture the city 5A high school boy’s volleyball title, and a silver medal at provincials. Guests: Nate Hilts & Jordan Nicholson (Players).

3. The Campbell Tartans capture the city and provincial 3A boy’s soccer championships. Guests: Troy Lydiate & Scott Myrah (Players).

4. Looking for a unique holiday opportunity? How about a bicycle tour through Holland? Guest: Gerry Harris (Ghar Cycle Tours).

5. An update on goings-on at ReginaSport Inc., formerly the Regina Sports Council. Guest: Darlene MacQuarrie (Sport Coordinator, ReginaSport Inc.)

6. A profile of two brothers who play for the U of R men’s hockey team and an update on the Cougars in general. Guests: Cody & Clay Thoring (Cougar hockey players).

7. A review of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ thrilling 2007 Grey Cup championship. Guest: John Lynch (Rider broadcaster).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tears of joy in Rider Nation

I just finished watching the Saskatchewan Roughriders win the Grey Cup, with my only child at my side. That's a memory I'll keep with me always.

The Riders are the 2007 Grey Cup champs, thanks to a 23-19 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and especially the spaghetti arm of Bombers quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie. Saskatchewan defensive back James Johnson was named MVP of the Grey Cup. JJ picked off three Dinwiddie passes, and returned one for a touchdown.

Super sophomore Andy Fantuz was named the game's outstanding Canadian. Speaking of which, I've gotta go check on whether a certain 8-year old Fantuz fan (he's getting a #83 retro jersey for Christmas, but mum's the word!) is asleep yet. And if he's not, can I really blame him?

Go paint the town (whichever one you're in) green, Rider Nation. You deserve it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grey Cup forecast for the Manitoba capital

Looks like some nasty weather on the way for Bomber fans! Click on the image for details.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grab your paint brushes!

Okay Rider Nation, get painting!

Is it Sunday yet? I can't wait!

SportZone lineup for Nov 19

Of course we kick the show off with plenty of discussion about the Riders and the Grey Cup. And this week's episode of SportZone just happens to feature the only local media personality who actually owns a Grey Cup ring - how cool is that?

SportZone Guests for November 19/07
Community Co-Host – Dale West (1966 Grey Cup champ, Roughrider Plaza of Honour Member)

1. A preview of the 2007 Crash Test Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, to be held in Regina this weekend. Guests: Jason Hubbs (Coach) & Shaun McKenzie (Competitor).

2. An update on the local minor hockey scene, including some scheduling challenges around the Grey Cup. Guest: Blair Watson (Hockey Regina Executive Director).

3. The Riffel Royals capture the city 4A high school football championship, and drop a heartbreaker in the provincial final. Guests: Shawn McCall (Assistant Coach), Steve Galon & Mark Mueller (Players).

4. In conjunction with the arrival of cold and blustery weather, we hit up our SportZone fitness guru for tips on how to stay, or get, fit this winter. Guest: Tracy Hagan (Gold’s Gym Regina).

5. A post mortem on the 2007 season for the U of R Rams football team. Guests: Derek Belvedere (Rams tailback) & Steve Ryan (Rams defensive back).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Slipping on the green dancing shoes

That's because the Riders are heading to the big dance! The Saskatchewan Roughriders earned a berth in the 2007 Grey Cup with a 26-17 win over the B.C. Lions in the CFL west final. The Riders' defence was amazing, applying constant pressure to quarterbacks Jarious Jackson and Dave Dickenson, and forcing four turnovers.

In contrast, the green guys, while not razor-sharp, did not turn the ball over on offence. Quarterback Kerry Joseph, the soon-to-be-anointed 2007 CFL Most Outstanding Player, threw two touchdown passes in a winning effort.

The Riders will face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the big show. It's the first time these teams have met in the Grey Cup. Which probably isn't all that surprising, considering the Winnipeg ball club has spent most of it's existence in the same division as the Riders. The Bombers will turn to backup Ryan Dinwiddie, after star quarterback Kevin Glenn broke his left (non-throwing) arm in the 19-9 win over Toronto in the east final.

And I'd like to thank - nay, congratulate - Hockey Regina for having the sense to reschedule Jacob's game next Sunday. The game was originally set for 4:45 p.m. The Grey Cup kicks off at 4 p.m. Clearly that wasn't going to work!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MacAngus is the Pats' cardiac kid!

Hmmm, I think I may have stumbled across a topic for next week's WHL Insider newsletter. In case you missed it, the Regina Pats rode into Medicine Hat and knocked off the defending WHL champs 3-2 last night. Michael MacAngus scored the winning goal on the power play with only 5 seconds left in regulation time. Not a bad way to kick off the 6 game west coast swing!

MacAngus is developing a knack for scoring clutch goals. On Saturday night, he scored with 16 seconds left on the clock to tie the game against Edmonton. The Pats went on to edge the Oil Kings 3-2 in a shootout.

MacAngus now has 9 goals on the season, making him the 3rd leading sniper on the Pats. Forward Jordan Eberle leads the way with 19 goals, followed by defenceman Logan Pyett with 11.

Oh, the Pats have also cracked the CHL top ten for the first time this year. Regina checks in at #10. The top-ranked WHL team is the Vancouver Giants, at #4.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A weekend of nail biters!

Regina sports fans certainly got their money's worth this weekend, at least from an excitement point-of-view!

Let's start with Mosaic Stadium yesterday. A leather-lunged throng of 28,800 took the noise level to a new level, as the Riders held off the Calgary Stampeders 26-24 in the CFL west semi-final. The game was much closer than it needed to be, as the Riders only reached the end zone once - with Luca Congi adding six field goals. And, once again, the defence showed a propensity for getting beat deep. However, in the end, the Riders made more plays than the Stamps and move on to next week's west final in Vancouver.

The Regina Pats dispatched Saskatoon 5-2 Friday night. On Saturday, the Pats edged the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings 3-2 in a shootout. The Pats very nearly let Edmonton sneak out of the Brandt Centre with two points, and needed a Michael MacAngus goal with 16 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Waaaay too close for comfort, but the fans were well-entertained. And rookie goalie Jeff Bosch was outstanding again for the Pats.

On Sunday night, the Pats opened a 7 game road trip with a 2-1 loss in Brandon. Jordan Eberle (who else?) was the lone Pat to dent the twine.

Unfortunately, the Canada West football final between the University of Regina and Manitoba Bisons lacked drama. Or competitiveness. The Rams took a 5-0 lead into the second quarter, and then the Bisons replied with 45 unanswered points! The Bisons will host my hometown Western Mustangs in a national semi-final next weekend. Good luck to Regina's John Makie (the Bisons' quarterback) against the 'Stangs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So now what?

It's the beginning of a new era in Saskatchewan politics. Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party rode to a convincing victory in yesterday's provincial election, capturing 37 seats to the NDP's 21. For the second consecutive election the Liberals were shut out of the legislature.

The SaskParty ran a safe campaign, tapping into a desire for change among the electorate. The "Hope vs Fear" mantra was particularly well-received. Now, the heavy lifting begins for Wall's crew as they begin the transition to power and - more importantly - living up to the expectations they've created for themselves.

The NDP simply ran out of gas in this campaign. 16 years is a long, long time for one party to hold power. Last night's defeat should launch a serious renewal process for Saskatchewan's "natural governing party". This party desperately needs new ideas and new blood. If not, then they can expect another butt-kicking in four years.

The Liberals? Well, quite frankly, they've become irrelevant in this province. That process started when Lynda Haverstock was dumped as leader after the 1995 election, and picked up steam the night of the 1999 provincial election, when leader Jim Melenchuk decided to enter into a coalition agreement with Roy Romanow and the NDP. The subsequent results speak for themselves.

As for me personally, I'll be watching VERY CLOSELY to see how the new government rolls out it's Enterprise Saskatchewan economic development plan, and what impact that plan has on the existing provincial department of Industry and Resources. Interesting times!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

SportZone lineup for Nov 5

This week's show airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. The show will also repeat at the same times next week. Here's the lineup:

SportZone Guests for November 5/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. A preview of the 2007 Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, to be held in Regina this month. Guests: Chris Pearson and Miranda Biletski (Participants).

2. The LeBoldus Golden Suns capture the Regina 3A girl’s high school soccer championship, and a silver medal at provincials. Guests: Ben Leung (Head Coach), Kayla Whitrow & Jenna McCormick (Players).

3. A post mortem on the 2007 season for the U of R women’s soccer team. Guest: Bob Maltman (Head Coach).

4. An update on the local water polo scene. Guest: Mike Mortin (Water Polo Coach).

5. A couple of Malaysian Sepak Takraw (kick volleyball) teams visit Regina this week for some high-flying exhibition matches. Guest: Dallas Rempel (Sepak Takraw Association of Canada).

6. A preview of the 2007 CFL playoffs, and an evaluation of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ championship prospects. Guest: John Lynch (Rider Broadcaster).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What a letdown!

How else to describe the weekend from a Regina sports fans' perspective? First, the Regina Pats soiled the linen Friday night, meekly succumbing to the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-2. The Pats - apparently under the impression that the WHL hands out an award for congeniality - look to break a 3-game losing skid tonight against Brandon.

Thankfully, the U of R Rams took care of business Friday night. The Rams knocked off the U of S 19-13 in a Canada West football semi-final, and travel to Manitoba next weekend for the conference final.

And then there's the Riders. Yes indeed, the Riders. The green guys were...well, putrid...on Saturday afternoon, losing 41-13 to the Toronto Argos. The Argos finished first in the CFL's East Division, while the Riders finished the regular season at 12-6 and will host Calgary in next Sunday's west semi-final. I concur with coach Austin's assessment of the game: the offense acted as if they'd never seen a team blitz before, and the defensive back's played as if they had no idea what to do once the quarterback released the ball. The green guys stunk on both sides of the ball. Let's hope that's out of their systems!

And now, just in case you thought the CFL wasn't run by the Keystone Cops, the league has announced that the Riders' Luca Congi is NOT the west division all-star kicker. Somehow, the bright lights at the league office miscounted (?), and the nod should have in fact gone to Calgary's Sandro DeAngelis. Nice!

Oh, and Jacob's hockey team lost 8-0. I'll be glad to have this weekend in the rear view mirror!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Regina is sports central!

At least it is this weekend! The fun and frivolity starts tonight, when the U of R Rams host the U of S in a CIS Canada West football semi-final. The Rams knocked off the Huskies in Saskatoon last week to earn the right to host tonight's game. Wish I could be there!

I'll be a few blocks away at the Brandt Centre, as the Pats host the Moose Jaw Warriors. Access is broadcasting tonight's game, and I'll be handling the colour commentary. I believe former Warriors broadcaster Randy Merkely is looking after the play-by-play. The Pats are taking a lot of heat for one-sided losses to Swift Current and Prince Albert in the past week. Regina's ongoing penchant for third period collapses is becoming more than a minor annoyance. Plus it would help if the team could get a few goals from players not named Eberle, Kraus or Pyett once in a while.

Tomorrow, the action starts with a little Hockey Regina novice rec action, as the Bullets take on the Lightning. The game ends at 1:15 p.m., which presents a bit of a problem - considering the Riders and Toronto Argos kick off at Mosaic Stadium at 1 p.m. It wouldn't have been a problem if the bright lights at the CBC didn't push to have the start time moved back from 2 p.m. Thanks CBC, appreciate it.

And then, some deep thinker with the Bullets organization decided the kids on young Jacob's team should get fitted for sweats and sweatshirts after tomorrow's game, keeping us at the rink even longer. YOU WANT TO FIT THE KIDS FOR SWEATS AT THE SAME TIME THE RIDERS ARE PLAYING? WHAT KIND OF A MORON COMES UP WITH A PLAN LIKE THAT?? Oh well, maybe we'll make it to the stadium by half-time. Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Turkeys can't fly?

With U.S Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time to resurrect this clip - from the funniest episode of one of the all-time great sitcoms. After almost two decades in broadcasting, I can safely say I've worked with every character on this show - Herb especially. Lots and lots of Herb Tarlecks. Click on the bottom right corner to get the full screen effect.

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KJ gets the nod!

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Kerry Joseph is the west division nominee for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award. Congrats KJ! The official list of award finalists (as provided by the CFL head office) is below.

Division Winners Announced

Toronto, ON (October 31, 2007) –The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today the finalists for the 2007 Rogers CFL Player Awards. The players below were selected by a voting panel comprised of members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC), representing eight CFL markets and a national chapter and the CFL head coaches. Voters were asked to select players from their local CFL division who, through on-field performance excellence, best represent the awards’ title – Outstanding Player, Outstanding Canadian Player, Outstanding Defensive Player, Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Outstanding Rookie and Outstanding Special Teams Player. The 2007 Rogers CFL Player Awards will be announced during Grey Cup week on Thursday, November 22 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. The evening will be produced by Second City as a Tribute to John Candy, and hosted by legendary comedian Dan Aykroyd. Tickets are still available with prices starting at $150 and are available by calling (416) 408-GREY or 1 (866) 95TH-CUP. Below are the East and West Division nominees:


QB – Kerry Joseph – SSK
QB – Kevin Glenn – WPG

SB – Jason Clermont – BC
DE – Doug Brown – WPG

DE – Cameron Wake – BC
DE – Jonathan Brown – TOR

T – Rob Murphy – BC
T – Dan Goodspeed – WPG

DE – Cameron Wake – BC
P/K – Nick Setta – HAM

RB – Ian Smart – BC
RB – Dominique Dorsey – TOR

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

SportZone lineup for Oct 29

Here's the lineup for this week's show. As always, it airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for October 29/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. A post-mortem on another successful season for Regina Minor Football. Guest: Kelly Hamilton (RMF President).

2. An update on goings-on with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Guest: Laury Ryan (SJHL President).

3. A profile of a young swimmer with the Regina Optimist Dolphins, who recently captured four medals at the World Special Olympics. Guests: Michael Qing (Swimmer) & Pete Wilkins (RODS Coach).

4. The Luther Lions capture the Regina 2A boy’s high school soccer championship. Guests: Soren Nostbakken (Assistant Coach), Johannes Barde & Nick Hughes (Players).

5. The Usher Unicorns capture the Regina 2A girl’s high school soccer championship. Guests: Sara Stochmal & Cassie Westerman (Players).

6. A profile of the University of Regina men’s volleyball team. Guests: Chris Knoop & Ryan DeCosse (Players).

Sunday, October 28, 2007


That's the sound of the Regina Pats' 5-game winning streak coming to an abrupt halt. The Pats were dismantled 7-3 by the visiting Prince Albert Raiders Saturday night. Regina's Jordan Eberle had another strong night, notching two goals and an assist. The Raiders were led offensively by former Pat Ryan MacDonald, who beat Pats netminder Linden Rowatt three times.

I don't know, maybe it was the pink jerseys they were wearing, but the Pats played with all the grit and aggressiveness of the high school chess club in this game. I suspect the winning streak caused some of the players to think they could cut a few corners and still cruise to victory. In that sense, the loss could turn out to be a valuable wakeup call. Let's hope so, anyway.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Calling all subs!

A lot of backups could see significant playing time for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Edmonton tonight. By the time the game kicks off, the Riders will know if they still have a shot of passing B.C. for top spot in the CFL's west division. Mind you, that will require the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to play their best game of the year, and somehow beat the Lions in tonight's early game. Technically possible, but...

So, tonight could be an opportunity to give some starters a little rest. We already know reserves will be playing for the walking wounded - the list of injured Riders includes Mo Lloyd, Reggie Hunt, Yo Murphy, James Johnson, Wes Cates, Chris Szarka, and of course Matt Dominguez. Matt D. is slated to have his injured knee operated on in Saskatoon today. Here's hoping that goes well.

There's plenty on the line for the Eskimos, however. Edmonton needs a win to stay alive in the hunt for a crossover berth into the east division playoffs. The opportunity to eliminate the Schmoes from playoff contention for a second year in a row should be all the inspiration the green guys need - Lord knows John Lynch will be ecstatic!

Tomorrow night, the Jakester and I wander down to the Brandt Centre to catch the Pats and P.A. Raiders in the second game of a home-and-home series. It's a great opportunity for the Pats to put a little distance between themselves and the other teams in the WHL's east division.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SportZone lineup for October 22

Here's the lineup for this week's show, which airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for October 22/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. A profile of the U of R women’s basketball team. Guest: Dave Taylor (Head Coach).

2. A profile of the U of R women’s volleyball team. Guests: Sarah Foster & Michelle Zulyniak (Players).

3. A preview of National Racquetball week, from a local perspective. Guests: Ross Richardson (SRA Vice-President) & Christine Richardson (Competitor, World Juniors).

4. A profile of the Pilot Butte Storm, defending champions in the Prairie Junior (Junior B) Hockey League. Guests: Dale Lewgood (General Manager) & Chris Lewgood (Head Coach).

5. Tips on how to stay, or get, fit this winter – rather than slip back into “couch potato” mode. Guest: Dan Yaskowich (Fitness Director, Regina Court & Fitness Club).

6. An update on the University of Regina women’s soccer team, heading into the final weekend of regular season play. Guests: Michelle Anderson & Nakia Forsberg (Players).

7. A post-mortem on the 2007 season for the Regina Thunder junior football club. Guest: Erwin Klempner (Head Coach).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Joseph in some heady company

So, who's better - Kerry Joseph or Doug Flutie?

A preposterous question? Maybe. But, while many people consider the diminutive Flutie one of the best - if not the best - players to ever toil in the CFL, Joseph is on the verge of breaking one of Flutie's records.

Joseph ran for two touchdowns in yesterday's 38-11 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. That gives him 13 rushing touchdowns on the season. The CFL single season record for quarterbacks, held by Flutie, is 14. Now, if I had told you at the start of the year that Kerry Joseph was going to break one of Flutie's CFL records, would you have believed me?

Actually, if he keeps playing the way he has the past couple of months, KJ is going to make believers out of a LOT of people!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Riders roll merrily along

The Saskatchewan Roughriders disposed of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 38-11 at Mosaic Stadium this afternoon. That's the Riders' 4th straight win, and improves their record to 11-5 on the season. Who would have thought?

Corey Holmes was outstanding on offense for the green guys, notching well over a hundred yards (running and receiving) and one touchdown. Kerry Joseph had another strong game, passing for over 250 yards and one touchdown - and running for two more scores - in just over one half of work.

On defense, Reggie Hunt was terrific. The Reaper was around the ball all afternoon. Rookie defensive lineman John Chick continues to improve, and had another strong game.

Perhaps most impressive about today's game: Rider 2nd and 3rd stringers got opportunities to play on both sides of the ball, and the result was never in doubt. All those substitutes made for some less than sparkling football at times, but it allowed the first-team guys some much-needed rest heading into the home stretch of the season.

The only downside: Jacob and I had to listen to the last 10 or so minutes of the game on the radio in the Escape. My boy was hanging in there pretty well when the rain started, but when the rain briefly turned to hail - he decided we needed to get the "hail" out of there!

Friday, October 19, 2007

CFL provides us with the new funniest thing ever!

The following email exchange between a Rider fan and CFL Director of Officiating George Black was forwarded to me. In it, Curious George attempts to explain why three Saskatchewan Roughriders were ejected from last weekend's game in Hamilton. Hilarity ensues.

I thought you football fans might enjoy some George Black humour! This is his real response to an inquiry I made through the CFL web site.

Did anyone know that a Donnybrook is now in the CFL official rulebook? Moreover, what is a Donnybrook? How about a Brouhaha? Me thinks George is already into the Brew! lol

Without getting into the specifics, I would say to you that when a donnybrook breaks out there should be a reasonable expectation that ejections can occur. The officials are actually loathe to disqualify a player and go to great lengths to avoid ejecting, because they all understand that the fans come to see the players, not the officials. As well, they understand that sending off players can have an immense impact on a team who may lose a player at a key position. Please accept that it is taken VERY seriously. That being said, this brouhaha, unlike one earlier in the year where they waded into the fray and lost sight of the actual actions of some players, was handled properly.

George R. Black
Director of Officiating
Canadian Football League

-----Original Message-----
From: feedback form
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 4:50 PM
To: George Black
Subject: CFL Feedback: Credibility?
Officiating/Ask the Ref

There seems to be conflicting stories of the reasoning behind the ejections of three Rider players last game. It has been stated by Rider officials that they were ejected for piling on and pinning, which has never ever been worthy of an ejection in football history. I have also read that your response through email to others is that they were ejected for fighting although not one punch was thrown by any players. I just want to get the accurate story from the source as my respect and future participation as a fan of the CFL is at stake.

CFL Fan?

Weekend preview

This should be a pretty exciting weekend on the local sports front. Of course, most of the attention is focused on the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who host Hamilton Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium. The Riders can clinch a home playoff game either by beating Hamilton, or by having Winnipeg knock off Calgary tonight.

Man, the injuries just keep piling up for the Riders, don't they? Tailback Wes Cates is dealing with a foot injury, and of course fullback Chris Szarka will be out of the lineup for a while, recovering from surgery to reattach the tips of two fingers. This season has really been a test of the depth on the Riders' roster. And, with a record of 10-5, I'd say Mssrs. Tillman, Austin, et al are passing that test.

Of course, the Pats are also back on the ice this weekend - hosting Prince George tonight, and visiting Prince Albert tomorrow night. Two very winnable games, I would suggest. The Pats go into the weekend just one point back of Swift Current for top spot in the WHL's east division.

And, the U of R Rams travel to Winnipeg to take on the unbeaten Manitoba Bisons tomorrow. The Rams are riding a 5-game winning streak, after losing their season opener to the Bisons. This should be a great game, featuring two of the two quarterbacks in the CIS - Teale Orban of the Rams, and Regina product John Makie of the Bisons.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pats unveil new site

The Regina Pats set their new website loose on the public today. Give it a look, and tell me what you think. I have some definite thoughts on the site, but I'll let you good folks have the first crack at commenting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SportZone lineup for October 15

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for October 15/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. A review of the early season performance of the Regina Pats. Guest: Terry Perkins (Pats Assistant Coach).

2. A profile of the Regina Rebels midget AAA female hockey team. Guests: Doug Folk (Head Coach) & Carla Wilkinson (Rebels forward).

3. A profile of the Gymnastics Adventure club, offering a range of activities from high performance training to kids’ birthday parties. Guests: Sasha Sirenko (Coach) & Karisa Groff (Gymnast).

4. A profile of the ACFC Pumas U18 boy’s soccer team – Saskatchewan representatives at the recent national club championships. Guest: Dennis Duckerin (Head Coach).

5. A preview of the 2007/08 indoor soccer season in Regina. Guest: Dennis Morse (Regina Soccer Association Executive Director). (

6. An update on the University of Regina Rams, riding a 5-game winning streak after knocking off Alberta. Guest: Teale Orban (Rams quarterback) (pre-taped).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fantuztic performance!

I think it's safe to say that Saskatchewan Roughrider slotback Andy Fantuz has arrived. The Fantuztic one caught 7 passes for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Riders past Hamilton 40-23 Sunday. In the process, Fantuz likely vaulted himself into contender status for Canadian Player of the Year in the CFL's West Division. I'm thinking young Jacob will be well-pleased when he unwraps his #83 Rider retro jersey on Christmas morning! It'll make a nice complement to his autographed Fantuz bobblehead, I must say.

The Riders face Hamilton at home Sunday. A win clinches a home playoff game for the green guys. Now we wait to see what, if any punishment the league hands down to the three Riders ejected from the game - linebacker Mike McCullough and offensive linemen Mike Abou-Mechrek and Jermese Jones. Or, as heard on CJME this morning, Rob Abou-Mechrek and Jermesy Jones. Yikes.

The Regina Pats took 2 of 3 games on the weekend, but experienced a scoring drought along the way. Regina edged Kootenay 2-1 in overtime Friday night, snuck past Prince Albert 1-0 Saturday, then ran out gas in Moose Jaw Sunday night, losing 4-0. The Warriors scored all their goals in the third period, to run their winning streak to four games.

I would imagine the lack of scoring punch from any players not named Eberle has to be a concern for the Pats' braintrust. It should be.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How to cram it all in?

Another action-packed weekend on the local sports scene. I was going to take the Jakester to the Pats game tonight, but we have to be at the rink at 7:30 tomorrow morning for the second round of his evaluation for Hockey Regina. Kind of an involved process for novice rec hockey, don't ya think? Anyway, I might as well get used to early weekend mornings if I'm gonna cut it as a hockey dad!

Tomorrow afternoon the Paczko boys hit the Rams game at Mosaic Stadium. With any luck I'll be able to round up a couple of post-game interviews for use on SportZone this week. That's the plan, anyway. Due to the early start to the day, we'll probably take a pass on the Pats game tomorrow night as well.

And of course, Sunday morning we return from church to watch the Riders and Ti-Cats from Hamilton. A win, coupled with a Calgary loss to Winnipeg later in the day, clinches a home playoff date for the green guys. Let the celebration begin!

And at some point this weekend I have to write a paper for my university class. Oh well, at least I can't complain about boredom!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've got mine

I just bought two tickets for the long-awaited CFL playoff game at Mosaic Stadium next month. There's still an outside chance the Riders will host the West final on the 18th, but most likely it will be the West semi-final on the 11th. Either way, the Jakester and I will be there, in our usual seats in section 26, for the first home playoff game for the Riders since 1988.

And, considering the tickets just went on sale today for season ticket/flex pack holders, it wasn't too difficult to get through. Sure, I had to hit redial a few times, but it was well worth it. And the gal that took my order used to date an old roommate of mine. Small world, or what?

Funny story about the playoff game. This is the second year I've had season tickets with my son, who was born in 1999. He asked me a few weeks ago if the Riders were guaranteed to host a playoff game this year. No guarantee yet, I said - but it's looking good. His response? "I sure hope so dad. I've been waiting eight years for this!" Gotta love it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Reflections on a long weekend

Gotta love a 4-day weekend! Even better if the Jakester were around, but now I'm just getting greedy.

The Regina Pats knocked off the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-2 Friday night. The Pats had this one well in hand, until Moose Jaw scored twice in the third period to make things interesting. Sunday, the Pats travelled to Edmonton and dropped the Oil Kings 6-2. The Pats had this one well in hand, until Edmonton scored twice in the third period to make things interesting. Starting to sound familiar?

On Monday, the Pats took a 3-2 lead into the third period in Saskatoon. Then, the wheels fell completely off the bus, as the Blades scored FIVE unanswered goals to take a 7-3 decision. You think the Pats coaches will be hammering home the importance of playing all three periods in practise this week? The other question is - will the players be listening?

Still, the Pats did win three in a row, and now sport a 5-3 record on the season. Things could be worse.

The Green Bay Packers blew a 20-10 lead against the hated Chicago Bears Sunday night, losing 27-20. I really hate the Bears. The Pack's offense in the 2nd half reminded me of the Nealon Greene era with the Riders. U-G-L-Y. Still, the Packers are 4-1 and lead their division. Things could be worse.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders improved their record to 9-5, with a 33-21 victory in Calgary on Monday. Good thing the running game was clicking, because Kerry Joseph looked terrible throwing the pigskin. Joseph ended up with 290 passing yards, but only because his receivers did a great job adjusting to poorly-thrown passes. That's gotta stop.

On the positive side, the defence looks to be rounding back into form - thanks in no small part to the return of DB Eddie Davis to the active roster. Luca Congi missed a couple of field goals, but also made six of them! Next up, a home-and-home with the flailing Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This time, it would be prudent for the Riders to put away a struggling opponent if given the chance. Still, the Riders have won two in a row, and have almost sewn up a home playoff game. Again, things could be worse.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SportZone lineup for October 1

Here's the lineup for the show. Due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday, the show will air this week and next at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and Thursday at 3 p.m.

SportZone Guests for October 1/07
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. A preview of the 2007/08 season for the Regina Pat Canadiens. Guests: Mike Wirachowsky (Pat C’s Head Coach) & Colin Taylor (Assistant Coach).

2. A profile of the U of R women’s hockey team. Guests: Sarah Howald (Head Coach).

3. A look back at a very successful season for the Wascana Racing Canoe Club. Guests: Tim Sweeney (WRCC Head Coach) & Riley Schnell (Paddler).

4. A profile of the Skate Regina figure skating club. Guests: Garret Gosselin & Tessa Hill (skaters).

5. A profile of the Leboldus Golden Suns high school football team. Guests: Logan Gartner (OL) & Josh Bresciani (SB).

6. A profile of the O’Neill Titans high school football team. Guests: Tanner Piper (QB) & Skylar Patterson (RB). Head Coach Jason Duczek was also scheduled to appear, but the crew couldn't find him. He was sitting in the green room (where guests usually wait), about a 3 second walk from the studio. Really quite difficult to miss, actually. Sorry Jason!

7. The Regina Thunder clinches a PFC playoff spot with a win over the Winnipeg Rifles. Guests: Harley Irwin (DB) & Ian Creaser (Receiver).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Losing skid snapped

The Saskatchewan Roughriders snapped a three game losing skid, with a 33-22 victory over the Montreal Alouettes at Mosaic Stadium Saturday afternoon. Andy Fantuz paced the attack with 7 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown.

The Riders trailed 4-0 after one quarter, before scoring 19 unanswered points in the second quarter. Corey Holmes scored his first two touchdowns since returning from Hamilton, on a 1 yard run and a 16 yard pass from Kerry Joseph. Joseph completed 26 of 40 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns. KJ also ran for 73 yards.

Next up, the Riders travel to Calgary for a Thanksgiving Day tilt with the Stampeders. A win gives Saskatchewan a 5 point lead over the Stamps for 2nd in the West, and makes a home playoff game a very, very real possibility for the green gang.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rebel yell - more, more, more (goals)!

The Regina Pats were humbled 7-2 by the Red Deer Rebels at the Brandt Centre tonight. The Pats were outworked in every aspect of the game by the Brian Sutter-coached rebels. It almost seemed as if the Pats defencemen were surprised that a Sutter team would forecheck aggressively. Go figure.

Rookie netminder Jeff Bosch was yanked after giving up the 7th goal. Bosch will have better nights in his WHL career. To be fair, he received virtually no help from his defense.

The Pats need to rebound quickly, as they visit Brandon tomorrow night before returning home to host the top-rated Calgary Hitmen Sunday evening.

Downie gets 20

In a word: good! Staff

The National Hockey League has handed down its verdict on the Flyers' Steve Downie.
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, has suspended Downie for 20 games for his hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in Thursday's exhibition game.

If Downie is cut by the Flyers he will have to serve the suspension when he returns to the NHL.
The 20 games is the fifth longest suspension handed down by the league. New York Islanders' Chris Simon holds the longest at 25 games for his two-handed stick attack to the face of Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers last season.

The Flyers were leading 2-1 when, at the 2:39 mark of the second, Downie skated the length of the ice and took a run at McAmmond, who had just released the puck while circling behind the Flyers' net and was met by Downie coming around the other side. Downie also appeared to leave his feet as he flattened the veteran. The jarring hit came moments after Downie was checked into the glass by Ottawa's Christoph Schubert in the Senators' zone.

The Senators forward was carried off on a stretcher, and the Senators announced earlier this week that there was a concussion and some muscle damage but no fractures.
McAmmond also suffered a concussion after a hit by Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final last June. He's now had three concussions in four years.

The 20-year-old prospect gained a reputation at the junior level for some nasty play, but following Thursday's game said the hit wasn't pre-meditated, nor did he intend to go for McAmmond's head.

The game is the thing

It's another weekend smorgasbord for Regina sports fans. Tonight, the Pats host the Red Deer Rebels. It's our first opportunity to see newly-acquired Tim Kraus and Juraj Valach in the lineup. Kraus and Valach were obtained from the Vancouver Giants this week for Craig Schira and Mike Reich.

Tomorrow, the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the Montreal Alouettes. The Riders will try to snap a three game losing skid, and they'll be without the services of SuperFan Jacob Paczko. Tell me, who with even a modicum of common sense schedules a kid's birthday party at the same time as a Rider game? So I'll be dropping the progeny off at his buddy's party over the noon hour - take the opportunity to casually imply that the birthday boy's parents are morons - race over to the game, then race back to pick up the Jakester afterwards. Good times!

Sunday night, it's the top-ranked team in the CHL - the Calgary Hitmen - coming to town to take on the Pats. Can't miss that one either!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pats column

Here's my column for this week's CHL Prospects Hockey Insider newsletter. Obviously, it was written and distributed before today's trade with Vancouver!

Pats Roar Out of the Gate

The Regina Pats sport a 2-0 record, after a pair of weekend victories over the Prince Albert Raiders to open the WHL season. The Pats knocked off the Raiders 4-2 in the season opener in Prince Albert Friday night. 18-year old blueliner Nick Ross broke a 2-2 tie in the third period, just two days after returning from the Phoenix Coyotes’ training camp. Other scorers for the Pats were Jordan Eberle, Jared Jagow and Michael MacAngus.

The win came with a steep price tag for the Pats, though. 20-year old Latvian forward Kaspars Sauletis was lost for up to three months with a badly separated shoulder. Sauletis was injured on his first shift of game, when he crashed into the boards awkwardly while forechecking.

"I'm really disappointed," Saulietis told the Regina Leader-Post. "I was so pumped (to come back to Regina). I thought this season would be great for me, then, first shift, first game and everything is done. But I should get over that and keep working. The season is long."

Saulietis’ injury leaves left-winger Troy Ofukany as the lone 20-year old on the Pats roster, while Czech rookie Rudolph Cerveny is the other import player on the team.

"It's just unlucky," Pats head coach Curtis Hunt said to the Leader-Post. "The nice thing is we have enough depth where we can insert people in our lineup. The bad news is we've lost a quality player and a good influence for an extended period of time."

There was no time for the Pats to dwell on the misfortune, however. The same teams locked up Sunday afternoon in Regina’s home opener. This time, the Pats prevailed 5-1, in front of a boisterous crowd of 5,303 who came to celebrate the opening of the team’s 90th season.

"We had the crowd behind us the whole night," right-winger Brett Leffler observed to the Leader-Post. The third year power forward scored on the first shot of the game and added one assist. "The biggest thing with a crowd like that is controlling your emotions. We wanted to come out hard but we didn't want to do anything too stupid. In the end, we got the win."

Jordan Eberle and Nick Ross scored their second goals of the young season for the Pats, who also got goals from newly-minted captain Logan Pyett and ex-Raider Cody Gross.

Head Coach Curtis Hunt credits the fan support for providing his team with an emotional boost in the home opener. "We knew it would be a tough building for the visitors but we didn't want to take anything for granted. We wanted to keep the fans in the game as much as possible. Anytime you get that seventh man involved it becomes pretty intimidating for a visitor. The fan support was outstanding. I look forward to a year of great hockey and giving our fans something to be proud of."

The Pats return to action Friday night, when the Red Deer Rebels visit the Brandt Centre. Regina visits Brandon Saturday, before returning home to face the Calgary Hitmen – the top-rated WHL team in the preseason rankings – Sunday evening.

Parker pulls the trigger

A big, big trade between the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants was announced this morning. The Pats dealt some of their blue-line and forward depth, and receive a much-needed scoring center and an import d-man in return. Here's the news release from the Pats - please excuse the butchery of the language, I'm just cutting and pasting on this one:


Regina, Saskatchewan - Thursday, September 27th, the Regina Pats announced this morning that they have made a four player trade with the Vancouver Giants. The Regina Pats are shipping forward Mike Reich and defencemen Craig Schira to Vancouver, in exchange for forward Tim Kraus and defencemen Juraj Valach.

Reich, the native of Craik SK, has appeared in 2 games with the Pats this season, and has accumulated 7 penalty minutes. Reich (5'10", 185lb) suited up for 61 games with the Pats last season, collecting 15 goals and 7 assists, also racking up 187 penalty minutes.

Schira, the native of Spiritwood, SK, had been with the Pats organization for 4 years, collecting a total of 68 points in 206 games played. Schira was originally drafted by Pats in 2003 WHL Bantam Draft, when he was drafted in the 6th round, 111th overall. This season, Schira had collected 1 assist in 2 games played with the Pats.

In exchange, the Pats receive two players, headlined by 20-year old Tim Kraus. Kraus comes to the Pats after being the 2nd leading scorer on the Giants last season. He collected 19 goals and 47 assists for 66 points in 70 games. The 6'0", 180lb product of Garden Grove, CA, Kraus brings a wealth of experience and scoring punch to the Pats line-up.

With the move, the Pats also fill their 2nd import roster spot by bringing in Juraj Valach, a native of Zvolen, Slovkia. 18 year-old Valach (6'6",210lb) is playing in his second campaign in the WHL, having collected 7 goals and 23 assists in 58 games with the Tri City Americans last season. So far this season, Valach has 1 goal and 3 assists in 2 games played with the Giants.

"We are excited about what Tim Kraus and Juraj Valach will bring to our hockey club. Having said that we are losing two talented players and tremendous young men in Craig and Mike. It is no secret that we were looking to add another scoring forward and to get top players you have to give up good players in return. I believe that this will be a good deal for both team and I wish Craig and Mike nothing but success in Vancouver and in their hockey careers" - Commented Pats General Manager Brent Parker.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CFL comes down on Tillman

Saskatchewan Roughrider G.M. Eric Tillman is in a bit of hot water with the CFL, over public comments he made following Saturday night's game against the B.C. Lions. ET was critical of the Lions, including Head Coach Wally Buono, for the 2nd quarter goon/gong show that resulted in two B.C. players being fined, and another one suspended, by the CFL. Here's the brief statement from the league re: Tillman.

Media Statement – Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Eric Tillman Fined

Toronto, ON - (September 26, 2007) - The Commissioner’s Office announced today that it has fined Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager and VP of Football Operations Eric Tillman $1,000 for publicly making comments disparaging to the B.C. Lions Football Club.

No further comments will be made by the Canadian Football League on this matter.

Whattya say? Should we take up a collection to cover the cost of the fine? Maybe one of the local radio stations will get the ball rolling on that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CFL comes down on Haji-Rasouli

From TSN.CA:

The Canadian Football League imposed a one-game suspension on B.C. Lions offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli for his involvement in an altercation during the September 22nd game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.
Lions offensive lineman Rob Murphy and receiver Cory Rodgers have each been fined an undisclosed amount for their involvement in the altercation.
"This type of action will not be tolerated," commented CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. "While our game is intense and played with emotion, our players are required to act professionally and with respect to their opponents and the game at all times."
The one-game suspension is pending a formal review hearing that may be requested by the player.


The question now is, will H-R actually serve the suspension, or will it be overturned through the (ahem) highly credible arbitration process? Stay tuned!

SportZone lineup for September 24

Another busy show this week, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. Here's the lineup:

SportZone Guests for September 24/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. A profile of the Winston Knoll football team, co-leaders in the RIFL 4A conference. Guests: Kelly Adams (Wolverines Head Coach) & Jordan Yantz (QB).

2. A look at youth curling opportunities available through Curl Regina this winter. Guest: Jan Betker (Youth Curling Coordinator).

3. A preview of the season-ending Enduro race at King’s Park Speedway. Guests: Jim “Sharky” Braden & Greg Wagner (Racers).

4. A profile of the ACFC Milano women’s soccer team, representing Saskatchewan at the national club championships. Guests: Carlos Bravo (Coach) & Lara Guzik-Rostad (Player).

5. A profile of the U of R men’s hockey team’s new assistant coach, a former Cougar and NHL player. Guest: Todd Elik (Cougars Assistant Coach).

6. A Regina athlete captures three gold medals at the World Senior Track & Field Championships. Guests: Carol Lafayette-Boyd (World champion) & Terry Mountjoy (Excel Athletika Head Coach).

7. A preview of the 2007/08 season for the Regina Capitals junior B hockey club. Guests: Don Pankewich (Capitals GM & Head Coach) & Cliff May (Capitals forward).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

From dream season to recurring nightmare

That's pretty much how I'd sum up the Saskatchewan Roughriders' performance the last month, especially the last three games. I deliberately waited until now to post my thoughts on last night's implosion, to allow some time for reflection - instead of knee-jerk vitriole. There's more than enough of that on the message boards, anyway.

In case you missed it, the Riders dropped a 37-34 decision to the B.C. Lions Saturday night, in front of a full house of 28,800 fans at Mosaic Stadium. The Lions scored the winning points on a 33 yard pass from Jarious Jackson to Geroy Simon with 34 seconds left in regulation time. The Leos faced a 3rd and 6 situation, however Simon ran through matador coverage by Rontarious Robinson, and past a completely baffled safety Tristan Clovis en route to an easy score.

So, now the Riders have lost three in a row, to drop to 7-5 and three points back of the Leos for top spot in the west. Once again, the defence was unable to come up with a key play in a critical situation, and the offense was unable to move the ball in the late stages of the game. Any of this starting to sound familiar?

As Rider coach Kent Austin has repeatedly said, there are a handful of plays in the course of a game that make the difference between winning and losing. I counted three:

  1. Clovis' aforementioned brain cramp on the winning touchdown;
  2. Sean Lucas' inability to snare a gift-wrapped interception, with nothing but open field between him and the end zone; and,
  3. Kerry Joseph's inability to hit a wide-open Andy Fantuz on a corner route late in the fourth quarter.

Had any of the players in question made the plays above when given the chance, the Riders would have won the game, and the season series with B.C. It didn't happen, and the freefall continues.

On a much brighter note, the Regina Pats improved their record to 2-0 on the WHL season with a 5-1 pasting of the Prince Albert Raiders Sunday afternoon. The Pats braintrust spoke of the need for balanced scoring in the pre-season, and five different players scored for the winners today. So far, so good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Good start to the weekend

I enjoyed last night's tilt between the U of R Rams and the UBC Thunderbirds at Mosaic Stadium. The Rams spotted the T-Birds a 21-3 lead, before roaring back to claim a 55-28 victory. Regina's Teale Orban is a fantastic quarterback. If his receivers could hang onto the ball, he would've passed for 500-600 yards last night. Despite a couple of drops, 2nd year receiver Jordan Sisco had a big night, scoring two receiving touchdowns, and another one on the ground. Sisco, in my opinion, is a slightly smaller - but faster - version of Jason Clermont. Seriously, the kid can play. The highlight of the night had to be Riders G.M. Eric Tillman taking a ride on the back of a Harley to celebrate the Rams final touchdown of the night. ET the Easy Rider! Whoops, that could be taken several ways :)

The Pats opened the WHL season with a 4-2 win in Prince Albert. However, import forward Kaspars Sauletis was lost for up to 3 months with a badly separated shoulder. That leaves the Pats braintrust with some tough decisions to make.

This afternoon, I'll pick up young Jacob and catch the Riders and B.C. Lions at Mosaic. Hopefully Austin's crew will snap out of their two-game tailspin in front of a sold-out stadium, and reclaim first place in the West.

Then tomorrow, it's off to the Brandt Centre in the afternoon for the Pats home opener. Anyone wanna rake some leaves for me? Regina is serving up a sports smorgasbord this weekend, and I just don't have the time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pats hand out letters

The Regina Pats have selected 4th year defenceman Logan Pyett as the team's captain for this season. The assistants will be defenceman Craig Schira, and forwards Brett Leffler and Kirt Hill. No huge surprises, although I thought 2nd year defenceman Colten Teubert might be in line for an "A". I suppose that'll have to wait until next year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pats trim roster

The Regina Pats dropped three players from the active roster today. Forward Dru Cotterill and goaltender Damien Ketlo have been assigned to midget AAA teams in Alberta and B.C. respectively. Import forward Marco Insam was released, meaning the Pats will go with veteran Kaspars Saulietis and newcomer Rudolph Cerveny in the two import slots. "Salty" will also claim one of the three overage roster spots the Pats are entitled to.

I got the feeling from talking to Head Coach Curtis Hunt on SportZone last night that a trade or two is in the works to address the team's lack of scoring punch. Since the blueline is an obvious source of depth, it wouldn't be a major shock to see a veteran defenceman dealt - but first the Pats have to make sure Logan Pyett and Nick Ross are returned to junior by the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. Stay tuned!

SportZone lineup for September 17

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for September 17/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. A preview of the 2007/08 season for the Regina Pats. Guest: Curtis Hunt (Pats Head Coach).

2. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans look to defend their Regina High School 4A football championship. Guests: Kyle McFetridge (Spartans Head Coach), Ryan Wellman (QB) & Ben Heenan (OL).

3. The Riffel Royals have designs on the 4A city high school football championship as well. Guests: Shawn McCall (Royals Assistant Coach), Aaron Watson (QB) & Derek Pilon (DB).

4. A profile of the University of Regina cross-country team. Guests: Carla Nicholls (Head Coach), Scott Mitchell & Alicia Roske (Runners).

5. A preview of the 2007 Regina Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner. Guests: Marlene Hoffman (Hall President) & Doug Simon (2007 inductee).

6. An update on the Regina Thunder junior football club, gearing up to host the arch-rival Saskatoon Hilltops this weekend. Guests: Tyler Hogan (LB) & Steve Arens (DL).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everything will be under review

That is the most significant quote to come out of Rider Head Coach Kent Austin's post-game address to the media, following a 44-22 loss in Calgary this afternoon. The Riders were (pick one):

  1. Embarrassed
  2. Crushed
  3. Bombed
  4. Flattened
  5. All of the above

by the Calgary Stampeders, dropping Saskatchewan's record to 7-4. Once again, the Rider defence was unable to defend against the pass or stop the run. That doesn't leave many options, does it? Defensive back Jermaine Chatman was beaten more often than (insert predictable and probably inappropriate Michael Vick/dog joke here).

The offense was equally inept. Receiver D.J. Flick had a solid game. That concludes the list of offensive contributors, with the possible exception of tailback Wes Cates. I could go into excruciating detail about the blunders, miscues and generally awful performance of this team the past two games (and past five games for the defense), but I'll leave that to the coaching staff. As Austin said after the game - everything, and everyone, is under review after a performance like that. I think we can expect personnel (and probably tactical) changes this week. At least I certainly hope so! The fans have done their part by selling out the stadium for next weekend's game against B.C. It'd be darn handy if the team were to show up as well.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Regina Pats Column

For what it's worth, here's my report from this week's edition of the CHL Prospects Hockey Insider:

Training Camp Down to Short Strokes

By Pete Paczko

Aspiring Regina Pats are running out of opportunities to impress the coaching staff, as the team has just one exhibition contest left to tune up for the WHL regular season. The Pats travel to Kindersley Friday evening to take on the Swift Current Broncos. Currently, the Pats have 29 names on the roster, including injured players and those attending NHL training camps. Regina sports a 3-2 record on the preseason circuit, following a 4-1 loss in Medicine Hat Sunday evening. The loss continues Regina’s recent string of futility against the Tigers, including last spring’s 4-game sweep in the second round of the WHL playoffs.

The most recent loss to the Tigers also created some concerns among the members of the Pats brain trust. "Some of our veteran guys need to understand they're competing for jobs," Pats General Manager Brent Parker told the Regina Leader-Post. "Our young guys who think they're in a good position need to understand they're competing for jobs and they need to learn how hard you have to play in this league every night. It can't be a sometimes thing, it has to be all the time. I don't think we had enough guys competing at the level we expect of them and that they should expect of themselves."

The Pats, and their fans, are still waiting to see who will emerge as the top candidates to centre the team’s top two lines. Leading scorers Kyle Ross and Garrett Festerling have moved on, creating a large hole down the middle – literally – of the lineup. Newcomers Matt Strueby and Cody Gross are among the early contenders to replace Ross and Festerling on the first and second lines. Gross leads the team in preseason scoring with 7 points. The speedy centre was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings; just hours after Edmonton had selected him from Prince Albert in the WHL expansion draft.

“Everyone is making it a really easy adjustment to the city and the team," Gross told the Leader-Post. "The coaches are unbelievable, always positive. They just want to see you do good. It's just a great group of guys. Everyone seems to get along. It should transfer onto the ice as well."

Gross notched six goals and five assists in 55 games as a rookie on the Raiders’ fourth line last season. He realizes he has an opportunity to significantly increase his ice time – and point production – this season. "I see myself being more of an offensive player; hopefully I can provide that. This team looks great - lots of depth up front and especially on the back. I haven't been on a winning team in a few years. I'm looking forward to it."

Returning centre Jared Jagow, who was deployed primarily in a defensive role last season, also is vying for increased ice time. Jagow helped his own cause with a three goal effort in a 4-2 win over Saskatoon Saturday night.

The Pats open the regular season in Prince Albert September 21. Regina’s home opener is September 23, also against the Raiders.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SportZone lineup for September 10

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. On a side note, I've started writing a bi-weekly column/update on the Regina Pats for the CHL Prospects Insider, an e-newsletter sent out to subscribers. If you're interested - it's a free subscription - simply go to the WHL website and click on the "Get the WHL Insider" link near the top-right of the page. Simple as that. Now, here's the lineup for the show:

SportZone Guests for September 10/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. A profile of a former Regina Pats star, now working and coaching at Notre Dame. Guest: Dale Derkatch (Director, Hockey Development – Athol Murray College of Notre Dame).

2. A Regina midget AA hockey team will represent this country at a tournament in Russia next spring. Guests: Don Lindsay (Regina Prairie Nationals Head Coach) & Jeff Herback (Team Chairman).

3. A preview of the 2007/08 Regina High School sports season. Guest: Greg Johnson (RHSAA Commissioner).

4. A profile of the 2007 University of Regina women’s soccer team. Guests: Janeen Snell & Tarina Mayer (Co-Captains).

5. Saskatchewan teams return from the U16 and U19 boy’s lacrosse championships. Guest: Doug Pederson (U16 Head Coach).

6. A preview of the 2007/08 athletics season at the University of Regina. Guest: Dick White (U of R Director of Athletics).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bombed in the 'Peg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers crushed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 34-15 in the annual Banjo Bowl contest at Canad Inns Stadium this afternoon. If possible, I think the score may have actually flattered the Riders, who were thoroughly outplayed in this one. And yes, the officiating was brutal, although not sufficiently to affect the final outcome.

The loss snaps the Riders' five game winning streak, and drops their record to 7-3, which is still good enough for first place in the overall standings.

No question, Winnipeg came to play, and the Bombers exploited Rider weaknesses on both sides of the ball. To wit:
  1. Sean Lucas - The Riders linebacker has looked lost for three straight games. A change is in order.
  2. For the second week in a row, the Riders were unable to get any sort of pressure on Bombers pivot Kevin Glenn. When the Riders blitzed, the Bombers did a stellar job of picking up the extra pass rushers, and Glenn unloaded the ball to ridiculously wide-open receivers.
  3. The Riders offensive line was manhandled in this game. Simple as that. Pass protection was brutal, and the running game was an afterthought.
  4. The officiating cost the Riders at least four big plays, including a long throw to Andy Fantuz late in the 2nd quarter that may have changed the complexion, if not the outcome, of the game. The play was ruled an incomplete pass, rather than a reception and fumble - which was recovered by Fantuz. After that, the rout was on.
Now comes a big test. The really good teams learn from losses like this, and rebound quickly. Hopefully that's what happens with the green and white, as they travel to Calgary next Saturday to take on the resurgent Stampeders.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

No Maas! No Maas!

Thanks to former boxer Roberto Duran for providing today's headline. So, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are pinning their hopes on Casey Printers to lead them out of the CFL wilderness. The hapless Cats have signed the former league Most Outstanding Player to a three year deal, worth a reported $500,000 per season. That, I suspect, leaves Jason Maas as the odd man out in the Tabbies quarterback rotation. Although, based on Timmy Chang's "performance" last week, the Cats may keep Maas around as the back-up, and bump Chang back down to 3rd string status.

So, now Hamilton boasts an elite quarterback (Printers), running back (Jesse Lumsden) and linebacker (Zeke Moreno). One question - who is Printers expected to throw the ball to? With all due respect to U of R Rams alumnus Chris Bauman, Hamilton's receiving corps doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of too many CFL defensive coordinators!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Labour Day thriller

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers put on quite on a show at Mosaic Stadium this afternoon, with the Riders rallying to notch a 31-26 victory. A full house of Saskatchewan and Winnipeg fans was treated to a back-and-forth battle between two of the CFL's top teams. With the win the Riders improve to 7-2, and regain sole possession of top spot in the West Division, and in the overall standings.

Quarterback Kerry Joseph was heroic for the winners, passing for 348 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But Joseph saved his best for last, scoring on a 27 yard run with a dozen seconds left in the game to give the green gang the victory. Suffice to say young Jacob was suitably impressed! My little fan(atic) was high-fiving everyone in sight - heck, he even hugged the old man! In public!

Next up, the same two teams do battle next week in Winnipeg. Historically, the rematch hasn't gone particularly well for the Riders. But this is a different team. And in this case, different is good! I'm not sure how this wild ride will finish, but I'm sure enjoying it while it lasts!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Only three more sleeps

The atmosphere around town is absolutely electric in advance of Sunday's Labour Day Classic. The Riders and Bombers both come in at the top of their games, and it's shaping up to be a weekend to remember - or not remember, in some cases :)

I did a guest host stint on last night's Coaches Show on CKRM, and defensive line coach Ron Estay had some interesting comments. Estay acknowledges that it'll be tough getting to Bombers pivot Kevin Glenn Sunday, due to Glenn's ability to get the ball off quickly. In those cases, Estay is reminding his charges to get their arms up, and hopefully deflect or knock down passes.

The 'ole Swamp Dog also regaled us with stories of Labour Day contests from his playing days with the Edmonton Eskimos. I loved the story of how Estay and his three d-line colleagues converged on a Calgary quarterback, and Estay was the only defender to come out of the collision without a concussion!

Another broadcasting note: I learned yesterday that I won't be co-hosting the Regina Pats post-game show on CKRM this season. Dem's da breaks, I guess. I suspect I'll still be involved in the game broadcasts on an occasional, pinch-hitting basis - so it's hardly the end of the world.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SportZone lineup for August 27th

Here's the lineup for the show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. this week and next week on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for August 26/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. A Regina hockey player gears up for his first NHL training camp. Guest: Garrett Klotz (Philadelphia Flyers prospect).

2. A preview of the 2007 Regina Dragon Boat Festival. Guest: Allyson McDonald (Festival President).

3. An introduction to the U of R’s new men’s volleyball coach. Guest: Greg Barthel (Head Coach).

4. A profile of the 2007/08 University of Regina men’s basketball team. The team is holding a fundraising golf tournament in September. Guest: James Hillis (Head Coach).

5. Regina’s Prairie Fire rugby team celebrates a national championship. Guest: Jered Kirkland (Fire Captain).

6. An update on the Regina Thunder junior football team. Guests: Brett Lund & Stu Foord (Players).

7. An update on summer performances by members of Regina Excel Athletika track and field club. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (Excel Athletika Head Coach).