Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blades 5 Raiders 1

   Saskatoon Media Group

   The Saskatoon Blades continue to roll at home...and overall...after trimming the visiting Prince Albert Raiders 5-1 Thursday night. The Bridge City Bunch scored four unanswered goals in the first period, chasing rookie, 17-year-old netminder Eric Williams in the process, on the way to winning their eighth straight home game and recording their fourth consecutive victory overall.

       The line of Darian Dziurzynski, Brent Benson and Jake Trask accounted for three of the goals, piling up eight points in total. Dziurzynski had two goals, Benson a goal and two assists and Trask with three helpers.

       Josh Nicholls scored, what turned out to be, the winning goal while Stefan Elliott added a power play marker for the Blades in front of 4,766 fans at Credit Union Centre.

       Saskatoon out-shot Prince Albert 39-28 with Brandon Herrod's second period goal the only shot to elude Adam Morrison in the Blades' net.

       It was the eighth straight win for the Bridge City Bunch over the Raiders at C-U-C.

       The Eastern Conference leading Blades will put their 28-8-1 record on the line against Red Deer on New Year's Day Saturday at 7:05.
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Blades game day: Prince Albert



Tonight’s game is the sixth of eight regular season meetings this season between the Saskatoon Blades (27-8-0-1) and the Prince Albert Raiders (14-20-2-2). The Blades have defeated the Raiders four out of the five times they have met this season including last night’s 4-3 victory in Prince Albert.

Josh Nicholls leads the Blades’ offensive attack vs. the Raiders this season having picked up 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points. Chris Collins has picked up 5 points (1G 4A) in 3 games played against the Raiders this year as a member of the Saskatoon Blades. Steven Stanford is 4-0 against the Raiders this season with a 91.9% save percentage. For the Raiders, Brandon Herrod continues to dominate the Blades this year as he has now picked up 7 goals and 2 assists in the 5 head to head match-ups vs. Saskatoon. These 9 points account for over 25% of Herrod’s total point production this season (he has 34 points in 37 games for the Raiders this season).

Blades Last Game

They almost frittered away the two points, but the Saskatoon Blades recovered their composure (and the lead) on the way to a 4-3 triumph over the Raiders Wednesday night in Prince Albert. The Bridge City Bunch accumulated leads of 1-0 and 3-0 at the period breaks on goals by Jake Trask, Josh Nicholls and Chris Collins. But, the 14-20-2-2 Raiders rallied to tie the score in the first 6:09 of the third frame on goals by Justin Maylan, Andrew Herle, and Brandon Herrod. P.A. then received a power play chance, only to have the Blades kill it off and get the winning goal a few moments later from Brent Benson. Collins assisted on the goal for two helpers and a three-point night. Prince Albert out-shot Saskatoon 42-35 as former Raider Steven Stanford made 39 saves to improve his personal record to 18-2.

Blades Banter

- With last night’s win in Prince Albert, the Saskatoon Blades established a new franchise record for points at the midway point of the season with 55. The Blades record of 27-8-0-1, which has them ranked first overall in the WHL, is one point better than the record they had last year at this time when they had a 26-8-1 record good for 54 points.

- On Monday the Blades recalled forwards Tim McGauley (95) and Hudson Morrison (94). McGauley was the Blades’ first round draft pick in this past years WHL Bantam Draft and has been playing for the Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League where he has picked up 6 goals and 6 assists this season. Morrison joins the Blades after playing 23 games and getting 22 points for the Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba M-AAA Hockey League.

- Last Wednesday Duncan Siemens was named one of 13 WHL players invited to participate in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Toronto on January 18th and 19th. Siemens is having a tremendous sophomore season having already collected 23 points and an impressive +20 rating through 35 games played this season.

- For the 14th consecutive week, the Saskatoon Blades find themselves ranked in the CHL Top 10 Rankings. For the 4th straight week the panel of NHL scouts which tabulate the rankings ranked the Blades #6 overall.

By The Numbers

- The Saskatoon Blades enter tonight’s game riding a 7 game home winning streak. It is the 2nd time this season the Blades have had a 7 game winning streak on home ice. The Blades boast the league’s best home record with a 14-1-0-1 record in 16 games played at Credit Union Centre.

- The Blades defensive corps of Stefan Elliott, Teigan Zahn, Duncan Siemens, Darren Dietz, Dalton Thrower, and Connor Cox has combined for an incredible combined plus minus rating of +72 through 36 games played this season. As well the Blades rear guards have combined for a league leading 28 goals from the Blue Line this season.

- Marek Viedensky played in his 150th career WHL game last night in Prince Albert. The 20 year old San Jose Sharks prospect has appeared in 60 games for the Blades since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars midway through last season. In those 60 games, Viedensky has collected 31 goals and 30 assists for the Bridge City Bunch.

Hulak joins Huskies

Not only did he return home for the holidays, Derek Hulak came back to play hockey for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

The former Saskatoon Blades captain -- twice a 30-goal scorer in the Western Hockey League -- joined the Hockey Dogs on Wednesday afternoon for his first practice at Rutherford Rink.

Hulak, 21, had been playing for the Tulsa Oilers in the Central Hockey League. He has enrolled at the U of- and eligible to play in the upcoming second term, which starts next week.

"I knew that if I decided to stay pro, I'd be tearing down quite a bit as far as the scholarships were concerned," said Hulak, who needed to make a decision prior to Jan. 1 without having his Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility penalized.

"Some people think that, if you go to the CIS, it's the end of your hockey career. I definitely disagree with that. The proof is there with people who go on to play pro after, people that go to Europe after. You can use the Huskies as a stepping stone to get to other places."

Hulak -- who has had National Hockey League tryouts with both the Edmonton Oilers and Phoenix Coyotes -- collected four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 21 games with the CHL's Tulsa Oilers.

He initially signed with the ECHL's Reading Royals but failed to catch on.

"I definitely didn't want to turn down an NHL tryout with the Phoenix Coyotes," said Hulak, explaining why he didn't join the Huskies back in September. "I wasn't 100 per cent sure of what I wanted to do at the time. I kind of knew, in the back of my mind that, going into the NHL camp, if I wasn't a guy who wasn't going to play in the AHL, if I was going to be down in the East Coast or CHL, it's kind of a long way up from there.

"I almost had my mind made up before I left, but I wasn't 100 per cent -- if I wasn't on an AHL squad or signed an NHL contract -- that school would be the route for me."

Still, he gave minor pro a chance -- on a free CIS pass given to players in their first year out of junior hockey prior to the start of the second term -- without jeopardizing eligibility.

"I definitely wanted to go down there and try it," Hulak said Wednesday. "I'm glad that I did. I had a lot of fun. I met a lot of good people. They treated me very well. I got to experience it, so, at least now, I'm not kind of wondering 'what if?' I definitely had a good experience. At the same time now, I'm real excited to get going with the Huskies."

Hulak, a 6-foot, 190-pound forward from Saskatoon, had 31 goals and 53 assists for 84 points in 72 games with the Blades last season before adding nine points in 10 playoff games.

He was just starting to figure things out with Tulsa when the clock began clicking on his CIS decision.

"I kind of left right at the time when the coach started showing some confidence in me," admitted Hulak. "It was a little tougher to leave at that point once the success had started settling in, but, at the same time, I definitely think I made the right decision."

Hulak is following the path of his older brother, Dan, a former all-star defenceman for the Huskies.

"I witnessed my brother Dan go through it and he has nothing but good things to say about the Huskies and the organization and how much fun he had here."

The addition Hulak gives the Huskies 10 forwards who reached the 20-goal plateau during a season in the WHL.

Hulak isn't sure where exactly he fits in.

"That's up to them. I'm hoping to be a guy that comes in and contributes right away, but, if that's not in the mix, so be it -- they're a good squad that's been together for a few months already," he said.

"I definitely don't put myself ahead of anybody on that team. I'm just going to wait and see what the coaching staff sees in me."

U of- head coach Dave Adolph sees unlimited potential.

"Derek is a former captain of a WHL team from a program (Blades) that puts great emphasis on leadership and accountability," Adolph said Wednesday. "He had 84 points last season and was starting to find his way this year in minor pro at a point-a-game clip. He is a proven player who now genuinely wants to go to school. What is not to like about those assets? Throw in that he is from the Hulak family and we have another quality young man in our Huskie program."

Blades 4 Raiders 3

Even though it took 11 days -- thanks to a Christmas break stuffed right in the middle -- the Saskatoon Blades won their third game in a row with a 4-3 Western Hockey League victory Wednesday night over the Prince Albert Raiders at the Art Hauser Centre.

Brent Benson notched the game winner at 8:52 of the third after the Raiders had rallied for three unanswered goals in the third period to draw even at 3-3.

Chris Collins did the work down low to set up Benson, whose shot fluttered past partially screened Raiders' goalie Jamie Tucker.

"We had a few chances down low, moving around and stuff, and eventually I just saw the guy open and, luckily, he got the shot kind of off -- but one of the P.A. guys got a piece of the stick," Collins, who had a goal and two assists, said of the game-winner.

"It didn't go as planned, but it went in. Thank goodness, because it wouldn't have been a fun drive back if we would have lost that one."

Saskatoon improves to 27-8-0-1. Prince Albert slips to 14-20-2-2.

The same two teams meet again tonight at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

"It's always disappointing losing, especially when you work hard to come back with three goals," said Raiders' forward Andrew Herle. "It's really crushing, but we have another chance (Thursday) to take them in their barn."

The Blades nearly saw a three-goal lead slip-slide away that would have denied them that three-game winning streak.

"We got a little bit undisciplined in the third period and Prince Albert is a team that works hard in this building," said Blades head coach-GM Lorne Molleken. "We knew it was going to be a tough third period and we had to come out with our best and I don't think we did.

"We were fortunate enough to score that winning goal."

Jake Trask gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 7:46 of the first period. Trask skated in from the left side on a two-on-one break and snapped a perfect shot past Tucker, finding the top right-hand corner on the glove side.

Prince Albert found itself in a bit of penalty-trouble yet successfully killed off a 5-on-3 Blades power play. That gave the Raiders a bit of momentum through the remainder of the first yet they could not solve their former goalie, Steven Stanford. The closest they got was a goal post on a backhander by Austin Connor.

Just 34 seconds into the second frame, Saskatoon's Marek Viedensky -- who was parked at the side of the net -- redirected a feed out of the corner from linemate Josh Nicholls. The goal, which cleared the review process by WHL video officials, quickly made it 2-0.

Another two-on-one break resulted in Saskatoon's third goal. This time, defenceman Connor Cox and Collins combined to capitalize on their odd-man rush. A hard shot by Cox bounced off Tucker's shoulder, popped up and went behind the goalie where Collins was waiting to make sure it went in by batting the puck in mid-air.

Prince Albert finally got on the board during a power play at 1:57 of the third as Justin Maylan tucked in a rebound that trickled past Stanford after an initial shot by Antoine Corbin.

The Raiders quickly got back into the game, adding another goal a short time later at 3:22. It came on a second effort by Herle, who finished off a back door play just moments after getting robbed earlier by a goal-post.

P.A. evened things up at 6:09 when Brandon Herrod jumped on a free puck in the slot following a between-the-legs drop pass by Mark McNeill.

Saskatoon answered back with the goal by Benson to ruin the comeback.

BLADE BITS: Shots on goal were 42-35 for the Raiders . . . Affiliated players Tim McGauley and Hudson Morrison, both called up from the midget AAA ranks, were in Saskatoon's lineup, which was missing F's Curtis Hamilton, Levi Bews and Ryan Olsen, all on international hockey assignments . . . Announced attendance was 2,589 . . . Saskatoon went 0-for-3 on the power play. Prince Albert was 1-for-4.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blades game day: Prince Albert


Tonight’s game is the fifth of eight regular season meetings this season between the Saskatoon Blades (26-8-0-1) and the Prince Albert Raiders (14-19-2-2). The Blades have defeated the Raiders three out of the four times they have met this season including the last time they met on November 27th by a score of 6-2.

Josh Nicholls leads the Blades offensive attack vs. the Raiders this season having picked up 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points. Darian Dziurzynski and Lukas Sutter each have chipped in offensively with 2 goals and 2 assists a piece. Steven Stanford is 3-0 against the Raiders this season with a 91.6% save percentage. For the Raiders Brandon Herrod has feasted upon the Blades this season having collected 6 goals and 1 assist in the 4 head to head match-ups.

Blades Last Game

The Saskatoon Blades headed into the Christmas break as the top team in the entire Western Hockey League. The Bridge City Bunch allowed Edmonton to score the first and last goals of the game on December 18th ...but tallied four of their own in between for a 4-2 triumph over the Oil Kings in front of 3,559 fans at Credit Union Centre. The result gives the Blades a 26-8-1 record for 53 points. Brent Benson scored twice with singles from Jake Trask and Stefan Elliott. The defenseman’s tally was his 14th of the season and turned out to be the game-winner early in the third period. Steven Stanford stopped 30 shots to improve his personal goaltending record to 17-2. Saskatoon out-shot Edmonton 33-32.

Blades Banter

- On Monday the Blades recalled forwards Tim McGauley (95) and Hudson Morrison (94). McGauley was the Blades first round draft pick in this past years WHL Bantam Draft and has been playing for the Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League where he has picked up 6 goals and 6 assists this season. Morrison joins the Blades after playing 23 games and getting 22 points for the Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba M-AAA Hockey League.

- Last Wednesday Duncan Siemens was named one of 13 WHL players invited to participate in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Toronto on January 18th and 19th. Siemens is having a tremendous sophomore season having already collected 23 points and an impressive +20 rating through 35 games played this season.

- For the 14th consecutive week, the Saskatoon Blades find themselves ranked in the CHL Top 10 Rankings. For the 4th straight week the panel of NHL scouts which tabulate the rankings ranked the Blades #6 overall.

By The Numbers

- With a win tonight the Saskatoon Blades would set a new franchise record for points at the midway point of the season. Last season the Blades established the now franchise record with 54 points (after posting a 25-7-4 record). A Blades win tonight would give them 55 points.

- Stefan Elliott enters tonight’s game riding a 9 game point streak. During that time, Elliott has picked up 13 points and scored goals in 6 of the last 7 games. Elliott leads all WHL defenseman with 14 goals and the entire WHL with 8 GWG’s.

- The Saskatoon Blades have 5 players ranked in the top 10 in the leagues +/- stat category. Curtis Hamilton, who is away playing with Team Canada at the World Juniors, leads the league with a +27 mark while Stefan Elliott is 2nd with a +25. Marek Viedensky and Duncan Siemens are tied for 5th with +20 marks and Josh Nicholls is ranked 8th in the league with a +18.

Delahey a Huskie

There's a big defenceman standing under the Christmas tree for the University of Saskatchewan Hockey Huskies.

It's a present that looks to give the Dogs more of a physical presence.

Moose Jaw native Matt Delahey - a former fourth-round draft pick of the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils who attended the Boston Bruins' prospects camp this fall - has left the ECHL's Ontario Reign to enroll at the University of Saskatchewan for the upcoming second term.

Delahey, 21, had two goals and three assists, along with 13 penalty minutes, in 20 games this season for the California-based Reign. He spent five full seasons in the Western Hockey League, most of that with the Regina Pats, before being dealt in his overage year to the Chilliwack Bruins.

The addition of Delahey in the new year will give the Huskies a total of 10 defencemen in the fold, with six of them in either their rookie season or second year of Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility as the U of S squad begins to stock up as the host team for the 2013 and 2014 University Cup national championship tournaments.

Delahey joins fellow rookies Ryan Funk, Curtis Kulchar and Garrett Thiessen, sophomores Brett Ward, Cody Hobbs and Ilan Cumberbirch, plus third-year Huskies Zach Sim and Matt Swaby, as well as veteran Jesse Zetariuk, who is into his fourth CIS season.

Delahey has been described as a wellrounded, shutdown type of defenceman who plays with a bit of toughness. Although not particularly flashy or spectacular, he gets the job done. A steady defender, he plays a relatively sound game in his own end and skates pretty well for a bigger guy who stands 6foot1 and weighs 215 pounds.

There's a possibility the Dogs could also be adding another forward to the mix, but U of S head coach Dave Adolph would neither confirm nor deny that rumour.

All he would say is that the team - currently tied for third in the Canada West conference with the Calgary Dinos - needs to improve its on-ice results and, given the right player, he would seize the opportunity to try to make his team better.

Although still ranked in the CIS top 10, Saskatchewan heads into the second half with a disappointing 8-60 record and 16 points.

"We are just two games above .500 in a very difficult conference, so we had to get better or be campus rec," Adolph quipped Wednesday. "(We're a) team with high expectations every year (but) we haven't made the trip to the national tournament in two years.

"I choose to accept the expectations, so I had a chance to make our team better - and took it."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dinos' Parker headed to Shrine Game in Orlando

CALGARY – It has been a good week for University of Calgary Dinos slotback Anthony Parker.

After being named the top Canadian Football League draft prospect in Canadian Interuniversity Sport football by the CFL’s central scouting bureau on Tuesday, Parker added another feather in his cap with the announcement that he has been invited to the prestigious East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla.

Parker will join Queen’s offensive lineman Matthew O’Donnell as the CIS representatives at the annual event, which is slated for Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Kickoff goes at 2 p.m. MT on the NFL Network.

The annual all-star showcase features more than 80 of the top players in NCAA football, and representatives of Canadian schools have been invited each year since the Dinos’ Tom Spoletini became the first in 1985. With his selection to the game, Parker becomes the record 10th University of Calgary player to appear in the Shrine Game and the first since defensive lineman Dan Federkeil, who went in 2006 before embarking on a career in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.

Parker is the first Dinos receiver to receive the Shrine Game invite since Hec Crighton winner Don Blair attended the 1996 game at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

“It is an incredible honour to have been selected as a member of the East West Shrine Game, and to be one of only two players in all of Canada is really special,” said the 21-year-old Okotoks, Alta. native. “I am looking forward to the opportunity and it is another step in the right direction! It will be a highlight of my career to this point and I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute, not only as a participant in the game but also to such a great cause.”

The Shrine Game has been played annually since 1925 to raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children and to raise awareness about the expert orthopedic, burn, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and cleft lip and palate care, available at no charge to patients and families, through the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children. The week-long event in Florida will include a visit by the two teams to a Shriners Hospital in nearby Tampa.

Despite missing three regular season games due to an injury this fall, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Parker finished third in Canada West with 73.4 receiving yards per contest and fifth in all-purpose yards with an average of 125.2. He was named a conference all-star for the second straight season.

In the playoffs, he tripled his scoring output with six touchdowns in four games and 376 more receiving yards, helping the Dinos claim their third consecutive Canada West title and reach the Vanier Cup final for the second year in a row.

Parker enjoyed his best campaign with the Dinos as a junior in 2009 when he led Canada West and ranked third in the country with 816 receiving yards, and scored 10 all-purpose touchdowns to finish second in the Western conference. His statistics earned him second-team all-Canadian status.

Parker has been the highest-ranked CIS player by the CFL’s Scouting Bureau all season as he opened at No. 3 on the Sept. 16 list and maintained that position in the December rankings released Tuesday.

In Orlando, the CIS standouts will get a chance to play for a pair of coaching legends.

Parker’s West team will be coached by Wade Phillips. Phillips, 63, went 83-64 overall as an NFL head coach between 1985 and 2010 with New Orleans, Denver, Buffalo, Atlanta and Dallas. He led his last team, the Cowboys, to a pair of first-place finishes in the NFC East in 2007 and 2009. He started his coaching career back in 1969 at the University of Houston as a graduate assistant.

Dan Reeves, 66, will lead the East team. Reeves led the Denver Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances in a span of four years between 1987 and 1990 and guided the Atlanta Falcons to the NFL title game in 1999. Over his 23-year tenure at the helm of Denver, Atlanta and the New York Giants from 1981 to 2003, he compiled a 190-165-2 regular season record and an 11-9 playoff mark.

CIS Players in the East West Shrine Game (by school, since 1985)

10 Calgary
5 Saskatchewan
4 Alberta
3 McGill, UBC, Laval, Regina
2 Concordia, Guelph, Carleton, Manitoba, StFX, McMaster, Western, Queen’s
1 Bishop’s, Ottawa, Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier, Simon Fraser, Waterloo, Sherbrooke, Windsor

About Canada West Universities Athletic Association
“Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year since 1997-98. Comprised of 14 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the CWUAA produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games.”

A proud member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas

There isn't much in the form of updates for now. Don't expect anything until the new year. Until then you can follow me on Twitter for updates at


Saturday, December 11, 2010

GSP vs Gretzky?

I posted a message on Twitter the other day stating that I feel UFC President Dana White has somewhat of a leg to stand on when he says that George St. Pierre is the most famous athlete to ever come out of Canada.

He may have an argument. It's all about context and perspective when it comes to debates like this.

All the time you hear statements like this. Just flip on your local radio station and you will hear something like this:

"We are Saskatoon's #1 rock station!" Um... yes that is true because you are Saskatoon's ONLY rock station.

Everybody is #1 in some capacity. "My blog is the #1 blog on the web..... that my mom reads."

With that being said, Dana White's statements are pretty wide open and leave a lot of room for criticism. I honestly don't know if he's right or not. This piece will have a lot of holes in it and everyone will have their opinion and that's great but there's more to the story then simply that he's out to lunch. (PS> just saw that the MacBook has 7 minutes of battery life left so I'll type fast)

How about this:

-More than 4.7 million viewers tuned in to see UFC 75, the first ever title bout on Spike TV. On a Saturday night, it outdrew college football among young men.

Just so we're clear, college football is a religion south of the boarder.

UFC 124 set for tonight in Montreal with GSP set to face Josh Koschek is said to be one of the most anticipated UFC events ever if not the most. UFC 100 drew over 16 million viewers. Oh yah, and the UFC is on PPV so people aren't just flipping on the tube and watching it for free.

As a contrast here are the numbers from the Stanley Cup final from Wikipedia:

In Canada: Game 6 was the most-watched All-American Stanley Cup Final game, with 4.077 million viewers.

In the USA: Game 2 of the series, on Memorial Day, earned a 4.1 rating.[2] The number of viewers increased as the game averaged approximately 6 million viewers with a peak of 6.940 million at 10:30 pm.

Let's remember that the UFC runs about 12-14 cards per year and there are only 1 Stanley Cup finals. The gold medal hockey game at this past winter's Olympics was a different story though.

Here's a snipit from ESPN:

According to NBC, the game drew an average viewership of 27.6 million and a rating of 15.2, a jump of 45.5 percent from the same matchup at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Both gold-medal games were aired midafternoon live.

From 5:30 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET, the audience reached its peak, with 34.8 million glued to the TV.

The game, carried in Canada on nine national networks and in eight languages, became the most-watched television broadcast in Canadian history. An average of 16.6 million Canadians, or about half of the nation's population, tuned in.

And about 80 percent of the population, or 26.5 million people, watched at least part of the game.

Both sides of the argument have merit.

- There are 68 countries that are part of the IIHF.
- Gretzky has had his face on everything but I don't see GSP trying to sell me a Dodge Ram.
- GSP may be right when he says that MMA is more popular world wide than ice hockey. He may be wrong too, I'm not sure.

I use to think people were nuts when they would say that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Off the top of my head I don't know that I could name 10 soccer players that play the game today. That's no disrespect to soccer but I think most Canadians would be the same. Likely a lot of Americans too for that matter.

On the other hand I bet most Canadians could name every member on Team Canada from the past Olympics.

My statement is this: I think most Canadians are upset about DW's comments because if you poll the country I'm sure 99.999% of everyone would know who Wayne Gretzky is but I can't see nearly as many people knowing who GSP is. I don't think Dana White disagrees with that either.

I think, and I think DW was meaning that if you were to poll the world you might find more people who know who GSP is rather than Gretzky.

With basketball being so popular in China right now, if you were to ask someone to name a Canadian athlete I bet Steve Nash would be the first name out of many mouths.

If you ask Canadians who they think the most famous Canadian is, I could think of a whole host of people who would come in ahead of George St. Pierre. The rest of the world may not see things the way we do though.

I'm not so sure that Dana White is correct with his statement that GSP is the most famous Canadian but I'm not so sure that he's wrong either.

What's your call?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Huskie Athletics celebrates centennial in 2011-2012

Huskie Athletics will proudly celebrate its 100th birthday during the 2011-12 season. With the Centennial Celebration comes some exciting announcements.

Huskie Athletics is proud to announce former Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk will be the honourary chair of the Centennial Celebrations Planning Committee. Joining her as chairperson of the committee is University of Saskatchewan Chancellor Dr. Vera Pezer.

Dr. Fedoruk enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan in 1946. She was a member of 12 intervarsity championship teams including playing on the Huskiette basketball team that won the Cecil Race Trophy five times. She also competed with track & field, hockey, volleyball and golf. An accomplished athlete, Dr. Pezer is a four-time Canadian Ladies’ Curling Champion, a Canadian Softball Champion and a two-time member of the Saskatchewan Senior Women’s golf team.

All Centennial Celebrations will encompass four themes: heritage, alumni, education and legacy with events scattered throughout the 2011-12 season. The goal of the celebration is to promote and enhance the student-athlete experience, provide a legacy for Huskie Athletics and to pay tribute to stakeholders, past and present, of Huskie Athletics.

Catherine Gryba and Craig Peterson have also signed on for duties on the committee. Gryba is the Vice Chairperson of the Centennial Planning Committee, while Peterson has also joined the committee in the position of Promotions Chair.

Huskie Athletics also unveiled a centennial logo that will be used throughout the 2011-12 season. This logo will begin to be used in all Huskie Athletics areas starting with fall sports in 2011.

The Centennial Celebrations will kickoff September 10, 2011 at a Huskie Athletics Wall of Fame Event. Detailed information on the Wall of Fame, as well as nomination information will be available in January.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monday morning water cooler

SASKATOON -- The column returns this week after a brief hiatus but we're back and ready to go this morning.

I'll be filing columns over at sporadically throughout the off-season starting with a column tomorrow morning that will touch on the inaugural SaskGridiron Awards Banquet held over the weekend in Martensville. We'll discuss the awards this morning and gather some reaction among other things.

I want to start by thanking everyone who took the time to attend the first ever SaskGridiron Awards Banquet on Saturday night. In a word the event was 'fantastic!' Thank you.

Ballsy, aka Michael Ball, from the Wolf 104.9 morning show in Regina was our MC for the evening and boy did he do a tremendous job. Ballsy had the crowd entertained from the moment he stepped on stage, even if there was the odd mistake.

I kid of course. I refer to his mention of the Saskatoon Blues ringette hockey team.


He corrected himself, of course, and everyone had a good laugh. As I type this column this morning I notice that spell check has alerted me that it doesn't recognize the word ringette. Really? It's 2010 and ringette isn't a recognized word with spell check? I smell a column for another day but just a comment for now.

(guest speaker Matt Dominguez)

Former Roughrider Matt Dominguez was the guest speaker and he didn't disappoint. Matt had the audience in stitches for thirty minutes straight. He was also very accommodating afterward with the array of pictures and autographs. What a true class act all the way.

A couple more thank you's to be handed out this morning and I know I thanked them personally but I wanted to thank Tom Sargeant, head coach of the Saskatoon Hilltops, for making an appearance and for the door prize that he donated. One of the greatest compliments that I could receive was not only his presence at the banquet but right after the program he came over and shook my hand and said what a great job I did. He truly seemed blown away. I couldn't believe it. Tom is a huge supporter of 9-man football and you can tell that by looking at all the former 9-man players on his roster each year.

Along with Stageant I want to thank Brian Towress, head coach of the U of S Huskies. Unfortunately Towress couldn't make it due to other commitments but he expressed his desire to be there and will make it work in the years ahead. He also was quick to donate some great door prizes including three pairs of gloves that went to players who attended the banquet.

(left to right: Tom Sargeant, Matt Dominguez, Michael Ball and myself)

I want to make sure I thank my family for all the help they put into the banquet and my girlfriend for her countless hours helping make the banquet what it was. Without their help this would not have been a success.

And finally, I want to thank Joe Gunnis at EMJ Marketing for all his help getting this event off the ground. I hope to work closely with Joe to make this event bigger and better year after year.

Now that the thank you's are out of the way, and I know there are people who I may not have mentioned this morning but I thank you for your help, we can move on to the rest of the banquet and some other items of interest.

The complete list of award winners are posted over at and in the coming days there will be all-stars announced in each conference. The fact is there were so many award categories that were very close after the votes were tallied that I want to make sure those players who were just on the outside of winning an award receive some recognition that they deserve. I will post nine offensive and nine defensive all-stars in each conference in the near future.

Here are some notes from the banquet:

- North East outstanding receiver Kjiel Bonli (Melfort Comets) was praised by Ballsy for his great hockey name. "Sounds finish," he commented. From then on during the evening he was known as the finish first round draft pick. He trumped it when Ballsy saw his sharp tie. Very nice.

- I've never had a standing ovation before. I was caught off guard and was taken aback. It was quite the honor to know how much the work I put in is appreciated. The ultimate compliment.

- I had some music playing softly in the background when the doors opened at 5:00pm and it wasn't until midway through the meal that I realized that the music wasn't playing anymore. I was too busy and everyone else was having too good a time to notice.

- One comment was posted on the message board late last night asking for the award winners to be posted on line and within minutes a reply was shot back saying that they should have been at the banquet. Truth is, there are plenty of reasons for some to not be able to attend but if you want to be in the know you have to be at the show. Those results are posted now and were forever going to be posted for Monday morning.

- I was able to meet and say hi to just about everyone on Saturday night and if I missed you I apologize and make sure I don't make the same mistake again.

I had a phone conversation with Yorkton's Trent Senger late last week and revealed to him that he had won coach of the year in the East Central conference and he was floored. He was so honored that he had been chosen and couldn't say enough good things about his counterparts in the conference and emphasized how honored he is.

Truth is he earned that award with the work and progress he has made with his program. The same goes for the other award winners presented Saturday which include Delisle's Ken Buyers and Humboldt's Shaun Gardiner. This has to be one of the greatest compliments you can get as a coach because the award is selected by your peers.

Some of the best times happen when everything is done and you can sit back and reflect. Myself and a few of the coaches had a chance to get together later that night and the ideas and suggestions were flowing. It's amazing how much you can do when the sky is the limit and it truly is in this situation. There are some people out there, and they know who they are, who are 110% behind SaskGridiron and want to do whatever they can to make it grow and with them and their help it will happen.

One final note on the banquet, for now, is that you can look for the banquet to be coming to a community near you down the road. The plan is to move the banquet around throughout the province to communities who are willing to step up and be host to the event. It's a very exciting time to be in 9-man football.

A few other notes and tid bits of information from the past week or two both relevant and irrelevant:

- I have a man crush on Mark Wahlberg. My new year's resolution is going to be to be Mark Wahlberg. He's just plain awesome. My new slogan is a Wahlberg quote. "I want to build something that can last forever."

- The Stanley Cup absolutely destroys other major championship trophy's when it comes to value. This from one of the latest stories on
  • Vince Lombardi Trophy - new trophy every year. Cost: $50,000.
  • World Series Trophy - again, new each year. Cost: $15,000.
  • NBA Championship Trophy - remade each year. Cost: $13,500
  • Stanley Cup - only one with individual names engraved. Cost: $650,000 plus travel costs.
- I was three frames away from bowling a perfect game Wednesday afternoon. I'm a pro at Wii bowling and if you don't believe me come over any time and I'll wipe the floor with you.

- Saw the movie The Next Three Days last week and I'll give it a 3.5 stars out of five. Pretty good movie with good pace at the end. I won't spoil it for you but definitely worth checking out.

I'm on a break from now until the 18th of the month. As a student, I won't write a final exam until then so I'll have my head in the books for the next two weeks. I'll still come back to update the blog every now and then but it's study and then holiday mode for this blogger.

I'll be posting my Christmas wish list on the blog again this year. For those that don't know I like to go shopping and as I go I will photo blog my list of must have items this holiday season. It's a great guide for any guy and sports fan on your Christmas list this season.

I'm sure there's more I could write this morning but I'll save it for another time. Until then, enjoy your week and stay warm!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Miller stepping down ALERT: Ken Miller is stepping down as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Does this line up a return for Kent Austin?
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