1 - The Canadian Football League Players Association is holding its annual meetings Thursday-to-Saturday in Las Vegas. I sent a text message to a player rep on Wednesday asking him to keep me apprised of the events down there and his reply was, "A good time had by all". Are they going to Vegas to party? A similar text message to a CFLPA executive weeks ago was also rebuffed. So if they want to remain in a cone of silence, that's their choice. Football fans are currently starving for CFL news but we can only do so much if the players don't want the coverage. That's totally fine! We'll stick to hockey blogging because that's what hot around here right now. However the secrecy surrounding the CFL these days - at the league-level - is mind-boggling and frankly, very frustrating.
2 - Mind you, I'm told the CFLPA will be announcing its new Executive Director in Las Vegas this week so stay tuned for that. The P.A. is also being criticized for holding its meetings in Las Vegas given the weak Canadian dollar so perhaps someone, somewhere, will provide an answer to that.
3 - It was an emotional moment prior to Game 4 of the Regina Pats-Lethbridge Hurricanes series Wednesday evening. Claude Wickenheiser and his daughter Kayla were standing near our SportsCage broadcast location and Claude noted his late brother Doug would've turned 55 on Wednesday. "That's why we're going to win tonight," Claude said stoicly. I looked up and we were standing directly below Doug's retired number banner on the northwest Brandt Centre concourse. Indeed, the Pats won. And I always feel that Doug is there to watch.
4 - After a shaky start to this series, the Pats are on a roll. It was brought up on the radio on Wednesday that rather than blame the referees for the 12 powerplays Regina gave up in their 6-3 loss in Game 1, Pats Coach & GM John Paddock chose instead to point the finger at his own team. It may have paid off, since the officials have been fair to the Pats since. And when you consider the fact John Paddock has won five Calder Cups in the AHL, it makes a Pats fan absolutely giddy to think what's in store for this franchise with him in charge.
5 - It's a head-scratcher. The two-game suspension given Lethbridge's Carter Folk for his Check-to-the-Head major on Regina's Jared Freadrich in Game 3 would've likely drawn a five-to-seven game suspension in the National Hockey League. It fit all the criteria: he left his feet, and went for the head. What's even more odd is that we expected a two-game suspension from the WHL office, and were fine with it when it came down. What's with the descrepancy between the two leagues?
6 - The MMG sticks with his original prediction from 10 days ago: the Pats will win this series in six games. To go even further, I'll say the Pats will lose Game 5 on Friday in Lethbridge but will recover to win Game 6 on home-ice and then get ready for Round 2 against an unknown opponent.
7 - The power of Facebook is simply staggering. At Tuesday's Game 3, I was tipped off by a friend from Estevan about Facebook's new livestream feature (introduced fairly recently), entitled Facebook Live. It's been a pet project of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the past couple of years. With three simple taps of your finger on your smartphone, you're now broadcasting a live event. This will come in very handy for our Roughriders coverage this spring and summer. I video'ed a portion of Wednesday's Game 4 and it drew 500 viewers! Some of them included Regina Pats alumni Jordan McGillvary, Brett Leffler, Ryan Thomas and Sheldon Lachambre. The former players were also able to provide some colourful comments during the livestream. Hopefully there are no copyright infringements, because anyone could've done the same from their seat in the Brandt Centre. As usual, I'm doing my best to promote the WHL and received plenty of "thank you's" afterwards from viewers. Some even asked for some play-by-play to accompany the video, but you'll have to pay extra for that. ;)
8 - Edmonton sports fans should thank their lucky stars that they have Hall of Fame writer Terry Jones covering their teams (although Edmonton teams may sometimes feel otherwise). I put Jonesie up there with Bob Hughes as the two most-gifted sports scribes I've ever read. Anyway, Terry wrote a great piece on Brandon Wheat Kings Coach/GM/President/Owner Kelly McCrimmon in Wednesday's Edmonton Sun. Regarding the Wheat Kings being down 0-2 to the Edmonton Oil Kings in that first round series, Jones wrote something to the effect, "McCrimmon needn't worry. He has the backing of the owner". Incidentally Brandon won Game 3 by a 3-1 score Wednesday night and now trail the series 2-1. We still think the Wheat Kings will come back and win the series.
9 - Note to teams: when you announce that a game is "expected to be a sellout", fans almost immediately stop buying tickets. They figure, "Why try to get seats since it's going to be soldout anyway?" The Pats were a few hundred short of a sellout in Games 3 and 4 although the atmosphere both nights was outstanding. I had to settle for a sliver of a seat in a concourse box because the place seemed jammed. It was electric and if this team goes on a run, look out.
I seriously suggest you get some Pats gear now.
10 - It's high time that a restaurant/sports bar be constructed on the Evraz Place property or somewhere close by. Over 10 years ago, the territory rights-owner for the restaurant chain Hooters asked me in Winnipeg if it would be worthwhile putting a location nearby the Agridome and Taylor Field. He had never been to Regina before. At the time I told him that no, it wouldn't be a good idea because there's not much activity in the area other than Riders and Pats games, Farm Progress Show, Agribition and Buffalo Days. Plus any cars who had a sleepover at the bar would awake to their windows being smashed out. However now, with two hotels open within a stone's throw of the Brandt Centre and New Mosaic Stadium (Four Points Sheraton and Marriott) and daily activity at the Cooperators Centre and Queensbury Centre, it's an ideal time for an establishment to go up. Fans would be able to come down early (a la Glendale in Arizona), get a meal and drinks before or after games and wait for the traffic snarl to dissipate.
This whole boom in the area was the dream of former Mayor Pat Fiacco a decade ago and it's now coming to fruition. Can we make that sports bar happen? It would be great for live broadcasts of 620 CKRM's pregame and postgame shows as well.
I've been approached about investing in these types of ventures in the past but wasn't in position to do so at the time. Now I am, so let's go! It'll be a winner.
11 - The Saskatchewan Rush are hoping for a sellout for this Saturday's home game against Calgary. How innovative that they were advertising for the game on the jumbotron at the last two Pats playoff games! We'll have to ask Rush President Lee Genier about this when he's on the SportsCage tonight at 6:10 pm. The Rush are rolling at 9-3 and are now 3rd in NLL attendance. Everyone in this province in sports is happy, happy, happy! That includes fans.
12 - Another note on the inaugural Pedersen Media Summit on May 14, 2016: Dozens have people have signed up already and I'm holding 100 spots open for the event at Mosaic Stadium's Pilsner Place. So many people still have questions about what's going to happen. Well, consider this -- the SHA held a Coaches Symposium last year and it was bursting at the seams as amateur hockey coaches got together and collaborated with the likes of Willie Desjardins, Dave Tippett and Glen Gulatzan. The Pedersen Media Summit is the same idea, but for sports marketers, broadcasters, photographers and small business owners from across the prairies. It's not going to be a full day of me telling you what to do. It's going to be an idea-sharing, best-practices session that will make all of our ventures better. Does that help?
For more information, email me at email@example.com or register today at www.pedersenmedia.ca.
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY! THANKS FOR READING ...