Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rudolph the czech-nosed centreman

Let's hope this kid pans out, and is the set-up man Eberle and McAngus need.

Regina, Saskatchewan - The Regina Pats have made their 1st round draft pickin the 2007 CHL Import Draft, selecting centre Rudolf Cerveny with the 37thoverall selection.Cerveny (6'0", 180lbs), a native of the Czech Republic, spent this pastseason with Ceske Budejovice. In 45 games played, Cerveny collected 20goals and 20 assists for 40 points. He is described as a skilled centreman,with good vision and a great hockey sense."We really wanted to get a centre if at all possible; all our reportsindicate that he is a skilled player with good vision. He was recommended tous by one of our former players, Karel Mosovsky, who feels that he will fitthe WHL game very well" described Regina Pats General Manager Brent Parker following the selection.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sportzone lineup for June 25

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

SportZone Guests for June 25/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. Regina’s resident NFL player returns home to run a football camp for disadvantaged kids. Guest: Jon Ryan (Green Bay Packers punter).

2. The Wascana Racing Canoe Club gets set to host its Canada Day Regatta. Guest: Tim Sweeney (WRCC Head Coach) & Kia Byers (Paddler).

3. A preview of the 2007 national baton twirling championships, running July 1-7 in Regina. Guests: Joanne Moser (Organizing Committee), Stacey Singer (Coach) & Bridget Moser (Competitor).

4. A recap of the 2006/07 year for Regina high school athletics. Guest: Greg Johnson (RHSAA Commissioner).

5. A preview of the provincial Sepak Takraw (kick volleyball) championships, coming up July 1st in Regina. Guest: Riley Moynes (STAC Event Coordinator).

6. A preview of the 2007 Regina Minor Football season, including a call for coaches and EMT’s. Guest: Jack Upshall (RMF Board member).

7. The Prairie Fire rugby club welcomes back a highly touted import player from last year. Guest: Caine Elisara (Fire import player).

The highs and lows

I heard the news shortly before heading off to Access Communications last night to tape this week's episode of SportZone. The bodies of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and young son were found in the family's Atlanta-area home. Now, the early indications suggest Benoit took the lives of his family members before killing himself. Senseless, shocking and horrifying.

Thank goodness for people like Jon Ryan. The Regina native, who toils as the punter for the NFL's Green Bay Packers was the first guest (full lineup later) on last night's taping. Here's how classy this young man is. Jon and I had an email discussion a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of him making an appearance on my show before heading back to Green Bay for training camp in late July. We're on a scaled-down taping schedule for the summer, and our schedules (Jon's and mine) just didn't jive. So, I wished him a good summer and moved on to other matters.

Then, out of the blue last Friday, Jon emailed to say he'd be getting into Regina earlier than expected, and would be available for last night's taping - if I still wanted him. DO YOU THINK?? Jon could have easily forgotten about my request and I wouldn't have had any reason at all to complain. However, this outstanding young man literally drove from Wisconsin yesterday, got off the highway and made a beeline straight to the Access studios last night - he hadn't even seen his family or friends yet!

That, ladies and gentlemen is the definition of class. Let's be clear - SportZone is a long ways down the food chain from the NFL Network, ESPN or TSN. And yet, a very busy professional athlete went out of his way to appear on my show and touch base with his many, many fans in this city. On a night when such a senseless tragedy was making news, Jon Ryan reminded me that integrity and humility still have a place in the world of professional sports. I thank him for that.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Now I belong!

Well, you know what they say - you're not officially a Reginan until you've been broken into. It took 14 years, but my number finally came up. Sometime overnight some fine, upstanding individuals broke into my vehicle and stole Jacob's baseball equipment bag and some stereo equipment. Very selective thieves though, as they left his baseball helmet and glove, along with lots of other stereo gear, alone.

All in all, not the greatest tragedy in the history of the world. Just enough to be really, really annoying. And my ball glove was in Jacob's bag. I loved that glove. Bastards!

And, earlier in the same night Jacob and I witnessed other (presumably) mouth-breathing trolls driving through the neighbourhood stealing firewood. And no, we don't live in north central. Nice to see Regina's finest have a firm handle on the property crime issue (sarcasm off).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Now the fun starts

The Saskatchewan Roughriders wrapped up the CFL preseason with a 23-21 victory over the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. That's this humble observer's assessment of the goings-on on the Taylor turf last night. First, the positives:

1) Matt Dominguez and Andy Fantuz appear poised for HUGE seasons.
2) Shermar Bracey and Fred Russell both showed flashes of brilliance at tailback.
3) The Riders' first-string defence absolutely suffocated the Stamps' starting offence.
4) The stadium was sold out for a preseason game. Are you kidding me?
5) Jamie Boreham is a definite upgrade in the punting and kickoff departments. Plus he gets in on his fair share of tackles - love the intensity!

Now, the areas that need some work:

1) The Riders' were brutal inside the opposition's 20-yard line. They should have been up by 30 points at halftime.
2) Neither Kerry Joseph or Marcus Crandell shone at quarterback. Both had their moments, but I'd have a tough time picking one to start next week in Montreal.
3) The game day presentation was brutal! Microphones that weren't working/potted up, the Maxtron crew's inability to get the required shots on the screen, and various other stumbles. Oh well, I guess it's the preseason for those folks too.

So, now the coaches are huddled together at the stadium determining who stays, and who gets a plane ticket home. The final roster moves have to be made by midnight tonight. Then, let the games begin!

Switching to hockey quickly, congratulations to the Regina Pats' troika of defenceman Nick Ross (1st round, Phoenix), goaltender Linden Rowat (5th round, L.A.) and forward Brett Leffler (5th round, Washington) on being selected in the NHL entry draft this weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday night football at last!

It's been a long, long offseason for the Saskatchewan Roughriders faithful, but that all comes to an end tonight with the Riders hosting Calgary in CFL preseason action. The leather-lunged patrons will enjoy the opportunity to shower Stamps pivot Henry Burris with scorn. Meantime, the competition between Kerry Joseph and Marcus Crandell for the starting quarterback position in Riderville comes to a head.

Should be a beautiful night at Mosaic Stadium. Hopefully the action on the field matches the weather - hot! Young Jacob has already assembled his gameday ensemble in his mind. I have to remind him not to go overboard - it's the preseason for fans too!

See you there!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SportZone lineup for June 18

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

SportZone Guests for June 18/07
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. A Regina team captures the national men’s 5-pin bowling championship. Guests: Doug McCaw & Jeff Hiibner (bowlers).

2. The Leboldus Golden Suns capture the city boy’s high school baseball championship. Guests: Lynette Nishnik (Head Coach), Steve Famulak & Cal Whiting (Players).

3. A preview of the 2007 Queen City Marathon. The early bird entry deadline approaches. Guest: Doug Russell (QCM Race Director).

4. An update on the Regina Red Sox baseball club. Guests: Shane Lucci & Jay Livingston (Red Sox players).

5. A profile of the Regina Lawn Bowling Club. Guests: Keith & Jean Roney (lawn bowlers).

6. The Prairie Fire rugby club gets set for its first road trip of the Super League season. Guests: Brett Benson & Peni Lutu (Players).

Monday, June 18, 2007

A stellar dad's day

A belated Happy Father's Day to all my fellow dads. My munchkin took me out for lunch (BP's South - thanks Johnny Fraser!), and showered me with gifts. The "hug box" was particularly well received! After lunch, we had the good fortune to stand in the pouring rain for close to an hour, until his Little League playoff game was officially rained out. Good times.

Speaking of Jacob's baseball exploits, he finished the regular season with a .760 batting average, which earned him a call-up from Senior Rookie to Minor for a game Saturday. Sure enough, Slugger went 2-2 at the plate against seasoned pitching. He's a hitting machine, I tell ya. I guess that was the LL version of the September call-up?

Saturday night was taken up with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner. A very nice affair, even if the food left a little something to be desired. And don't get me started on the spelling faux pas by the official broadcaster of the event. Yikes!

Friday night I listened to the majority of the Riders 24-15 exhibition win over the B.C. Lions. Some fine performances were turned in by aspiring Roughriders, leaving the coaching staff with some tough decisions to be made. This Friday night the Calgary Stampeders come to town for the preseason finale. The Jakester and I are damn near giddy with anticipation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

And so it begins

The CFL preseason opens for the Saskatchewan Roughriders tonight, as they invade B.C. Place Stadium to take on the Lions. Since preseason games aren't televised, fans will have to be content to listen to Rod and Carm describe the action.

Personally, I'm delighted this game is on the road. Preseason games can be eye-glazing affairs, but especially the first of each team's two warmup contests. This one features lots of players who will never be seen in these parts again. Lots of players making lots of mistakes. Not the most enthralling scenario. At least next week's tuneup game will feature the players most likely to make the active roster - so the resemblance to a real game will be enhanced.

Having said that, there are several things worth watching (listening) for tonight:

1) Which of the quarterbacks will perform the best?
2) Will one of the tailbacks establish himself as the feature back this season?
3) What sort of performance will the defence get from the four players (veteran Scott Schultz is sitting this one out) vying for a job at defensive tackle? Will one of them establish himself as the starter-in-waiting?

Couldn't have said it better myself!

The Leader-Post's Gerry Krochak hit the nail squarely on the head with this column. The L-P's entertainment columnist - and my erstwhile tennis combatant - comments rather piercingly, and accurately, on the diminishing relevance of commercial radio as a trusted source of news and information. There was a time, I tell ya. But alas, that time is gone.

Mind you, that's not to suggest the print media is infallible. I have no proof, but I'm convinced the L-P's headlines have been written by heavily medicated, quasi-illiterate monkeys for the past few years. Occasionally, hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pat Benatar would be amazed!

I'm pretty sure this is not what Pat Benatar had in mind when she urged us to stop using "Sex as a Weapon", or opined that "Love is a Battlefield"! Oh my. I found the location of the television station that broke this story somewhat ironic as well.

SportZone lineup for June 11

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. Catch an early peek at Rod Pedersen's outrageous facial hair! Outrageous, I tell ya!

SportZone Guests for June 11/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. The U of R’s women’s volleyball coach will help coach Canada’s team at the World University Games this summer. Guest: Melanie Sanford (Cougars Head Coach).

2. The Leboldus Golden Suns capture another city track and field championship. Guests: Charlene Bolen (Head Coach), Morgan Bolen & Justin Baker (athletes).

3. A preview of the 2007 Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame induction weekend (June 15/16). Guests: Sheila Kelly (SSHFM Executive Director) & Tammy Schneider (2007 Inductee).

4. An update on the 2007 Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. Guest: Rod Pedersen (Harvard Broadcasting Sports Director).

5. A former Regina Pats star looks back at the 2006/07 NHL season, and ahead to next year. Guest: Josh Harding (Minnesota Wild goaltender).

6. The Prairie Fire open the 2007 Rugby Canada Super League season with an impressive victory. Guest: Darren Kapene (Fire import player).

Friday, June 08, 2007

The ultimate Rider fan!

It's been said that the most devoted fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders bleed green. If so, this guy is at the top of the list!

Rider pride, indeed.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Goodbye to Tommy T

The Regina Pats have dealt popular backup goaltender Tommy Tartaglione to the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings. In return, the Pats get 18 year old forward Cody Gross. Gross was a WHL rookie last year, and scored 6 goals for the P.A. Raiders. The Pats brass like his speed, and offensive upside.

Tommy T is a great kid, and will be missed by fans and his teammates. However, he'll now likely be the #1 goalie in Edmonton - an opportunity he wasn't going to get here. This move also clears the way for highly touted youngster Jeff Bosch to move into the backup role with the Pats, behind veteran Linden Rowat.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

SportZone lineup for June 4

Here's the lineup for this week's show, featuring a new co-host and a stellar group of guests - not to mention a bit of a SportZone scoop in segment #5. Pats grad Kyle Ross tells us he's been invited to the Nashville Predators' rookie camp next month. Atta boy, Rosco!

As per usual, the show airs Wednesday night at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for June 4/07
Community Co-Host – Brendan Parker

1. The U of R hires a new women’s soccer coach. Does winning ensue? Guest: Bob Maltman (Cougar women’s soccer coach).

2. A review of the 2007 national racquetball championships, hosted by Regina. Guest: Ross Richardson (Organizing committee).

3. A preview of the Canadian Sports Insurance Brokers AAA Super Series minor hockey tournament, hosted by Regina. Guests: Dean Ross (Organizer), Turner Ripplinger & Taylor Ross (Players).

4. A Regina Pat grad considers his hockey-playing options, and looks forward to his first pro training camp. Guests: Kyle Ross (Former Regina Pat).

5. An update on the 2007 Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. Guest: John Lynch (Roughrider radio commentator).

6. A preview of the Prairie Fire Rugby Club’s home opener on June 9th. Guests: Jered Kirkland (Prairie Fire Captain) & Emil Christianson (Player).

Monday, June 04, 2007

What a jerk!

I've decided Edmonton Oilers fans are right - Chris Pronger really is a dirtbag. That elbow to the head of Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in game three of the Stanley Cup final was a low-class move, and well deserving of the one-game suspension handed out by the NHL. That's twice in these playoffs Pronger has been suspended for this head-hunting antics. Between Pronger and Brian Burke, I may actually have to cheer for the Ottawa Senators to capture the Cup. Ouch. That hurt just to type that.