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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pats Regular Season Schedule Released


Regina, Saskatchewan – The Regina Pats and Western Hockey League announced the 2012-13 Regular Season schedule this afternoon.
The Pats open the new season on the road Friday, September 21st against the Wheat Kings in Brandon.
The home and home series shifts to Regina the next night for the Pats Home Opener Saturday, September 22nd against the Wheat Kings.
The Regina Pats’ full 2012-13 Schedule is available online here.

Pats 2012/13 Season Tickets are now on sale. For more information contact the Pats office at 522-5604 or go to www.reginapats.com

2012/13 WHL Schedule Released

Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League today released its schedule of games for the 2012-13 regular season.

The 2012 WHL Opening Weekend will launch on Thursday, September 20, with a special Opening Night game in Edmonton featuring the 2012 WHL Champion Oil Kings hosting the 2011 WHL Champion Kootenay Ice at Rexall Place. The game will be broadcast LIVE on SHAW TV starting at 7:00 pm (MT).

The 2012-13 WHL Regular-Season schedule gets into full swing on Friday, September 21, with eight games scheduled, including the WHL Western Conference Champion Portland Winterhawks' home opener against U.S. Division rivals the Seattle Thunderbirds.

A full slate of 10 WHL games are set for Saturday, September 22, including the host of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup Saskatoon Blades welcoming their East Division rivals the Prince Albert Raiders to the Credit Union Centre. This game will also be a feature broadcast LIVE on SHAW TV starting at 7:00 pm (MT).

The 792 game regular season concludes on Sunday, March 17th with the 2013 WHL Playoffs and the battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup beginning on Friday, March 22nd.

As mentioned, the WHL and the City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan will serve as the official hosts for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Saskatoon Blades will host another WHL Club (either Champion or runner-up), Ontario Hockey League Champions and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champions from May 17 – 26, 2013.

As in previous seasons, the majority of games will be played on the weekend. Of the 792 games, 553 are scheduled for the weekend, with 235 to be played on a Friday, 232 on a Saturday and 86 on a Sunday. Additionally, 15 weekday games occur on various holidays throughout the season, meaning over 70% of the schedule is played on a weekend or non-school days. During the week, Wednesday night has 110 matches, 94 games are scheduled for Tuesday, 22 contests will be played on Thursday and 13 games are scheduled to be held on Monday.

Day – No. of Games (Percentage)
Monday – 13 (1.6%)
Tuesday – 94 (11.9%)
Wednesday - 110 (13.9%)
Thursday - 22 (2.8%)
Friday – 235 (29.7%)
Saturday - 232 (29.3%)
Sunday – 86 (10.8%)

Please find attached the complete 2012-13 WHL Regular Season schedule. The schedule is also available at www.whl.ca.

Pats select Sylvegard at Import Draft


The Regina Pats with their 32nd overall pick have selected from Malmo, Sweden, Emil Sylvegard. Sylvegard is going into his 19 year old season and has already played a season of Major Junior Hockey in the QMJHL where he put up 13 goals and 18 assists in 31 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He also had 42 penalty minutes and was a minus 18. Emil is a big player who stands at 6 foot 2 and a half and weighs 202 pounds. The Pats also hold the 92nd overall pick but will not be selecting another player and were taking phone calls from other teams in the WHL who may have some interest but have since passed on the 92nd overall selection.

I talked with GM Chad Lang this morning and here's what he had to say about Sylvegard. "Hes a big body, hes a kid that can play centre or the wing. He has experience of the CHL having played in the QMJHL last year and like most European players it takes a year to make the adjustment and we feel he had a pretty good year last year with their club and we just think that he has the ability to enhance his game and we think he will be a good fit for us."

I asked Chad to explain how a player who had already played a season of Major Junior would go back into the draft. "Basically what happens, any player thats left unprotected in their respective league falls back eligible into the draft and then can be selected. There was some talk about him potentially staying over a playing pro and we spoke with his agent Claude Lemieux and had real good conversations with him as did Pat (Conacher) and we are real comfortable, we think he is a good fit, as did Claude (Lemieux), with our organization and like I said we are just happy to have selected him."

I asked Chad what kinds of things he brings to the club. "Experience, he's an older guy, he'll be coming into our lineup at 19. He's definately a leader, on the teams he's played on in the past he's a tremendous team player, he likes to lead. We always talk about he does the little things right and we also think he has offensive upside. We will see how he fits with our group and where the coaching staff places him amongst our lineup. Theres always going to be that transition period but we feel that with his experience playing in the CHL already that will be shortened and hopefully he can be a guy that we can rely on for some point production as well."

The Pats are done selecting for the day but were taking phone calls about any interest in their second round pick at 92. Chad Lang said he didn't forsee a whole lot of interest and has now passed on the teams second pick.

Thats it for now.

Cheers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thunder's Evans and Cooke on Riders Practice Roster


The Riders announced their practice roster on Monday and both DL Zach Evans and WR Clay Cooke were among them.

I talked with both players at today's practice and here's what Evans had to say. "I think I had a better training camp than last year. I just felt a little more comfortable and going into the actual season I am really excited. I'm excited to compete, I'm excited to get a lot better, I know have a long way to go and I will keep going hard."

On playing at Mosaic against Calgary. "It was lots of fun, I had lots of family out, my fiance was in the crowd, my niece and nephew and they were all just cheering me on. Its a great experience and awesome to be in front of your home crowd. It was a thrill."

On getting a sack in the game. "Like I told everyone I don't even remember it. I was so excited and so just hyped I don't even remember it. All I know is that I didn't really get blocked that play."

Evans was put on the practice roster after the pre season but I was told today by the Leader Posts Murray McCormick that he will be travelling to Hamilton this weekend so that means he will be on the roster. There are good days ahead for Zach and he deserves it after the performance he put on so far this year.

Another Thunder player who has put on a show is receiver Clay Cooke. He was one of three players invited to training camp and for him it was the first time he was out with the Green and White.

I asked him if he was excited to be put on the practice roster after training camp. "Yeah I'm very excited, its a great opportunity, the more time on the field the better football player I can become. Its good for me to learn lots form these guys and I can take it back to the Thunder team and help them out too."

On being noticed by the coaching staff enough to be kept on the practice roster. "It feels good, its always good to be out here. It starts as a little kid, its always your dream to make it out here and its still kind of surreal but its a good thing to be out here that's for sure."

On his growth as a player through training camp. "Oh I think I've taken some big steps fundamentally. That was my biggest thing to work on my fundamentals and I think just taking mental reps and getting my own reps out there has helped me tremendously already."

CHL Import Draft Tomorrow



Regina, Saskatchewan – Regina Pats General Manager Chad Lang and his staff are getting ready for the 2012 CHL Import Draft coming up tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. MST.

The Pats hold the 32nd and 92ndpicks in this year’s draft which will be opened up by the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats who acquired the first overall pick from the expansion Sherbrooke Phoenix.

In last year’s draft, Regina used the ninth overall selection to pick forward Dominik Volek who went on to tally 32 points in his first WHL season in 2011-12.

I talked with GM Chad Lang this afternoon and this is what he had to say heading into tomorrow. "Its always a difficult draft to prepare yourself for but we spent a week at the NHL draft gathering information on the various players and the last couple of days here preparing, putting together lists in each of the various positions. What well do is well gather as much information as possible and put them in their positions, rank them amongst their positions and later today we will mesh all three positions and come up with our list and hopefully be ready for our selection tomorrow."

On the quality of players in the draft? "You know whats its a difficult draft to prepare for because you have to play a bit of the game not only with the agents but  the various federations to really determine who's coming over versus who's not and trying to figure out which guys are under contract over there or say they are under contract but their not. Pick 32 we still believe there will be a good player there but there is no guarantee with the import draft. We joke about it, until you see the whites of their eyes you never know and you cant take it for granted. I think our group has done a good job of gathering information and creating options and now its a matter of just trying to research these players more and get a better sense of what they are.....We've got a long day ahead of us in preparation of tomorrows draft but we feel we well be in a position to select someone who can come in and help our hockey club."

The draft starts at 7 o'clock our time tomorrow morning.


Past Import Draft Selections:

2011 – Dominic Volek – Czech Republic
2010 – Ricard Blidstrand – Sweden
2009 – Michal Poletin – Czech Republic
2008 – Tomas Hricina – Slovakia
2007 – Rudolf Cerveny – Czech Republic

Pats 2012/13 Season Tickets are now on sale. For more information contact the Pats office at 522-5604 or go to www.reginapats.com

Saturday, June 23, 2012

An interview with Caps prospect Chandler Stephenson


Pats forward Chandler Stephenson was taken 77th over all in the 3rd round by the Washington Capitals.

Here's what he had to say about the biggest day of his hockey career to this point.

"It feels great they are a great organization and its good to get all the butterflies and nerves coming up to this day so I am really excited."

Was it a relief to hear your name called?

"I was kind of sitting there and waiting and waiting and waiting but hearing your name is really special it feels really good to finally get up there and let a lot of anxiety go. It feels really good."

On being apart of a top notch organization.

"Yeah Definitely, all the great players, Semin, Backstrom, Oveckin, Green and all those guys are great players so its going to be good. Also Thomas Wilson I knew from the U18 Camp"

Whats next?

"Heading to prospect camp on July 8th and they will look at you and grade you I guess sand what not to see where I'm at."

Chandler may get the chance to play with former Pats Captain Garrett Mitchell again in the future as Mitchell is also in the Caps system.

Stephenson Taken by the Caps

Stephenson Selected by Capitals
Regina, Saskatchewan – Regina Pats forward, Chandler Stephenson has been selected 16th in the third round (77th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals.
Stephenson was the Pats’ fifth overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. He completed his second season in Regina in 2011-12, putting up 20 goals and 22 assists in only 55 games. He was also strong in the post season, totaling four points in five games.
Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang, on Stephenson’s selection, “I think it’s a testament to his hard work. Chandler came in this year and elevated his game. He suffered an injury, but did the necessary things to come back from that injury and be a big part of our hockey club.”
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft continues this morning in Pittsburgh.


Pats 2012/13 Season Tickets are now on sale. For more information contact the Pats office at 522-5604 or go to www.reginapats.com

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pats Pre-Season Schedule

Regina, Saskatchewan – The Western Hockey League announced its 2012 Pre-Season Schedule today.
The Regina Pats begin the Pre-Season in a home and home series with the Brandon Wheat Kings.  The Pats host the Wheat Kings at the Cooperators Centre, Thursday on September 6th before heading to Brandon for the back half of the set Friday, September 7th.
To round out the Pre-Season, the Pats welcome the Saskatoon Blades Friday on September 14th followed by their final exhibition game in Saskatoon on Saturday, September 15th.
The Pats and the WHL will release their full 2012-13 schedule Wednesday, June 27th.

Regina Pats Busy Week


Busy Week for Pats Past, and Present, Awards, Contracts and NHL Draft have plenty of Regina Pat Connections

Regina, Saskatchewan – It has been a busy week for Regina Pats alumni as a trio of former players signed new NHL contracts.

Goaltender Josh Harding signed a three year extension with the Minnesota Wild. After being traded to the San Jose Sharks by the Detroit Red Wings, defenceman Brad Stuart signed with the Sharks. Finally, Barret Jackman is set to enter his tenth season guarding the St. Louis Blues’ blue-line after re-signing with the club.

The NHL handed out its annual awards last night in Las Vegas where former Pat Jordan Eberle was a nominee for the Lady Byng Trophy.

Jordan didn’t take home the award, but had a strong sophomore season with Edmonton, tallying 34 goals and 42 assists.

The last stop of the week is Pittsburgh for the NHL Entry Draft. Current Pats Chandler Stephenson (ranked 33rd on CSS) Dominik Volek (163rd) and Jack Rodewald hope to have their names called by an NHL team this weekend. Round one goes Friday night with rounds two through seven following on Saturday.

A pair of Pat prospects are also in the middle of Draft conversations. Brady Skjei (USA U-18, 15th CSS) and Rhett Holland (AJHL-Okotoks, 167th CSS) could both join NHL organizations over the weekend.

Pats GM Chad Lang will be in Pittsburgh this weekend and can be reached on his cell for comment.
Pats 2012/13 Season Tickets are now on sale. For more information contact the Pats office at 522-5604 or go to www.reginapats.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rider Gameday Access


With the recent construction at Mosaic Stadium and the Farm Progress Show at Evraz Place currently taking place, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are encouraging fans to come down to Friday’s preseason game early in order to familiarize yourself with parking availability and stadium entrances.

Fans with game tickets in the North End Zone will continue to enter the stadium through the North Gate.

Fans with game tickets in the new South End Zone seats will enter through the gates at the Southwest corner of Mosaic Stadium.

With the addition of the green theatre style seats in the North and South end zones, Mosaic Stadium capacity has now reached 32,898. Capacity will again increase when construction of the corporate boxes is completed.

Mosaic Stadium Facts:

·The new SaskTel Maxtron in the Northeast Endzone will be an incredible 1,692 square feet (28x60). That's 262 times larger than your 46" flatscreen TV at home! The "old" Maxtron was 700 (20x35).
·The secondary video display board that will sit next to the new SaskTel Maxtron is 686 square feet (37x14).
·The second SaskTel Maxtron that will hang from the West Side grandstand is 1,090 square feet (20x54). That's 172 times larger than a 46" flatscreen.
·In total, there are 7 new digital displays (3 large video screens and 4 banner or “ribbon” boards) plus 2 score board/time clocks and 2 “twenty-second” clocks.
·In total, the three (3) large Video screens utilize 2,424,576 individuals LED lights!
·The new Grandstand SaskTel MaxTron weighs 7,300kg. (16,103 lbs.) Not including the steel frame, support structure or catwalk!
·The LED digits (time and score) on the new field level scoreboard are 1.22 meters (48”) tall.
·Approximately 4,500 seats have been added in the South end zone
·Approximately 2,500 seats have been added in the North end zone


Fans attending the Riders walk thru at Mosaic Stadium on Thursday will be asked to enter the West side grandstand through the main gates.

Pats Stephenson and the 2012 NHL Draft

Photo Courtesy LeaderPost.com

Pats forward Chandler Stephenson will head to Pittsburgh tomorrow ahead of Fridays NHL Entry Draft. Chandler goes into the draft ranked 33rd overall in North America and will likely be a second round pick. Last season Stephenson put up 22 goals and 20 assists in just 55 games and moved up three spots in the rankings from the mid point of the season. I've heard some mumblings that teams are pretty high on him and in my opinion they should be.

I talked with Chandler today and asked him what the feelings were like with the draft two days away. "Anxious, got some butterflies and kinda want to get it over with but I've heard a lot of people who have been there and said they had a lot of fun so I am just going to enjoy the experience and just take it all in."

I asked him if there was any preference which team drafts him."No, right now my goal is just to play in the National Hockey League, it always has been. Getting drafted that would be great, it would be an honor but I just want to play in the NHL and the draft is just kind of one of those things (along the way). You see all those great players who go 200 and eighth round and they are top guys in the NHL so that's my goal."

Any expectations where you will go? "No, teams haven't really said "were picking you" so right now its just playing it by ear."

The first round of the draft will take place Friday night with the subsequent rounds starting on Saturday.

Other Pats forwards also have a chance of being drafted as well. Dominik Volek is ranked 163rd in North America while Jack Rodewald was listed in the top 210 at the midterm point but has since dropped off.

I will have more from Stephenson and the Pats come draft day.


Wednesday's Ranting Day


Feeling like I'm going to explode thinking about whats happened in the world of sports and the reaction these last couple days so here it goes.

Lets start with the NBA and Lebron James. The Heat took a 3-1 series lead last night with a third straight win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James experienced a leg cramp late in the game and was forced to leave twice but came back both times and led his team to victory. YET there were athletes and fans alike just going nuts making fun of him and tweeting about how over the top he was making it look. Here's a news flash, cramps hurt. Anyone who's had one knows that. And when you've got a trainer pushing and moving that muscle around it hurts. Yes he was in considerable pain and yes he came back and hit a monster three ball and again the Heat won. This is just another case of haters being haters simply because he is Lebron James. Give me a break, the guy is the best player in basketball.

Now on to Euro 2012. Everyone is up in arms about the Ukraine's disallowed goal against the English. I saw tweets and articles about how lucky England was that the referees screwed that one up. (Pause for effect). That is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard for two reasons. First: the guy was offside BEFORE the ball was even played forward so the shot should never have been taken. Second: even if the goal was allowed that makes it a 1-1 draw and England still wins the group and Ukraine is still out because of goal differential. So tell me again how it makes any difference except for the fact that they might have had a chance to win it in the end. But they didn't get another goal so its a moot point. Case closed. I do however think they need to bring in video replay.

In baseball. People better quit hating on Colby Rasmus of the Jays. The kid is playing unbelievably well yet people still say he should be sent down to AAA. Well here I go again. He isn't going anywhere. His bat has come alive in the last month and a half including two homers last night including one in the 9th which set up the Jays come from behind victory over Milwaukee. Not to mention there isn't anyone even close to him in talent out in centre field so again, haters quit hating.

OK I think that's all Ive got in terms of rants so here's a few other thoughts.

Darian Durant only threw three balls in the first pre season game. Don't be getting worried just yet.

I have a new color guy this season on Pats broadcasts, Daniel Fink. Fink has taken over the communications job for the club and we will be together in the booth for 72 games next season. Congrats Daniel.

Also Pats forward Chandler Stephenson is expected to go in the second round of the NHL Draft on Friday. I will have more on that later on today. Dominik Volek and Jack Rodewald were also in the top 250 in Europe and North American rankings so there is a possibility they are drafted as well.

And with that......

Cheers

Getzlaf Extended



The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today they have signed non-import receiver Chris Getzlaf to a contract extension. The financial details were not released.

Getzlaf is entering his fifth season with the Riders after being acquired from Hamilton in August of 2007. Last season, Getzlaf started all 18 regular season games on his way to establishing career highs with 60 receptions, 1,071 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.  He was the Roughriders 2011 nominee as Most Outstanding Canadian.  The 29-year-old Getzlaf enters the 2012 season with 171 career receptions for 2,795 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

Prior to entering the Canadian Football League the Regina product played two seasons for his hometown University of Regina Rams.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

WHL Scheduling Meetings Today


The Regina Pats are taking part in the long process of banging out the regular season schedule today. While it is a grind of a day it is one of the most important for every team as they try to maximize their revenue and make road trips as easy as possible.

I went down and caught up with both President Brent Parker and GM Chad Lang today and here's what they had to say.

Parker: "It is a long day theres no question and its a hugely important day. Both from the financial stand point obviously the business plans of all the franchises and the hockey side as well trying to balance the two of whats a good trip and not being to taxing on the players as well as getting the quality dates for your fans and your business plan. You go back and forth and try and weigh out the two and fight for your dates and theres a lot of table banging and voices being raised but at the end of the day you have 36 at home and 36 on the road and you hope the 36 you have at home fall on Friday and Saturday nights."

Lang: "I think its the most important day of the season. When you look at your schedule I think its a bit of a balancing act. One is to ensure that you have enough home games in those prime dates you know your Fridays and Saturdays form a business perspective. Yet when you look at road games you want to make sure you keep in consideration the travel and the wear and tear on the players."

On getting those good dates when everyone is wanting the same ones.

Parker: "It becomes a challenge. You hope that the league and your league partners work together to ensure that every team gets a number of quality dates not just a few teams. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way. Its a challenge were all fighting for the same things but yet I think that most teams understand that were nothing without each other so we have to make sure we get as many good dates as we can."

Lang: "There's no question you need the cooperation of your partners on dates where your blocked out at home with the various events and hopefully you can get out on the road. Yet its getting more and more difficult every year with how busy these facilities are becoming. But you know what its a lengthy process and at the end of the day we still schedule 72 games and we find a way to make it work."

I asked Brent Parker about the other side in dealing with the Brandt Centre availability.

"Its real nice Jerry Senko, the building manager for the Brandt Centre came today which is the first time we've ever been able to get anyone to come. We've been trying for years so they can understand the process. Us having good dates benefits them as well. That's what were trying to do (something) that works for everybody. To understand for them when theres a hold on 5 dates when they are only going to use 1 of them it really throws a monkey wrench into everything for everybody not just for us but for all the teams and it becomes a challenge. Were hoping to build better communication that way, like I said its great having Jerry here."

I asked Chad Lang about how it was going so far.

"I think the starts are always a long process just trying to figure out things and the format to follow. I think once we can get through our swings, our divisional swings and then break into that division I think things go a little quicker. You know what we've got a couple swings out of the way now and well see how the second half goes."

The 2012/13 schedule will be released on June the 27th.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Riders Release 9 Add 1



The Saskatchewan Roughriders would like to announce that the following players have been released:

Import             RB       Demetrius Crawford
Import             LB       Chris Graham
Import             DL       Boo Robinson
Import             DB       TJ Rushing
Import             DL       Curtis Gatewood
Import             SB       Jason Chery
Non-import    RB       Nathan Riva
Non-import    DB       Dominic Noel
Non-import    DL       Renaldo Sagesse


There is also a new face in town as defensive lineman Jay Alford (6’3 – 304) has arrived in Regina.  Alford spent the 2011 season with the Virgina Destroyers winning the UFL Championship.  Prior to that, Alford spent three seasons in the NFL including the 2007-2008 season in which he won the Super Bowl with the New York Giants. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rider AGM Report

During his financial report, Craig Reynolds, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Chief Financial Officer, revealed the Football Club reported a profit of $3.8 million. The club also exceeded the $32 million plateau in total gross revenues.
TICKET SALES
The Club saw record revenue from ticket sales during the year as a result of a strong season ticket base. Gate receipts totaled $11.8 million surpassing the prior year’s record by 5%. The Club’s season ticket base continued to grow with an increase of 5% seen in the year.
MERCHANDISE SALES
The Club once again continued to set the pace in merchandise sales in the CFL during the year. The Club exceeded the $7 million mark in merchandise revenue for the third straight year.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Under the governance guidelines, the Rider shareholders selected a new Board of Governors at the meeting. Returning to the board this year will be Director’s Doug Emsley, Paul Hill, Robert Leurer, Twyla Meredith, Wayne Morsky, Dennis Mulvihill, Laurie Powers and Jeff Stusek. Shareholders also voted in three returning board members Roger Brandvold (Chair), Rory Picklyk (Vice-Chair) and Joel Teal (Director).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WHL AGM Concludes

Calgary, AB -- The Western Hockey League Board of Governors wrapped up their Annual General Meeting today in Vancouver by announcing Governor and General Manager of the Kelowna Rockets Bruce Hamilton has been re-elected as the WHL Chairman of the Board for another two year period. No other Chairman of the Board in WHL history has served more years at the helm than Hamilton, who is now entering his sixth term (1998-2004 and 2008-present).

Edmonton Oil Kings' Governor Patrick LaForge and Seattle Thunderbirds' Governor Russ Farwell have each been re-elected to the WHL Executive Committee for two year terms, representing the WHL Central and U.S. Divisions. They join current Executive Committee members Ron Toigo of the Vancouver Giants' representing the B.C. Division and Jack Brodsky of the Saskatoon Blades representing the East Division, together with WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.

The WHL also announced it remains fully committed to the Seven Point Plan introduced this past season to address player safety concerns in the area of head blows and concussions. The Seven Point Plan includes continued emphasis on discipline as it applies to repeat offenders; production of an education video on player safety; seminar for all General Managers and Head Coaches on September 11, 2012; continuing to provide players with best available protective equipment; working with the WHL Arena Advisory Committee to adopt acrylic glass as a standard for all WHL arenas; continuing to collect and study research data on concussion injuries and their causes.

Despite a slight increase in concussions, the WHL remains confident the Seven Point Plan will assist in reducing concussions in the future.

"We anticipated the rate of concussions may increase this past season as there is more emphasis being placed now than ever before on the care and treatment of concussion injuries," commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. "We remain confident that the WHL's Seven Point Plan will address this matter effectively and reduce concussions in the seasons ahead."

Other highlights from the 2012 WHL Annual General Meeting
- The Conference Playoff format will remain in place for the next two years
- The WHL will launch a combine testing program for WHL Prospects prior to the opening of the 2012-13 season
- The 2012 WHL Pre-Season schedule will be released on Thursday, June 21 and the 2012-13 WHL Regular Season schedule will be released on Wednesday, June 27

Regina Riot Prepare for Home Playoff Game


Riot prepares for home game vs defending WWCFL champs Saskatoon Valkyries
The Regina Riot earned a home playoff game by defeating the Winnipeg Nomads this past weekend.  DL Becky Wallis had an outstanding team leading 17 tackles and Carmen Agar led the team with 3 touchdowns!
Next home game is Sunday June 17, 11am @ Mosaic Stadium.  Celebrating Father’s Day, donations will be taken at the door – Women Tackle Prostate Cancer – going towards the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.
Next practice Friday June 5, 6:30pm at Taylor Field practice Field.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts


The Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Los Angeles Kings for the first time in their history. The Devils didn't do much to force a game 7 last night. Steve Bernier singlehandedly lost the game for his team by throwing a dangerous hit into the back of Rob Scuderi in the first period. He was assessed a 5 minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. The Kings would go on to score three times in that 5 minutes and with Jonathan Quick in net there was no coming back for New Jersey. They would cruise to a 6-1 win. A lot of people on twitter were pretty outraged at Devils coach Peter Deboer for what he yelled at the referee after Bernier was given his 5 minute major. You couldn't hear what he said but it was pretty easy to read his lips and I will tell you it wasn't the nicest thing to say. I understand that they are in the heat of the battle and emotions are running high but I'm guessing there may be some type of reprimand for Deboer considering recent fines for things said on the ice. I will say however that if everyone got fined for every derogatory comment said on the ice no one would have any money and that's saying something because these guys are rich. Congratulations to Jonathan Quick on the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, he deserved it. The Kings deserved the cup, 16 and 4 record with only one loss on the road. An incredible run from an 8th seed. I feel bad for Martin Brodeur losing in game 6 but other than that I am OK with the Kings winning the cup. Not much I can do when the Leafs don't make the playoffs. I'm just happy the Wings, Pens, Canucks, Bruins didn't get there. Now the waiting game is on for next season.

Can you believe PJ Stock on Hockey Night in Canada spending 2 minutes talking about hockey gods and how he really believes in them??? Basically he said the reason the Devils were behind was because the gods were against them last night. Thanks PJ, Thanks a lot........

The NBA Finals get underway tonight in Oklahoma City as the Thunder host the Miami Heat. Lebron James and Kevin Durant will be front and centre. James in last years Finals was a non factor and almost seem to fold under the pressure. He will be looking to redeem himself. On the other side Durant is a great offensive talent and along with Russell Westbrook the Thunder are a very good offensive team. However I think that in the James/Durant match up and in the match up overall that the Heat are the better defensive team. Durant might be a better shooter than James but that is the only area where he might have a slight advantage. If Bosh and Wade can get it done I think we are going to see a hard fought 7 game series. I am not a Heat fan per say but I am a Lebron James fan. But on the other side I have come to enjoy watching the Thunder so I'm not sure who I would like to see win. My head says that the Heat will take win the series.

The Jays are staying relevant in the AL East with a 31 and 30 record. They sit 4 and a half games back of the Yankees heading into tonight's game with the Nationals. A few thoughts: Brandon Morrows injury is hopefully a non serious one. He strained his oblique in yesterdays start facing only 2 batters. I cannot believe people continue to bash Colby Rasmus. The guy is hitting over 300 in the last month and is playing solid defense. Yes he has had a couple of tough errors but he makes all the tough plays and 98 percent of the easy ones and there is absolutely no one else who could come close to playing as well as he does in the lineup. This team is close, a pitcher and a bat away from being a serious contender. Speaking of bats Vladimir Guerrero asked to be released from his contract with the Jays, they obliged. A fun team to watch though it can be frustrating at times. there is so much talent there. Good years ahead.

Euro 2012 is awesome, minus all the diving. Go England Go.

I'm hosting the Sportscage tonight with the one and only Mark Rathwell. Tune in, should be a good time. Tomorrow we have a three hour pre game show before the Riders open the pre season in B.C. I am very excited to see these new players and how they perform in a game situation. No Willis, Labatte, Best or Getzlaf in the lineup. Arash Madani and I will talk Riders tonight on the Cage just after 6 o'clock.

Cheers

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Riders Aquire OL from Toronto





RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2012
RELEASE TIME: IMMEDIATELY
RELEASE: SR12-66
Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager Brendan Taman announced today the team has acquired import offensive lineman Chris Patrick from Toronto in exchange for a conditional draft pick in the 2014 CFL Canadian Draft.

Patrick (6’5 – 303) dressed in 11 regular season games for the Edmonton Eskimos last season. He started ten games at right tackle along with the West Semi-Final and West Final.

Prior to joining the CFL, Patrick spent four seasons in the NFL with a number of teams making his debut with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pats Malcolm Cameron Named to Team West at U-17 Hockey Challenge

Photo Courtesy ReginaPats.com

Regina Pats assistant coach Malcolm Cameron has been added to the coaching staff of Team West at the 2013 U-17 Hockey Challenge. I had a chance to talk with Malcolm this evening and here's what he had to say about his new opportunity.

"When I first started coaching in 1998 I got involved with the program of excellence. Being in the Maritimes I did it through team Atlantic and that was in 2001 or 2000 even. Its been 12 years. You know when you are coaching down in the US you get out of touch with what goes on here in Canada and the Hockey Canada thing. So when I decided last year to leave the pro ranks and come back to junior hockey, getting involved in this stuff is one of the things I wanted to do. I'm very happy and glad to be doing it with Team West."

The team will be holding a camp in Wilcox on August the 9th through to the 13th where three Regina Pat prospects will be in attendance. Adam Brooks, Dane Schioler and Chase Harrison have been given invites to the camp.

Cameron also said today its been a long time since hes been involved. "I know 12 years ago when I last worked in the Program of Excellence it was a lot of fun. I coached 12 years down in the United States and its only been in the past 2 or 3 years that we've been able to get the World Junior tournament on TV down there on the NHL Network. (Being away) you forget about the emotion that's involved in the Canadian hockey program and stuff. I went through it as a player in the mid 80's, I played team Atlantic in 86. I remember going to the tournament in Montreal and being so excited. It was a lot of fun and you feel big time and all that kind of stuff so its a lot of fun to get back involved in it again."

The tournament will be hosted by Victoriaville and Drummondville Quebec and it will run December 28th to January 4th.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sticks on Rose this Friday

Shooting Stars Foundation, Stantec and Harvard Broadcasting are proud to present the 6th Annual “Sticks on Rose” Street Hockey Classic on Friday June 8th. Opening ceremonies start 12 noon sharp.

Over 18 past and present NHL Players will attend the 6th annual Sticks on Rose Street Hockey Classic.

“With this being the 6th year for our foundation we are extremely excited to have our closest friends in town to help us raise funds for Regina Palliative Care, the CNIB and other local children’s charities” states Shooting Stars Foundation co founder Jamie Heward.

Celebrity guest to include:
Mike Sillinger  NHL Alumni                                             Jamie Heward  NHL Alumni
Jordan Eberle   Edmonton Oilers                                      Scott Hartnell  Philadelphia Flyers
Brandon Davidson  Edmonton Oilers/Regina Pats            Josh Harding  Minnesota Wild            
Braden McNabb  Buffalo Sabres                                     Blair Jones  Calgary Flames
Brett Carson  Calgary Flames                                          Jayden Schwartz  St. Louis Blues
Garth Murray St. Johns Ice Caps                                     Garret Mitchell Regina Pats
Dyson Stevenson  Regina Pats                                          Lane Scheidl  Regina Pats
Nathan Zimbaluk  Regina Pats                                          Drew Czerwonka  Kootenay Ice
Gene Makowsky  Saskatchewan Roughriders                  Mick McGeough  NHL Referee
Jason Clermont  Saskatchewan Roughriders                     Scott Schultz  Saskatchewan Roughriders
Wes Cates  Saskatchewan Roughriders                            Don Narcisse  Saskatchewan Roughriders

About Shooting Stars Foundation
Shooting Stars Foundation is celebrating its 6th fundraising anniversary. Shooting Stars Foundation was established in 2007 by Mike and Jamie who had a vision to create a charitable foundation that would include all three areas important in their lives – kids, health and wellness, and sport.  Shooting Stars strives to engage the community to raise awareness and funds in support of local registered children’s charities whose activities involve the prevention and relief of sickness and disability or the participation and education for youth in sports throughout Regina and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Interview with Former Pat Brandon Davidson

Photo Courtesy WHL.ca

Well I had called Davidson late last week right when it came out that he had signed a 3 year deal with the Edmonton Oilers but I had thought he didn't get back to me. Turns out I was out of the office when he called back and Rod Pedersen took his comments for me and so here they are. Better late than never.

Hows it feel? "It feels unbelievable, its a dream come true and I'm just glad that the stress is finally over and I can put that paperwork behind me."

How long have you been working on this? "Easily for a month or two. We've been going back and forth between both parties and it was a battle all the way to the end so it was good to get it done."

Were you nervous about the deadline and possibly going back into the draft or becoming a free agent? "Yeah you know I was really nervous for a few days. I was trying to just worry about the things that I can and leave my agent up to that part of things. He did a great job he assured me the while way through that we were going to get this deal done and I assured him I didn't want to go anywhere else other than Edmonton so I am just happy to be an Oiler."

The teams expectations? "I went in there after the season was over and we went over the previous season and what I need to work on over the summer. Its pretty cut and dry what the expect of me and what I need to do this summer to prepare for camp."

What do you take away from your time in Regina? "Regina kind of gave me everything. I didn't really know what to expect when I went in there as an 18 year old and I was very happy I love the city of Regina its like my home and its given me everything. I've got nothing bad to say about being in Regina and playing for the Pats."

Did you feel like it ended on a high? "Yes and no. It was a high just to finally get that playoff experience. Personally for myself leaving the season kind of beaten up and injured was not how I wanted it to end especially with you know a matter of a few things that could have changed in the game that could have been a different story. There's a lot of ups and a lot of downs but I was very happy with our team this year and how far we've come."

On being with the Oilers farm team Oklahoma City. "I love Oklahoma City. I got a chance to spend just over a month down there. Its a great atmosphere down there to play and a great place to live, I cant say a bad thing about. Whether its in Edmonton or in Oklahoma I am just going to play me and do Brandon Davidson."

Davidson will be down to Regina for the Sticks on Rose Street Hockey Tournament June 8th.

Thunder Watch: Day 3 Rider Camp


All three Regina Thunder camp invites continue to practice twice a day with the green and white. Zach Evans looks really good out there on the line and has caught the eye of the coaching staff. QB Asher Hastings doesn't get a lot of opportunity to show what he can do with 5 other quarterbacks in camp but I'm sure hes learning a lot. Wide receiver Clay Cooke has made his mark making some very good plays and catching the passes that are thrown his way.

I talked with Cooke after today's morning practice and heres what he had to say about camp so far. "Its a great opportunity first thing and its a big step up from junior that's for sure, the DB's are a lot quicker, its a lot more physical game and the players are bigger stronger and faster."

Are you learning a lot? "Everyday. There's lots of great receivers out here, great players in general. You learn lots all you have to do is watch and you will learn a lot."

On catching balls from Darian Durant and the other QB's? "Well the biggest difference is that they are all tight spirals and you know its a nice throw every time. All you gotta do is get your hands out there and be ready to catch it because its coming fast."

I asked Clay what it was like working with receivers coach Jason Tucker. "He knows a lot, you know hes won lots of Grey Cups and been in the league for a long time, he knows his stuff. When I'm running routes he tells me lots and I'm learning a lot."

Here's some pictures of Cooke climbing the ladder and making a good catch and turning up field.





In the scrum with head coach Corey Chamblin I asked him what he saw out of all three players Zach Evans, Asher Hastings and Clay Cooke. "There is a progression with it. Asher probably has it the hardest because its the quarterback position. Clay Cooke has made some good plays and Zach I can see him, hes really climbing. I can tell you that there's a couple times when he looked like Sholo Junior in there. That's good for him and I'm glad to see that those guys are getting an opportunity and I hope they can make the active roster."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pats Stephenson Back From NHL Combine

Photo Courtesy LeaderPost.com

The Regina Pats forward Chandler Stephenson is back home today after the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto. He was the lone Pat that attended and made his mark finishing first in one category, the push up.

I talked with Chandler this morning and he says it was a good experience. "It was a lot of fun, obviously a great experience seeing guys that I saw at U18 camp and guys from other leagues so it was good to see those guys and know those guys and get to see them again."

I asked him what it was like going through the physical testing. "Its intimidating, there's a bunch of scouts and teams watching you from the inside and you are moving around the outside trying to put up some big numbers and impress them, it was a grind of a weekend."

Stephenson did more push ups than any other player in the combine with 52. He says he is happy with that. " Yeah (laughing) I guess I tried to do as many as I could and I am happy with that number."

I asked Chandler what his conversations were like with scouts and teams. "I just told them that I want to get faster and stronger and work on little things, a lot of things to my game I'm still learning in the WHL. I want to get a little more developed in the WHL to make that next step and I made that clear with the teams. They need the consistency part of my game to be a factor. It was kind of up and down this year so next year I'm going to have to really focus on making a really good, complete year."

Hows the off season training going? "Its good. I took a week off after the season and then went hard until the combine. So it was a grind also but it was a lot of fun."

Are you itching to get back on the ice in the fall? "Yeah I'm missing it a bit just seeing my equipment and my sticks hanging out in the house. Ive been out a few times just skating but yeah I'm looking forward to the fall."

Stevenson is ranked 33rd in North America by the NHL Central Scouting and I am sure he is looking forward to hearing his name called later this month. I think he will go in the second round.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 3 Regina Pats Spring Camp


This morning was the third and final workout of the weekend for the Pats prospects. The players seemed to get more and more comfortable with each practice and they looked good today.

I talked with the Pats Director of Scouting, Dale McMullin his morning and this is what he had to say about the weekend. "Its good to see the growth in some of the 96's obviously the strides they've taken physically and within their game getting a little quicker on their feet and the 97's I think personally I was quite happy with what I sen over the three days.

About the size and skill of the players. "Well that's something we've discussed previously with Chad (Lang) and the coaching staff, its great to have size but you cant sacrifice the skill part of the game either. You cant just have big players, they have o be able to think the game and get around the ice and I think from what we've seen this weekend its a pretty good combination overall."

I asked Dale how many spots are available for these young guys come the regular season. "Well with the 96's there's probably 2 or 3 that are knocking on the door. we have to be very careful that they are ready physically and mentally. You don't want to get them in an environment where they cant succeed as young kids so there's probably 2 to 3 kids that we'd potentially looking at that could step in a play next year."

The Pats main training camp will take place in late August/early September.

Here are some pictures from this morning.


Assistant Coach Josh Dixon coaching the guys on a drill.





Assistant Coach Malcolm Cameron straightening out the defense.








Saturday, June 2, 2012

Regina Pats Spring Camp Day 2



The Pats spring camp continued this morning at the Cooperators Centre and I thought it was a pretty good practise for the guys. I think that they felt a little more comfortable out on the ice today and there were some players who made some good plays. Here are some photos from day 2.




One of the players that stood out to me was Henry Hardarson who is originally from Sweden but moved to the USA a couple years ago. This season would be his 18 year old year and hes got some really good hands and he can skate. Rykr Cole also possesses a good set of hands and he made some good plays. Adam Brooks was the Pats first round pick in 2011 and he certainly can play the game, he has experience playing on big stages playing in the Western Canada U16 World Challenge winning a bronze medal as well as playing in the Youth Olympics. Dane Schioler impressed me as well along with Brady Reagan who was the Pats first pick in the last draft. He is a big body defenseman who can shut players down and also has a good offensive game as well. Both goaltenders Patrick Gora and Nathan Churchill made some good saves and look to be pretty talented. Overall there is a lot of talent in the 96, 97 age group and like I said yesterday they are all big players. Camp wraps up with one last session tomorrow morning.


This morning Gregg Drinnan reported that the Pats have picked up former Red Deer Rebel and Saskatoon Blade Locke Muller. The Pats listed him about three weeks ago and he will attend camp in the fall as a 19 year old. I talked to General Manager Chad Lang after today's session and this is what he had to say about Muller. "Hes a kid that comes to our organization with a wealth of experience playing with both Red Deer and Saskatoon. We were looking to add another older guy that can play that power forward style and we feel that he fits that mold. Its about giving him an opportunity to see what he can do at camp and see how he fits in with our group. If everything goes how we expect with him we think he can fill a void with our hockey club."

More to come tomorrow.

Cheers.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Regina Pats Spring Camp Day 1


24 players hit the ice tonight for the first of three practices at the Cooperators Centre in Regina. Draft picks from 2011 and 2012 were on hand and while the nerves were certainly there, I saw a lot of good things. What really jumped out at me at first look was how big these guys were even at 14, 15 and 16 years old. GM Chad Lang and Head Coach Pat Conacher both talked about getting bigger as an organization after the conclusion of last season and that is happening already. 15 of the 24 invites are at least 6 feet or over, some of them already 180 pounds.

Head Coach Pat Conacher said after the first session that its good to see. "Its a big group this year and I like it and they are skating well. But still they are very  young and in their infancy at 14, 15, 16 years old so its early yet but the thing about it is that you cant teach big. We do have to get bigger as an organization so its a good step forward."

Conacher also talked about some of the nerves with the players but says that its not all about performing at this point. "The thing about bringing in the draft and the players we drafted last year is that they all have energy and they come in each and every day and what happens is that they try to hard. We all understand that. Sure we get a feel for the kids on the ice but I realize its June. They've had long seasons and are probably right in training and like I said they are really nervous. But we talk to them about what our expectations are for our organization as far as being a Pat and for themselves as a hockey player. Here we have three days where they can get to know how we do our business each and every day. What we expect of them and when you become a Pat this is the way we do things around here and hopefully were doing it the right way."

Pats top draft pick in 2012 Brady Reagan said afterwards that he is excited to be apart of this organization. "It was really exciting for sure, I think its a really big step in my career and I hope I can carry on with the Pats for the next couple of years......I think its a great organization its definitely good for academics which I was looking for, for the skill for the teaching and for getting bigger and stronger you know that's all I've been looking for and I think its a great organization."

The Pats third round pick in 2012 Rykr Cole who is from Moosomin Saskatchewan said afterwards that he was so happy to be there. "Its a great feeling coming out with a bunch of elite players who have all earned their right to be apart of this organization and its a good atmosphere too and a great organization to be apart of.....Any rookie always has those nerves being in a new place and a new atmosphere and new coaches and you want to put on your A game."

Spring Camp continues tomorrow morning at 10AM at the Cooperators Centre.

Here are a couple more photos from the first session.


3 Regina Thunder at Rider Rookie Camp


The Roughriders invited quarterback Asher Hastings, defensive tackle Zach Evans and wide receiver Clay Cooke to this years rookie camp at the U of R. All three are integral parts of the Thunder squad and will benefit greatly from his experience. Evans is no stranger to the Riders as he spent all of last season on the practise roster. Hastings and Cooke are at their first pro camps.

I attended the first day of rookie camp yesterday and had a chance to talk with both Asher and Evans after the first practise but Clay Cooke got past me and I didn't catch him. I will make a point to talk with him next week.

Here's what Zach had to say after the first practice session. "Its lots of fun and I'm excited to be here, its rookie camp and you show what you got and see what happens."

I asked him to compare last years coaching staff to the new regime under Corey Chamblin. "Its a lot more concise, a lot faster pace and a lot more organized, all around its just better this year."

I asked what his goal was in camp and looking forward. "Just get better. That's the number one thing because of you don't get better you don't move on."



Asher Hastings (shown above wearing number 70) is one of 6 quarterbacks in camp and I can tell you he looked like he belonged. His size and arm strength made him look like he was supposed to be there. I'm sure he would have liked to get a few more reps but he said he is learning a lot. "I just learned everything is a lot faster. I am picking up on whatever I can and doing everything they tell me to do and I'm just going to soak it all in and learn all that I can. Its really sweet being out here with Darian (Durant), hes been awesome and all the other guys have been really good too and I'm just really happy to be here."

On getting invited to camp. "I really didn't expect anything like this but I guess they are trying to get a first look at a lot of Canadian kids. Its really sweet that they've given me this opportunity. Its a really good thing that I get to sit in on meetings and be able to bring back what I learn and go back to junior and share that with my teammates."

On working with Khari Jones and the other quarterbacks. "Its unbelievable all the experience that these guys have. I'm just trying to poke them on the shoulders as much as I can and kinda cross the line into bugging them and just learn as much as I can from them. They've all been super helpful and its unreal the resumes some of these guys have."

On the receivers. "The receivers are a lot quicker, they will snatch the ball out of anywhere you've just got to put it on them hard.


Hastings said he is glad to have Clay Cooke (shown above) in camp with him. "Its awesome, Clay Cooke is doing really well so far and its nice to have a buddy to hang out with all camp that's for sure."

Rookie Camp wraps up today with main camp getting underway on Sunday.