Saturday, February 18, 2017

Regina Pats To Host 2018 Memorial Cup

The Mastercard Memorial Cup is coming back to Regina.

The Canadian Hockey League announced Saturday afternoon that the 100th version of Canada's junior hockey championship will be hosted by the Regina Pats and played at the Brandt Centre May 17-27, 2018.

“The 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup and the celebrations around this centennial event will truly capture, preserve, and enhance the legacy of one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sport while honouring the brave men and women who served and continue to serve our country,” said CHL President David Branch. “I applaud our national Site Selection Committee who were challenged with the decision of choosing between three outstanding bids.  On behalf of the CHL we look forward to working with the City of Regina and the Regina Pats to engage the entire nation in what will truly be a historic event.”

The event, which was last staged in Regina in 2001 when Red Deer won the title, will once again see the Pats welcome the top teams from the Western, Ontario and Quebec Hockey League

“Our local team worked hard to put together a great bid, and we are extremely excited, and honoured, to be able to host the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup,” says Shaun Semple, President and CEO of the Brandt Group of Companies and Chair of Regina’s Host Organizing Committee. “We’ve got some great ideas and plans, and we look forward to the opportunity to engage with junior hockey fans across the country, as we celebrate this historic centennial year.”  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thaddeus Coleman Returning To Riders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed international offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman.      

Coleman (6’8 – 320) returns to the Riders after becoming a free agent on February 14th. The 31-year-old Mississippi Valley State product was originally acquired by the Riders in a May, 2016 trade with the Edmonton Eskimos where he spent his first three CFL seasons.  

Last year, Coleman started all 18 regular season games for the Green and White spending time at both right and left tackle. He was named the Riders Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman at seasons end.

(Ryan Pollock/Riders PR)

This And That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--How ya feelin Rider Nation?  You got Doubles back this week (Derek Dennis) and he comes with the Flyin Hawaiian. With Chad Owens in Rider green, are you trading watermelon helmets in for pineapple ones? I think you have to be very satisfied with what Chris Jones and the /=S=/ organization have done in free agency. Yes, there was that excitement last year and the free agent class fizzled tremendously, but I think Jones has learned from his mistakes in year 1 as a general manager and is maybe doing a little more homework as to what is/was out there and who can help this football team moving forward. Then again, it looks like the Vince Young story has legs to it and he may be coming north of the border. Like many of you, I don't really understand that move and don't see a lot of positives in it. 

--I can't help but think Vernon Adams Junior will be a Saskatchewan Roughrider by the time training camp starts. It seems as if he has no future in Montreal, and it seems like he isn't a Kavis Reed guy. Many of you have suggested the Riders have enough receivers and could afford to give one up to get the former Oregon standout whom Montreal acquired for a first round pick from BC last year. I can't see Naaman Roosevelt joining Darian Durant in Montreal and you know Duron Carter isn't going back. It sounds like Armanti Edwards is now out of the equation leaving guys like Ricky Collins Junior and Caleb Holley. If a trade is made, my money is on one of those guys. That being said, Ernest Jackson is now an Alouette so perhaps they don't need another pass-catcher.

--What ever happened to Compete Street? Where's the sign? Questions that need answering.  If anyone knows where that sign is, they should send it over to Michael Ball. It would look great in his backyard!

--If the Edmonton Oilers knew what they were going to get out of Patrick Maroon this year, would they have signed Milan Lucic to the contract they did? Maroon definitely let Brandon Manning know what happens when you mess around with Connor McDavid.  Its not like Semenko with Gretzky, but the muscle is there if needed.

--Who saw Claude Julien coaching the Habs before the season was over after he was fired by Boston?  I don't know about you, but I really want to see a Boston-Montreal playoff matchup now.

--Why doesn't anyone talk seriously about Patrik Laine when it comes to rookie of the year talk. Take nothing away from the Leafs duo of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but Laine is right there and is arguably ahead of the pack. For that matter, why isn't Matt Murray involved in the ROY conversation?

--What has happened to the Toronto Raptors? Oh wait, this is Saskatchewan.....not many people care.

--Congrats to Cliff Mapes.  He is back in the WHL working with the Saskatoon Blades as their new VP of business operations. Great hire! If Cliffy could have success in Regina dealing with some bad Pats teams and other factors, he can succeed in Saskatoon.  The Blades imprint on Saskatoon is about to get larger.

--While passing out congrats, one also goes to perhaps the biggest all-around degenerate in Regina, but also an overall good schmuck and that is Josh Shaw.  He has been named  the director of operations at the new Mosaic Stadium.  I'm guessing this means he will have a big office where he will sit in a big chair and do absolutely nothing, but hey why not.  I shudder to think what could play on the big screen late at night though.

--When watching the Scotties this week, remember Penny Barker is representing Team Saskatchewan and Michelle Englot is representing Team Manitoba.  I think many of us will be confused as the week goes on. 

--Canadian tennis star/model Genie Bouchard paid up after a Patriots fan asked her if she would go out with him if New England came back to win the Super Bowl via Twitter.  The two went to a Brooklyn Nets game Wednesday.  C'mon Genie, as a Canadian you couldn't have taken the guy to a hockey game?  Doesn't really matter though as the two are going to go out AGAIN! As one friend has says, it will prompt men to start sending messages via Twitter to models.  Why not! It apparently works!!!

--The stars of "High Impact Wrestling" do their thing at the Hungarian Club Friday night at 7.  What does the monthly meeting of Gronkville have in store this time around? 

--If you haven't read Corey Hirsch's article for "The Players Journal", do so.  It is worth the time you will take to read it.

--Has anyone seen the ESPN 30 for 30 on the XFL yet? I hear it is one of their better efforts. Who scored the first points in league history.  The answer would be Paul McCallum. 

--The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the Indoor Football League allowed fans to call their offensive plays via an app Thursday night in a game vs the Nebraska Danger (love that name).  Let's hope the CFL doesn't turn to this to engage the fans.  Oh yeah, as I type this, the Screaming Eagles were losing 63-39.  Did the fans turn on one another for their shoddy play-calling as the game progressed?  I wonder if the Eagles have Vince Young on their neg list? 

--That's all I got. Have a great long weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vince Young's Agent Starts Negotiations With Riders

And with that from Leigh Steinberg, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have people in the football universe talking about them again.

Last week, it was Johnny Manziel, and now it is Vince Young as Leigh Steinberg has confirmed talks are underway on bringing the soon to be 34 year old to the Riders and the CFL.

Chosen as the third-overall pick in the 2006 draft by Tennessee after taking Texas to a national chapionship in a dramatic win over USC at the Rose Bowl, Young had his moments under center for the Titans. Compiling a 30-17 record, Young threw 42 touchdowns and 42 picks in Tennessee before later starting three games for the Eagles during the  2011 campaign.

Young later emerged to sign a one-year deal with the Browns in 2014, but Cleveland released him less than two weeks later. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound passer announced his retirement from the NFL soon after.

Alouettes Sign Ernest Jackson

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The Montreal Alouettes announced Thursday they have concluded a two-season pact with sinternational receiver Ernest Jackson.

Jackson (6'2 ", 220 lbs.) Joins the new Alouettes' offensive unit after an unforgettable season with the Ottawa REDBLACKS with which he won the first Grey Cup in his career last November . He brings with him a wealth of experience and a remarkable track record. Jackson enjoyed a breathtaking 2016 year, winning 1,225 yards on reception, a good mark for seventh in the league in this regard. He was one of the favorite targets of quarterbacks Henry Burris and Trevor Harris, as shown by his 88 catches and 10 touchdowns.

The dangerous and dynamic 30-year-old receiver averaged 13.9 yards per catch in 17 regular season games. As has been the case since the beginning of his career, he has continued to multiply dramatic catches, demonstrating that he is an offensive threat at all times. Jackson also showed consistency throughout the 2016 season, totaling five games of 100 yards or more on receiving. He crowned his dream season with Eastern Division All-Star team nominations and the CFL All-Star team as well as being named the Eastern Division's nominee as Most Outstanding Player

"The contracting of Ernest brings new possibilities for our attack in view of the next season. Its addition is part of our plan to do everything we can to make our offensive unit spectacular and productive for our supporters next year, "said Alouettes chief executive Kavis Reed. "Ernest is one of the most formidable recipients of the League and I am confident that he will be among the favorites of the crowd," concluded Reed.

Cito Gaston To Speak At Regina Red Sox Dinner

The man who guided the Toronto Blue Jays to their two World Series titles in the 90's is coming to Regina to speak at the Regina Red Sox dinner.

Red Sox President Gary Brotzel was on 620 CKRM's Sportscage Wednesday afternoon to make the announcement that Cito Gaston would be their guest speaker as he joins a long list of former Blue Jays who have spoken at the event.

Gaston had two different stints as manager of the Blue Jays over a 12 year period and was their manager when they won the World Series in 1992 and 1993.

He was six games shy of 900 career wins when he left the Toronto dugout at the end of the 2010 season.

The dinner will be held on Saturday, April 29 at the Turvey Center.  Tickets are $90 each or $750 for a table.  For more information or to purchase yours, please email or visit the team's website at

Chicago Cubs Ready to Repeat

Image result for chicago cubs world series

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has his slogans ready for 2017. Get the T-shirts ready.

After guiding the club to its first World Series championship since 1908, Maddon arrived in camp this spring with a three-pronged approach to the new season, plus a throwback to one that started before he showed up.

The Cubs' themes for 2017? Be uncomfortable, authenticity, and don't forget the heartbeat.

"It's really important to become uncomfortable," Maddon said "If you become comfortable, that subtracts growth from the equation. I think if you remain uncomfortable, you continue to grow, you don't become stagnant or complacent. On every level, I want us to be uncomfortable, and I think that's a really positive word."

That's a message Maddon will deliver prior to the team's first official workout for pitchers and catchers. The full squad will hear it on Sunday.

Part two is authenticity.

"It's not to remind them that they're authentic, but the pertinent part is that if you are in fact an authentic person, you can repeat what you've done in the past naturally," Maddon said. "I really want us to understand the authentic part of who we are and for that to sustain what we've done in the past just by being us. Don't try to do anything different."

Which means Maddon and his creative coaching staff have ideas on how to keep Spring Training interesting, and it will begin on Sunday prior to the first full squad practice. After live bear cubs and mimes last year, it could be anything.

The heartbeat theme became obvious in Game 7 of the World Series, Maddon said.

"Things went badly for a bit," he said of a 5-1 blown lead against the Indians, who tied it with three runs in the eighth inning. "We came back and regrouped because our guys got together in a room, void of any kind of statistical, video, or analytical information. They went in there as human beings and came out unified. You do that, and it's kind of antithetical to what's going on right now. I don't want us to forget the heartbeat ever."

That moment came prior to the 10th inning when Jason Heyward called the Cubs players together in the weight room during a rain delay.

Maddon's messages in the past have included "Do Simple Better," "The Process is Fearless," and "Try Not to Suck." But there's also a theme that started in the Cubs' Minor Leagues before Maddon arrived that he'll emphasize as well, which is "That's Cub." President of baseball operations Theo Epstein explained it.

"When a player in a Minor League game or instructional league or on a back field in Spring Training would make a great play or back up a base or do something positive for a teammate, just organically, the other players started to say, 'That's Cub right there,'" Epstein said. "It really stood out. For a century, 'That's Cub' had a different connotation."
It's not a boast, Epstein said.

"It's a two-word celebration of what they've created," he said. "It means something to be a Cub now, and we shouldn't back away from that and we should be proud of that."

Catcher David Ross also delivered a message immediately after the team won the World Series, which was "Turn the Page."

"Obviously, we'll ride the energy of last year -- we just won the world championship -- but it is a new year," Kyle Schwarber said. "We've got to take that energy that we had last year into this year."
So, expect new T-shirts.

"Yeah -- 'Turn the Page,' with David's face on the back," Schwarber said.