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.