Saturday, 1 July 2017

Expect Blades’ Fiala to get real look from Red Wings

Evan Fiala zips down the ice for the Blades.
    The Saskatoon Blades man with the giant smile might be sitting on a giant opportunity.
    On Friday, the team announced rugged defensive defenceman and local area product Evan Fiala received an invite to the development camp of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. The camp start this coming Friday and runs through to July 11 in Traverse City, Michigan.
    There are a number of cases where an NHL development camp invite means a player is showing up to be a camp body. When you show up at a Red Wings camp, that isn’t the case.
    The Red Wings are one NHL team that has a reputation for finding players all over the map. Those that show up at a Detroit camp will receive an honest evaluation and have an actual shot to make that organization.
    Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 205 pounds, Fiala has the physical gifts most scouts look for in a defensive defenceman. After spending about two-and-a-half seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, Fiala came to the Blades last season in a trade around the middle of last December.
    Playing just over half a season with the Blades, he logged a lot of minutes, and he really helped “the Bridge City Bunch” play a lot more sound in their own zone. Between the Chiefs and the Blades, Fiala appeared in 70 regular season games posting four goals, 15 assists, 139 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in the plus-minus department.
    Fiala rarely gets flustered on the ice. Actually, he seems to always carry a huge smile no matter what he is doing, which includes battling in the corner or in front of the net. He even wears his big grin in fights.
Evan Fiala controls the puck at the point for the Blades.
    The 20-year-old is one of those old school character players that always feels it is great day to be at the rink. It is fun attitude the mirrors former enforcers like the late Dave Semenko of the Edmonton Oilers, who recently passed away of pancreatic cancer, Grant McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders or Blades tough guy Darcy Hordichuk.
    Fiala is one of those players that is front and centre in doing community appearances for the Blades. He has made a few of those in the off-season along with teammate Gage Ramsay, who is another local product.
    The development camp invite won’t be a new experience for Fiala. He attended the development camp for the NHL’s Florida Panthers in 2015, so that experience should help a little going into the Red Wings development camp.
    If Fiala can earn a rookie camp invite or a main training camp invite, that would be another huge bonus.
    No matter what happens on the NHL front, the likelihood if fairly high Fiala will be one of the Blades three overage players next season as a key part of the club’s blue-line. At the moment, the Blades don’t have any other defencemen who are entering their 20-year-old season, which makes Fiala’s presence that much more valuable.
    Fiala is a strong character player who has worked hard at his game, so it is always good when that work and positive outlook results in any NHL opportunities.

Canada put up fight in final in football women’s worlds

    Canada’s National women’s football team didn’t get the upset win they were seeking, but they gained a measure of respect.
    On Friday in Langley, B.C., the Canada took on the powerhouse United States in the gold medal game of the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship tournament. Canada put up a big fight, before the United States pulled away 41-16 victory.
    The Canadian side led 3-0 for a short time when Carly Dyck, who plays for the Saskatoon Valkyries, booted a 38-yard field goal in the game’s first quarter. The United States stormed back to score the next 21 straight points to push ahead 21-3.
    Right before halftime, Canadian quarterback Aimee Kowalski hit sister Alex Kowalski with a 39-yard bomb pass for a touchdown to pull Canada to within 21-9. Both are members of the WWCFL champion Regina Riot.
    Early in the third quarter, the United States push its lead out to 27-9. Canada answered back with a defensive score, when U.S. quarterback Lisa Horton fumbled the ball, and Canadian defensive back Becky Heninger, who plays for the Calgary Rage, recovered it and ran 76 yards for a major to cut the United States lead to 27-16.
    The United States rounded out the scoring with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away for good.
    Canada opened the tournament with a 31-6 victory over Australia on June 24. They blanked Great Britain 35-0 last Tuesday to advance to the gold medal game.
    A total of seven members from the Valkyries were members of the Canadian team including Dyck, Julene Friesen, Samantha Matheson, Alyssa Funk, Jaime Lammerding, Shaylyn de Jong and Beth Thomson. A total of nine members from the Riot were part of the Canadian side including the two Kowalski sisters, Carman Agar, Ashley Viklund, Claire Dore, Katie Hungle, Emilie Belanger, Artemis Kouropoulou and Adrienne Zuck.
    The United States claimed the other two world tournament held in 2013 in Finland and 2010 in Sweden.
    Mexico downed Great Britain in Friday’s bronze medal game 19-8.

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