2 - CFL EXPANSION: Somewhere I saw a study that said Saskatoon will have a population of 500,000 by the year 2035. (Wikipedia says it's curently 250,000). Surely it could support a CFL expansion team by then? That notion was quickly shot down when I brought it up on the SportsCage. This is Rider Country, and the love for Canada's Team in the Bridge City never ceases to amaze me.
By the way, what happened to the CFL in Halifax?
3- GOOD LOOKING: The Riders are coming together in Week 2 of camp. Head coach Chris Jones said as much on Wednesday. They are a veteran group that's built to win now. The pundits mostly seem to concur that it's going to be a 2-horse race in the CFL West between Saskatchewan and Edmonton, and this is going to be a lot of fun.
4 - ZACH ATTACK: It's Zach Collaros's team, end of story. I haven't seen the analytics but it appears both Zach and Brandon Bridge have had excellent camps. That shouldn't be a surprise because they're both great QBs. It's great that there are tons of Bridge fans in the Rider Nation who want to see him play, and they'll get their wish at some point, I'm sure. But Collaros is a little older, a little more experienced and a little more polished. He's the leader and it's his team.
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6 - WORKING OT: It seems logical to me that if Duron Carter is going to play on both offense and defense, then he should get two paycheques? I asked him Wednesday if that's crossed his mind. "Oh man, I thought about that last year. Me and my agent decided to wait until after this season to see how I do." So far, so good.
Interesting too, that Duron told us he has a photographic memory and once he sees a play on the board, he remembers it forever. That’s helped him on defence too, because he always knows what play is coming. He was born for this game.
7 - RIDER PRIDE: This is an easy team to cheer for. Have I written that since camp opened? From the ever-smiling Duron Carter, to the humble Zach Collaros, to the dancing-up-and-down-and-waving Willie Jefferson, to the model-like Brandon Bridge, to the Mighty Mouse Chad Owens, there's a lot to like with Canada's Team this year. They are a treat to be around.
8 - GATEWAY TO THE NORTH: It felt great to be in P.A. on Tuesday/Wednesday for the Special Olympics breakfast. Raiders GM Curtis Hunt took me on a tour of the town and it's changed quite a bit since I lived there from 1993-95. But it's still as beautiful of a place as you'll find. We agreed a new arena on the North Saskatchewan River banks is just what the city needs. The Art Hauser Centre is the second-oldest rink in the Dub and has outlived its usefulness. P.A. remains a very special place, but they need a new arena. Fortunately for them, Premier Scott Moe is from just down the road.
9 - MEMORIAL CUP: The best team, Acadie-Bathurst, won. What more is there to say? The host Regina Pats have nothing to hang their heads about and a whole new generation of young Pats fans has been spawned. The team hadn't played in the Memorial Cup final since 1974! When will they get that close again? I don't think it'll be another 44 years with this ownership group and braintrust. They make you proud to be a fan. Hats off.
10 - KNIGHT TIME: The real Braden Holtby showed up to backstop Washington to a 3-2 win over Vegas on Wednesday, tying up the Stanley Cup Finals at 1-1. Holtby still has a lot of fans here in Saskatoon, where he starred for the Blades. And with Saskatoon product Chandler Stephenson on the Caps, this is decidedly a pro-Washington town. However my rooting interest remains with the Golden Knights, which has made for some fun barbs. This is the best, juiciest Stanley Cup Final in a good many years. Way to go NHL!
Meanwhile I treated myself to a Spicy Thai pizza at the Famoso Pizzeria on Wednesday for Game 2. They might have the best patio in Saskatoon! I'll be back.