EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK
PHOENIX, AZ -- It's a travel day for the MMG as we pack up and leave Arizona, headed home to host Hockey Day In Saskatchewan festivities this weekend in Wadena, SK. However during this break in the beautiful sunshine, there were plenty of notes accumuled for the Thursday column. Let's get to it:
1. How many are saying the NCAA boasts the best brand of football of any league including the NFL, CFL or AFL? Monday's 45-40 Alabama win over Clemson in the national championship was one for the ages. Many Canadians were watching on TSN, perhaps simply because there wasn't anything else on the tube but they got a wonderful display of football. Sure it was the highest-scoring game in college championship history, but it was still good old football. They could actually play defense and lay a hand on a receiver.
The game wasn't painfully held up due to multiple video reviews. The athleticism was raw but at its finest for players of that age. It was just good old-fashioned football and don't let the score fool you -- there were some mental busts leading to breakdowns which caused for some big plays. It's unpredictable just like junior hockey and a big reason is because it's young men. Many of them teenagers. It was a wonderful night.
Meanwhile Alabama coach Nick Saban - who earned his fifth national championship on Monday - told ESPN he's willing to listen to NFL offers. However that would likely be a paycut since he earns $7-million per year.
2. BREAKING NEWS: I didn't win the Powerball Lottery. Apparently three people did, and are going to split $1.5 billion U.S. dollars. Our odds weren't great, but they were far greater than if we didn't have a ticket at all.
3. Great move by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Schad Richea has been named full-time Athletic Therapist. The Dysart, SK product has a tremendous sports therapy resume including the Calgary Flames, University of Calgary and Regina Pats. He's worked off and on with the Riders for the past few years and the players think highly of him. Welcome aboard Schad! He's known as the Rock 'N Roll Trainer.
4. People with too much time on their hands. There's a Facebook group of Rider fans who seem miffed that quarterback Darian Durant hasn't been visible for quite some time. They even reached out to me to ask Darian's whereabouts. Ummm ... it's January. As long as he's checking in with his coaches and getting the necessary rehab on the injuries which ended his past two seasons, no one should be concerned with what he's doing. The suffocating glare of the Rider Nation needs to check itself. Darian Durant is a private person and his privacy should be respected. He's earned it.
5. A few more details of the Riderville Arizona Tour II have been released and this year's event will be staged on Thursday, March 3 when the Arizona Coyotes host the Anaheim Ducks. There will be a pregame tailgate party with 620 CKRM's SportsCage and yours truly broadcasting live on location. There will be some Rider celebrities in attendance as well. More details will be announced but it's advisable to get your tickets now and book your flights and hotel. You can get the tickets here:
https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/coyotes/EN/promotion/home. And I suggest using Expedia for the travel. I used it this week for the first time and it saves you a ton of money.
6. Kickers have rushed to the defense of Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh whose miss on a 27-yard field goal cost his team a playoff win over Seattle on Sunday. From Roughriders kicker Tyler Crapigna on Facebook: "I feel for Blair Walsh ... Last time I checked football is a team game."
Hey. Do your job.
7. Those poor Edmonton Oilers. They blew another lead in Phoenix on Tuesday and wound up with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Coyotes. Connor McDavid turned 19 yesterday but it's he who needs to give a gift, and that is his return to the ice for Edmonton. Jordan Eberle notched three assists in a losing cause for the Oilers and barely came off the ice. One has to wonder if the Oilers were showcasing him in an effort to up his trade value. Surely he wouldn't mind a move out of Oil Country either. As for Taylor Hall on Tuesday, he was, as usual, ineffective.
8. If you saw my Facebook post from Tuesday evening, I had the chance to watch Tuesday's game from the Coyotes owners' box as a guest of Regina's Gary Drummond. They all feel rookie forward Max Domi will "own" Phoenix in just a few short years. He recorded his first career hattrick on Tuesday night and guested on ESPN Arizona radio Wednesday afternoon. Domi was asked what teams do with all the hats that rain down onto the ice when a player scores a hattrick and his answer was, "That's a really good question. I don't know!" The Coyotes P.R. staff was listening and quickly wrote in that the hats are collected and given to charity. Do the Regina Pats do the same thing? I've never looked into it.
9. Speaking of the Regina Pats, Coach & GM John Paddock looks like a genius this week after acquiring sniper Cole Sanford on the WHL Trade Deadline, and then the 20-year old scored the OT winner for the Pats Tuesday in Everett. Somebody wrote in here this week saying Paddock has the best hockey resume of anyone in the province and he should be left alone to run the Pats the way he sees fit. I concur.
10. Some interesting Regina Pats business notes: Ticket revenue is up 11% from this point last year ... Scanned attendance is up 4% over this time last year ... Paid attendance is up 2.3% from last year. Obviously the city and surrounding area are taking notice of the Queen City Kids and don't forget the club boasts the WHL's leading scorer in Adam Brooks who is on a 15-game point streak including Wednesday night's 4-1 loss at Portland. Regina's next home game is Saturday, January 23 when they host Curtis Hunt's P.A. Raiders.
11. I must say I do adore Arizona. It's just so comfortable here and it feels like a great fit. In Canada there's so much "You can't do this, and You can't do that". Here, everybody ropes and everybody rides. There's no speed limit on the Arizona 101. You want to talk on your cell phone while driving? Go for it. But if you die, that's your problem. I call it Natural Selection. Keep your head on a swivel and let 'er rip. Nobody's gonna look after you and that suits me just fine.
12. Saturday night's home playoff game against the Green Bay Packers marks the 104th consecutive sellout for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Beat that. 74,500.
13. So Reginan Kayla Allie is searching for 200,000 signatures on an online petition to get Garth Brooks to be the first concert in the New Mosaic Stadium. Apparently Garth has a thing for opening new stadiums and he would certainly sell out in a jiffy. The rumour I heard is that Bruce Springsteen will open the stadium however that has not been substantiated by the Roughriders whatsoever. It's just fun gossip. The other note I heard is that the first-ever game in the new stadium will feature the U of R Rams which would automatically make it the highest-attended CIS football game in Saskatchewan history.
They won't like that in Saskatoon.
Speaking of, will they be able to fill SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon for Friday night's Saskatchewan Rush home-opener against the Vancouver Stealth? That's the goal of Rush President Lee Genier. Hopefully they do fill the joint, but I'll be surprised if it happens.
My friend Tim Purvis (the designer of the SportsCage logo) is attempting to raise $3000 via Go Fund Me to purchase a defibrillator for the Flowing Springs Golf Course. Here's what he wrote, and how you can help:
- It’s a serious responsibility to own a defibrillator as people now expect you to be able to save lives as opposed to not saving them without. The course could easily buy it on their own, but I thought I would take this on, on my own.
The Queen City Kinsmen gave $1000 and we have a collection at the course and the GoFundMe campaign. We will be making a plaque for the wall beside the AED to thank the Kinsmen and any other major contributors ($100 and up).
Once we buy one, there needs to be about 6 people trained on how to use it and there is upkeep costs as well, which the course is willing to take on. I am going to get trained and a couple of other members and some staff at the course. If there is a need to use it out there, it kinda shuts down the course as well, especially if Loney and or Brian have to go out (if others trained are not available).
So for those reasons, Loney was reluctant to just buy it on his own as people don’t understand the commitment and responsibility. He would rather see members and other golfers contribute to its existence and he will take over from there with additional costs and responsibility.
It really wouldn’t /shouldn’t take that long:
· 1700 people donate $1.00
· 850 people donate $2.00
· 425 people donate $4.00
Here's the link to donate:
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! THANKS FOR READING ...