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Monday, April 4, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


NOTEBOOK FROM LAS VEGAS 

1 - We find ourselves back in Nevada for the yearly Harvard Broadcasting/620 CKRM sponsors excursion.  The deal is if you're a business who spends a certain amount of money advertising on our radio station, you qualify for a trip such as this and CKRM management is always nice enough to bring me along to visit and mingle with those sponsors.

It's a pretty good deal for me for sure.

2 - This year we're staying at the Monte Carlo resort, right across from the brand new T-Mobile Arena on Frank Sinatra Drive.  The facility will hold its grand opening on Thursday with a concert featuring Las Vegas rock group The Killers and Vegas legend Wayne Newton.  We plan to get a tour of the new arena while we're down here and there's a connection between T-Mobile Arena and Regina's New Mosaic Stadium which will be noted a little further down in this column.

They've got a brand new arena and no team.  As someone on the trip quipped, "Just like Winnipeg!"

3 - Somewhere across town, prospective Las Vegas NHL owner Bill Foley is wringing his hands in anticipation.  My guess is by the end of May, NHL owners will vote in favour of granting an expansion franchise to Foley and then he can hit the ground running with the management team he's already assembled.  14,000 Nevada residents have already plunked down their money for season ticket deposits including Roughrider great Ray Elgaard.  We'll be hooking up with Ray at some point this week, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to get together with Mr. Foley again like we did a year ago at this time.

4 - By the time Saturday was over, I was happy to have my head hit the pillow here at the Monte Carlo and get out of dodge.  A rather innocent projection of the CFL West Division standings by me on Friday's SportsCage on 620 CKRM literally went nuclear on Twitter courtesy the popular Twitter account @CFLNews.  I was hesitant to even make a prediction since it was only April 1 and there's still two months to go before training camp but since there was nothing else to talk about, I let fly with the following: 1) Saskatchewan, 2) Calgary, 3) B.C., and then a toss-up between Edmonton and Winnipeg.

That sent the Eskimos into a rage causing quarterback Mike Reilly and Nate Coehoorn to hurl a barrage of insults at yours truly and it seemed to engage fans from every CFL team across the land.  Reilly maintained that I know nothing about football (nothing new there), and labelled my comments as "extreme homerism". I guess Mike's a little late to the party on that one.

Coehoorn hurled some personal insults my way which caused many members of the Rider Nation to turn his Twitter feed into a warzone.  (Thanks to the Rider fans for their defense of me).  However it's clear that Coehoorn wasn't familiar with my significant "life change" which goes back 14 months and he subsequently apologized both privately and publicly for his comments.

All in all, it was something out of really nothing but it livened up an otherwise dull Saturday.  But I'm shocked someone as sensitive as Reilly can be so effective as a quarterback.

Meh, I've been in far bigger storms than Saturday's.

5 - Truthfully, I should be sending Thank You cards to Reilly and Coehoorn because it sold out the remaining spots for my Social Media/Branding/Media Relations seminar on May 14 at Mosaic Stadium.  However don't fret if you've been sitting on the fence because we've added dozens more.  You can register or find out more details at www.pedersenmedia.ca.

However this Tweet on Saturday from colleague Arash Madani was golden:

I received several text messages from Rider brass and the Rider Executive Board which can be summed up as "Nice work".

6 - How tragic however, that Friday's CFL news should have been dominated by the CFLPA meetings in Las Vegas or the CFL ruling that Ottawa is due no compensation for the Jason Maas hire by Edmonton.  Instead, players, fans, media and alumni went ballistic over a casual standings prediction which I could change in a week.  On another note, I don't feel the CFLPA is off to a good start under new President Jeff Keeping if he won't return any messages.  Imagine:  we could have had the CFLPA trending on Twitter in Canada rather than me.  Oh well, I'll take it.

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Wayne Morsky in Las Vegas
WAYNE'S WORLD

Roughriders Chairman Wayne Morsky is representing the football club on this Las Vegas trip along with V.P. of Sponsorships Steve Mazurak and on Sunday morning I sat down with Morsky for a coffee and a long interview which is contained here:

STATE OF THE FRANCHISE

WM:  Things are pretty good.  I look back at last year's State of the Franchise and it was a year of firsts.  We talked about (Rider President) Craig Reynolds and it was his first year on the job.  We talked about (CFL Commissioner) Jeffrey Orridge and his first year on the job.  This year it's a lot about change.

When you look at what happened last year with the season there's been some big changes.  Changes at the local level and we're all excited to see how that's going to turn around this year.  The second thing is the change at the CFL level with the rules, the Argos moving into a new stadium and Jeffrey now having a year under his belt.  There's been a lot of change across both the local and the national level.

2015 SEEMED TURBULENT FOR BOTH THOSE MEN

WM:  Sure, it's always that way with change.  With Jeffrey taking over from Mark Cohon who'd been there for a long time, they're different people.  They have different priorities and mandates that they want to do and Jeffrey's got a different direction.  He's the guy who's going to take the league to the next level hopefully, especially when you look at how our markets are across Canada.

There were some challenges last year if you look at the amount of stadiums that were used for other venues and that hurt the league.  You look at the rule changes and that takes time to adjust to.  You look at the fact that we saw an unprecedented amount of injuries to star players.  And then - let's face it - when the Riders hurt, everybody hurts across this league.  Fortunately we had a great Grey Cup in Winnipeg in the end, but we've got some work to do going forward.

IS COMPENSATION THE #1 ISSUE FACING CFL FOOTBALL OPERATIONS RIGHT NOW?

WM:  It certainly isn't the biggest.  We've got a lot of other things we're dealing with right now but it is an issue.  This is why we have a Commissioner.  This is what what his job is right now, to look at a situation like this and whether it's a fine for an injury on the field or it's a situation between the teams like this, this is what he has to look at.

When we looked at what we did with Edmonton (hiring the Eskimos' coaching staff), nothing was under the table.  It was clean, we feel good about it, and morally we've moved on from it.  What's the difference between the one in and Edmonton and Ottawa?  Same thing.

WHAT'S THE UPDATE ON THE NEW STADIUM?

WM:  Wow that's exciting!  When you drop by there right now, you notice the lights are all up on the east side already.  The speakers are in the ramps already.  I saw them the other day.  They've got the sinks in and the carpet in a few places.  The field level is starting to be excavated to the finished surface.  Put it this way: the turf has been ordered with the actual emblems that are gonna be stitched into it so it's exciting.

WERE THERE SOME CHALLENGES WITH CONSTRUCTION?

WM:  Certainly any project has those in today's world, especially when you're got timelines.  I have to applaud all the people who were involved because the benchmarking that was done, learning from others what they did right and wrong was an asset, and having a generous schedule has been really important.  It's given us some flexibility.  When you look at the model of the stadium, and you can go across North America - and maybe even outside of that - when you have a funding model where you've got the fans as the biggest funder, the Province and the City kicking in, and then you've got the Riders coming in with their portion and also the corporate world kicking in funds, all these guys came together.  It's a city-owned facility and not only the Roughriders benefit, but the whole city does.  All of the minor football, soccer and field lacrosse teams will utilize it plus we'll have the concerts so it's a great facility.

THE RIDER FACILITIES IN NEW MOSAIC STADIUM ARE AMAZING

WM:  The attraction for coaches and players will be phenomenal.  It'll rival a lot of the other cities in North America.  We did a lot of stakeholder interviewing, for instance we even had players' wives consulted on the family area.  The media was involved, the strength and conditioning people were too.  Jeremy O'Day led a lot of that.  And then having the Populus Group, who was our architect/designer, and well-known throughout the world, in fact they were involved in the design of the T-Mobile Arena right across the road from where we are now here in Vegas, that led to a state-of-the-art facility in Regina.  It'll make it so much nicer and everybody who goes there to work everyday will leave there feeling pretty good about it.

ANY OTHER MESSAGE TO THE FANS?

WM:  I'd just like to thank them for their patience.  Being a club that has a following like we do and have a 3-15 season like last year and then have them still stand behind us, support us on and off the field, is great.  When we hired Craig Reynolds, one of the terms he kept using was "long-term sustainability".  That 18-34 aged crowd across the nation has so many options right now of where to spend their discretionary income so we've got to do a better job of getting them to spend their money with us and the best way to do it is to win on the field.  That's what our goal is.

THE FANS SEEM TO BE LOOKING AHEAD, NOT BEHIND

WM:  Sure.  You can't look back.  It's done.  You've gotta learn from it and move on.  Take the lessons we learned and put it in front of us.  The change we've made with the dual role of the Coach/GM, if you look across, that seems to have some success behind it.  That doesn't work if you don't have the right person but we felt in the interview process that Chris Jones was the right person.  With him, Jeremy and Murph, that's a great group along with the coaches they brought in.  We look forward to it.  It's exciting, it's a change, and that's what people wanted to see happen.

THANKS FOR THE CHAT WAYNE!

WM:  Thanks Rod and all the best.  Thanks for all the things you do for the Rider Nation.

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7 - The annual CFL Congress is underway in Toronto and I'm told a lot of their discussions will centre around some of the items mentioned by Wayne Morsky.  Roughriders President Craig Reynolds is there along with team Presidents from across the league.  The Riders' Ryan Pollock will be on the SportsCage's Rider Monday to recap Monday's events plus CFLPA player rep Chris Best will discuss last week's meetings here in Las Vegas.

8 - Popular former Roughrider punter Eddie Johnson is in Las Vegas attending the Academy of Country Music Awards and, apparently, a retirement party for his old Minnesota Vikings teammate Jared Allen.  As always, Eddie's social media feeds are jammed with entertaining photos and comments.  I'm hoping to hook up with Eddie at some point this week.  Busy, busy!  Eddie just returned from Europe where he was a model in Volkswagen's new ad campaign.  What a guy.

9 - Got a great piece of advice for dealing with the haters last week.  "Consider the source".

10 - And lastly, the Regina Pats are getting set to take on the Red Deer Rebels in Round 2 of the 2016 Western Hockey League Playoffs beginning Saturday in Red Deer.  How ecstatic the Queen City Sports & Entertainment Group must be that they've achieved the second round in both years of their ownership!  However I fear the clock is about to strike midnight on the Cinderella Pats.  The last time these two teams met - in that Hockey Day Game in February - Regina really was no match for Brent Sutter's Rebels.  The MMG predicts Red Deer to take this series in no more than six games.

And it appears I won't be able to take in any of the games because I'll be in Florida for the Roughriders' annual spring minicamp.  Oh well, can't be everywhere.

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THAT'S IT FROM VEGAS!  THANKS FOR READING ...
RP
@rodpedersen

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Helluva great Monday morning read.

Anonymous said...

Hey at least the Pats ownership will get 4 home games in for revenues this year. Maybe next year they can make it to 3rd round or more?

Anonymous said...

Rod,
Agreed. Reilly seriously needs to get over himself and grow up a bit.

Totally unprofessional and not the way the face of a franchise should conduct himself in the public eye.

Anonymous said...

Once a jerk always a jerk - yes thats you RP !!!!!

Don Mitchell said...

"A rather innocent projection of the CFL West Division........

Rod, NOTHING you do is innocent!!!!! LOL!

Have a great time in Vegas!

Anonymous said...

Hey Roddy it should be a statement like Vegas has a brand new stadium with no team ,it totally reminds me of Regina and wanting a team here ,brand new state of the art stadium with no team to play there

Anonymous said...

1-Edmonton 2- Calgary. 3- Winnipeg. 4- bc 5- sliders. BOOK IT

Anonymous said...

Eskimos are 2015/2016 Grey Cup Champs

Anonymous said...

The way the Pats have been playing and having seen the Rebels in their game on Saturday,I'm not worried about the Pats at all. They will have to be on their game and stay out of the box and all will be fine. It'll be a tough series but the Pats can prevail.

Anonymous said...

Rod!

Have a great time in Vegas. The MC is a great spot.

There's an awesome steak house right across the street. Smith and Wollensky. Not cheap, but you won't be disappointed.

Haters gonna hate Rod, always.


Russ from Saskatoon

mister winnipeg said...

"Just like Winnipeg!"

You guys never stop thinking about us, how flattering :)

Looks like a great trip though, I have to admit I always love the stories and pics you come back with, Rod. I enjoy the armchair travel.

Anonymous said...

This event Pedersen is putting on is straight from the book Good Advice from Bad People.

What are his credentials to hold such a thing? Suckers.

This Guy said...

People will rip you because you're not taking the Pats. But then again they would rip you if you took the pats and call you a homer. Just can't win sometimes Roddie

Richard H said...


Great read and interview rod! As always

Anonymous said...

Bush leauge comments from Coehoorn. At least he apologized but that's no excuse. You've worked hard to maintain sobriety in the alcohol-fuelled sports business and it's not something to make fun of.

But yeah I agree that the CFL and CFLPA should have put more effort into promoting the stories of last week. It speaks to the crappy marketing that the CFL has. I was sincerely hoping that this would be fixed by now but it looks like nothing has. Pretty pathetic when the grassroots of the leauge like Rod and the fans have to pump the tires. Leadership starts from the top down and right now the league office has shown absolutely none.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

What was the big life change 14 months ago?

Anonymous said...

Did you use an advance poll?

Rod Pedersen said...

Of course I did. Saskatchewan needs to stay strong.

RP

Anonymous said...

Coehoorn/Reilly = Grey Cup Championship players.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm really suprised today. There are only two or three poorly written, idiotic comments from Moes fans today.

Must be an IKEA or Costco job fair in Edmonton today.

Anonymous said...

Wayne Morsky,

I too am looking forward to the new stadium, as I am sure most out of town Rider fans will plan to attend when in Regina. But one thing that still seems unclear, will there or will there not be a public restaurant in the stadium that is open year round?

If not, that will be a missed opportunity to showcase the stadium, not only on game day, but all year long...

Kel in Victoria

Anonymous said...

Edmonton, 4th place finish! Book it

dave spad said...

Coehoorn+Reilly=Morons with no class!

dom said...

Hey anon 2. It's pretty good when you are the lower seed and you only get two home games in the first round. Who cares if they only get 4 or 5 home games. It is very exciting hockey. Real hockey fans will follow the team and be behind them win or lose. You are probably the same loser that posted "sweep" after game 1 in Lethbridge. Now go back to the basement and have a good afternoon. Go pats.

Anonymous said...

New stadium and no team... Try Edmonton Oilers...

Anonymous said...

Wow, Losing a lot of respect for Rielly. Thought he was tougher mentally then that.

Really, he's upset because the play by play guy for the Riders picked his team to finish first. What a softy. Too many hits to the head maybe.

Anonymous said...

Yep, it's Hooters! With Rod as managing partner and B. Thies as the head waitress.

Trump

Rod Pedersen said...

Are you referring to me? Because I'm referring to Jeff Keeping. At least Flory returned messages.

Anonymous said...

You guys should see Mrs Sportscage by the pool. Hot tomalies! Don't need the sauce when you've got her for sure.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your prediction for the Pats-Rebels Series. Unfortunately The Warriors will be done in 4-5 against Brandon.

Maybe next year these two teams will meet in the Eastern Final.

Go Warriors!!!

Anonymous said...

I heard Keeping responded to everyone else's messages.

Rod Pedersen said...

Haha. And where's the coverage of it?

Anonymous said...

Should be fun taunting Reilly this season for those on the east side. Think about it. If Reilly is that mentally weak over Rod's predictions for season 2016. Just imagine how you could get under his skin at the game. Sinage people bring signs.
I too admired the guy for his physical toughness. I didn't realize that his brain was the weakest part of his anatomy. Hell my 11 year old Son has bigger cohonas than that.
REILLY THE RIPPER OF PEDERSEN PREDICTIONS. BAHAHAHA
Good article Rod. I really enjoyed today's read.
I a
So agree that if the Pats can stay out of the box. They could take the series to 7 games. Maybe, just maybe pull it out with a big Win.
Reginald of Regina

Anonymous said...

Hey Roddy - the comments on Esksfans.com blog are ripping you pretty good. I can see you are not one of their favourite people.

Enjoy Vegas - you should go see Fat Elvis at Planet Hollywood - hilarious...

Rod S. In Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

Yes, it seems a lot of these Eskimo loving fanatics have infiltrated this comment section with their anger and silliness. Oh well, the more the merrier.

Anonymous said...

Never Forget Dom, You've Been Schooled again~

Anonymous said...

You will see how strong Reilly is when he stomps over your sorry pathetic riders once again. Glad your Qb is doing speeches, probably the only thing he is good at, straight band-aid. Pretty funny how Reilly stating situation is an insult but all you idiots on here and Rod is fine on this side…rider nation crumbles. Odell Willis and company are going to be smiling at your sidelines

Anonymous said...

Not sure why Coehoorn/Reilly spouted off, if not for their defence they wouldn’t have a ring around their finger.

That defines now belongs to Saskie

Randolph said...

With all due respect, who the hell is Wayne Morsky? Where did he come from?

Anonymous said...

That T- Moble Arena looks like big shiney curling rock, anybody who thinks curling is a sport needs to get their head examined asap then donate it to the nearest event so it could be put to use as a rock in play.

Randolph said...

Even though Nate apologized, I am a little surprised by the venomous comments. He of all people should remember these words "Judge not lest ye be Judged".

Anonymous said...

Are you saying Edmonton's defence belongs to Saskatchewan now...you should really be more informed on your dumb comments before making them. You have a couple/few guys from our defence and the only one that was decent was Foster. We had 3 go to the Nfl and the rest are still on board with the Green and Gold. Our defence may not be quite be as strong but could be with any guys returning from the Nfl or guys picked up in the off-season yet. One thing to remember is the green and golds offence is going to be dangerous this year with our main rb back John White and Maas behind our offence. Bring it on Riders, we are waiting to put you back in the basement where you belong as usual...you will have 4 grey cups for a long time yet so enjoy hahahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing with that picture of the hockey stadium. MORE THAN ONE LANE TO GET OUT OF THE STADIUM! WOW, WHAT A CONCEPT!

Anonymous said...

Wayne Morsky, he's from MANITOBA!!!!!!! Those stupid people of Saskatchewan!!!!!!!