Saturday, November 24, 2018
10 GREY CUP THINGS FOR CAPITAL FLEET SERVICES
2 - BATTLE OF ALBERTA: I chuckle everytime somebody from Edmonton mentions how much they loathe Calgary. And it's come up several times each day. The Regina-Saskatoon rivalry is child's play compared to the hatred between these two cities. There's no better example than Eskimos great Hec Pothier who - while asking the blessing at Friday's CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon - asked God to help Ottawa beat Calgary on Sunday! I love it.
3 - THE SCHOONERS: Grey Cup Week got a major shot-in-the-arm with Friday night's announcement that the CFL's 10th team will be known as the Atlantic Schooners, based in Halifax. Over a thousand CFL fans packed a downtown ballroom and let out a thunderous roar when the team name was announced by Halifax CFL-backer John Ryerson. The Schooners are coming in hot, and are being welcomed with open arms by the CFL and its millions of fans. It was an honour to be personally invited by the Schooners owners, but I truthfully didn't expect the event to be THAT big!
4 - AWKWARD?: Schooners front-man Anthony Leblanc appeared on CKRM's SportsCage Friday afternoon along with co-owner Gary Drummond (a Regina/Phoenix businessman). They admitted that it appears backwards that they've already named the team and launched a season ticket drive despite the fact they don't have a stadium and - to my knowledge - haven't even been officially awarded an expansion franchise yet. However Leblanc stated that it's the same formula used by the NHL's expansion Vegas Golden Knights and tons has been going on behind-the-scenes over the past 12 months.
6 - STATE OF THE LEAGUE: Commissioner Randy Ambrosie left us wanting a little bit more after his annual State of the League address Friday morning. Given the rash of unsettling issues the CFL is facing this off-season (CBA talks, the coaches salary cap, the AAF threat, player safety, officiating, etc.), I went into the gathering hoping that Ambrosie would assure us everything is going to be okay. But he was honest in his assessment of the difficulties, and vows to face them head-on. One thing is certain to me: there's no one I'd rather have guiding the CFL through these troubled waters than Randy Ambrosie.
7 - THE GAME: Long about Friday of Grey Cup Week, we tend to forget there's an actual game to be played on Sunday. The Calgary Stampeders (14-5) will oppose the Ottawa RedBlacks (12-7) in the 106th Grey Cup at 5:00 pm Sask Time on TSN and 620 CKRM. The Stampeders are favoured by 4.5-points. My prediction? The RedBlacks were the toughest team the Saskatchewan Roughriders faced all year. In fact, they're the only team the Riders couldn't beat. My feeling is that Ottawa is going to take this one.
8 - THE STORYLINE: For the sake of seeing someone different, many had hoped to see Winnipeg or Hamilton advance to the Grey Cup since Calgary's in their third straight title game while Ottawa's appeared in three of the past five. However the top two teams are here and you have to respect what they've accomplished. The biggest story to me is: does Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell win it all and ride off into the sunset (the NFL), or does he slink off with his head hung low? Saturday figures to be a sleepless night for QBs Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris.
9 - QB CAROUSEL: Rider fans at Grey Cup don't seem to care much for Sunday's match-up. If I only had a penny for every time one of them has said, "Who's going to be our QB next year?" If I said I knew, I'd be lying. The Eskimos seem to feel they'll retain top free agent Mike Reilly while the Lions are confident they'll be able to nab him. Saskatchewan will likely be all-in in terms of a contract offer and should be able to work around his expected $650,000 asking price. That's not too far north of the combined salaries of Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge in 2018. However we're not going to know the answer to this question for quite some time.
10 - MICK MCGEOUGH: The hockey world is reeling with the news of the sudden death of famed NHL referee Mick McGeough of Regina. His son Luke announced Mick’s passing shortly before midnight on Friday. Over the past couple years Mick and I logged countless miles across Saskatchewan to speak at sports banquets and I treasured my time with him. He's a blue collar, honest guy who was looking forward to retirement, time with his family and relaxing in Arizona. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist his family at this time and it would be great if you can help out: https://www.gofundme.com/mick-mcgeough