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Saturday, January 19, 2019

NEW RIDER GM O'DAY NIXES DURANT RETURN


Jeremy O'Day wasted no time making his first decision as the Saskatchewan Roughriders' general manager/vice-president of football operations.

One of the Riders' most pressing needs this off-season is a bona fide quarterback but O'Day, who signed a three-deal as GM, quickly dismissed the return of veteran Darian Durant.

Saskatchewan promoted O'Day to the post Friday to replace Chris Jones, who resigned Tuesday as head coach, defensive co-ordinator, GM and vice-president of football operations to become an assistant coach with the NFL's Cleveland Browns.

Durant, 36, spent 11 seasons with Saskatchewan (2006-2016), leading the franchise to its last Grey Cup victory in 2013. Durant signed a one-year deal with Winnipeg in January 2018 that included a $70,000 signing bonus but retired shortly afterward and opted to keep the money.

Durant has kept the door open to a possible return to the CFL, saying he continues to work out and physically feels good.

"Darian was a very successful player and he did a lot of great things for our organization,'' O'Day told reporters in Regina. "But I will tell you we won't have an interest in Darian.''

O'Day, 44, begins his second tenure as the Riders' GM. He was first appointed Aug. 31, 2015 on an interim basis, holding the position for the final nine games of that season.

O'Day is in his 21st season with the Roughriders. The six-foot-three, 300-pound former offensive lineman moved into Saskatchewan's front office as its football operations co-ordinator upon retiring as a player in February 2011.

O'Day began his CFL career in 1997 with the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup in his first pro season. In 1999, he signed with Saskatchewan as a free agent and spent 12 seasons with the Riders.

The Buffalo, N.Y., native, who played collegiately at Edinboro University, started 202 regular-season games with Saskatchewan. He also appeared in 16 playoff games and three Grey Cups, winning in 2007.

O'Day, a married father of three children, won his third CFL title in 2013 as a member of Saskatchewan's front office.

Riders president Craig Reynolds said he also looked outside of Saskatchewan for a suitable GM.

"The reality is the best candidate was already working for us and I knew that,'' he said. "Jeremy is more than ready for this opportunity.''

Jones left for Cleveland a week after signing a contract extension with Saskatchewan. But he had an escape clause in the deal allowing him to take an NFL position.

Reynolds said Cleveland called him about Jones last Saturday.

"The Browns crafted that role with Chris Jones in mind so it's quite the opportunity for him,'' Reynolds said. "But I'm comfortable where we're now at.

"And we're not going to hold people back from opportunities.''

Saskatchewan improved steadily under Jones, registering five, 10 and 12 regular-season wins in each of his three seasons. Jones, a 51-year-old native of South Pittsburgh, Tenn., was named the CFL's coach of the year in 2018 after a 12-6 season, but the Riders lost 23-18 to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West Division semifinal.

O'Day doesn't have the luxury of time to celebrate his promotion. Saskatchewan still must hire a head coach and defensive co-ordinator and CFL free agency begins Feb. 12.

O'Day said there's lots of interest in the Riders' head-coaching position. He has a definite idea of the type of candidate he's looking for.

"I'm not looking to hire a friend, I'm not looking to hire someone I get along with personally,'' O'Day said. "I want to hire the best coach that's a leader of men, that can go into the room and get the attention of the guys and command the respect of the players and hold people accountable.''

But Saskatchewan's new head coach won't be able to hire his own staff. With the CFL's newly instituted football operations salary cap, O'Day said the Riders are "80 per cent secure with our coaching staff.''

Another priority for O'Day will be finding a top-flight quarterback with veterans Zach Collaros and Canadian Brandon Bridge both scheduled to hit the open market. Edmonton's Mike Reilly, Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell and Ottawa's Trevor Harris - like O'Day, a former Edinboro player - top the list of big-name quarterbacks who could become CFL free agents.

O'Day wouldn't preclude either Collaros or Bridge returning in 2019.

"Obviously a big question is that position,'' O'Day said. "I'm not going to comment on any of the quarterbacks that are on other teams currently.

"But I think it's an interesting set of circumstances with how the CBA is lining up this year and the amount of free agents that we have at that position. My job is going to be to try and get the best quarterback we can.''

Success followed Jones over his 17-year CFL coaching career as he was part of four Grey Cup-winning teams. He also earned a reputation of being a players' coach, someone who enjoyed cracking jokes with his troops but could also be brutally honest with them.

Most of all, Jones' players understood he'd always put them in the best position to succeed. O'Day admits he has some big shoes to fill with both his players and coaches.

"A lot of the reason why they (players) loved Chris is he earned their trust,'' O'Day said. "I'm not asking because I'm sitting in the chair for the players to automatically jump on board, I'm asking them just to give me that opportunity to earn their respect and trust.

"You have to understand the coaches were hired by Chris and I'm asking the same of them that I'm asking of the players.''

O'Day said he learned plenty working for Jones.

"What I learned the most from Chris ... by far was how he handled personnel,'' O'Day said. "The type of players he wants, how he evaluates them, what he's looking for in each position, how they fit into the roster.

"You name it, from a personnel standpoint I think he has a huge passion for that and it's something I tried to absorb as much as possible.''

Fortunately for O'Day, he'll be able to lean heavily upon assistant GM Paul Jones, who joined the Riders this month after 21 seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos as well as time with Winnipeg and Toronto.

"There couldn't be a better guy ... to have him as my right-hand man,'' O'Day said. "He's had such success finding players and making sure that we've got the right players to win championships.''


(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

PREVIEW: PATS HOST BLADES SATURDAY NIGHT

Keith Hershmiller Photography
Overview
The Regina Pats (12-32-1-1) are on home ice Saturday night for the back half of a home and home set with the Saskatoon Blades (27-13-6-7). Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. at the Brandt Centre. The Pats were in Saskatoon on Friday night and dropped a 6-2 decision to the Blades. Tonight is the fourth of six meetings between Regina and Saskatoon, the Pats are 1-1-1-0 so far in the season series. Tonight’s game can be heard with Bennett Dunlop Ford Pats Hockey starting at 6:35 p.m. on 620 CKRM.

New Career High
Pats forward Austin Pratt set a new career high for goals in a season on Friday, scoring his 17th of the year in Saskatoon. The 19-year-old converted on a shot from an impossible angle into the top of the net to reach the milestone. Pratt’s previous career high of 16 goals was set as a 17-year-old with the Red Deer Rebels. He has a new career high in points this season as well with 36 in 46 games. He leads the Pats in goals, assists and points.

Pierce Extends to Four
Pats forward Duncan Pierce is riding a career high point streak of four games entering Saturday night. The 18-year-old picked up an assist in the second period on Austin Pratt’s 17th goal. Pierce has put up two goals and three assists in his streak and is up to six goals and 15 points in 40 games this year. His 15 points rank fifth on the team.

Krane Streaking
Pats forward Riley Krane is also riding a career long point streak of four games after an assist on Friday night. The product of Dawson Creek, B.C. has scored a goal and added three assists over that span. The 18-year-old has scored three goals and added five assists for eight points in his last nine games and sits second on the Pats in scoring with 18 points, nine goals and nine assists. Krane is tied for 20th among all WHL rookies with 18 points and his nine goals are tied for ninth.

Upcoming Schedule
Pats Vs Brandon – Friday January 25, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)
Pats @ Brandon – Saturday January 26, 7:30 p.m. – Westoba Place (CKRM)
Pats Vs Calgary – Tuesday January 29, 7 p.m. – Brandt Centre (CKRM)

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

Friday, January 18, 2019

COORS LIGHT RECAP: BLADES DUMP PATS 6-2

SaskatoonBlades.com
SASKATOON - The Regina Pats dropped a 6-2 road decision to the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night.

The Blades struck twice in the span of 18 seconds to take the lead nine minutes into the game. First Max Gerlach and then Ryan Hughes and it was 2-0 Saskatoon after one.

The Blades extended the lead to three, four minutes into the second, Kirby Dach with the goal and it was 3-0. The Pats responded in the final six minutes of the period. Cole Dubinsky tipped home a point shot for his second of the year to get the Pats on the board. Then, with just over two minutes left in the period, Austin Pratt stole a puck in the offensive zone and scored from an almost impossible angle for his 17th and the Pats were down just 3-2 after 40 minutes.

In the third, Saskatoon scored on the powerplay early to lead 4-2. They added another at the eight-minute mark and one with less than a minute left to take the two points in a 6-2 final.

The Pats were outshot 34-17. The powerplay was 0/5 while the penalty kill went 5/6. Dean McNabb made 28 saves.

Quick Hits
- Riley Krane extended his point streak to four games, has one goal and three assists in that stretch.
- Austin Pratt set a new career high with his 17th goal of the season.
- The Pats are now 1-1-1-0 against the Blades this season.

What’s Next? 
The Pats (12-32-1-1) will host a rematch with the Blades on Saturday at the Brandt Centre at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at reginapats.com, the Brandt Centre Box Office and at any Regina Safeway, where Fun Zone tickets are $13 plus tax.

AMBROSIE EYEING EUROPE FOR CFL

He already has taken the CFL into Mexico, but commissioner Randy Ambrosie isn't stopping there.

The CFL commissioner said Friday he'll be meeting football officials from Germany later this month to discuss the possibility of Canadian and German players suiting up in the respective circuits. And next month, Ambrosie will fly overseas to talk turkey with French and Austrian federations as well as league personnel in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark in his quest to grow Canadian football globally.

"I'm bound and determined to build an opportunity to create ways for more of our players to play the game,'' said Ambrosie, who is in Montreal for the league's medical meetings. "I think it's going to be more interesting for a high school football athlete to pursue the next level of football if there's more beyond that level than just a shot at the CFL.

"I want to create excitement amongst our college, junior and high school kids. Far too many of our college and junior guys when they finish their college or junior eligibility and if they don't make it in the CFL, that's it and I think that's a tragedy for so many guys who love the game.''

Last Sunday, the CFL held a combine in Mexico City for 50 players from the Liga de Futbol Americano (LFA) and college programs. The following day, 27 players were selected in the first-ever LFA/CFL draft.

In November, Ambrosie and the LFA signed a letter of intent to work together on several projects, including the staging of a future CFL game in Mexico City. Last week, the CFL was criticized by some media outlets for spending money on staging the combine and drafting Mexican players, but Ambrosie said the LFA covered the vast majority of those expenses.

Ambrose added the league paid only for the airfare of its staff and CFL team officials.

"If we could replicate that model all around the world, we'd be exceptionally happy,'' he said.

The letter of intent also calls for Canadians to play in the LFA.

"I met Tuesday with (LFA president) Oscar Perez and the commissioner of the LFA (Alejandro Jaimes) about that issue,'' Ambrosie said. "I've now tasked (CFL counsel) Stephen Shamie to put an actual program in place.

"They (LFA) have made a commitment to roster spots on their teams. I think for 2020 we're going to see Canadian players given an opportunity to continue their passion for the game and develop their skills.''

Ambrosie said North American football is popular in Germany, adding 60,000 people there play the game. Ambrosie said the hope is for the CFL to stage a European scouting combine before the start of the 2019 season.

"We talked about this (earlier this month) at the league meetings in Mont-Tremblant,'' Ambrosie said. "I asked our coaches and GMs to put their thinking caps on about how do we do this efficiently.

"I'm really looking forward to now working with our football guys on figuring out how do we do this and how do we go find some really talented players and create some global excitement around the CFL.''

Ambrosie has been criticized for trying to grow Canadian football at a time when the CFL and its players still haven't started collective bargaining talks. The present deal is scheduled to expire in May.

Members of the Canadian Football League Players' Association also are in Montreal, but that doesn't mean there'll be an impromptu start to contract talks there.

"The next couple of days will be about being part of the medical meetings and maybe some continued work on just sharing ideas,'' Ambrosie said. "What we're trying to do and I'm sure the players are going to be in a similar frame of mind, we want to have a proper sitdown and talk about where we are, what things we're looking for and really start the process off on the right foot.''

Meanwhile, Ambrosie said Schooners Sports and Entertainment continues to work on finding a venue for the CFL's Touchdown Atlantic game between the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 25. A potential site for the game could be Moncton Stadium, which has 10,000 permanent seats but could be expanded to 20,725 via temporary seating.

Schooners Sports and Entertainment is the group working on a stadium project in Halifax for a CFL expansion franchise to play there.

"I hope we'll have something in the next couple of weeks (for the Aug. 25 game),'' Ambrosie said. "They're looking at a couple of options, for sure, and maybe more than a couple.''

As for the Halifax stadium issue, everyone is playing the waiting game.

"The process is continuing,'' Ambrosie said. "They continue to be optimistic that they can get this done and I have no reason to doubt them.

"We're all trying to be patient because you'd rather get it done right than be fast.''

(Canadian Press)

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order:

- How was your week?

- Chris Jones dropped a bombshell on Rider Nation Tuesday with word he is heading to the Cleveland Browns.  The "who is going to be the quarterback" talk has certainly slowed to a trickle as the conversation revolving around Canada's team is what's next in the wake of the Jones departure.

Many want Paul LaPolice, many want Marc Trestman, the most logical choice because of the inane coaches salary cap may be current special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson who does deserve an opportunity.

At the end of the day, it will be a decision made by Jeremy O'Day.  It is highly expected O'Day will be promoted to the GM position.  What he does will obviously very important when it comes to where this team is going to go moving forward. What that person does with a staff he probably doesn't want because they are not his guys and what type of team he wants is another question.  There are a million of them out there.

- As for some other questions out there.

*Did Chris Jones bail on the Riders?   No, he didn't.  He took an opportunity that was presented to him to advance his career.  It is something everyone of us would do.  If you are going to be mad at Jones, be mad at every other Rider who has tried his luck in the NFL.  It is THE league and if you think you are good enough to be in it, you take every chance you can.

*Did Jones know about this before signing his extension?   He says no.  By all accounts, the Browns reached out to Jones on the weekend by asking the Riders permission to speak with him.  Whether or not Jones had had any previous conversations with Freddie Kitchens before that call was made was something we will never know.  If he did, I am guessing he wouldn't be the first one to have done such a thing.

*Did the move surprise me?  Yes and no.   As I said on the Sportscage this week and as I said in this column last week, I thought 2019 was the end of the line for Jones no matter what happened.  The interest was there.  What happened was something I expected, but I expected it after the season and not January 15.

*Does Craig Reynolds have to take blame for this?   Yes he does! I have a great deal of respect for Reynolds, but he has to wear this one.  That being said, when he signed Jones to that deal that shook the CFL after the Eskimos won the 2015 Grey Cup, he had no idea what the future would hold when it comes to the coaches salary cap. Had he been able to look into a crystal ball, I am sure he wouldn't have made such a grandiose move.  One person suggested the "out" in the contract extension should have been something that took effect after the 2019 season ended. That's a valid point, but I don't know if that is sound business.  While I do say Reynolds has to shoulder some of the blame, would I do it again if I were him not knowing what the future would hold.  Yup!

*What is Jones' legacy?  I think Sportscage's Derek Meyers put it the best Tuesday shortly after the news came down when he said he was "moderately successful". Jones was 27-27 as the head coach....22-14 in the last two seasons though  While the team did have growth each year in wins going from 5 to 10 to 12, the team only won one playoff game and that game was an Eastern Conference playoff game.  We can debate whether or not the Riders would have beaten Winnipeg in last year's West semi with a healthy Zach Collaros, but the bottom line is he didn't.

At the end of the day, the Riders have gone from a team that I think was ready to go to the Grey Cup to one that I think will slide no matter who the head coach is.  There is a lot of time between now and training camp, but this team has taken several steps backward in the last week.   Oh, its never dull in Riderville.

- Don't look now, but here come the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Don't tell me they haven't created some noise by first signing Adam Bighill to a three-year contract and then Stanley Bryant to a one-year deal thus avoiding free agency with both.  The Bombers think they are close and with a Western Division in a state of upheaval, they are perhaps the most stable team in the West right now.

- Darian Durant is in Saskatoon this weekend for the Rush game against Rochester.  I wonder what Doubles thinks about the goings-on with his old team.  I am guessing he is OK with the fact Jones is no longer the coach of it.   I wonder how many will ask him to trade Rush green for Rider green this weekend.  I don't realistically see that happening, but hey this is the CFL right?

- Championship Sunday in the NFL should be fantastic.  The top two teams in each conference going at it in Kansas City and New Orleans.  I can't bet against Tom Brady, and I'm not betting against Drew Brees.

- The Regina Red Sox let it be known on Sportscage that former Blue Jays outfielder Matt Stairs will be their guest speaker at their 2019 dinner in April.   While that was news enough, team president Gary Brotzel says the discussion about a new baseball facility for the city has not been put on the shelf.  Hmmmmm!!!  I think it is time Regina put Currie Field to bed much like they put Taylor Field. The city and the Red Sox deserve a new home.  It doesn't has to be splashy, but something that we can be proud of and something which be great for a baseball community which is growing.  By the way, I can't wait for opening day

- The Regina Pats have lost eight in a row going into their game against Saskatoon tonight.  That being said, John Paddock has to be credited for what I think was a tremendous job in restocking the draft cupboard.  I do not know if the Pats will have the horses to be a playoff team next year, but they will certainly be on the rise which is refreshing considering how long it took to become competitive again after the last Memorial Cup appearance.

- Talk that Michael Ferland could be an Edmonton Oiler intrigues me.  The guy is a grit guy who can score and get under your skin.  Edmonton needs that.  What will it cost them though!  I wonder if they could pry Nolan Patrick from Philly for Jesse Puljujarvi as some have recently suggested.  It would probably cost Edmonton a little more, but I would take that deal.

- Jarome Iginla will get his jersey retired by the Calgary Flames before the season is over which is more than deserving.  The same should be done with Theoren Fleury.  Those two are without a doubt the best two players in the history of that franchise with an argument that could be made saying Fleury is better.  Hopefully 14 follows 12 in short fashion.

- The "Birdbox Challenge" is just dumb.  2019 is known for that and 2018 was known for having to say don't eat dishwasher pods.  What a society we have ladies and gentlemen!

- That's all I got.  Enjoy the weekend and Championship Sunday.

(Follow Mitchell Blair on Twitter at @scruffyregina)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CFL NOTEBOOK

Tim Maypray, who was a receiver with the Montreal Alouettes during their 2010 Grey Cup season, has died. He was 30.

Virginia Military Institute, a school where Maypray played and later served as an assistant coach, announced Thursday that Maypray had passed away Tuesday. The cause of death was not available.

VMI said Maypray spent last season as a running backs coach at Davidson College. The native of Madisonville, Ky., held the same position at his alma mater for three years.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of Tim's passing,'' said VMI athletics director Dr. Dave Diles. "Our thoughts, prayers and support go out to Tim's wife, Bianca, and their children.

"I'm certain that the VMI community shares our grief and will join in support of the Maypray family during this most difficult time.''

The five-foot-nine, 185-pound Maypray spent two seasons with the Alouettes (2010-11) before playing with the Ottawa Redblacks (2014).

In his CFL debut, Maypray returned a missed field goal 125 yards - an Alouettes record - for a touchdown against Saskatchewan. In Montreal's next meeting with the Riders, Maypray took another errant field-goal attempt back 118 yards for a TD.

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EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos re-signed Canadian kicker/punter Hugh O'Neill on Thursday to a contract extension through the 2020 season.

O'Neill appeared in all 18 regular-season games with Edmonton last year. He posted a 45.2 punting average and 61.5-yard kickoff average in 2018.

O'Neill has appeared in 62 career games with Edmonton, Hamilton and B.C. He's made 44-of-60 field goals (73.3 per cent) and 62-of-66 converts (93.4 per cent) while averaging 44.3 yard on punts and 60.1 yards on kickoffs.

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WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers re-signed offensive lineman Stanley Bryant to a one-year contract extension Thursday.

Bryant was named the CFL's top lineman for a second straight season in November.

The nine-year veteran anchored a Winnipeg offensive line that helped the Bombers lead the CFL in rushing (134.9 yards per game) and pave the way for league rushing leader Andrew Harris (1,390 yards).

Bryant is a four-time CFL all-star and has started 83 straight games. Bryant began his CFL career with Calgary and has started 138 regular-season games, eight playoff contests and appeared in two Grey Cup games, winning in 2014.

(Canadian Press)

NEUGSIE'S AROUND THE SJHL

By: Jamie Neugebauer
Voice of the N.D. Hounds

This past week has been extremely busy around the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, with the Trade Deadline last Thursday, games on the weekend, and the Showcase in Regina Monday and Tuesday. That in mind, here are my 10 things from what was an exhausting last seven days!

1. The SJHL Shows Well Again! – Another SJHL/MJHL Showcase event is in the books, after six games over two days in Regina’s Co-operators Arena, and the quality on display was once again fantastic. The Sask boys won four of the six games, taking the series for the second year in a row (and the second in the event’s existence). I could not help but be impressed by the depth of talent and tactical awareness in the SJHLers, and at the same time, they did not back down from the hard-working Manitobans. I’ve talked a lot about Justin Ball of Melfort on here, and for good reason – he is so impressive–but I have not given enough credit to his line mate Carson Albrecht, who was probably the most dominant individual SJHL forward at the event. The pair combined for four goals and eight points over the two games at the showcase…so, right where they left off from the Mustangs. Notre Dame’s skaters, Jarrett Penner, Kyle Robinson, Marshall Wilton, Jared Hamm, and Charles Martin were solid, with the big 2000-born winger Penner,conscripted to play centre, something he does not do in his day job, probably turning the most heads. I’ll talk about how magnificent Riley Kohonick was in net later on.

2. Showcase Production Fantastic (mostly) – SaskTEL did an incredible job producing the television and Facebook Live broadcasts at the Showcase, and Munz Media, led by Tanner Goetz, did an awesome job creating content based off the event! They actually gave me a microphone, and let me be in the in-arena announcer, which was a blast! I wish there were not so many technical issues, and the difficulty of finding crucial information to keep everything running smoothly was a bit tough, but what can ya do! Live and learn for next time. The Manitoba league support staff are unbelievable though, such classy individuals!

3. The Koho Show – On the ice, the guy who stood out the most for me was Notre Dame goaltender Riley Kohonick. The 2000-born White City native, who was the starter for last year’s Telus Cup winning ND Hounds midget club, and was Saskatchewan’s midget goalie of the year a season ago as well, was outstanding while making 37 often difficult stops in a 4-2 win on Tuesday morning, in the second young guns game. As the Hounds broadcaster and media guy I know how good of a person and player Riley is, but it was so satisfying to see him show a packed house in Regina. The funny part of it is that his gift as SJHL Player of the Game was a pair of hockey player gloves, which he tells me, as a goalie, is an item he did not own previously…so there you go Riley! I have all the time in the world for him.

4. MJHL Class – Saw a ton of MJHLers I liked. Hulking Selkirk Steelers forward Nate Halvorson is a handful and plays like it, while Team Canada West World Junior A challenge forward Reilly Funk out of the Portage Terriers was extremely impressive as well. Great to see Isaac Labelle, the older brother of Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Xavier, play so well! Isaac, the No. 1 goaltender for the Wayway Wolverines, earned Player of the Game honours in making 30 stops, for the Showcase’s only shutout, for Team MJHL Belfour on Tuesday. I’m sure it felt good as a Sask boy to beat a lot of guys he knew personally!

5. Interesting, If Not Busy Trade Deadline – The biggest piece to move around deadline time came three days before it, with Weyburn moving super-skilled Ferris State University committed winger Cade Kowalski to the already offensively-loaded Flin Flon Bombers, so his impact will should not be a mystery to most folks. Former Regina Pat and Prince Albert Raider George King moved Melfort from the Dauphin Kings in the Manitoba League, and should provide the Mustangs with some much-needed secondary scoring behind the aforementioned Ball, Albrecht, and Tanner Zentner. Also of interest is that while Nipawin did not add a forward, they did move a defensive-minded defender in Andrew Smiley, to the big-time selling Lloydminster Bobcats in exchange for the offensive-minded blue liner Zachary Ziegler, who is a White City, SK kid that was an affiliate player with the Hawks in the 2016-17 season while a member of the Swift Current Legionnaires of Saskatchewan midget. I am personally thrilled with Notre Dame’s add of Cody Lehner, the diminutive-yet-rock-solid former captain of last year’s Hounds midget Telus Cup championship squad from the Alberta league’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. Sneaky good add by Phil Roy and the Hounds.

6. Flin Flon Pins Hopes on Waked – Perhaps the riskiest move made at the deadline was by the Flin Flon Bombers, who dealt starting goaltender Pierce Diamond to the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League (in a three-way deal with the Estevan Bruins), and in a separate move brought in Gabriel Waked from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. True it is that Waked has that Major Junior experience, but he only appeared in eight games this year, and was not even the undisputed starter in the Quebec Junior ‘AAA’ League for the GrandbyInouk last year. Diamond, soon to turn 21 years of age, played in 24 games, and was more than respectable with a goals-against average of 2.78 and a save percentage of .915, and a record of 14-7-2. So, a lot of pressure on Waked behind a Flin Flon team absolutely going for a championship this year.

7. Yorkton's and ND’s Goaltending Carousel – Speaking of goaltending, interesting time around the deadline in Yorkton. The Terriers had made a big splash on Jan. 2 to bring Western Hockey League veteran Riley Lamb from the Weyburn Red Wings, only to see him dash off for the Swift Current Broncos days later. This put Yorkton GM Matt Hehr in a clear bind, leading him to acquire Notre Dame’s big 20-year-old Andrew Henderson, who had lost the starting job in Wilcox to Kohonick (see Thought No. 3). In a separate move, Phil Roy and the Hounds brought in 20-year-old Matt Lukacs from Estevan, whom the Bruins had not played all year. It will be interesting to see how Henderson does behind a team as geared to hunt for offence first as the Terriers are, and how Kohonick does at ND with the pressure of being the undisputed No. 1 for an extended period of time!

8. Austin King-Cunningham – The Estevan Bruins have over 1,100 PIMs through 40 games, while nobody else has even over a 1,000. They also have the Top 3 penalty minute loggers, with the hulking Austin King-Cunningham way ahead on 172. The former Vancouver Giant and Tri-City Americans defender sucker punched Notre Dame’s skilled Quebec-born forward Jakob Breault late in the two clubs’ Saturday night brawl-filled affair in Estevan’s Affinity Place, and has been suspended for the action. Not to be outdone, former Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Jayden Davis was handed a three-game suspension for a late flying elbow from behind to the head of ND defender Charles Martin! I just have to think after watching Estevan two games in a row…they would be a heck of a hockey team if they toned the goonery down just a tad, and focussed on playing. I’m also not sure if goonery is a word, but it is now.

9. Yes…It Was Me – I was told I had to post about my emergency conscription as the anthem singer in the second game at the Showcase in Regina. The music guy’s computer froze at the exact minute O Canada was supposed to play, and then he refused to sing it, so after a brief period of awkward panic, I grabbed the microphone and belted it out as best I could. I was a little rattled, and extremely hungry for lunch, so I apologize to the fans out there who had to hear it. There you go Rod, I talked about ;) Now, how do I go about getting another shot at it?

10. Punch up at the Co-op(bonus) – How about that brawl between the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan men’s hockey clubs last Saturday in Regina? It all started with an extremely late hit by a UofR player, with the Cougars down 6-1 at the time, and then escalated. You don’t see a big row like that in USports very often, but I guess if it was going to happen, then UofR vs UofS isn’t a bad guess.

(Follow Jamie on Twitter at @neugsie)

MATT STAIRS TO HEADLINE 2019 RED SOX DINNER

The Regina Red Sox are proud to announce that Matt Stairs will be the guest speaker at the 2019 Regina Red Sox Sports Dinner & Auction presented by The Water Warehouse.

Stairs, considered by many to be a Canadian baseball legend, is sponsored by 9 agents from Century 21 Dome Realty Inc.

This year’s dinner will be held on Saturday, April 27 at the Turvey Centre.

Matt Stairs Career Highlights

·  Born in St. John, New Brunswick
·  Made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut with the Montreal Expos on May 29, 1992
· Played in 1,895 games over 19 seasons
· 1,366 hits
· 265 home runs
· 717 walks
· 899 RBI
· Scored 770 runs
· 30 stolen bases
· Career batting average of .262
· Career On Base % of .356
· Won the 2008 World Series as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies

Hall of Fame

·  Inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in June 2012.
· On February 4, 2015, was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

The Regina Red Sox is a not for profit, community organization.

This yearly event is necessary to sustain the team and continue its on-field success.

(Outlaw Communications/Tony Playter)

REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS FRIDAY DAILY DISH

THURSDAY'S RESULTS

Curling:

Mixed – Pool A & B Crossovers:
Hungle (Miller) 5 Beattie (Campbell) 2
Derkson (LeBoldus) 5 Achtymichuk (O’Neill #2) 3
Duczek (O’Neill #1) 9 Cooper (Martin) 1
Klassen (Thom #2) 8 Fisowich (Johnson) 0
Voss (Riffel) 10 Olsen (O’Neill #3) 3

Basketball:

Jr. Girls – Tier 1
Campbell 73 Riffel 25

Jr. Girls – Tier 2
Greenall 59 Martin 21
Thom 62 Johnson 44

Sr. Girls – Tier 1
Campbell 60 Riffel 58

Sr. Girls – Tier 2
Regina Christian 67 Scott 18
Balfour 64 Laval 55
Greenall 56 Martin 47

Girls Wrestling
O’Neill 35 LeBoldus 10
Miller 10 LeBoldus 5
O’Neill 35 Miller 5

Boys Wrestling
O’Neill 55 LeBoldus 14
LeBoldus 29 Miller 21
O’Neill 55 Miller 10

TIGER-CATS ANNOUNCE 2019 COACHING STAFF

HAMILTON - He's a first-time head coach, but Orlondo Steinauer of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats has surrounded himself with veteran experience.

Steinauer unveiled his 2019 staff Wednesday and it features a lot of football wisdom at the co-ordinator positions. June Jones, the club's former head coach, returns as offensive co-ordinator and associate head coach while Mark Washington, the B.C. Lions' former defensive co-ordinator, assumes that position with the Ticats.

Jeff Reinebold, a 35-year coaching veteran, returns as Hamilton's special-teams co-ordinator. Reinebold was the Ticats special-teams co-ordinator/linebackers coach from 2013-16 before serving as defensive co-ordinator for the first half of the 2017 campaign.

Reinebold worked as B.C.'s special-teams co-ordinator last season.

"We're extremely pleased to be able to keep some continuity while putting together a quality group of coaches with extraordinary experience,'' Steinauer said in a statement. "The coaches will set the tone, and we're excited about the leadership and work ethic this group will bring to our football team.''

Steinauer assumed head-coaching duties this off-season after serving as Hamilton's assistant head coach in 2018. He was the Ticats' defensive co-ordinator from 2013-16 before heading to Fresno State as its defensive co-ordinator in 2017.

The remainder of the staff includes: Tommy Condell (receivers); Dennis McKnight (offensive line); Robin Ross (linebackers); Randy Melvin (defensive line); Craig Butler (defensive backs/special-teams assistant) and Jarryd Baines (assistant receivers coach/offensive quality control).

Condell, 46, returns to Hamilton after spending the last two years with the Toronto Argonauts. He was the Ticats' offensive co-ordinator/receivers coach from 2013-15.

McKnight, Baines and Butler are holdovers from Jones's staff while Ross and Melvin both worked previously with B.C.

(CP)

GLANVILLE INTERESTED IN RIDERS JOB

Photo: Sports Illustrated
Jerry Glanville is intrigued by the prospect of coaching the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Riders are in need of a head coach, defensive co-ordinator, general manager and vice-president of football operations after Chris Jones resigned Tuesday to join the Cleveland Browns' coaching staff.

Glanville, who spent 2018 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive co-ordinator but left at season's end for personal reasons, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday he's not spoken with Saskatchewan officials about the vacancies but would definitely listen if they called.

"Nobody has called me,'' Glanville said via telephone from Knoxville, Tenn.

The 77-year-old Glanville, a football lifer with more than 50 years of coaching experience (including as an NFL head coach with Houston (1985-89) and Atlanta (1990-93), said there'd be plenty to like about working in football-mad Saskatchewan.

"I think anybody that loves football has to love their fan base,'' he said. "Their fan base is second to no one.

"And by the way, they've got very good players. It's not a deal where you've got to go in and fix it. You've got to go in and keep the bus going down the road.''
Famoso To Go 1881 Scarth St, 306-789-0011
Saskatchewan improved steadily under Jones, registering five, 10 and 12 regular-season wins in each of his three seasons. Jones was named the CFL's coach of the year in 2018 after a 12-6 season but the Riders lost 23-18 to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West Division semifinal.

Jones, a 51-year-old native of South Pittsburgh, Tenn., joined the Riders in December 2015, one week after guiding the Edmonton Eskimos to the Grey Cup as head coach.

Hamilton (8-10) finished second in the East last year. After defeating the B.C. Lions 48-8 in the conference semifinal, the Ticats dropped a 46-27 road decision to the Ottawa Redblacks in the division final.

The Ticats' defence finished third overall in fewest yards (334.3 per game) and passing yards allowed (247.7), fourth in rushing (101.6) and sixth in offensive points (23.6 per game). Hamilton linebacker Larry Dean finished tied for third overall in tackles (105) and was the East Division's top defensive player.

Glanville has appeared in movies, driven race cars and served as a television football analyst. He's rubbed elbows with such big-name entertainers as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Burt Reynolds. But make no mistake, the legendary Man in Black - a moniker given to Glanville because he wears all-black attire on the sidelines - remains a football coach, first and foremost.

When asked if he's coached his final football game, the former linebacker at Northern Michigan University said, "No, no, no. I've got a few more hellbreaks left yet.''

It was during his tenure in Houston that Glanville coined the now famous phrase, "NFL means 'not for long,''' while chewing out an official for a bad call. Glanville has also often left tickets at will call for the late Elvis Presley and rubbed many people - most notably former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll - the wrong way with his brash words and flamboyant antics.

Jones's departure created a huge hole for the Riders and left his successor with the daunting task of having to wear many hats in Regina. But that's not the least bit daunting to Glanville.

"Chris has never worn half as many hats on that I have,'' Glanville said with a chuckle. "I've never seen him in a cowboy hat.

"I'd want to find out who's been picking the players because whoever has been picking them has done a good job. What you do is look around and say, 'They've got talent so somebody has already been picking the talent now.' Now, if the guy picking the talent has left then you've got to do it.'''

Glanville politely declined comment when asked why he left Hamilton after one season. But he said having a CFL season under his belt would be very beneficial if he returned to Canada in 2019.

"I think the difference is night and day,'' he said. "Being up there is an education ... but I think everybody should be better in the second year.

"I love the league, I love the stadiums, I love the fans. It's really refreshing to go up there, it really is. I was blessed in Hamilton because we had very good football players and whatever we asked them to do they did. Nobody played harder than they did, nobody tried harder or hit better. As long as you do that, you're in the fight.''

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

DUPONT: CHRIS JONES SPEAKS ON CLEVELAND DEPARTURE

24 hours after leaving the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the NFL's Cleveland Browns for a defensive coaching position, Chris Jones spoke with Darren Dupont about how the opportunity came about, and what he'll remember from Saskatchewan and the CFL:

HOW'S IT FEEL?

CJ: It's a good opportunity. A friend of mine (Freddie Kitchens) is now a head coach in the NFL so it kinda allowed me to have my opportunity so I took a run at it.

HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?

CJ: The GM (John Dorsey) had been asking a lot of questions about me and some of the things we'd done defensively over the course of the last few years. He was checking statistics and stuff and then he reached out to Marc Trestman and Marc recommended me and said we'd done some good things. Then it became apparent that when Freddie got hired, Coach (Bill) Parcells called on my behalf. So then it became evident that maybe it was pointing in that direction, and this is something I should do.

THIS STARTED BEFORE KITCHENS WAS HIRED?

CJ: Ya because they'd been reaching out. I didn't find out till recently they'd done some investigative work to see what we'd done, comparing statistics and things of that nature. When Freddie got hired, Coach Parcells called and said he'd put in a word and said he thought I had a real good shot. When I interviewed yesterday, it was a real good fit.

DID YOU THINK THIS WOULD HAPPEN AFTER SIGNING YOUR EXTENSION HERE?

CJ: You just never know. It's one of those deals where in the NFL you only get opportunities every now and then. It's not like those come around every day. That being said, when they said they wanted to interview, I didn't think it was to just come hang out and exchange general niceties. I felt at that point that I had a chance to get hired.


Darren Dupont
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER ABOUT SASKATCHEWAN?

CJ: Oh man I love it. First of all I love the players, the coaches, I love the staff. It's not like co-workers, it's more like family. It's a bunch of brothers out there trying to get a job done. Certainly we've got some unfinished business there and we didn't reach our goal. We've got the arrow pointed in the right direction, but we didn't quite reach everything that we wanted to reach. They've got some unfinished business but they've got some really good people to get it done.

WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER OF THE CFL?

CJ: Ya, I'll tell you what man. I'll always remember it with very fond memories. From '02 until now, there's been so many good points about the entire country and the organizations I've been with. It's been a real ride, and I'll remember it forever.

HOW DOES YOU ROLE IN COACHING CHANGE NOW?

CJ: I was talking to some of my friends last night and actually I was talking to the GM this morning. It's a different dynamic now in that you mention some thoughts and ideas and they have the choice whether to listen to them or not. For the last five years it was a case of if I came up with it, we did it. It is a little bit different dynamic but it's not something I hadn't done before. Trust me, I worked for Don Mathews for six years. There were a few ideas that were ignored! It's part of it and it gives me a chance to coach at the highest level, against NFL coaches, and see where you stack up.

WHO DID YOU CALL FIRST?

CJ: I let my family know. I called all my folks down home because they were nervous for me. I told them that when they called for the interview, I had a pretty good chance. Once I got it, I called and let everybody down home know.