Realty One

Monday, October 3, 2016


It's Finally Arrived


1 - There will be no Home Field Jinx at New Mosaic Stadium.  Before a Canada West-record crowd of 16,500 on Saturday afternoon, the University of Regina Rams survived a late scare from the University of Saskatchewan to beat the Huskies 37-29.  It was the first game at the new facility and, as we all know, served as a "test" game.  It seemed to go off without a hitch.

The Rams were their usual selves; explosive.  It took awhile for Rams quarterback Noah Picton to totally get in a groove but it seemed like he and the offense owned the second half.  The one thing the Rams are going to have to avoid if they plan to go to the Vanier Cup for the first time since 2000 is turnovers.  They were costly, and could've been fatal against the Huskies.

But at 4-1, there's talk of the Hardy Cup being played in Regina.  Wouldn't that be something?  And there's even a whisper of it being held in New Mosaic Stadium but that's just chatter.

Before posting some thoughts on Saturday afternoon's festivities, here are some photos from the event:

The view from the TSN broadcast booth.  Or as was the case on Saturday, the Shaw/Access broadcast booth with Canada West lead voice Jim Mullin ...

A view to the right from the TV broadcast booth ...

And a view to the left ...

A common scene on Saturday: volunteers and fans alike taking plenty of photos of the historic day ...

A pregame meeting for stadium security in the Harvard Broadcasting Lounge ...

Volunteers were fed well in the lounge ...

This shot outside the west windows gives you an idea of the proximity to the Brandt Centre ...

Yours truly, getting ready to sign-on the first-ever television broadcast from New Mosaic Stadium on Access/Shaw.  Give an assist to Colin O'Brian's Man Shoppe.  THANK YOU, thank you, thank you to Access and Shaw for having me be a part of the broadcast.  It's days like that why I got into this business ..

My view looking back the other way ...

Could the new place be nicknamed "The House That Hoppy Built"?  I think so.  It was great to see the former Rider President and his wife Brenda, supporting his alma mater ...

One behind-the-scenes shot of the broadcast booth hallway ...

And one last shot from the field ...

2 - Many fans on Saturday remarked that, "God must be a Saskatchewan football fan" because it was sunny and 23 degrees Celsius for the clash.  Organizers couldn't have asked for any better.

Glitches?  There were none that I could see.  Evraz Place officials were prepared to take some heat for the lack of parking - most stalls were saved for Rams and other football and political MVPs - but I didn't hear any complaints.  If you were there, your thoughts are welcome in the comment section below.

The large replay screen in the south endzone was inactive and the smaller video scoreboard in the northeast corner didn't feature any replays.  Local football fans seemed lost without that amenity, and many seated around our broadcast tent peered in for television replays on our monitor.

The concessions were "temporary" at best, but some of the most popular attractions were 2-foot long hotdogs and "Nachos In A Bucket".  Western Pizza had a small space reserved on the southwest concourse and were kept busy but when New Mosaic Stadium opens for real, Western Pizza magnate Jim Bonis tells me they'll have three permanent booths in the facility.  He couldn't be more proud.

The huge crowd was a record for Canada West football, but not CIS-wide.  I'm told a crowd of 50,000+ watched a university game in Toronto in the 1950's and the record stands to this day.

I was impressed at how many Huskie fans made the drive down for Saturday's contest.  They were loud, and very noticeable.

3 - The broadcast sounded great on 620 CKRM with Michael Ball and Marco Ricci however Ballsy was aghast in the fourth quarter, huffing "Where's everybody going?  I guess they only came to see the stadium."  There was far less that 16,500 in the house when the final gun sounded.

It's true and it's not new; Regina is a Rider town, not a football town.  The same goes for Toronto, which is a Leafs city, and not a hockey city.

If thousands showed up for high school, junior or university games here, then an argument could be made otherwise but if it hasn't happened up until now, it's not going to.

The fact is the vast majority of the 16,500 on hand Saturday were Rider season ticket holders who came to scout out their seats, and otherwise Rider fans who just wanted to get a look at their beloved football team's new home.

I'm not sure how you feel about your seats, but my wife couldn't have handpicked her seat in the new stadium any better if she'd had the chance.

My favourite comment I heard on Saturday was, "Just wait until we're kicking everybody's ass in here!"  I wish I could remember who said it, but I talked to hundreds of people during the day.

4 - The debate is on in the CFL; Who has the best stadium?  Right now Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and Hamilton are all proclaiming they have the best and there really is no correct answer.  We're all right.  One CFL-type told me recently, "If B.C. Place was to be built today, it'd have a pricetag of $2-billion with its current amenities".  But the fact is that stadium was built in 1983.

However we all pretty much agree on who has the worst.

5 - For the sake of avoiding any more confusion, I'm going to refer to the Roughriders' current stadium as "Taylor Field" until the end of this 2016 CFL season.  The Grand Ol' Lady certainly deserves that title, since that's what she was called for 95 years.  

If the good folks at The Mosaic Company have an issue with that, I'll certainly listen to them however it was just too bulky and cumbersome to say on television on Saturday, "The Rams and Huskies are playing here at New Mosaic Stadium this afternoon but tonight at Old Mosaic Stadium, the Thunder will host the Hilltops".

Taylor Field it is, and it feels good.  Mosaic has already received plenty of mileage with the new facility.

6 - Football maven John Lynch was deliriously happy to take in Saturday's Rams game and was even more delighted to have a chat with Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones during the first half.  John Frenzy reports that Jones is "ecstatic" with the new additions of Jeff Fuller and Willie Jefferson, and the prospects which lie ahead for the Green & White.

Jones reportedly told Lynch that once the Riders gave a new stadium tour to Willie Jefferson last week, the defensive lineman gushed, "This is where I want to play football!"

You don't think that the best facility in the CFL will be a major attraction to free agents and prospects?  Think again.

However the Calgary Stampeders will continue to be a formidable foe on the recruiting trail, given the fact they're the most solid outfit in the league.

7 - Saturday's news that the Roughriders released veteran running back/returner Kendial Lawrence was a surprise, but not a shock.  However something must've gone down during the bye week since Jones said Lawrence would be back with the football club this week after attending the funeral of a family member in the States.

Without question, Lawrence was a disappointment for the Roughriders this season.  I predicted he'd have an All-Star season after leaving Edmonton as a free agent to sign here but he was nowhere near the player he was with the Eskimos.  To me, he dogged it during training camp and barely moved the needle once the regular season began.

However I was told Kendial was one of Jones's "boys" (favourites) and the coach was going to give him every opportunity to shine.  It appeared that moment came in the Labour Day Classic when he returned a potentially game-winning punt 85-yards for a touchdown in the dying moments.

Again, something must have happened in between but I'm told it was a mutual parting-of-ways.

The Riders' John Murphy will discuss it further on Monday's SportsCage on 620 CKRM.

8 - Once we get back to game action, we'll get back to the complaints about CFL officiating.  The fateful "Illegal Procedure" penalty on Hamilton for their centre moving the ball ahead by several inches two weeks ago at Saskatchewan continues to be a hot topic.  Particularly in Hamilton, where the Tiger-Cats find themselves in a considerable tailspin following Saturday's home loss to Calgary.'s Drew Edwards referred to the infraction as a "terrible call" last week and he got little argument.  One former CFL GM told me last week that, "It was a bad call, but that doesn't mean our refs are bad".

It's going to be a scintillating stretch drive - even if the Riders aren't a big part of it - and here's hoping officiating doesn't become a factor in the outcomes.

The Week 15 games were all entertaining, and seemingly devoid of the officials' glare.

9 - It really was a fun weekend in the Queen City.  At Friday night's 50th Anniversary Gala for the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame at Queensbury Centre, dinner patrons were kept in stitches by the Hot Stove panelists.

The hockey group stole the show with the likes of Glenn Hall, Bob Bourne, Chico Resch, Fred Sasakamoose and Ed Staniowski.  Virtually none of their stories revolved around hockey, and had more to do with growing up in Saskatchewan while carving their Hall of Fame careers.  Resch had the line of the night saying Saskatchewan is home to the best people, and are trademarked by their humility.

I was seated at a table of Olympians including Mike Mintenko and Diane Jones-Konihowski and they were trembling at the prospect of following the hockey personalities.  However they did a superb job, just not as side-splitting.

And then I finished off the evening by hosting the Hot Stove with football Hall of Famers George Reed, Alan Ford, Gerry James and John Konihowski.

I thought the legendary Gerry James stole the show there, even if he was decidedly grumpy over the course of the evening.  Regarding his name being added to the Ring of Honour at Winnipeg's Investors Group Field in July, James grumbled, "I didn't even get anything for it!  Not even a gift certificate".

When I asked him his career highlight from his wars in both the NHL and the CFL, James' eyes brightend as he said, "Lining up on the blue line for Oh Canada in the Montreal Forum and looking across the ice and seeing Richard, Beliveau, Geoffrion and Plante!  They were all my heroes.  It doesn't get better than that."

Thank you to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame for having me be a part of the night.

10 - If you look atop the WHL's Eastern Conference standings, you see the name Regina Pats.  All I can say is "Get used to it".  Other teams in the East are chortling about the Pats being already anointed Memorial Cup champs but I'll stick to the assertion that this will be the best season of Pats hockey in over 30 years.  They've yet to lose in regulation time (although neither has Moose Jaw) but they're showing now signs of slowing down.  In fact they're only going to get far better.

They steamrolled the Red Deer Rebels 7-2 on Sunday afternoon in the Brandt Centre as phenom Sam Steel notched five points.  Why isn't he a bigger star in this town anyway?  The win improved the Pats' record to 3-0-1.

Your next chance to witness the Queen City Kids play is Friday night when they host the Kootenay Ice.  Come on out and get an eyeball of them.




Anonymous said...

With the lions and esks wins this week end the riders are officially out of the playoffs this year.

Everyone remember to thank Jones for his great coaching job with the riders and next year will be the same with jones.

Anonymous said...

This Pats team is a treat to watch. It is the best Pats team in over 30 years. Not sure if Regina deserves it based on fan support.

Anonymous said...

The new stadium is nice and we walked around and sat in a couple of different places to get a feel for it.

I am not sure what the plans are for the concession booths, but there were long lines and the crowd movement around those booths was difficult. I am hoping that when the stadium is at full capacity and the food booths have their permanent homes, crowd movement is better. We stopped at one booth during half time, on the East side, and everything we asked for they were either out of or it would be 20 minutes until they made a fresh batch, etc. It sounds like they weren't well prepared.

I am hoping that certain size standards and consistency are enforced for all food booths. For instance, in the old stadium, if you sat in the South end zone, for $5, one week you received a large bag of popcorn. The next week, bag size was cut in half. Then, we sat in the West stands, and the bag was now a small box.

Even at half capacity, there were still lineups for the women's washrooms.

Anonymous said...

Damn it Regina. The Patsies have only played 3 games and you would think they are "Memorial Cup Champions". Get over it, the season hasn't even begun and you keep harping on how great they are . How can you really tell that when they have only played 3 League games and some exhibition games that didn't even mean anything. Perhaps the answer would be ...Let's really build them up so we can fill our old Barn with fans well that didn't work yet because only 3500 plus were in attendance to see the Red Deer game. Can't wait for them to lose a couple so we don't have to read this garbage after every game they play.

Russell Cone said...

The stadium is awesome Rod! There's a few minor things but on a list of 300 million parts to but together a stadium like this, a few isn't bad. Nowhere near the issues they had ib Winnipeg. Nice to work with you. You did a great job! I hope we get to work together again soon.


Russ from Saskatoon

Don Mitchell said...

Great review Rod. I'm actually going to buy seasons for the Rams next year. The football is very good and terrific value for the price.
Once the concessions are in their permanent homes and the ladies find out where all the washrooms are things still be fine

Anonymous said...

How did the Thunder do on the weekend?

Rod Pedersen said...

Scroll down.

Rider Fan said...

Only downfall to the stadium was that the announcer was difficult to hear/understand and you couldn't hear the referee at all. The music was clear and at a good volume though.

Anonymous said...

Roddy, Brandon Wheat Kings lost last night to the Broncos.

Anonymous said...

Such an awesome experience in the new stadium. If less than 16000 can be that loud with the new acoustics, imagine what it'll be like when the place is packed! More than ever the CFL needs to get its act together by getting rid of the stupid challenges and ridiculous PI rules. That stadium deserves the best football possible and it would be a shame to come to such a nice facility and watch garbage like we've seen this year.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Do the Pats have the Memorial Cup parade route planned yet?

Rod Pedersen said...

Yes. Same as the last three ..

Anonymous said...

Didn't you make a comment at the end of the season that you and the NHL scouts you talked to "didn't see it" when talking about Steele being a first round talent?

Anonymous said...

Count me in as an unhappy Season ticket holder. I used to sit on the 20 yard line 9 rows from the field. I am now 5 yards in the end zone and they are wanting me to pay $800 per ticket are you kidding me? 20 year season ticket holder and we are supposed to be happy with this really? I went and spoke about how unhappy I was with where I have been moved to and the guy told me there are a lot of unhappy people. I would have been ok with moving over 5-10 yards but 25 yards come on that is a joke. Who is going to pay $1600 to sit in the end zone?

Rod Pedersen said...

They said they could see he had his ability. He just hadn't shown it consistently.

Darcy said...

nice to watch a football game and not see all those PI penalties called, get it together CFL

Tony Glasser said...

I am in the same boat. 20 yard line and 40 rows up. Now I'm 5 yards deep in the endzone too. Moving up instead of over would have been an easier pill to swallow...

Kenny said...

Nothing but good to say about the new stadium. But noticed a few issues. The west side concourse was very crowdedicated and hard to move compared to the eat side. The seats are alittle flimsy and heard of some getting broken. And the Sound System??? If you were around center field it was alright but anywhere else is was terrible very hard to hear and understand. Hope that gets fixed.

Anonymous said...

The seat reassignments are just starting for people who are further from center field and those that are higher up. Now the fun starts. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

We used to sit in Section 11 in the old stadium, until they changed our sight lines a few years ago. Then instead of looking downfield, we looked straight into the end zone. We asked to move as our necks were cranked the whole game. We ended up in the South end zone, and sit and watch the Maxtron now.

We have not been happy for the last 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Everything you just said was negative.

Anonymous said...

To the annon whining about the talk that the Pats will be in the Memorial Cup. Just please stop whining, it sounds childish. The whole league is saying it. The Pats will get the league's leading scorer from last year back from NHL camp soon. They have three first lines and 3-4 guys who would be the number one d man on most teams. All the NHL scouts are also saying the Pats will win the league. Stop your whining, there is always be talk all year long of who the best team is and who will make the Mem cup, this year thats the Pats. Did you come on and whine last year when Roddy predicted that Brandon would win the league right from day one? We all know how that prediction turned out. Frankly it would be a miracle if the Pats didn't win the league this year. But anything can happen. As of now all the NHL scouts and the rest of the league and hockey minds are all saying the Pats will win it all. Deal with it.

Pon Jaddock

Valerie P said...

We are super happy about our seats and have moved slightly closer to the end zone but really there is not a bad view. We didn't sit in our seats for the game as we had a ton of family together, mainly Huskie fans. We sat on the NW endzone corner and even there it is a decent view. It is going to be impossible to appease everyone.
We are a 2 hour drive one way from Regina and loved every minute of the game. We plan on buying season tickets for the Rams as well next year. CIS is excellent football. Sad that lots of ppl did not stay to watch the final minutes as it was exciting and even loud!
Guess being positive is a hard thing to do. Great column!
The one comment was the congestion in the concourse was crazy, hopefully that will get better with more of the stadium being open.
Well done though and looking forward to many years of cheering for both CIS and CFL in Mosaic!

Donald J. Trump said...

Lets make The Riders Great Again!

Anonymous said...

Weird that just as it seems Kendial has turned the corner and is playing somewhat up to expectations he is gone? AS always great insight and comments, Rod - Robert

Anthony said...

There are pro's and con's for the new stadium. So far I can see wayyy more pro's.

- beatiful
- all seats have great views
- updated everything
- individual seats
- cupholders for every seat

- narrow aisle's make it hard for traffic going both up and down stairs
- concourse was still heavily congested (hopefully from temporary food setups)
- seats still aren't quite wide enough for those bigger folk and no grace period like the open bench had

Overall, this is going to be one hell of a stadium and I can't wait for the Riders to play in it. Definitely gonna be some growing pains as it still seemed pretty cramped even with only a little over half capacity there. Hopefully this will improve with more gates open and less temporary food stands setup in the concourse.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the fans not renewing my season ticket.

increased costs plus moving me from the 30 yard line between the 15 and 10. Plus they were going to be way lower than I am now.

No longer affordable or great seats.

I know there will be someone who wants the ticket and will pay.

But I'm out.

Maybe I'll go to some Rams games next year.

Anonymous said...

"The house that taxpayers built"

Anonymous said...

We were at the game and loved it. No major complaints, just minor things.

Really like the individual seats. If I can fit my rather large a$$ in, anyone should be able to. At least now, extra people won't be squeezing into our row.

Looking forward to see what the big SaskTel Maxtron will look like and what the new Stadium Vision will be like - once it is turned up this winter sometime.

Newt from YQR

Anonymous said...

University football's secret is OUT! Very good football at a very good price. No reason not to come to the remaining games and all the games next year.

@mrt_man said...

Yup nothing negative... except for the whole post.

One of the railings where we were still had a bunch of wood shims supporting it. Anyone know what those plastic doohickeys are supposed to be on every 4th or fifth railing?

Unknown said...

First off, let me say I don't drink the "Rider Koolaid" or believe that the world revolves them. I attended the game firstly, to watch the Rams and secondly, to see the stadium and what exactly we are getting for our tax dollars. I was most impressed by the sight lines, moving around a bit we watched from a couple of vantage points and they were all good. I, too, thought the concourse areas were a bit crowded, maybe because of the temporary vendors. The sound system was weak, unless you were between the goal lines. All in all a nice facility, but I still believe it was the wrong choice to not put a roof on it and make it a multi-use, year round facility. I also feel the location is poor, I think the city would have been better served building it downtown as part of a revitalization project that would include an entertainment area and civic transportation hub. More costly but with an eye to the future, not just a fancy new home for the Riders.

Anonymous said...

I sat in the Southeast corner just below the concourse (row 30 I think?) and thought the view was fantastic. The main thing that could've improved my experience would've been a Husky run game!

Not complaints, just some things to look at:
I'm sure that assigned seating will help with any aisleway concerns as I went to a number of them to see if I could find seats together.
I agree the sound could be better.
When the lights came on, a handful of them seemed to point directly at us. I'm glad it was a day game, and what a beautiful day it was!

Big Jim said...

Forget the roof idea, what we need are escalators to take us up and down to our seats. After a bucket of Nachos and a 2 foot hot dog I was not happy about having to walk up the stairs after the game.

Anonymous said...

WOW, wish I could have been there but I was in Calgary!!!! So many positives coming out of Taylor Field.

I watched Global Calgary at lunch today and they had a fairly long clip on the opening game of Mosaic which was nice to see. As the video was running out and showing the turf and a cement wall on the side lines the sports announcer could be heard talking over the clip to another announcer. "Oh look, what's that wall doing there, it doesn't look very good, they will have to fix that". "Maybe they should put up all their champion banners there". Lots of sarcasm !

Simply a jerk! GREEN ENVY more like it!!!!!

The anti-Rider announcer likely doesn't understand that there are likely more Rider Fans in the Calgary viewing area then Stamp Fans.




Anonymous said...

Calgary needs to keep room for that old nag with the cowgirl that everyone has had a go at run up and down the sidelines.

Send her to the glue factory already. The horse that is.

Anonymous said...

The Beer Brothers Gridiron beef sandwich was terrible. I spent $10 on it, one bite and it was in the garbage. I talked to three other people that bought it and all said it was discusting and not edible.

Anonymous said...

Loved the new stadium. Cannot wait until next year when the Riders are there. Only a couple of things that were negative. The sound in the south end zone was awful. You could not hear anything the announcer was saying at all. The cupholders in the armrests are a complete waste of time. Nothing say upright in there. We sat in our season ticket seats just to see how they were. Might be looking for a change after next season. Wouldn't mind sitting in the south end zone corners. Overall, a great experience though.

Anonymous said...

Ya, taxpayers of all levels helped pay for new stadium, deal with it! Trudeau is about to act like a dictator and force a national carbon tax on everyone that will cost each and every Saskatchewan taxpayer the equivalent of $1,250 every single year.

Anonymous said...

All majority governments, federal and provincial, are seen as dictators by the other side. That's life. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I don't pay tax, I'm brilliant like Donald

Anonymous said...

Trudeau is so naïve he's dangerous.

dboe said...

Has anyone in Section 23 been assigned yet?????