Interrupting 31 Days of Ghosts to announce something important which has zero to do with me other than it came in from a subscription I receive on social and political news.
From the Care2 team:
The Harper government has turned its back on decades of conserving much of Canada’s remaining great prairie grasslands, leaving many at-risk species like the burrowing owl and the swift fox hovering close to the brink.
Given Harper’s record this will come as no surprise, but the good news is we definitely can help to protect these iconic lands, if we act quickly!
Harper’s move means provincial governments will now own AND manage this fragile prairie ecosystem. A frightening prospect, as we know the government of Saskatchewan hopes to sell this land at market rates if they can move quickly and quietly enough.
We are very concerned for the future of this natural jewel because more than 80% has already been lost to development. But Premier Wall has shown himself to be flexible in the face of political push back.
For decades this beautiful, big sky land has been held in public trust as crown property carefully conserved for future generations and environmentally protected under the management of the federal government. All that changed when Harper walked away.
Now it’s up to us. Please tell Brad Wall he must guarantee that the conservation and environmental protections that have been in place for generations continue in the future.
Your message will make a huge difference. Once you send it, please share this campaign.
With apologies to Simon and Garfunkle (and the Bangles), it is rather hazy. Even though it’s not officially winter yet. There’s been a good amount of snow we’ve received, temperatures are very cool out (though, Environment Canada says we should get warmer weather next week), and to top it all off there’s an NHL Lockout and the possibility that the entire season will be scrapped.
There’s a good side to that. The latter point, that is. No NHL means no hockey broadcasts which means diehard hockey fans (does not include me) will have to go somewhere else for their fix. This means that leagues like the WHL, the SJHL and even down to senior leagues like the Sask Valley Hockey League should benefit. As an example, the Outlook Ice Hawks begin their season tonight with a tilt against the Conquest Merchants. It’s an exhibition game, so it really shouldn’t matter because it doesn’t count to the rest of the season. But it’ll be interesting to see the crowd support.
On the one hand, anytime Conquest is in town to play Outlook, there’s a good crowd. Granted, most of those people are from Conquest (seriously, we aren’t talking thousands of people in the rink, I don’t think it can hold over 500). So if there’s a good crowd tonight, it’ll be a so so indication, but we won’t know until the next home game against Lucky Lake on November 4. If there’s a good crowd on that night as well, then it might be a better indication of things to come.
Granted, the Ice Hawks haven’t been a powerhouse in the league over the years. That mark goes to the Rosetown Redwings. Who haven’t lost a game in two years. Still, there will be those NHL die hards who will show up for a lowly SVHL game just to get a fix.
The only real distraction that will come, might be if the Saskatchewan Roughriders make it to the Western Final or the Grey Cup, and a game is scheduled for that day. Then no one, even those at the arena, will be paying attention to hockey as our sights will squarely be on football.
Week one of the Canadian Football League starts up around the Canada Day long weekend. While we had thunder storms a lightning here today, it didn’t put a damper on festivities nor did it stop the opening of the CFL season, which began Friday night. The winners in week one were B.C., Edmonton, Calgary and the team I’ve been rooting for since I was a kid, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
This is the 100th Grey Cup, and as always it seems to hold a greater connection for Canadians than even hockey.
I don’t wear stripes at all.
I don’t even wear polka dots.
I’m pretty much a solid colour kind of guy. And by that, I usually mean black, red, green or white. Sometimes, I get a little crazy and I do a colour combo of two of those. Sometimes, three. Though never combining red or green.
Some colour combos include green, black and white. This combination happens to be the commonly used colours in the Saskatchewan Roughriders team paraphernalia.
Others include red, black, white and a splash of gold, which so happens to be the colours of the Ottawa Senators, the NHL team I happen to cheer for.
There’s also red and black, which happens to be the colours of the Outlook Ice Hawks Senior Hockey Team that I happen to do the Public Service Address announcements for during their home games.
Often, I wear white and red, which will contain a maple leaf somewhere in the design scheme. This, naturally, shows the devotion I have to the country I was born in. Yes, we Canadians can be proud of our home and native land, and I just so happen to be one that will show it more than just on July 1st or during the Olympic Hockey tournament.
So there you have it, in a nutshell, just a few of my fashion tastes.
Trust me, I am working on today’s episode of Rocket Fox.
In the meantime, here’s a couple of cover designs I made for the first and the third book in the series. First up, Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk.
And, second, the third book in the series which will see some heavy changes coming to it.
Oooo! Look at me, two posts in one day!
You ever have one of those times when you’ve worked hard to get something, and the end is in sight but the waiting begins? That’s what I’m going through right now. Let me try to describe it without giving too much away.
When I was a kid, those few last days before Christmas was an agonizing time. It felt like years had passed before I could wake up early Christmas morning, rush downstairs… eat breakfast… and open presents. One Christmas in particular comes to mind. That Christmas was great, because I had asked to get a Tyco Nite Glo race set. Two remote control Firebirds (one silver, one black) and a huge length of track. It was great setting up the race set in these intricate designs with different obstacles and jumps. At one point, I even considered getting a train set to have a train go around it’s track constantly while me and my dad or one of my friends raced like bats outta hell (not my dad, though, he’d never race like that).
Another item was the book Rider Pride, written to capture the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club. Published in 1983, it contained a great deal of information about the team, and while I followed them sparsely before reading the book, this made me a die hard fan.
I’m going through that right now. I have ordered something, which is a final proof, and the wait is unbearable. I normally don’t go to the post office save for once or twice a week. But this week I’ve been there every single day. I only hope that said delivery is coming through the mail, and not via courier. Which then, there would be a message taped to my apartment door (the outside, not the inside).
I’ll give it another go this afternoon, and if there still is nothing, then hope that tomorrow will prove more fruitful.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
The talk early this year in Riderville has been about a few things. Would the Riders defense be as potent without the likes of John Chick and Stevie Baggs who took contracts with Indianapolis and San Diego respectively, and the retirement of Eddie Davis? It’s now five games in, and aside from an embarrassment against Calgary in week four, it’s not too bad. Although, the Riders have given up the largest number of points per game. Fortunately, the offense has been putting up numbers.
The other talk has been about a new stadium in Regina. Moasic Stadium at Taylor Field is old, let’s face it. It’s been there for years. The same location has been the site of football in Regina for at least half a century. There is a lot of history there, but there’s also some problems. The stadium will have to under go several renovations to bring it up to snuff. So the question is, is it time to build a new stadium in Regina? And is it time to make that a domed stadium?
Football in Canada, especially on the Prairies, is not kind. Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all boast outdoor venues, none of which has the option of a roof to cover up during bad weather. The Riders, Eskimos, Stamps and Bombers have all played home dates in rain, snow, sleet, had games paused during a blackout, and in Edmonton’s case, mud. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton is one of the last football venues in North America still played on grass.
You might think that any one of these four cities would warrant a new domed stadium to make things much more inviting for the fans. Well, there are some arguments for such a move. The BC Lions have BC Place Stadium, which currently is undergoing renovations, so the team has to play home games at the smaller Empire Stadium. And people have loved it. The weather has been great, and you get a view of the mountains in the background while attending a football game. In Toronto, there is Rogers Centre. Home of the Agronauts and the Blue Jays. Back in the day, when it was called Skydome, the retractable roof was great. It’s still an impressive site, and with football and baseball always happening, Rogers is a stadium fit for a large metropolitan center like Toronto.
Then there’s the Big O. Olympic Stadium was to be the crown jewel of stadiums in Canada. But financial problems, and an Olympic games that put the city of Montreal in so much debt that they are still paying for it, became an eye soar. At one time home to the Montreal Alouettes and the Montreal Expos, it was often stated that they wondered when the roof would get finished. The stadium was built for the 1976 Olympics, and people still wondered in the 1980′s when the roof would finally be put in place. When the Als folded, only the Expos remained, and it was embarrassing to see only 5 to 10 thousand people show up for a ball game in a 60,000 seat stadium.
Fast foward, the Als returned to the CFL, and decided to move into Molson Stadium, a smaller outdoor venue. It’s been a perfect fit. The last two games and playoff games are always played in the Big O, and they’re always close to or at sell out.
Now lets return to Regina, where the winters can be harsh and summers can be blistering, combine both seasons with a wicked wind. You’d think that a dome in Regina would be a no brainer. But there’s money to consider. Who pays for it? There has been agreement that the city of Regina, the Riders and maybe even the province could kick in some funding. Now to get the federal government on board. But for a project like this, the tax payer, because that’s who’s paying for it in the end, needs to see a quick turn around. Sure, the Riders will play there. But that’s nine games. What else? The University of Regina Rams, and the Regina Prairie Thunder of the Prairie Junior Football Conference would have a new place to play. And, of course, there’s the high school teams in Regina that could benefit.
A new stadium in Regina could also attract some major events. Remember the Rolling Stones playing at Taylor Field? It was one of the most sought after ticket events of the last few years, because the Stones never played anywhere in Saskatchewan during their entire musical career. For the longest time, after Saskatoon built Saskatchewan Place (now called the Credit Union Centre), big name talent was flocking to the city. AC/DC, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi and more. Those names still come to Saskatoon, and very few go to Regina. Sure, Regina hosted Bon Jovi recently, but other acts are few and far between.
A dome in Regina would make sense economically. Plus, there’s already several groups that have come forward to help with the project. One of those has been several Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan. First Nations bands in Saskatchewan are some of the most keen business people around. Many reserves have gone from sparse and run down, to much more affluent. There are, of course, always exceptions to every rule.
So with so many interested people looking at a new stadium, I guess the only questions left are when would we see an official announcement either way, where would it be build, and would the Riders end up becoming like the Minnesota Vikings once they got a dome and dwindled into NFL obscurity.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the only unbeaten team left in the CFL in this early 2010 season. After a 24-20 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos. It was kind of an ugly game, as the Riders just couldn’t seem to kick it into gear until the magical fourth quarter when they seem to pull it out. A great thing (well, a couple of great things) Wes Cates running for 83 yards on one play to give him 112 yards on the day. If Cates stays healthy, he’s looking at a 1,000 yard season, maybe even more. Doug Berry brought in a great play when the Riders ran a reverse deep in their own end, and Rob Bagg picked up over 40 yards on the play.
The Eskimos played a lot of dropsies, though, as one catch that would have been a TD was dropped in the endzone, and the Esks had to settle for a field goal. Another was a pass and run play from Ricky Ray to Fred Stamps. It wasn’t a drop, however, as Tad Kornegay stripped the ball and the Riders recovered, putting the final nails in the coffin on game number three.
Next week, the Riders are on the road in Calgary, riding a three game winning streak. The Stamps are coming off a loss to the Toronto Argonauts, in a close battle that the Argos pulled out late in the game. Really, that game could have gone either way. How close? Final was 27 to 24 for the Argos. Have to see how it goes, but I’d say the Riders look sharp. However, you cannot underestimate Henry Burris and the explosive Calgary offense. I’m waiting for them to blow the lid off and put in an aerial attack one of these days. The Esks now at 0-3, their worst start in 45 years play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Buck Pierce for the Bombers is sitting out this week thanks to a knee injury against the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Steven Jyles will start. Either Edmonton picks up the win, or drops to 0-4, which will bring up a lot of questions for the people in The City of Champions. Meanwhile, Winnipeg could even their record at 2-2. Have to see.
Other CFL action, the Montreal Alouettes hold their home opener after three weeks on the road. The Ti-Cats are in town to see if they can prove that they are in the same class as the Als. The BC Lions will try and get back in the win column as they are in Toronto to face a much improved Argo team lead by first year quarterback Cleo Lemon. Lemon played most of his football career in the States and this is his first experience with the Canadian game. We’ll have to see if he’s the next Doug Flutie.
In the meantime, I found this gem on Youtube, celebrating the Riders 100th Anniversary.
Starting this week off with a cute short video entitled At-At Day Afternoon. Putting the massive Star Wars AT-AT in the life of a dog. Filmed by Patrick Boivin.
This weekend Canadians and Americans will celebrate the founding of their countries. The comedy troupe Back Of The Class has some fireworks tips. Note: these are not things you should do.
The Victoria, British Columbia comedy troupe Loading Ready Run has an informative and historically educational take on Canada and the anthem, and offers a suggestion for a new, and updated version.
Patrick Boivin comes in again and offers up, what would Tony Stark have been like if he’d been a bit younger. Okay, a lot younger, when he created the Iron Man suit.
And last but not least…
Wow! Just… wow!
How was your Canada Day?
Mine was interesting. It started with a slow start, but knowing there were a couple of exciting things to see. It ended with some exciting fireworks, but sadly, I forgot my camera. Because I was too busy going “Wow, just… wow!” after the opening day game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes. The game started off bad, but then something happened.
The most explosive back and forth battle in the CFL occurred. The third highest scoring game in CFL history, with the final score being 54 to 51 in favour of the Riders. In double overtime.
To say that the game was incredible is one thing, but it included a moment of deja vu. In last year’s Grey Cup, the Riders lost on a too many men penalty. It happened again, but this time the Riders had time to score. And they did.
After Montreal booted a field goal, the Riders marched the ball down the field and capped it off with a pass to Weston Dressler. As Dressler said in the post game interview, the Riders were just laughing when the penalty call was made, and Dressler looked to Durant and said “we gotta score again, let’s get it done.”
This opening game for the CFL season was broadcast on the NFL network, and what a game to open the season. The comments on the NFL network board were amazing about the game that got the ball rolling, so to speak. An interesting side note: Weston Dressler and Prechae Rodriguez both scored touchdowns last night. Dressler, who won the 2008 Rookie of the Year in the CFL, was up against Rodriguez who played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in ’08.
Others to score during last night’s game for the Riders; Wes Cates scampered into the endzone from ten yards out. Cates hit the opening game of the season with over 100 yards rushing, here’s hoping he can eclipse last year’s rushing totals. The Canadian Air Force continued to dominate as Rob Bagg and Andy Fantuz both grabbed touchdown passes. Bagg’s came on an 87 yard pass and run into the house, while Fantuz’s had to go to video replay to see if he was indeed past the goal line when he caught the ball. Chris Getzlaf added points on two point conversion rounding out the air force. Darian Durant also scored on a short quarterback option play.
If this game is indicative of the rest of 2010 for the Riders, then the Riders are looking to repeat in the West and challenge for the Grey Cup again in their 100th year.
And… wow! Just… wow!
2010 marks the 100th year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Growing up from the Regina Rowing Club, and the Regina Rugby Club to become the Regina Roughriders, the Riders have been involved in 14 Grey Cup championships. When other Saskatchewan teams folded in the Western Canadian Rugby Union in the 1940′s, the Regina Roughriders changed their name to the Saskatchewan Roughriders to encompass the entire province.
Years later, when the Western Canadian Rugby Union and the Canadian Rugby Union joined to become the Canadian Football League, there was some talk if the Ottawa Rough Riders and Saskatchewan Roughriders would change names. No such move was made, and the years that followed saw the Battle of the Riders in several Grey Cups.
The first would be in 1966.
Ottawa quarterback Russ Jackson would be the last big name Canadian at that position, retiring after the Eastern Riders defeated the Green Riders in 1969. Saskatchewan was lead by Ron Lancaster, who grew up in Pennsylvania, but became a Canadian citizen after playing in Regina. Lancaster was a massive supporter of the CFL, as the Little General finished his career in Regina, then began coaching for a couple of unsuccessful years before taking a seat in the broadcast booth. Lancaster returned to coaching, guiding the Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Tiger-cats to Grey Cups.
After a disappointing loss to the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1976, the Green Riders would not make the playoffs until 1988, and would not make the Grey Cup again until 1989.
Hamilton receiver Tony Champion played that game with two cracked ribs. Before Dave Ridgeway kicked the game winning field goal, he and holder Glenn Suitor talked for a while. Suitor asked Ridgeway “Did you see the blond in the stands?”. Quarterback Kent Austin would play a few more years in Regina before finishing out his career in Toronto, before becoming a coach.
The Riders wouldn’t get to the Grey Cup again until 1997, losing to the Toronto Argonauts.
Ten years later, the Riders would return to the Grey Cup. Fate was on their side, as Kent Austin, who lead the Riders in 1989, was the head coach. The venue was the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where the Riders won in ’89. The opponents, prairie rivals the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Shortly after, Kent Austin retired to take a position with his old school, Ol’ Miss. Ken Miller would take over the reigns as head coach, guding the Riders to a 12-4 record in 2008, and a first place finish in 2009 and a trip to the Grey Cup.
In 2009, it was the first time in the 97 years of the Grey Cup that Saskatchewan faced Montreal.
After that game, offensive lineman Gene Makowsky made the decision to play another year. The 16 year vet said that if they won the Grey Cup, he would have retired. In 2010, the Riders are again with the famed Canadian Air Force of Andy Fantuz, Rob Bagg, Chris Getzlaf, and Jason Clermont. North Dakota native Weston Dressler (who’s parents drive the trip to Regina for each home game) adds to the aerial attack. Darian Durant comes back as quarterback, and joins Ryan Dinwiddy (ironically, who started for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2007 Grey Cup). Other bits of irony, joining Ken Miller for coaching duties is Doug Berry, who was head coach of the Bombers in 2007. Hopes are high this year.
When you’re born in Saskatchewan, there’s a part of you that always remains. It’s almost like bleeding green. Canada may be a nation of hockey, but Saskatchewan is a province of football. The Ridernation stretches out far, as people across the country, and into the States, follow the ups and downs of this prairie team. A few years ago, a billboard in Toronto outside of the Rogers Centre proclaimed in big green letters on a black background “We Walk Among You”. In smaller white letters at the bottom were “Ridernation. Saskatchewan Roughriders”.
To say I’m excited for this season to start is an understatement. I’ve watched the Riders for over 30 years. I’ve lived through the drought. And I’ve been privileged to see them take the Grey Cup twice. Here’s hoping that the Riders can take a few more, and continue their tradition for another 100 years.
I was going to write about this on Sunday, but a case of the lazies came over me, so bad that I didn’t decide to do this until today (actually, yesterday I was quite busy at work and had a couple of other things to blog about).
This past weekend was trade show weekend in Outlook. The Fourth Annual Outlook & District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show to be exact. 96 booths were featured with businesses throughout the area and even some from Saskatoon came out to show off and describe everything from products to safety (as was seen at the RCMP roll over demonstration). There was even a chance to get a glimpse of two members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders as Marcus Adams and Darian Durant made an appearance in the afternoon.
Of the three trade shows I’ve attended (I missed out on last year’s) this has got to be the best attended one so far. There were a great number of spectators and everyone at their booths mentioned how this was better than last year. And naturally, most everyone was sporting some form of Rider apparel (myself included). As has been said in the past, a picture can speak a thousand words, so without further ado, here’s a sampling of this past weekend.
And that’s another successful trade show. Until next year (for the show, at least)…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
Here in my car…
I opened my paper this morning to find the usual advertising inserts, but this morning the Toyota insert for Best Wrapup Ever caught my attention. Not because I’m looking for a new car, I’m quite happy with my little Hyundi Accent, really. No, I flipped through it because Pearce, who has the Paper Hat Pirate blog, bought himself…
…hang on, I need to get this right…
done in a very game show host voice
A BRAND NEW CAR!
That’s right, he bought himself a new (to him) Toyota. Now, before all the domestic vehicle owners start hunting me and Pearce down for owning Japanese imports, let me clarify something here. A couple of somethings. Both Hyundi and Toyota have very good track records for reliability, dependability and service. Both companies create vehicles that are fuel efficient, and have the consumer in mind for what they need to have for a vehicle. Oh, and most importantly…
HYUNDI AND TOYOTA DIDN’T NEED A BAILOUT FROM THE GOVERNMENT.
I feel a tad justified in owning a car like this because I know for a fact it’ll be easier to get service done. “Oh, but Tim. It’s a Japanese import. It’ll be expensive, more expensive than a Ford!” No, no it won’t. I just recently had a new timing belt installed, and was a bit worried when I heard that it would be costly. But to my surprise, with an added oil and filter change, the total cost for all of that came to $446 Cdn. That’s not bad!
So, what’s all this have to do with Toyota (aside from having a snazy line of vehicles). Well, in the previously mentioned advertising insert I saw under the listings of each vehicle Job Loss insurance. What’s that? I asked myself. The obvious answer is Toyota making certain that even though you just bought a car, you won’t get screwed over a few months down the road should you lose your job. The following is direct from Toyota.
Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is pleased to introduce complimentary Job Loss Credit Protection on selected new Toyota vehicles (Yaris Hatchback, Yaris Sedan, Corolla, Matrix, Camry, Sienna and RAV4) that are leased or financed with TFS over the period of December 1, 2009 – January 4, 2010. This coverage is offered free of charge and provides up to $10,000 of credit protection should an eligible customer suffer involuntary unemployment during the term of their TFS lease or loan. For full details please contact your Dealer.
So that’s kinda cool. But what happens after January 4, 2010? Have to wait and see, because, as with everything the disclaimer states that details are subject to change without notice.
It’s the best game you can name…
So, the wait is on for the World Junior Hockey Championships. Normally, many would be talking about just Christmas plans, but Saskatchewan is hosting the IIHF WJHC this year, and tournament play begins on Saturday. That’s right! Boxing Day (there’s a hockey related joke in there). So not only will we have to get in on the deals, but we have hockey to think about. It’s become a tradition in Canada; giving gifts to loved ones, having a wonderful meal, dreaming of sugar plums, and getting ready to ROCK AT THE RINK AS CANADA GOES FOR SIX STRAIGHT GOLD MEDALS!
Sorry ’bout that. I got a little excited there.
This year, team Canada has done something kinda cool in commemoration for coming to Saskatchewan for the tournament. They’ll be wearing one jersey that is in dedication to a long and storied sports team in this province. There’s just one problem.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a football team, not a hockey team.
I can forgive a little gaff such as that, however the god awful jerseys that Team Canada will be wearing, I don’t know if I can. Fortunately, it’s around Christmas, so having green and red on them at the same time might be explained as celebrating the season. Canada’s colours are Red and White (and sometimes black for the condition we leave opponents in, which means we should add blue in the near future). Green wasn’t in the equation.
The beloved Riders (and don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE Rider fan) are Green and White (and sometimes black and silver).
Red and Green…. just seems weird.
Granted, it was still cool of Team Canada to recognize the Riders, especially in a year when they went to the Grey Cup. Maybe next time, just a little shoulder crest is enough.
Monday morning rolls around with a heavy cloud. That’s the way Monday always is, except in summer. Today, however, is a little heavier, especially after yesterday.
As most who read this blog, I announced on Saturday that the Riders and Alouettes would finish the CFL 2009 Season in Sunday’s Grey Cup. The game was filled with optimism. The Riders lead the game for 59:59 minutes. It looked great when Montreal missed a field goal in the last second, and the crowd and Rider bench celebrated. They’d won.
But there was a flag on the play.
Saskatchewan was called for too many men on the field, and Montreal’s Damon Duval got a second chance, ten yards closer. It was shades of 1989, except in some bizzaro nightmarish way, as it wasn’t Dave Ridgeway booting the winning field goal to give the Riders the cup, it was the Als, stealing it from the Green and White.
In a way, I should be happy. The game was close. The season for the Riders awesome. They weren’t supposed to be there, let alone in first place in the west. Sure there’s disappointment. But I noticed something in this team. They mirrored the teams of Lancaster and Reed so many decades ago. And I believe in my heart that they’ll be back. Just like Darian Durant said, Saskatchewan will become a place where you HAVE to go to in order to get to the Grey Cup. I’ve got a feeling that this team will be back again.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’.
Two weeks ago, the Saskatchewan Roughriders made history. For the first time in 33 years, the Riders ended the season in first place, and would host the Western Final with a berth to the Grey Cup on the line. In one week, it will be a first. The first time the Riders meet the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup. This is also the first time since the late 1960′s that the Riders have gone back to their second Grey Cup in less than 18 years.
I’ve been fortunate to be alive for many of the Grey Cup appearances by the Riders. In 1972 the Riders lost 13-10 to the Hamilton Tiger-cats. In 1976, it has now become famous how Tony Gabriel caught the winning touchdown to beat the Western Riders 23-20. After that game came the lean times for the Riders. They wouldn’t see the playoffs again until 1988, and wouldn’t get a shot at the Grey Cup until 1989. Personally, I don’t remember those games because I was 2 and 6 respectively. I think during the 1976 Grey Cup, I was more interested in snow angels than football.
I didn’t start really following the Riders until 1982. I remember getting a copy of the book Rider Pride that had all the history of the Riders from 1909 to 1983. That faithfulness never left me, as I became die hard during my teen years.
In 1989, Kent Austin lead the Riders to a 9-9 finish and went on to beat the Ti-cats 43-40 in what has become one of the most thrilling Grey Cups of the last few years of the 20th Century. I was in The Pas, Manitoba at the time, and watched the game on a crappy TV.
In 1997, when I was working in a news room in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the Riders went back to the Grey Cup, posting an 8-10 record, and showing they could win when it counted, but couldn’t as they dropped a 47-23 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. The Argos that year were lead by future Hall of Famer Doug Flutie. I watched the game from the news room, had a weekend to work, and reported news on the hour.
The years became lean again, and a major turn around wouldn’t be seen until 2007. After years of 9-9 records, the Riders brought in head coach Kent Austin. Austin, a rookie head coach, developed a system that the Riders took to quickly. They posted a 12-6 record, and went on to defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, taking home their third Grey Cup ever. I had been in Outlook, the place where I grew up for three years. The same place I am today.
1966, Ron Lancaster lead the Riders to the promise land with the legs of George Reed and the catching hands of Hugh Campbell.
1989, Kent Austin had Ray Elgaard, Don Narcis, and Jeff Fairholm as targets, Tim McCray on the ground and the kicking game of Dave Ridgeway and Terry Baker.
2007, Kerry Joseph picked up the reins and hit targets like DJ Flick, Andy Fantuz and Matt Dominguez. Fittingly, the win came at the Roger’s Centre, formerly the Skydome, where the Riders won the Grey Cup in 1989.
2009? This year the Riders are sure to be underdogs to a tough Montreal squad. Stingy on defense and punishing on offense, as the smallest mistake given, the Als will take advantage of it. But the Riders have Darian Durant at the helm, with targets like Andy Fantuz, Chris Getzlaf, Jason Clermont, Gerran Walker, and Rob Bagg. On the ground, there’s Stu Foord, Wes Cates and Chris Szarka. Jeremy O’Day and Gene Makowsky lead the O Line. On defense, the likes of John Chick and Stevie Baggs will put pressure on the Als offense. In the secondary, Eddie Davis leads a good group.
Let’s see what happens in a week from today. Ridernation will be roaring.
A tough CFL season comes to a head today. The Stamps travel to Mosaic Stadium to take on the Riders, with the winner advancing to the Grey Cup in Calgary. Down east, BC is going to try to be the first crossover team to advance to the Grey Cup as they play in Montreal.
Tensions are high. For the Lions, they’ve proved they can win, and proved they’re a better team than what their record says. Montreal is the best in the league with a 15-3 record. Calgary and Saskatchewan have fought hard throughout the year, and now to prove who’s best it comes down to this. In both games, the crowd is going to be a factor. Over 50,000 are expected in The Big O in Montreal. Over 30,000 in Regina. And the latter will sound like 60,000 in a domed stadium.
By 7:00 tonight, we’ll know who meets in the Grey Cup.
Canadian Football League
History was made today.
You can use any cliche in the book you want, but the end result is still the same. Darian Durant and the Saskatchewan Roughriders now get a two week rest before the West Division Final on the road to the Grey Cup. They got there with a solid 30-14 victory over the Calgary Stampeders. The Riders proved they were the best in the west after producing a solid win at home. The best part, they don’t have to make travel arrangements, because now they stay home as the road to the cup goes through Regina.
Durant was picture perfect through the game, as he came through with clutch plays when they were needed. When he couldn’t read the blitz, he played Houdini and managed to escape the pressure to find a receiver downfield. And when he did read the blitz, he’d find someone for a score.
It wasn’t just Durant. The Rider receiving corp has put up some impressive numbers over the course of the year. All are dependable, and all have shown they can come through in the clutch. Chris Getzlaf, Andy Fantuz, Rob Bagg, Weston Dressler, Jason Clermont, Jason Armstead. Even out of the backfield, there’s Wes Cates and Chris Szarka (now also a member of Regina City Council, it should be added).
The Rider D also made some massive plays, holding Calgary to only one touchdown in the game, no touchdowns in the second half. John Chick came up with a clutch play, sacking Stamps’ Quarterback Henry Burris on the one yard line. Omarr Morgan broke up a pass between Burris and Jermaine Copland forcing the Stamps into a punting situation, which they wisely gave up two points instead of getting the ball into the hands of return specialist Jason Armstead.
The last time the Riders took first in the West was in 1976. Back then the names were Lancaster, Reed, Aldag. That’s 33 years without having to have that all important week off. We’ll see just who is the opponent after the West Semi final of the Battle of Alberta as Calgary hosts the Edmonton Eskimos who ended their season with a win.
Sask Valley Hockey League
Nonetheless, hockey began in West Central Saskatchewan, as the Outlook Ice Hawks played two preseason games at home. On Wednesday night, the Hawks hosted the Loreburn-Dinsmore team (combined this year from last year’s 19ers and Dynamos), and on Friday, they played host to the Lucky Lake Lakers.
I’m going to start by saying it’s only preseason. Having said that, yes the Hawks did lose both games, but there were some high points to each. Both goal tenders managed to get some ice time in the first game, which was a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Loreburn-Dinsmore. The second game was a little closer, but still a loss to Lucky Lake, 7-5.
The first regular season game in Friday, November 13 at the Jim Kook Rec Plex in Outlook, as the Hawks play host to the Central Butte Flyers. After the game is wing night, sponsored by Rain Maker Irrigation.
The annual Labour Day Classic has come and gone and the Riders are doing okay.
It’s been an up and down season, but the Riders came into this game with a 4-4 record. The previous game was a close lose to the Montreal Alouettes. Winnipeg hasn’t been doing too well, and probably didn’t get a lot of help with media attention both on this side and south of the border when the announcement that the Bombers had signed troubled special teams player Pacman Jones. Jones didn’t even know what league he’d signed with and admitted that he only wanted to play as an in to get to the NFL again. He also bragged about scoring two TD’s per game. He should do his history, and see just how lack luster other players that tried to use the CFL as a spring board back into the NFL. After all, Ricky Williams isn’t known for his running up here, but instead for being the worst running back in the CFL.
All of that aside, the Riders hosted the Bombers in the first half of the home and home series. Through the first half of play, the Riders had everything under control, leading 18-4 after the first half. The Riders went up in the second half with a rare third quarter TD.
Winnipeg only managed one TD in the half, as the Rider D stepped up. John Chick recorded two sacks in the second half.
The Riders and Bombers go head to head next week in Winnipeg, the annual Banjo Bowl as it’s become. This also kicks off the second half of the CFL season.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
Week five? Make that game five. The Riders rumbled into Calgary on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. They let a 20 point half time lead slip away and walk out of their own park with one more in the loss column. One more loss would be the beginning of a disasterous season.
Betcha Calgary now knows how Saskatchewan feels.
Last minute heroics by the Riders and a picture perfect toss from Darian Durant to Chris Getzlaf. Bet Getz’s brother Ryan, who has a Stanley Cup ring with the Ducks, woulda been proud. The game was amazingly back and forth. The Riders went up, Calgary tied, the Riders come back. The game went right down to the wire, end in favour of the Green Riders, 24-23.
Yet another one point game.
Next week, the Riders are back on the road as they go to B.C. Place Stadium, and take on the happless B.C. Lions. So far this year, the Leos are the disappointment of the CFL, as they are proving to be just as good as the Detroit Lions of a couple years back. At least the Leos have one victory. For the Riders, lets hope B.C. doesn’t decide to come out of their slump next week in their domed stadium.
Speaking of domes, talk around Regina is constructing a new domed stadium for the Riders, and other events to be held in the Queen City (Zodi always laughs when I say Regina, for obvious reasons, so now I’m just going to get her to call it the Queen City). As they said in TSN.ca’s The Reporters, I am completely against this idea. Football in Mosiac Stadium (Taylor Field for us old timers) is always about the four or five hour drive to the Queen City, and sit outside. Not a domed stadium. As Damian Cox said, when they changed to a domed stadium in Minnesota, there seemed to be a change in attitude. Mosaic Stadium has to be about teams coming in, and freezing during October games and playoff games in November. Sweltering during July and August. And dealing with the unpredictable prairie wind. Many say that the Riders have the best fans in the world, and consider them the thirteenth man in a league where there’s 12 players per side. Count mother nature to be the fourteenth.
That is depending upon whether or not the Riders win or lose.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
In 2007 Darian Durant was number 3 on the depth chart for Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterbacks. He wore the number 14. Kerry Joseph was number 1. Fast forward to today, KJ is the number 1 QB in Toronto, and Darian Durant is the number 1 in Saskatchewan. In 2008, Durant traded in his number 14 for number 4 when KJ went to TO. Durant learned a lot from Kerry Joseph during his year in Regina.
Yesterday, the pupil went head to head with the teacher.
The Riders went into Toronto to face the Argos in a Saturday afternoon game in the Rogers Centre, and came away with a major win. Saskatchewan walked away with a 46-36 victory. Things didn’t look exactly great to start, as the Riders were down 13 to 7 after fifteen minutes, but the offense exploded for 30 unanswered points in the second quarter. The Rider D Line stepped up, forced turnovers, and the Riders capitalized on the penalties the Argos took. On one play, Adriano Belli head butted one Rider Defender. Argo’s Rookie head coach Bart Andrus said it best.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders began a new CFL campaign this weekend. They opened the CFL season at home to Western Rivals the B.C. Lions; and came away with a victory.
It wasn’t one that was picture perfect. Starting quarterback Darian Durant wasn’t perfect as he gave up turnovers. But like the past two years, the Riders’ D stepped up. Omar Morgan came through with a touchdown on an interception. Between both the Riders and the Leos, the two teams turned the ball over 15 times. Fortunately for the Riders, B.C. won that stat.
There was some concern coming into this season, with the departures of many Riders on defense, including defensive co-ordinator Ritchie Hall, who accepted the head coaching position in Edmonton. Those concerns for the most part were answered on Friday. The Riders still have a very good defensive set. On offense, they have one of the most dangerous receiving corps with Jason Clermont, Wes Dressler, Andy Fantuz and Rob Bagg.
This first game was a test, and the Riders came out on top. But it was the first game of a long road. Last year, the Riders came out of the gate with a 6-0 season, going onto a 12 and 6 record. Durant has been given the starting quarterback job. He seems to be the future of the position in Regina. He’ll make some mistakes, but if given room to grow, he could have a very long and successful career in a place that has brought up QBs the likes of Ron Lancaster, Kent Austin, John Huffnagel and others.
Next game on the road as the Riders take on the Toronto Argonauts. The Argos looked good against Hamilton on Canada Day. We’ll see how game 2 goes for the Riders.
Finally, the temperatures are starting to get back to something that resembles normal this year. A few days ago, you could look around and see snow all over the place. Today, the only snow is the piles located in more shady locales as people tried to clear the streets and sidewalks during our late winter. I guess that stupid ground hog was right.
Stupid ground hog.
Outlook, Saskatchewan has a new business. Okay, not a new business, but a new location for an existing business. Riverbend Co-operative has hunkered down in their new digs, and the place is quite impressive. Bigger than the previous store, with more selection, and grocery and pharmacy in the same building. And to that, it’s right next door to the Home and Agro centre for building supplies and farming supplies. I was talking to one friend when the new Co-op store opened up on Wednesday, and he retold a story of comments made by a child. The child said it looked just like Wally World (the nickname for WalMart in these here parts). Maybe not, but the new store is impressive.
That reminds me, I should make my grocery list and pick some items up tonight on the way home.
Congratulations have to go out to a couple of hockey teams. The Outlook Novice Ice Hawks ended their season on a high note as they captured the Fertile Valley league championship.
It should also be noted the Outlook-Hanley-Loreburn Hooters women’s hockey team captured the Busch League title. Congrats to them as well.
Now that all the important hockey is done, we can go about looking at that other league that plays into June. You know, the NHL.
The Saskatchewan government plans on holding information meetings around the province in the near future. Uranium in Saskatchewan, part of the government’s flag waving for nuclear energy in the province. I’ll have a blog (rant) about that in the near future.
With hockey and basketball looking toward their respective playoffs, many people are beginning to get their cleats and gloves ready for baseball, softball, fastball and slow pitch seasons. It’s been years since I was at a Red Eye, and the last competitive game of baseball I played was in Melfort in 1991. Before that, I played baseball for the Conquest Midgets when I was in high school. I wasn’t very good. But I am a good bowler. And neither of those two sports have anything in common. Perhaps the ball in each is round, and bowling pins can be argued to have the same shape as a baseball bat.
As sports go, I’m looking forward to the CFL season. The Ottawa Senators were knocked out of the NHL playoffs officially by the Florida Panthers a couple of nights ago. Now my interest in the NHL is even less than passive. Speaking of CFL, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were fined for going over the salary cap. The most unbelievable thing was that the Riders, even with a huge amount of injuries last season, didn’t complain. They did say that they would like to see how the cap is treated in the future, however, in the event that a large rash of injuries does hit a team as deep as it hit the Riders. Hopefully that trend does not continue this year.
That’s it that’s all for now. I may have other news later.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
Haven’t even gotten past the NHL season and I’m already looking to the CFL. In the past few days, the Saskatchewan Roughriders resigned the first of 17 free agents. The most important on offense is Darian Durant. Durant proved that he was the future of the Riders as he performed beyond expectations before being sidelined by cracked ribs. When he came back, Michael Bishop was the starter, but proved to be more of a sputter. It’s said that the starting position is Darian Durant’s to lose.
The Riders signed two more free agents, as TSN.ca reports that Saskatchewan re-signed defensive back Lance Frazier and linebacker Renauld Williams. Frazier has spent the past three seasons with Saskatchewan and last year led the team with five interceptions. He also recorded 37 tackles with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Williams started four of the 16 games he played for the Roughriders last season, finishing with 39 tackles, three sacks and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He also led the team with 18 special teams tackles.
Now the wait is on to see if Mo Lloyd signs, who was one of the best defensive players for the Riders last year. 2009 should look good for Saskatchewan, as returning receivers Andy Fantuz and Weston Dressler, last years rookie of the year, are shoe ins for the squad.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
It’s often odd to read news stories about a general manager or a former player in sports one day, and then the next hear of their passing. Such was the case with Ron Lancaster. Ron Lancaster became the face of not only the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but of the Canadian Football League. Born in Pennsylvania, he was considered too small for American Football at five foot nine. But he went north, and joined the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1960. He was the back up quarterback, and showed a spark for times when he was pressed into action.
But Ottawa was Russ Jackson’s town and team. They couldn’t have two big quarterbacks in Ottawa. So Lancaster was traded.
To the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
For the next 16 years, Lancaster became the player that set the tone for other quarterbacks in the CFL. Nicknamed the Little General, Lancaster never thought a game was not able to be won. There was always time left on the clock. Lancaster was the quarterback who brought the Grey Cup to Saskatchewan for the first time in 1966. The Green Riders would make Cup appearances again in ’67, ’69, ’72 and ’76. He set records that stood for over two decades. After his time as a player, he coached for two unsuccessful years in Saskatchewan, before moving to the broadcast booth, with the CFL on CBC.
After a long stretch in the booth, Lancaster returned to the sidelines as head coach with, first the Edmonton Eskimos and then the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He won a Grey Cup with each team, winning Coach of the Year with Hamilton.
From the side lines, he moved to the front office, becoming the general manager of the Ti-Cats.
Lancaster was 69 years old, and passed away due to complications with lung cancer.
On Saturday, September 20th, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will don their retro jerseys, sporting a Number 23 on them in memory of Lancaster. A moment of silence will be had before the Riders take to the field against the B.C. Lions. On the same field, that the Little General commanded his own troops so many years ago.
…keep ‘em flyin’.