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Friday, May 27, 2016

TICATS PROMOTE STEINHAUER, COMPLETE STAFF


Kent Austin, Vice President of Football Operations and Head Coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, announced Friday that Orlondo Steinauer has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. 

The Tiger-Cats also announced four additions to the 2016 coaching staff, including Mike Markuson as Offensive Line Coach, Chuck Winters as Defensive and Special Teams Assistant, Jarryd Baines as Offensive Quality Control, and Matt Tolliver as Defensive and Special Teams Quality Control.

"Orlondo is an accomplished coach in this league and very deserving of his new expanded role with the team. This is the next step in his career as he continues to progress both personally and within our organization," said Austin. "We have assembled a quality coaching staff that has a blend of experience, leadership, work ethic and ambition, and we're excited to open training camp this weekend."

2016 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Coaching Staff

Vice President of Football Operations and Head Coach
Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator
Special Teams Coordinator and Linebackers Coach
Offensive Coordinator and Receivers Coach
Offensive Line Coach
Running Backs Coach
Defensive Line Coach
Defensive Backs Coach
Defensive and Special Teams Assistant
Offensive Quality Control
Defensive and Special Teams Quality Control

Austin, Steinauer, Reinebold, Grant, McPhee and Stanley will all return for their fourth consecutive season with the Tiger-Cats in 2016. Steinauer previously served solely as Defensive Coordinator since his arrival in 2013. McPhee, who had two previous stints as a coach with the Ticats prior to 2013, will enter his 14th season overall with the team. 

Ptaszek, who was named Offensive Coordinator last week, will also serve as the receivers coach in his first season with the Tiger-Cats.

Markuson, a coaching veteran of more than 30 years, was an assistant in the SEC for 14 years (1998 to 2011) under Houston Nutt at both Arkansas (1998-2007) and Mississippi (2008-11), where he coached eight All-Americans, 15 all-conference honorees and 10 future NFL players. He worked two seasons at Ole Miss (2008-09) alongside Austin, who was Offensive Coordinator at the time. 

Among the well-known players Markuson tutored was Michael Oher, the subject of the movie "The Blind Side" and a first-team All-American and first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009. A four-time Broyles Award nominee as the nation's top assistant coach, Markuson spent the 2015 season serving as an offensive line coach with the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Winters, a former CFL linebacker, defensive back and special teams ace, appeared in 82 career regular season games and eight playoff contests over six seasons with the Toronto Argonauts from 2003 to 2008. During his career, he recorded 178 defensive tackles, 43 special teams tackles, seven quarterback sacks and two interceptions, while serving as a team captain and winning a Grey Cup with the Argonauts in 2004. Winters is a four-time Tom Pate Award nominee, an honour bestowed each year to a CFL player who displays outstanding sportsmanship, and someone who has made a significant contribution to his team and community. Since his retirement from the CFL, Winters has continued to dedicate his life to athletic excellence, leadership and philanthropy. 

The Detroit, Michigan native is a motivational speaker and owner of Last Play Training, a company designed to inspire youth to excel in both life and athletics. He was also a standout player at the University of Michigan from 1992-1996 in both football and baseball, and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1992 MLB Draft.

Baines most recently spent two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, serving as Defensive Quality Control Coach in 2015 after working as the team's football operations intern in 2014. As a football operations and officiating intern for the CFL in 2013, he coordinated the first league-wide player participation records and consulted with Football Canada to construct their Safe Contact video series. The Ottawa, Ontario native played 32 games at linebacker over five years (2008-12) at the University of Guelph.

Tolliver was the Tiger-Cats Assistant Video Coordinator in 2015. He was a football operations intern with the CFL during the 2014 season, and currently serves as a football official and member of the Hamilton Football Officials Association. The Hamilton, Ontario native has a Recreation and Sport Business Degree from the University of Waterloo where he played 24 games at defensive end under the tutelage of current Ticats' defensive line coach Dennis McPhee.

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

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

The hashtag #isitjuneyet can be replaced by #junehasarrived.  CFL training camps are starting, and I think it is safe to say no team is happier to put the 2015 season in the rearview mirror than the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a new season is here. In 2013, no one wanted training camp to come because Rider Nation wanted to keep celebrating the Grey Cup victory. In 2016, Rider Nation wanted training camp to start December 1 after a miserable 3-15 season.  As camp begins, every team has questions including the Riders.  Here are my top ones:

1. IS BRETT SMITH THE BACKUP QB?

Knock on wood Darian Durant's injury problems are behind him and he can play a full season. If that happens, we won't need to see the backup get meaningful time under center.  After a 2015 which saw Smith elevated from 3rd string to be the starter after Kevin Glenn was hurt. He managed to throw for almost 2-thousand yards and 15 TD's which really wasn't that bad on what was a bad team. At the end of last season, he believed he had done enough to show he could come into 2016 as Darian's backup. Did he show Chris Jones he has what it takes? I would have to think Smith gets the number 2 spot because there is no experience there should Durant suffer another injury.  BJ Coleman is the only other QB on the roster right now, but you would have to think another arm or two are coming in. There is also talk the Riders wouldn't mind getting Rakeem Cato from Montreal. A Smith-Cato battle would be interesting.

2. WHO IS THE STARTING RB? 

It would appear Curtis Steele gets that honor, but I am guessing that isn't written in stone. Matt Walter did a great job in Calgary when he had to take over for Jon Cornish, but can he be the number one guy? Having a Canadian starter at running back would free up an American elsewhere so he could very well get the spot becaue of nationality. I also wonder where Kendial Lawrence fits in. Could he be a Corey Holmes type player?

3. WHO IS THE KICKER? 

This might be one of the best battles in training camp. Tyler Crapigna was no slouch in the CIS, and once he was given his shot the McMaster product made all 4 of his field goals. The team then went out and drafted UBC's Quinn Van Gylswyk who was likely the best kicker in the CIS in 2015. I have seen this guy play enough to know he has CFL written all over him. I was surprised to see the Riders take him in the draft because of Crapigna. You can't keep both. Van Gylswyk can punt too, so he could have a leg up(no pun intended) going in,

4. WHAT WILL THE SECONDARY LOOK LIKE?

What will the secondary look like? The bigger question might be what will the starting 12 on defence look like. Yes, it will be a lot better than last year which shouldn't be hard.  Shawn Lemon and Justin Capicotti will be the ends. Greg Jones and Jeff Knox Junior will be two of the three linebackers and I would think your secondary will include Ed Gainey, Matt Webster and Otha Foster, although Foster could be one of the starting linebackers.

With the exception of Knox and Webster, that starting 12 will have a whole new look to it. Is it too much change back there? After last year, one would say no, but how long will it take for this group to be a cohesive unit.

5. WHAT ROLE DOES JOSIAH ST. JOHN PLAY?

While the CFL's number one draft pick has not signed a deal with the green-and-white yet, one has to think he will and that he will be ready to go for the start of camp on Sunday. Is there a thought he could be a starter after his career at Oklahoma? Ben Heenan started after being selected as the #1 pick overall didn't he? The Riders had their choice at offensive line and they took St. John for a reason and I am guessing that reason was they thought he could contribute immediately.

Isn't it great to talk Riders in earnest again?

-- ESPN's Stephen A Smith apologized to Canadians after the Raptors won Game 4 of the NBA East final against Cleveland. The Raptors should apologize to Canadians for laying one great big dinosaur egg in Game 5. WHAT WAS THAT?  I think this basically summed it up....


Is "embarassing" even the word to use for what happened in Game 5?  How can a team that was so good at home, be so bad on the road.  Even if Toronto should win Game 6, does anyone have confidence in them pulling out a Game 7 win? By the way, was that George Yannitsos yelling at Dwane Casey in Game 5. My eyes had to be playing tricks on me!

Still with the Raptors, DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph are taking a lot of heat for being at a Cleveland casino (which was attached to their hotel) until 2 AM on the night of Game 5. Did they have a curfew? If not, there is no problem, but if there was, there's a big problem. If there wasn't a curfew, someone should ask coach Dwane Casey why that was. Hey, Carroll and Joseph could have done worse and it isn't like they were far away from their hotel. However, the message it sends is somewhat wrong---especially when you are the only two who have really been playoff tested.

-- Is it just me or was the Weyburn KFC buffet story that broke this week something you would see in a Corner Gas episode? How Saskatchewan!

-- The Penguins and the Sharks in the Stanley Cup final. YAYYYY!!!

-- It is a mock draft, but the website draftsite.com has Pats forward Sam Steel going 52nd overall to the Flyers. Teammate Adam Brooks is slated to go in the 5th round to Boston at pick 134. This same draft has Warriors forward Brett Howden going to Florida at 23 and if that holds true, he would be playing alongside his brother.

-- Is TSN televising CFL exhibition games? If they are, I missed the memo.

-- I wasn't able to attend the Glen Johnson visit this week as he showed everyone his rules presentation video. Some say the "eye in the sky" isn't going to be as big a problem as first thought, but I need to see a game before I make any decisions on this initiative.

-- The Regina Red Sox open things up Sunday afternoon at Currie Field against the Weyburn Beavers as another WMBL season starts. Let's hope for a decent afternoon for ball and let's see a good crowd for the season opener.

-- All the best to "Tragically Hip" lead singer Gord Downie as he goes through his battle with cancer. I find it unbelievable he is going on tour, and I find it disappointing that tour won't stop in Saskatchewan. I am not as big a Hip fan as others I know, but there is no denying what he is on the Canadian landscape and what he means!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

TOP CFL STORYLINES HEADING INTO 2016

With CFL training camps set to open Sunday, The Canadian Press takes a look at some of the storylines for each team before the 2016 regular season kicks off June 23.

B.C. Lions

What's old is new again for the Lions. Wally Buono, the CFL's all-time leader in coaching wins, returns to the sidelines for the first time since 2011. Buono, also the team's general manager and vice-president of football operations, inked quarterback Jonathon Jennings to a contract extension following a breakout rookie season. Veteran QB Travis Lulay also remains in the fold, but perhaps the most interesting battle in camp will be who the Lions choose to replace running back Andrew Harris after he signed with Winnipeg. Linebacker Solomon Elimimian's health will also be something to watch. The league's most outstanding player two years ago had his 2015 season cut short by a ruptured Achilles tendon as B.C. stumbled to a 7-11 record.

Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders also have a familiar face taking over head coaching duties. Dave Dickenson will begin his first camp in charge after John Hufnagel, who remains the club's president and GM, stepped aside. A former Stampeders quarterback, Dickenson was Calgary's offensive co-ordinator the last five seasons after two as a position coach. The club finished 14-4 in 2015, but lost to Edmonton in the West Division final. Eric Rogers, last season's leading receiver in the CFL, signed with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers so quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell needs a new No. 1 target.

Edmonton Eskimos

The theme of a new coach continues with the reigning Grey Cup champions. Former Eskimos QB Jason Maas, the offensive co-ordinator in Ottawa last season, was hired after Chris Jones bolted to Saskatchewan. Under the leadership of quarterback and Grey Cup MVP Mike Reilly, the Eskimos finished 14-4 last season and are looking to become the CFL's first repeat winners since Montreal won its second straight title in 2010.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Hamilton made it to last season's East Division final despite losing star quarterback Zach Collaros to a serious knee injury. The Tiger-Cats, who finished 10-8 in 2015, will also have to do without Collaros to begin this season as he continues his recovery. The battle for the starting job in the interim should be the most interesting camp duel with either Jeremiah Masoli or Jeff Mathews likely getting the nod.

Montreal Alouettes

Quarterback will also be the focus for the Alouettes as Montreal looks to rebound from a dismal 6-12 mark. The club has a number of capable QBs on the roster, including veteran Kevin Glenn. Montreal signed Vernon Adams, a former star at the University of Oregon, to a three-year contract after acquiring his rights from the Lions last week. The Alouettes still have Rakeem Cato, who started four of the club's six wins in 2015, as well as Jonathan Crompton, last year's Week 1 starter.

Ottawa Redblacks

The Redblacks shocked the CFL by making it all the way to the Grey Cup in just their second year of existence. Ottawa went from 2-16 in 2014 to 12-6 in 2015 thanks in large part to the resurgence of Henry Burris. The veteran quarterback was named the CFL's most outstanding player after leading the league in passing yardage with a stellar group of receivers. Will he be able to keep it going? The Redblacks signed former Argos pivot Trevor Harris for insurance now and to be the club's quarterback of the future.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Riders finished a CFL-worst 3-15 in a 2015 season that seemed lost as soon quarterback Darian Durant went down in Week 1 with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Durant is back healthy for a club that lured Chris Jones away from Edmonton to put his stamp on the franchise as its head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations. Another intriguing storyline will be whether or not Saskatchewan comes to terms with former University of Oklahoma offensive lineman Josiah St. John, the first overall pick in the CFL draft.

Toronto Argonauts

The Argonauts are hopeful that quarterback Ricky Ray's shoulder issues are behind him after he missed the first half of last season's 10-8 campaign. Toronto upgraded its offensive line by signing Canadian tackle Josh Bourke from Montreal, but there will be a different look in the receiving corps and return game after Chad Owens left for Hamilton. The biggest news this season is the club's move out of Rogers Centre to BMO Field. The Argonauts play their first pre-season game in their new digs on June 11.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Fans in Winnipeg were bitterly disappointed after the club stumbled to a 5-13 mark in 2015, missing the playoffs in a year when the city hosted the Grey Cup. The Bombers made a splash in the off-season by signing Winnipeg native Andrew Harris from B.C. to lead the team's running attack. Winnipeg also added former Saskatchewan slotback Weston Dressler in free agency. But like all teams, quarterback health will be paramount to the Bombers' success as Drew Willy returns from a broken leg and knee injury that cut last season short.

(Canadian Press)

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

1 - Of utmost importance:  Where can a guy find a steam room in beautiful Saskatoon?  We've settled on the brand new Holiday Inn Downtown for our hotel for the next three weeks during Rider training camp, however it's devoid of a steamer and there are no Gold's Gyms in the Bridge City.  Who can help?  Thanks.

2 - The Brandon Wheat Kings were bounced from the Memorial Cup in Red Deer last night as their 2-1 overtime loss to the host Rebels dropped them to 0-3 and sent them packing.  Although we tease the Wheat Kings and their fans, we don't take pleasure in others' misfortune on this website.  As Wheat Kings' alum Keith Aulie told us last night in Avonlea regarding the Wheat Kings' exit, "That's too bad".  Brandon was expected to go into the tourney as the favourites, yet they are the first ones out.

Now, does Wheat Kings Coach/GM/Owner Kelly McCrimmon join the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer?

Glen Johnson in the Green & White Lounge
3 - We've been surrounded by referees this week.  And it's been great!  CFL V.P. of Officiating Glen Johnson hosted the media Wednesday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium to go over the rules presentation he's made in all nine CFL cities.  There were plenty of notes to take, but I thought you'd be interested in the top five priorities of the CFL in 2016:

- Player Health & Safety
- Reduce Penalties
- Expand video to protect integrity of outcomes
- Improve game flow and excitement
- Grow the game

4 - The concept of the "Eye in the Sky" beginning in 2016 isn't as ominous as I originally feared.  The second replay official, who will have access to an All-24 camera (a wide lense of all 24 players on the field), won't have the freedom to call penalties from the Command Centre in Toronto.  However he'll be able to review any penalty called by the game officials, and should be able to sort out any discussion in a matter of seconds (i.e. when the refs are together in a huddle and can't agree on what they saw).

I know for a fact that some officials and league personnel are leery over the mechanics of this innovation but Glen Johnson gave a tremendous presentation and had me a lot more at ease about it than before I entered the room.

Johnson - a software salesman by trade - has assumed a great deal of power in the CFL and is embracing video replay rather than running away from it.  All of these innovations he's dreamed up this winter are to best use the video replay the CFL's been provided by TSN, and improve the game.

5 - As one CFL coach said to me last week, "Without TSN, the CFL dies.  Don't ever forget that, because it's the truth".  That's true, so the CFL had better be careful because TSN wasn't pleased at all with what league employee Justin Dunk pulled during the CFL Draft (Tweeting out draft picks before TSN had a chance to air them).  And don't forget Justin moonlights at the rival Rogers Sportsnet.

6 - More items from the afternoon session with Glen Johnson:  The average length of CFL games fell by three minutes down to 2:52 last season ... The average length of a CFL video review is 1:31 ... Of the 64 Defensive Pass Interference challenges last year by coaches, only five calls were overturned ... The amount of plays coaches can review has been expanded but remember, the number of challenges coaches have per half has not.  Therefore this should not affect the length of games.  Roughing the Passer and Contacting the Kicker are a couple of calls that are now challengeable ... Eight officials who started the CFL season last year did not finish it ... There's a new four year agreement in place between the CFL and the CPFOA ... Four NFL officials will work CFL games this summer while three CFL officials will attend NFL officials training camp and referee one preseason game.  The CFL officials who are going south are: Dave Hawkshaw, Steve Foxcroft and Justin McGinnis.

Thank you Glen, for the visit and to the Riders for hosting us.

7 - Having said all of this, Sportsnet's Rich Sutter told us on the SportsCage yesterday that the NHL has gone "too far" with their video review.  We were discussing Game 6 of the Tampa Bay-Pittsburgh series where Jonathan Drouin's first period goal for the Lightning was called back due an offside which was missed by a fraction of a millimeter.  A year ago, that goal would have counted.  However the other night, Tampa Bay never scored again until they were down 3-0 to the Penguins and now they're going to a Game 7.  Video review is changing a sporting tradition we've had for 100 years and I'll go down on record as saying I'm not comfortable with it.

Rich Sutter also stated that Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is, "The greatest player in the game right now".

8 - Hilarious that the Cleveland Cavaliers complained that their Toronto hotel rooms didn't have the Golden State-Oklahoma City playoff game on basic cable so they had to go, as a team, to the nearby Real Sports Bar to watch it.  The Cavs said they were "bored" because they couldn't get ESPN or TNT in their rooms.  Hey!  I get it!  That's why I have both networks wired into my home office in Regina.

However it's somewhat surprising that this story made national news in the States (it was discussed on Pardon The Interruption with hosts Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon).  NHL teams travelling in the U.S. face the exact same situation every night.  Coaches are always looking for a sports bar in cities like St. Louis or Columbus because their hotels never offer NBCSN or some of the other remote network which carries NHL games.

The difference?  Hockey people don't complain about it.

9 - Having said that, it's shocking to me that NHL players are complaining about being "tired" in these Stanley Cup Playoffs and even more surprising is the fact coaches and fans are letting them away with it.  The Blues and Capitals come to mind in this regard (incidentally both are teams who've been knocked out).   TIRED??  Ask a firefighter in Fort McMurray or a solder in Afghanistan if they're tired.   And the NHL players are getting paid millions.  Good grief.

The topic came up on the SportsCage on Wednesday and Rich Sutter admitted that perhaps the players are more "mentally" tired than physically.  Either way, to me it's bunk.

Ryan Getzlaf on the Cage.  We get all the guests.
Meanwhile Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf came on the air with us on Wednesday live from the Chris Getzlaf & Friends Charity Golf Classic at Avonlea's Long Creek Golf Course.  Among the things he discussed, he's "not at all" surprised the Sharks have made it to the Stanley Cup Final.  He said they've long had the talent, however a different coach delivering the same message sometimes is all it takes.

Getzlaf also said the Ducks have three or four more good years left before a rebuild will be necessary.  That was in response to critics' comments that the Ducks' window has already closed.

Regarding their vacant head coach position, Ryan says there's been plenty of interest because everyone wants to coach the Ducks.  However he's not certain who the front-runner is.

10 - Glad to see our Premier Brad Wall rode to the rescue and helped save the KFC Buffet in lovely Weyburn, SK this week.  It's one of the province's hidden treasures and should be included in all tourist brochures for people travelling through the 306.  Seriously though, I always thought we in Regina got jobbed the fact that our KFC's don't offer a buffet however I'm sure the managers fear they'd be overwhelmed by the daily rush of customers.  We were regulars at the KFC Buffet when I lived in Prince Albert, although we might not have been the healthiest people on earth.

And the free advertising for the Weyburn KFC this week has to be worth close to a million dollars.

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THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4:00 PM
RP
@rodpedersen

RIDERS RE-SIGN FULTON, AND FOUR DRAFT PICKS

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced international offensive lineman Xavier Fulton has signed with the team. As per club policy, details of the contract were not released.

Fulton (6’4 – 300) re-joins the Riders after becoming a free agent in February. The 30-year-old Illinois product spent the previous four seasons with the Green and White after originally being acquired from the Edmonton Eskimos in an April, 2012 trade.

Fulton has started all 65 career regular season games played at left tackle after appearing in all 18 games last season. He has also added four career playoff games and won his first Grey Cup with the Riders in 2013.  

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pleased to announce the signing of four players from the 2016 CFL Draft class.

Kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk, linebacker Alex Ogbongbemiga, offensive lineman Alex McKay, and receiver Joshua Stanford have all signed with the team.

Van Gylswyk (6’2 – 192) was selected by the Riders in the third round, 26th overall. The 25-year-old Victoria native has spent the last three seasons at the University of British Columbia where he was named a two-time CIS All-Canadian and two-time Canada West All-Star. Last season, Van Gylswyk led Canada West kickers with a 83.3% field goal percentage and a 43.6 yard punting average as the Thunderbirds marched to the Vanier Cup as CIS national champions.

Ogbongbemiga (6’0 – 235) was selected by the Green and White in the fifth round, 36th overall. The 23-year-old Calgary native spent last season with the Calgary Colts of the CJFL, recording 20 defensive tackles and one sack in four conference games. Prior to that, Ogbongbemiga spent three seasons at the University of Calgary where he recorded 26.5 defensive tackles in 17 Canada West contests.

McKay (6’4 – 300) was picked by the Riders in the sixth round, 52nd overall. The 25-year-old Winnipeg native spent the last four years at the University of Manitoba. McKay started all 32 regular season and seven postseason games during his collegiate career with the BIsons. Following last season, he was selected to participate in the 2015 CIS East-West Bowl.

Stanford (6’0 – 190) was selected by the Green and White in the eighth round, 62nd overall. The 21-year-old spent last season with the at the University of Kansas after transferring over from Virginia Tech where he spent three seasons. While at VTU, Stanford established freshman school record with 40 catches and 640 yards.  

First overall selection, Josiah St. John has yet to sign with the team while third round pick Elie Bouka is currently with the Arizona Cardinals after signing a free agent NFL deal in April. The Riders fourth round pick, David Onyemata, recently signed a league required four-year contract with New Orleans after the Saints selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

The Riders also announced offensive lineman Matt Knight and quarterback Nick Bynkoski will participate in training camp. Knight is a member of the Regina Thunder and will participate as a territorial junior while Bynkoski was named to the camp as part of the CIS internship program.

MCCRIMMON: "WE LOST OUR MOJO"

RED DEER, Alta. - The Red Deer Rebels felt the pain of elimination back in April when the Brandon Wheat Kings bounced them from the Western Hockey League playoffs. Evan Polei never forgot the feeling.

Polei scored in overtime as Red Deer exacted some revenge by knocking Brandon out of the 2016 Memorial Cup with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

"You can't even describe it because we lost to those guys,'' said Polei. "For them to come into this tournament and lose all three (round-robin games) and we're the ones to send them home is an absolute great feeling.''

The 20-year-old Polei, a Wetaskwin, Alta., native, took a feed from Conner Bleackley at the side of the net and beat Jordan Papirny 3:50 into the extra period.

"Surreal moment, it's my first overtime goal, biggest goal of my career,'' said Polei, who is in his fourth year of major junior.

"I thought (Bleackley) was gonna shoot. I actually fanned on that shot, it was fortunate to go in.''

Red Deer will face the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in Friday's semifinal. The OHL champion London Knights have already earned a berth in the tournament championship on Sunday after going 3-0 in round-robin play.

Adam Musil scored for the host Rebels in regulation time.

Tim McGauley scored for the WHL champion Wheat Kings.

Rylan Toth made 33 saves for the win as Papirny stopped 30-of-32 shots in defeat.

"Losing out to them was tough, little cherry on top to knock them out, maybe a little pay back I guess,'' said Toth.

Brandon also lost 5-3 to the Huskies and was hammered by the Knights 9-1 at the tournament.

"We had much higher hopes coming to the tournament than how it played out. The three teams that played the best are the teams still playing,'' said Wheat Kings coach Kelly McCrimmon. "Somewhere between the (WHL finals) and Red Deer we lost our mojo.''

(The Canadian Press)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CORTEZ AMONG STAMPS GUEST COACHES



The Calgary Stampeders have announced their guest coaches for training camp.
 
Aaron Best: Best has been an assistant coach for 16 seasons at Eastern Washington University, currently serving in the capacities of running game coordinator, offensive line coach and academic coordinator. He was previously an all-American centre at Eastern Washington. Best was also a guest coach for the Stamps in 2015.
 
Jeremaine Copeland: The former Stamps receiver was a three-time CFL all-star during his playing career including league honours in 2009 with Calgary when he had 81 catches for 1,235 yards and 12 touchdowns. Copeland also had CFL stops in Montreal and Toronto and played for Barcelona in NFL Europe and the Los Angeles Xtreme in the XFL. He served as receivers coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012 and for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015.
 
George Cortez: A veteran of both the CFL and Stampeders, Cortez first entered the league in 1984 as running backs coach for the Montreal Concordes and has had three stints on the Stamps coaching staff - 1992-94, 1997-2001 and 2007-09. In the CFL, he has also been an assistant with the Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Rough Riders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, BC Lions and was head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012. South of the border, he coached with Rice, Lamar, Southern Methodist and California in the college ranks and was quarterbacks coach with the NFL's Buffalo Bills from 2011-12.
 
Edwin Harrison: The University of Colorado alum played 48 regular-season games on the offensive line over six seasons (2010-15) with the Stampeders. He was Calgary's nominee for the Most Outstanding Rookie award in 2010. Harrison began the 2015 campaign as the team's starting left tackle but suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 3.
 
Juwan Simpson: Simpson joined the Stamps in 2008 and became the starting middle linebacker in 2010. From 2008-15, the Decatur, Ala., native played 115 regular-season games for the Red and White as well as 11 post-season contests and was a member of Grey Cup-winning teams in 2008 and 2014. He was a three-time West Division all-star , a CFL all-star and a finalist for the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2010. 
 
Ahmaad Smith: Smith was defensive backs coach at Catawba College in 2015. The two previous seasons, he coached the defensive backs for Hampden-Sydney College. Smith attended CFL training camps with BC in 2008 and Toronto in 2010 and played for the Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers in 2010.
 
Rookie camp begins Thursday at 10 a.m. at McMahon Stadium while main training camp gets under way on Sunday at 9:05 a.m.

RIDER CAMP TIMES, SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT PICK

Saskatchewan Roughrider 2016 Training Camp officially opens on Sunday at the University of Saskatchewan's Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon. All times are approximate and subject to change. 
 
SUNDAY, MAY 29th      
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50 and 11:35-11:45)
12:30 pm                Players and coaches available to media
  
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50 and 11:35-11:45)
12:30 pm                Players and coaches available to media
 
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50)
11:15 am                Players and coaches available to media
 
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50 and 11:35-11:45)
12:30 pm                Players and coaches available to media
 
THURSDAY, JUNE 2nd      
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50 and 11:35-11:45)
12:30 pm                Players and coaches available to media
 
FRIDAY, JUNE 3rd     
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50)
11:15 am                Players and coaches available to media
 
SATURDAY, JUNE 4th – Green and White Fan Day at SMF Field
  4:00 pm                Warm up
  5:00 pm                Mock Game
                              * media availability to be determined
 
  9:00 am                Practice
                              (Filming available from approximately 9:20 – 9:50)
11:15 am                Players and coaches available to media
                              No practice – No media availability

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the selection of national receiver Kevin Francis in the CFL Supplemental Draft. In order to obtain his rights, the Riders have surrendered their third round selection in next year's CFL Draft. 
 
Francis (6'5 – 220) has spent the last four seasons at North Carolina A&T where he played 34 career collegiate games, starting 10. The 22-year-old Brooklyn, NY native collected 17 receptions for 163 yards and was a key contributor on special teams totaling eight tackles.
 
"We had a chance to see Kevin at a work out recently and I was really impressed with how he tested," noted Riders General Manager and Head Coach Chris Jones. "He is a big kid that moves really well and has proven he is capable of exceling on special teams."
 
Francis was deemed an eligible national as he was originally born in Toronto before moving to New York.

THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS

Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews
Happy Wednesday Everybody! Lots to get to today:

MEMORIAL CUP - The London Knights are through to Sunday's final at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. They improved to 3-0 in the round robin with a 5-2 win over Rouyn-Noranda on Tuesday night. The Knights are the best team at the tournament no doubt and beat their best competition in last nights game. Though it was tough to get a read because the refs and players got in the way to the tune of 17 powerplays between the two sides. The game was painful to watch at times because there was no flow and a ton of stoppages. Let the teams play!

The Knights powerplay is just stupid good, there is no other way to put it. Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk are dynamite. 5 on 5 yes and with the man advantage they just play with the opposition. It's fun to watch, just not 20 times a game. Marner had 4 more assists last night and has 13 points in three games at the tournament... not to shabby.

If the Oilers don't take London defenceman Olli Juolevi at number 4 in the NHL Draft I will be stunned.

Really surprised at the Brandon Wheat Kings through their first two games of the tournament. Not only are they oh and two but they've been outscored 14-4 and have looked out of place against Rouyn-Noranda and especially the London Knights. Brandon has almost looked uninterested. I know that's not truly how the players feel but they aren't playing with any jump and discipline has been a huge problem. Fortunately for them all they need is a win tonight against Red Deer to keep their tournament alive but they will need to be much better. Red Deer beat Rouyn-Noranda and have looked pretty good through their first two games. If the Wheat Kings win tonight it would mean a three way tie for 2nd in the round robin standings at 1 and 2. Based on goals for and against one team would go straight to the semi-final and the other two would play in a tie-breaker.

BOB WOODS OUT? - Rumors are flying around that the Saskatoon Blades are going to lose their Head Coach and GM Bob Woods to the NHL. Woods is rumored to be heading to Minnesota as an assistant coach with newly hired bench boss Bruce Boudreau. Woods was an assistant coach with Boudreau in Washington, Anaheim and with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Maybe the rumours simply stem from the history for Woods and Boudreau together. We will see...

SPRING CAMP - The Regina Pats will welcome 19 of their prospects to the Co-Operators Centre this weekend, 17 skaters and 2 goaltenders.

The players and their parents will get an orientation on Friday evening and then the kids will go through fitness testing. The first on-ice session will be Saturday at 10:30 AM and then again Sunday at 10:30 AM.

Head Coach and GM John Paddock says it's an important weekend for both the players, their families and the organization. "We view it as an experience where they can meet us. A little bit of on ice stuff, a little bit of testing just to show the direction they need to go. They will tour the school and get a feel of where they could possibly be going to school at some point. So it's really just a fairly casual setting. It's really good for me probably more than anyone else and Dave (Struch) because most of the kids we don't get to see you know in their first draft and the last two drafts. So it's good in that way for us to get a visualization of them initially or how they may have changed over the last season."

Paddock says they won't see American born players Bryan Lockner and Landon Langenbrunner this weekend. "Bryan is not going too and Landon was going too but his sister is graduating from high school this weekend so they are both out. Everything is fine with both of them. It doesn't change Bryan's approach, he will be coming to main camp and we hope to have him play with us next year."

As for the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Paddock says all will be in attendance other than American defenceman Kaden Bohlsen. "It looks that way, Bohlsen we are still waiting for a phone call back from him but the rest will be here."

Here is the roster for the weekend:

PATS PROSPECTS AT U16'S - Seven of the eight players drafted by the Pats in 2016 are headed to or have already taken part in their respective provinces U16 development camps. Hockey Alberta was the latest provincial body to release its development camp list.  Both newly drafted, Alberta-born Pats prospects were among the 80 invited to the camp.  Forward Kjell Kjemhus (4th round – 77th overall) and defenceman Ryker Evans (10th round – 209th overall).  Alberta’s camp takes place July 5-10 in Camrose, AB.

May 12-15 saw Hockey Manitoba hold it’s Program of Excellence Top-40 Camp.  All three Pats Manitoban draftees were in attendance led by second round pick, forward Cole Muir (33rd overall). Joining him were forward Tristen Robins (4th round – 76th overall) and defenceman Michael Ladyman (5th round – 108th overall).

Rounding out the Pats prospects attending Canadian summer camps is Logan Nijhoff (8th round – 165th overall).  The forward will be in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. July 13-17 with 44 top players from British Columbia.

Following these camps, each province will create a shortlist before trimming down to a final roster for the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary.

Meanwhile, south of the border, forward Kaden Bohlsen (9th round – 187th overall) earned an invite to the USA Hockey Select-15 camp July 16-20 in Amherst, New York.

HANLON IN VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Giants overhaul at the top has resulted in Glen Hanlon being hired as the teams second GM in it's history. Hanlon was Head Coach of the Washington Capitals from 2003-2007. He was also an Assistant Coach with the Vancouver Canucks, Head Coach of the Belarusian and Swiss national teams and an Assistant Coach with the Giants from 2011-2013. Before coaching Hanlon played in 477 NHL games with Vancouver, St. Louis, New York, and Detroit. Hanlon is now tasked with hiring a new Head Coach for the Giants and I'm told an announcement is coming very soon. Some reports have come out that former Kelowna Rockets coach Brad Ralph is among the final candidates.

SUTTERS HONOURED BY WHL - The legendary Sutter brothers were honoured with the WHL Milestone Award at a reception Sunday evening as part of the MasterCard Memorial Cup festivities in Red Deer.  The WHL Milestone Award pays tribute to extraordinary achievements by players, coaches, trainers, officials and teams over the 50 year history of the WHL.

The Sutters are the only family in WHL history to not only have six brothers play in the WHL but also go on to highly successful careers in the National Hockey League.

Brian, Darryl, Duane, Brent, Rich and Ron each graduated from the WHL and went on to very lengthy NHL careers that spanned 25 years combined. From 1974-83, the six Sutter brothers played in a total of 781 games for the Lethbridge Broncos in which they posted 1,007 points (458g-549a) and 2,248 penalty minutes. Products of Viking, Alberta, the clan totaled 2,934 career NHL points (1320g-1614a) in nearly 5,000 regular season games from 1976-2001.

MALCOLM CAMERON HIRED IN ECHL - Former Regina Pats Head Coach and Assistant Coach Malcolm Cameron has landed back in the ECHL. The Wichita Thunder introduced Cameron as the 13th head coach in teams history last week. Cameron has spent the last two heads at the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

NHL - The Pittsburgh Penguins forced game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final with a 5-2 over Tampa Bay last night. When the Pens went from Matt Murray, to Marc-Andre Fleury in goal and then back again for game 6 I thought they were dead. But Murray made 29 saves after getting game 5 off and now the Pens will head home for the deciding game of the series. We will see tonight if the same goaltending strategy works for St. Louis. They started Jake Allen in game 5 and lost 6-3 and will go back to Brian Elliott for game 6 tonight. I'm of the opinion you shouldn't change goaltenders in a series when you are tied 2-2 but obviously that didn't hurt Pittsburgh. I do believe however the Sharks are going to the cup finals.

RAPTORS - I sit here today with my hand raised as one of the doubters of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Final against Cleveland. Especially after games 1 and 2 when the Raps were embarrassed. However give Toronto all the credit in the world and more for the last two games they have played. Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan have showed up huge and Bizz Biyombo has been incredible in the middle. If the Cavs continue to love shooting the 3 ball 40 times a game then the Raptors will have a chance. Could you imagine if they pull off a road win in game 5 tonight and head home for game 6 with a chance to advance to the Finals? I am also blown away that the OKC Thunder are up 3-1 on Golden State in the West Finals. Sports are awesome.

That's all I have for today, have a great week!

Phil
@PhilAndrewsCKRM

MEMORIAL CUP: LONDON ADVANCES TO SUNDAY'S FINAL

RED DEER, Alta. - It's been 54 days since the London Knights last suffered a loss. They will attempt to run their win streak to 17 games when they play in the Memorial Cup final.

Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and Mitch Marner had four assists as London downed the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5-2 on Tuesday to earn their spot in the tournament's championship game.

The Knights last dropped a decision in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs on April 1 and have gone undefeated through round-robin play at the Memorial Cup.

JJ Piccinich, Christian Dvorak and Max Jones also scored for the Knights (3-0).

Marner's four assists gives him a tournament-best 13 points in three games and leaves him three points off the Memorial Cup record set in 1982 by Jeff Larmer and matched in 1986 by Guy Rouleau.

Timo Meier scored twice for the Huskies (1-2), who won't know their tournament fate until after the host Red Deer Rebels (1-1) play the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings (0-2) in the final preliminary-round game on Wednesday.

Hunter plans to give his team the day off on Wednesday, with the championship game set for Sunday. The semifinal is Friday while, if needed, a tiebreaker game will be played Thursday. The outcome of the Red Deer-Brandon game will determine both.

(Canadian Press)

ROUGHRIDERS CONFERENCE CALL NOTES

Saskatchewan Roughriders President Craig Reynolds and GM/Head Coach Chris Jones fielded questions Tuesday morning on their annual State of the Franchise conference call.  Here are some notes and quotes from the 25-minute session:

WHAT'S THE FOCUS GOING INTO CAMP?

JONES:  We're just looking for buy-in.  We sell the fact that we have fun everyday and that's what we do.  It's all about football.

RATING THE OFF-SEASON

JONES:  It's been very busy but we're used to it.  We've been doing this for a long time.  There's always going to be lots of changes.

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

JONES:  We're more about running around and playing fast.  We know they can hit.  We saw that on film.  Can they keep it up over two-a-days?  That kind of thing.

HOW WILL THIS CAMP BE DIFFERENT?

JONES:  We've been through this before.  We had lots of new faces in stops in Calgary, Toronto and even way back in Montreal in 2002.  We're kind of used to that.  Offensively there are a few more vets.

ON CANADIAN DEPTH ...

JONES:  We picked up some real good guys in free agency and the Draft was good to us.  Quarterback play and Canadian content is key and we feel we're in really good shape.

WHY DO YOU WEAR BLACK ALL THE TIME?

JONES:  It matches my personality!  It makes it real easy to pick out clothes in the morning.

WHO'S ATOP THE RUNNING BACK DEPTH CHART?

JONES:  Curtis Steele has the most experience.  If there's a front-runner, he'd be it but he knows he'd better be ready.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHICK AND DRESSLER RELEASES?

JONES:  We've rehashed that but we'll do it again. It's natural for fans to love players but I was hired here to win, not win a popularity contest.  Those are great guys and great players but this was what was best for the team.  All moves are made to win a Grey Cup.

HOW DO YOU BUILD A TEAM AND CHEMISTRY?

JONES:  A combination.  We look for certain physical attributes but if we have a guy with special talents and characteristics, we'll let him do a whole bunch of that.  We just try to be simple with the players and give them simple assignments to do over and over.  Those that can do that will stick with us.

HOW DOES THIS OVERHAUL COMPARE TO EDMONTON?

JONES:  We had a lot of changes over there in the first year two.  We've brought guys over that have played in the league.  There are some close parallels.

DESCRIBE THE DEFENSIVE MINDSET ...

JONES:  I'll leave that for you guys.  We'll do the same things we've been doing since 2002.  We'll stop the run, rally to the football and do everything in our power to get to the QB.

WHAT'S PLEASANTLY SURPRISED YOU ABOUT SASK?

JONES:  The passion.  You can only assume things from looking from the outside but seeing it from the inside, there are some very genuine people at this place that love the team and want to win.

WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR COACHES?

JONES:  They're some of my best friends in the whole world.  We're more like family than co-workers but everybody knows why we were brought over here.  It certainly wasn't for our looks.

HOW'S DARIAN DURANT?

JONES:  I think he brings a level of leadership.  He and Mike Reilly are similar in a lot of ways.  They're tremendous leaders.  He looked outstanding at minicamp and is in fantastic shape.  He's been out for two years so he has to prove certain things but you can't worry about things or you'll worry yourself to death.  95% of things you shouldn't even be worried about.

WHO'S THE BACK-UP?

JONES:  We'll have more guys there to evaluate.  I won't comment on anybody until I see them.  Darian's our starter and then we'll go from there.

WAS THE OFF-SEASON OVERWHELMING?

JONES:  No.  I love every aspect about this job.  I love coaching and personnel and when the season starts, it's like Christmas Day.  Players is the name of the game.  In high school years ago and Coach Lolley was the head coach, we found out personnel is how you win football games.

WHAT'S UP WITH THE DRAFT PICKS?

JONES:  We've got all of them signed but Josaih St. John (the #1 overall pick).  We hope to be able to have him signed.  We certainly would like him to join our team but we have certain philosophies in how we'll do things and that's sort of where we are right now.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FOOTBALL?

JONES:  If it wasn't for football, there ain't no telling what I'd be doing.  I'm just very blessed to be in football.  I wasn't good enough to play it, but I love every aspect of it and I think our staff parallels that.

RUMOURS ABOUT XAVIER FULTON AND JONATHAN WILLIAMS?

JONES:  Yeah we've got them both coming in.

HOW ARE EXCITED ARE YOU TO GET UNDERWAY?

REYNOLDS:  It's exciting.  It was exciting in December when we named Chris and he's surrounded himself with great people.  I'm excited to see how it plays out in the final season at Mosaic Stadium.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE FAREWELL SEASON?

REYNOLDS:  It's an important year.  We have a couple coming up here with the new stadium as well.  It's exciting and I can feel it across the whole province.  Saskatoon is excited to welcome us for training camp.  We'll only do this once-in-a-lifetime, closing down a stadium.  It will be very emotional for our organization but more importantly, our fans.

SEASON TICKET UPDATE?

REYNOLDS:  We're at 80% capacity right now with seasons and single game tickets go on sale June 1.  We've started the seat transition process and we've started conversations.  That's started with club seats and come mid-June we'll start discussions with others.

***

We'll air this conference call on today's SportsCage on 620 CKRM.

RP
@rodpedersen

PATS HOST SPRING CAMP THIS WEEKEND

Regina, Saskatchewan – The Regina Pats hold their annual spring prospects camp this weekend.  It runs Friday, May 27 to Sunday, May 29 at the Co-operators Arena.

This year’s camp features a more focused roster with 19 players attending.  Skaters range from the recently drafted 2001-born prospect class to 1998-born prospects.

The camp is the first opportunity for fans to see recently drafted, listed or acquired prospects.  Players attending the 2016 spring camp include 2015 first round pick Dawson Barteaux along with 2016 draft selections Cole Muir, Tristen Robins and Kjell Kjemhus.

Following registration and orientation Friday evening, the prospects take part in on-ice sessions running from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.  Rather than previous years where players were split into two groups, all players will be on the ice for each session.  These sessions are open to the public at the Co-operators Arena.

2016 Spring Camp Schedule
Saturday, May 28
10:30-11:30 a.m.
On-Ice Session

Sunday, May 29
10:30-11:30 a.m.
On-Ice Session

The full Pats spring camp roster is available at www.reginapats.com.