2 - The Western Hockey League has its own form of March Madness, and it's called the WHL Playoffs. They are only a few weeks away but the Regina Pats have a few things to sort out before then.
The Pats threw the wolves a bone with a 4-2 victory on Sunday in Brandon, snapping an alarming four game losing streak. The victory certainly helped them in their quest to nail down the #1 seed, but it also may have dispelled some doubt which might have seeped into even their own minds.
The MMG's analysis is that I'd far rather have a four game losing streak now than in the playoffs because by then, it's curtains.
This should be one of the most fun springs around here in quite some time, and it's clear everyone has picked up and taken notice of what all the Saskatchewan WHL teams are doing.
3 - One staunch Pats observer pointed out this rough patch started on February 18, the exact same day that Regina was named the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. However I don't agree. The team is 4-4-1 since that day and John Paddock is currently directing his ship out of troubled waters.
They'll get a couple of days to collect some rest before visiting Swift Current on Wednesday, and then facing red-hot Moose Jaw in a home-and-home series next weekend.
The Pats also have seven games remaining with the chance to tie or set a club record for wins (49). They currently stand at 45 victories however it's more important to be playoff-ready than to try to get into the record book.
4 - Regina and Calgary seem to be similar in at least one way. Whenever the hockey team loses, everyone blames the goalie.
5 - Saturday's Leader Post report that the new owners of the Regina Pats have lost millions since taking over the team in 2014 got a lot of tongues wagging. "If they lost millions under QCSEG, how much did they lose under the prior ownership?" one Pats fan texted me on Saturday.
It's complicated but the fact is the new owners spend far greater than the old owners and, up until this season, didn't rake in as much revenue. That will even out over time -- provided they enjoy sustained success.
The QCSEG didn't purchase the Pats to make a bundle, but they didn't get into this to lose a bundle either.
6 - Chatting with a local construction/architectural executive this weekend, I asked him what he thought about a new hockey arena in Regina. "It's at least 5-10 years away, if it happens at all," he predicted.
So the Brandt Centre it is for the foreseeable future. I love that place anyway.
7 - The Swift Current Broncos clinched a playoff spot Saturday night in the first season under Head Coach and G.M. Emmanual Viveiros. "Vive" has turned out to be a very solid hire and the Broncos board should take a bow. And don't forget the contributions of Ass't Coach Jamie Heward.
CFL officials have said if you want to see the CFL stars, come early in the week.
Frankly, going back to my days as a kid and CFL fan in the 80's and 90's, I'd have gone out of my mind for a chance like this. Back then, it would've been mind-boggling to meet the likes of Doug Flutie, Matt Dunigan, Allen Pitts, Dave Sapunjis, Chris Walby, Glenn Kulka, Kent Austin, Bobby Jurasin, etc., etc.
Now you have YOUR chance. I think it'll be fantastic.
9 - Many fans are still trying to get their heads around what exactly CFL Week is but it's something the CFL has been doing in Toronto for several years. The Combine, GMs and Rules Committee meetings, player photo/video shoots are all nothing new. But the League was urged to take the show out on the road and give fans in Western Canada a chance to be involved.
Let's make sure it's a success.
10 - The CFL added 100 more tickets for the Combine after the initial 300 were quickly snapped up by alert fans who visited www.MarksCFLWeek.ca in the past weeks. If you're not too sure what the Combine is all about, hopefully you watched the NFL's version in Indianapolis which aired all weekend long at NFL Network. It's not for everybody (the football types salivate over it but it can leave the casual fan wanting), but it appears to be a hot ticket in Regina.
11 - Saskatchewan's Adam Casey won both his games at the Tim Hortons Brier on Sunday and enters the week in a logjam for third-place very early on in the round robin. Kudos to his foursome who've given Saskatchewan curling fans some hope that the Brier drought, which stretches back to 1980, may actually end this year in St. John, Newfoundland.
12 - Rumours abound that Kelly Bates is to be named the next Head Coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team.
**Kelly Bates assured me Monday morning that he was never in the mix for the Huskie job and he intends to honour his contract at SFU. An announcement from the Huskies on their new Head Coach is expected soon.**
Kelly would also like you to know registration for his football camp opens on Tuesday at www.kellybates.ca.
THAT'S IT! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4:00