2 - NORTH BATTLEFORD: Brett Wilson, Emile Francis, Reuben Mayes, Wade Belak, Robyn Silvernagle ... these are just a few people who've made NB famous. I always felt like that's a special town and this week I finally got to spend a few days there for public speaking and the SJHL's Canalta Cup championship. I'm in love with it! Their city slogan is "The Past Is Told. Let The Future Unfold". Sound familiar?
3 - CFL: From the outside, things look chaotic at this point in the off-season. The owners walking away from the bargaining table last week during CBA talks looks bad on them, but they don't care. Even if the public sides with the players in what's becoming a nasty dispute (they generally do), the owners eventually always get their way. If the League was interested in saving face, they could've let it be known why they've delayed talks but, again, I don't believe they care how it looks. Never have.
4 - FLIGHT DECK: Meanwhile the sale of the Montreal Alouettes seems to be completely bungled. Eric Lapointe's group was in, but now it's out. This past week a millenial with money whom no one has ever heard of says he'd like to buy the team. Heck - if this is how it goes - then so would I! There's never been any public statement by the Wetenhall family that they want to sell the team in the first place. In fact, they've said just the opposite. What a mess! Eventually this team will be owned by Molson and the Montreal Canadiens and that's best for everybody so let's just do it.
5 - CFL 2.0: Lastly on all of this, it says here that the CFL's venture into Europe is a genius move. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said he wanted to think beyond our borders and this innovation could grow the game in a massive way. However personnel types are still scratching their heads over how this infusion of European players will go, how the rosters will be impacted, and so on. As one insider surmised via email, "It may be intentional or it may simply be that Mr. Commissioner is flying by the seat of his pants. Or they don't understand the business model". Again, it hasn't been spelled out very well! And as far as confusion goes, teams are back holding minicamps just like they've done since 2013 because apparently that's part of the new CBA. But there's no CBA! Chaos.
6 - BEN VOLIN: It's sad to me that one of the biggest stories coming out of the week is the vitriol spewed towards Boston football reporter Ben Volin because he dared to call the CFL "boring". We know that's wrong, so who cares? What started as an amusing tiff escalated into a nasty war of words and CFL teams, media, players and fans let Volin have it with both barrels. Is this how insecure we are? Commissioner Ambrosie joked during his road trip stop in Regina how boring this year's Super Bowl was. I'm sure the NFL was really offended by that! Get over it.
7 - RICKY YOU'RE SO FINE: Back to more positive news. It was an absolute treat to share the stage in Sedley, SK one week ago with Henry Burris and Ricky Foley. Hank was, as usual, polished and he gave a motivational 45-minute keynote. Foley, meanwhile, was just as good but in a different way. He spoke raw, and let it all hang out. He revealed that he has a standing offer from TSN to be a panelist but he's happy doing what he's doing for the time being (land development in Vancouver and Toronto). I've gotten 100 times closer to the players since leaving my last role. Where do you think I'm getting all the scoops from?
8 - PITTER PATTER: If I give the SJHL an inch, they take a mile. Anything I give, they ask for more and I absolutely love it. While my life unfolds, the SJHL has graciously asked to be a huge part of it and because of that, I have jumped headfirst back into junior hockey culture. On a daily basis I feel like I’m in a Letterkenny episode and it makes me giggle. Would I change it at this point? That's a "hard no".
I’m having a blast following in my Dad’s footsteps and I feel like he’s alive through me.
9 - STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: What a start to the NHL postseason! As we sit here today, three good teams surprisingly find themselves in an 0-2 hole including Winnipeg, Tampa and Pittsburgh. Which of them doesn't come back? I'd suggest Pittsburgh for sure, and maybe Winnipeg. But all that's happened for the Lightning is a wake-up call. Unless they fall victim to the dreaded President's Trophy Curse.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Don't buy that inane line, "You're never in trouble in a series until you lose at home". Really? In a homer series the road team could win all home games and still lose in 7. Whomever came up with that line should be flogged at centre ice. ... I'd like to see a documentary on how Tim Hortons donuts are made and distributed. ... I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. ... The AAF barring players from signing in the CFL is simply doing two things: 1) Upholding current contracts because the league hasn't officially folded and 2) Making players and agents skeptical about the fledgling XFL. Rider GM Jeremy O'Day was right; there was no reason to panic about the Alliance League until they proved themselves and they wound up not even lasting for one season. ... If you're in the Assiniboia area Saturday night, come on down to the Rec Centre where I'll be on stage with Brock Lesnar and Marty McSorley! Get your tickets at Nelson GM. This is going to be epic!