Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Family feeling keeps pushing Hilltops forward

The Hilltops storm out of the gate for the CJFL national semifinal on Sunday.
    The Saskatoon Hilltops love winning in the playoffs because it means the team stays together.
    For the fourth straight year, the Hilltops are heading to the Canadian Junior Football League championship game – the Canadian Bowl. Saskatoon is trying to become the first team in the history of the CJFL, which dates back to 1908 with its national championship game, to win four straight league titles and claim seven championships over an eight-year span.
    The Hilltops (10-1) will face the host AKO Fratmen (9-1) in Windsor, Ont., on Nov. 11 in this year’s Canadian Bowl.
    While winning is always great, the Hilltops will be pumped that for a fourth straight season they will go on to play in the last possible game they can play in. 
The Hilltops defence celebrates a big play on Sunday.
    Over the next couple of weeks, they will get to enjoy dressing for the final times in the team’s old clubhouse at Ron Atchison field before heading off to practice. Next year, the team will be operating out of a new state of the art clubhouse facility.
    The team gets to practice for another couple of weeks, enjoy a plain flight to Windsor, Ont., take in the sites of another CJFL awards banquet and get to take the field for the chance to win a 20th national title overall for the club.
    Above everything, the best part of the next two weeks is the Hilltops family gets to stay together. That has been a huge intangible over the club’s current run of 12 straight playoff victories.
Hilltops receiver Ryan Turple, left, tries to push out of a tackle.
    Even this year, that feeling of family helped drive the Toppers through a tight 28-21 Prairie Football Conference semifinal win over the Winnipeg Rifles and earn a hard fought 36-24 PFC final victory over their provincial rivals, the Regina Thunder. Had two plays been changed in each of those games, the Hilltops players likely would have cleared their gear out of the old clubhouse facility for the final time.
    In a CJFL national semifinal on Sunday at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, the Hilltops left no doubt they would play for another national title hammering the Nanaimo, B.C., based Vancouver Island Raiders 48-0.
    Had the Hilltops lost in any of those three playoff outing, the players would have kept in contact, but it wouldn’t be the same. Real life factors like school work at the University of Saskatchewan or Saskatchewan Polytechnic, work, family matters and girlfriends would all be pushed to the forefront in hampering the players’ ability to get together.
    Every playoff win allows more practices and film sessions to be held, which means there are scheduled times when everyone gets together. While the Hilltops constantly improve they are good at focusing on the task at hand, the players enjoy all the social aspects that come with the team’s game preparations.
Hilltops players get good family support like James Vause (#24) right here.
    On top of that, the players blood families get to stay connected with the team as well. It is common to see parents, brothers and sisters line up to watch practice at Ron Atchison Field or SMF Field. Besides coming out in large numbers for home games, family members and friends follow the Hilltops on the road in big numbers.
    When the Hilltops played for the first time at the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina back on Aug. 12, they came out to huge ovation from the large Saskatoon contingent that followed them down for the game. After the Hilltops downed the host Thunder 37-20, the players met their family and friends that lined the first row of the west side stands of the stadium.
    Alums from all sorts of years also frequent all the home games and appear at a few road contests.
    The importance of staying together was seen from a couple of veteran running backs who battled through injuries.
The Hilltops celebrate a Logan Fischer (#21) TD on Sunday.
    Star fifth-year running back Logan Fischer was hampered with a nagging leg injury all season and still managed to carry the ball 121 times for 804 yards and 11 touchdowns over eight regular season games. He was named a PFC all-star and the PFC’s most outstanding offensive back.
    He wasn’t able to dress for the PFC final, but he was a jovial presence on the Hilltops bench. He saw spot duty in the CJFL national semifinal win over the Raiders and still managed to catch two passes for 44 yards and carry the ball nine times for 57 yards and score one touchdown.
    One could easily create an NFL Films style top 10 list of the best big games Fischer has had in his five seasons with the Hilltops, and you can bet the team’s coaches and staff will do their best to ensure Fischer finishes his junior eligibility in a full game uniform.
    Fourth-year running back Liam Murphy missed significant stretches of last season due to injury, and he was out the entire regular season this year with injury until returning at full health for the start of playoffs.
Liam Murphy battled injury to return for the playoffs.
    Before his injury troubles, Murphy had significant playing time returning kicks and being a change of pace back on offence throughout the 2015 CJFL championship campaign.
    When he returned for playoffs this season, Murphy, who is a running backs coach with the Saskatoon Valkyries Western Women’s Canadian Football League team, was blocking and tackling on special teams because others had taken on the roles he used to fill and cemented their status there.
    Still, Murphy wanted to be back in uniform to be around the team. In the romp over the Raiders, Murphy was inserted at running back in the fourth quarter and ripped off 45 yards rushing on nine carries. 
    If needed, he showed he can contribute in a bigger role in the Canadian Bowl.
    The family feeling the Hilltops have is something very few sports teams across Canada actually have. 
    That intangible has always been and will continue to be a key factor in the blue and gold’s success.

“Off the Leash Luncheon” nears fast

An “Off the Leash Luncheon” puck.
    This year’s “Off the Leash Luncheon” is nearing fast, but there is still time to get a ticket to attend this major fundraiser for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team.
    The ninth “Off the Leash Luncheon” will be held on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Prairieland Park, and the guest speaker will be former NHL star left-winger Brendan Shanahan, who is currently the president and alternate governor for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. From 1987 to 2009, Shanahan played in 1,524 NHL regular season games split between the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers piling up 656 goals, 698 assists and 2,489 penalty minutes.
    He was with the Red Wings teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and was part of Canada’s gold medal winning men’s hockey team at the Winter Olympics in 2002.
    Following his playing days, Shanahan moved on to being a hockey executive first with the NHL office before joining the Maple Leafs.
    Saskatchewan comedian Kelly Taylor will be back for another year as the master of ceremonies for this event, which is commonly well attended by the alumni of the Huskies men’s hockey team.
    The doors open for the “Off the Leash Luncheon” at 11 a.m. Individual tickets are $125 each. Sponsorship packages are available for a children’s table at $750, a Friend of the Dogs table of eight for $1,250 and a Power Play package table of eight with major sponsor privileges and recognition for $3,500.
    Tickets can be purchased through picatic.com by clicking here.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Hilltops hammer Raiders 48-0, return to the Canadian Bowl

Raiders quarterback Jake Laberge was sacked seven times by the Hilltops.
    It was easy to see the Saskatoon Hilltops had a great day just by the way head coach Tom Sargeant was rocking and rolling during his post-game media scrum.
    Moments after the Hilltops hammered the Nanaimo, B.C., based Vancouver Island Raiders 48-0 at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, Sargeant was still all fired up about how his team performed on Sunday afternoon to win the Canadian Junior Football League national semifinal contest.
    “It feels great, because you know what, we played our best game of the year,” said Sargeant. “We were physical. We were on point.
    “When you look at the score 48-0, we did what we were supposed to do. A lot of belief, a lot of trust and all the kids came out and played great. It is exactly what we want to see.
Joshua Ewanchyna darts home on a 20-yard TD run.
    “The coaches did a great job in preparing. The players executed the game plan. You win 48-0, and I was pretty excited about that.”
    The win allows the Hilltops (10-1) to advance to the CJFL championship game – the Canadian Bowl – for a fourth straight year. The Toppers will be in search for a fourth straight CJFL title, when they travel to Windsor, Ont., on November 11 to face the AKO Fratmen. The AKO Fratmen (9-1) advanced to the Canadian Bowl winning Ontario Football Conference title 34-20 in Windsor on Sunday against the Hamilton Hurricanes (6-4).
    On Sunday at SMF Field, the Hilltops, who are the champions of the Prairie Football Conference, seemed intent on delivering an early knockout blow to the Raiders, who are the champions of the British Columbia Football Conference. The Raiders would finish the 2017 campaign with an 8-4-1 mark after falling to the Hilltops.
    Saskatoon elected to take the wind for the opening quarter, and safety/kicker James Vause booted the opening kickoff into the end zone for a single.
Quarterback Jordan Walls threw a pair of TD passes for the Hilltops.
    After the Raiders were forced to punt away the ball, the Hilltops quickly drove downfield and running back Joshua Ewanchyna ran the ball in from two yards out for a major score to put the hosts up 8-0.
    With 61 seconds to play in the opening quarter, Hilltops starting quarterback Jordan Walls hooked up with receiver Ryan Turple on a 10-yard touchdown toss to put Saskatoon up 15-0. Vause put the ensuing kickoff into the end zone for another single point to increase Saskatoon’s edge to 16-0.
    It seemed the only thing that went wrong for the Hilltops in the first quarter was Vause hitting the right upright on a 40-yard field goal attempt during a time when the wind was blowing the posts all over the place.
    “Our guys are just hungry right now,” said Sargeant, whose team has won 12 straight CJFL playoff games. “They are playing fast and playing aggressive with a lot of trust.
The Hilltops kick coverage unit hammered Raiders returners.
    “It is certainly a different team than maybe what it was a month ago. As coaches, we’re starting to get out of their way, because they are playing at such a high level.”
    In the second quarter, the Hilltops turned out to be more prolific driving into the wind. Fifth-year fullback Colin Stumborg found paydirt twice.
    He scored first on a one-yard plunge and put up a second major on a 15-yard swing pass to give the hosts a 30-0 lead. Stumborg believes his two touchdowns in one game were a personal career high.
    “We came out, and we just played our game,” said Stumborg. “The weather was not cooperating that much, but we just rallied together
    Things didn’t get any better for the Raiders. Hilltops fifth-year defensive back Luke Melnyk intercepted Raiders quarterback Jake Laberge to set up another short Saskatoon scoring drive. Ewanchyna capped that march scoring a major on a right sweep from 20 yards out to give the Hilltops a 37-0 advantage at halftime.
FB Colin Stumborg scores a 15-yard receiving touchdown for the Hilltops.
    “I didn’t want this to be my last game,” said Melnyk. “I wanted to keep playing. I want to play two weeks from now (in the Canadian Bowl).
    “This is my last game on this field and the last chance for all my friends to come and watch me, so I want to play for them too.”
    Saskatoon proceeded to get fifth-year star running back Logan Fischer into the game in the third quarter. He didn’t dress for the Hilltops 36-24 PFC final victory over the Regina Thunder on Oct. 22 in Saskatoon due to nagging leg injury.
    In his short appearance against the Raiders, Fischer ran the ball nine times for 57 yards and caught two passes for 44 yards. He scored a touchdown on a one-yard run with 9:12 to play in the third quarter to give the Hilltops a 44-0 lead.
The Hilltops defence takes down Raiders receiver Brycen Mayoh.
    The Hilltops rounded out the game’s scoring in the fourth quarter with a 52-yard punt single from John Brown and 42-yard field goal from Vause.
    Both Stumborg and Melnyk were pumped they would get the chance to play for a fourth straight CJFL championship with the Hilltops before exhausting their junior eligibility.
    “It feels unbelievable,” said Stumborg. “As a fifth-year, you can’t match that feeling.”
    “It is crazy,” said Melnyk. “I just feel honoured just being a part of the Hilltops and just getting the opportunity to do that.”
    Walls completed 9-of-13 passes for 153 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the Hilltops romp.
    Saskatoon put up 247 yards rushing as a team thanks to big contributions from four different running backs. Besides Fischer’s big day, Adam Machart started the contest and led the Hilltops with 84 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Hilltops running back Liam Murphy jets through a big hole.
    Ewanchyna had 62 yards rushing on eight carries to go with his two touchdowns. Fifth-year running back Liam Murphy, who missed much of the season to injury before returning to full health for the playoffs, ran the ball nine times for 45 yards.
    On defence, defensive linemen Tom Schnitzler and Riley Pickett and defensive back Logan Bitz each had two sacks for the Hilltops. Defensive tackle Tristan Hering added one sack to the impressive effort from the home side.
    Laberge completed 14-of-25 passes for 125 yards and was intercepted once for the Raiders. Defensive back Josh Paisley had an interception for the visitors.
    Now, the Hilltops will try to be the first team in the history of the CJFL, which dates back to 1908, to win four straight league championships, when they head to Windsor for the Canadian Bowl.
The Hilltops raise a trophy for their CJFL national semifinal win.
    Sargeant has some preliminary information on the AKO Fratmen, and he is looking forward to what is to come over the next two weeks.
    “They are big, athletic and they are good,” said Sargeant. “At the end of the day, we will have to figure it out and get in the lab and make sure we come out and try and play another inspired effort as we did today.”

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Harris, Huskies women’s hockey team wins the hard way

Kennedy Harris (#22) battles for a loose puck.
    Kennedy Harris admits her University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team never seems to win the easy way.
    On Saturday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the chips all seemed to be in place for her squad to get a weekend sweep of the visiting U of Calgary Dinos. After the Huskies took a 3-0 victory over the Dinos on Friday night at Rutherford, a large number of the U of C players came down with a case of food poisoning on Saturday.
    The Dinos took the ice with 14 skaters and rookie Kira Wasylak, who was technically U of C’s third goalie, made her first career U Sports regular season start. 
    Wasylak sported a #1 Dinos jersey that had the name bar covered up with tape and wore the #30 mask of sophomore netminder Kelsey Roberts, who didn’t dress on Saturday.
    Just 64 seconds into the contest, Harris fired home her first goal of the season top corner over Wasylak’s glove hand to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. 
    Wasylak proceeded to make 40 saves, and the 1-0 scored ultimately held up as the final outcome in favour of U of S.
Kennedy Harris (#22) drives hard to the net for the Huskies.
    “We never make it easy,” said Harris, who is a fifth-year centre with the Huskies. “It is always an interesting game for us.
    “We battled through the whole game, so that was good. I think this was our best 60 minutes yet on the season. It was good for us.”
    The Kindersley, Sask., product liked her team’s effort overall. At the other end of the rink, sophomore netminder Chloe Marshall made 12 stops to earn her second shutout of the season.
    Harris also tackled the obvious observation adding it would have been nice had her Huskies scored a few more goals on a short-staffed Dinos side.
    “We struggle to put the puck in the net,” said Harris. “It is something we have to work on, and we have been working on.
Kennedy Harris, right, is all smiles after scoring her first of the season.
    “It should start coming right away. They (the Dinos) battled hard. They definitely faced a lot of adversity today.
    “I am a little disappointed we didn’t come away with it (more convincingly), but we won and that is all that matters in the end.”
    The 22-year-old was happy to finally get her first goal of the campaign in the Huskies eighth regular season outing. She always likes to chip in offensively but knows that is not her role on the team.
    Since joining the Huskies as a rookie in the squad’s 2013-14 Canada West championship winning season, Harris has been a defensive forward who is tough in the faceoff circle. In 117 career regular season games, she has potted eight goals and 19 assists.
Bailee Bourassa is one of the many young players Kennedy Harris likes.
    Her role with the Huskies is vastly different from the one she had during her two seasons with the Saskatoon Stars female midget AAA team from 2011 to 2013, when she piled up 44 goals and 29 assists in 56 regular season games.
    In her rookie season with the Stars in the 2011-12 campaign, Harris fired home 26 goals to tie Emily Clark for the team lead. Clark is currently on the centralized roster for Canada’s national women’s team and is battling for spot to play for that squad in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held Feb. 9-25, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
    Harris knew that when she stepped up to the university level that she might not have the same role she once held with the Stars, because all the players are that much better. She did find it tough at first when the points didn’t come in bunches.
    “It is always pretty frustrating, but you have to take on a role that you are given and kind of try and work with it and take it in stride,” said Harris. “If the goals start coming, that is great.
    “If not, I just have to be good and sound defensively.”
Rookie Kira Wasylak was thrown into the fire for the Dinos.
    Harris believes the rookies and the younger players on the Huskies roster are adjusting well to the university level.
    “The transition is always pretty hard,” said Harris. “I know I spent a lot of time on my butt my first year.
    “It is a pretty tough transition, but they seem to take it in stride. They are doing pretty well so far, so it is good to see.”
    With the Huskies, Harris is well known for her grit and her hard work. She said she gained those characteristics from her father, Cory, and mother, Janet.
    Due to those traits, she became one of the team’s assistant captains at the start of her fourth year. While she is part of the Huskies leadership group, Harris sees those types of qualities in the younger players on the Huskies roster.
    “The girls that came in they are all good leaders,” said Harris. “They can push pretty hard and lead the way in many ways.
    “For me, it is just a matter of being like positive on the bench and leading like by working hard and making things happen.”
Kennedy Harris (#22) and her teammates salute the Rutherford crowd.
    With Saturday’s win, the Huskies improved to 5-2-1 to move into second place in the Canada West standings. Those standings can change in an instant, because four points separates the top five squads in the eight-team conference. The Dinos dropped to 1-6-1 to occupy the basement of the conference’s standings.
    The Huskies are off until Nov. 10, when they travel to Vancouver to face the Canada West leading University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (6-2).
    Harris said her fifth year is flying by. At the annual wrap up dinner the team usually has, Harris always heard from previous Huskies grads that the fifth-year zips past quickly, and now she is really believing those words.
    She plans to keep enjoying the time she has left with the Huskies. Harris said she truly values the lifelong friendships she has made with the team and added there is one more wish she would like to see come true.
    “I’d love to win another championship,” said Harris. “That would be a good memory for sure.”

Franson’s big night does in Dogs

Jesse Forsberg had a goal for the Huskies on Saturday.
    Cain Franson’s strong effort helped send the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team to their first regulation defeat of the current U Sports regular season.
    On Saturday at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary, Franson had a pair of goals and an assist to help his U of Calgary Dinos, who are rated eighth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, earn a 4-2 win over the Huskies, who are rated fourth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings.
    With the two teams locked in a 2-2 draw, Franson teamed up with linemate Luke Harrison to set up defenceman Dylan Busenius for a power-play goal to put the Dinos up 3-2 at the 14:54 mark of the second period.
    Franson scored the Dinos first goal of the contest and added his second marker in the third period to give his side a 4-2 edge that held up as the final score. Rookie Tim Vanstone picked up a single for the Dinos, while netminder Matthew Greenfield made 24 stops to pick up the win in goal for U of C.
    Levi Cable and Jesse Forsberg replied with singles for the Huskies. Jordon Cooke turned away 24 shots to take the setback in goal for the Huskies.
    U of S falls to 6-1-1 with the loss to sit second in the Canada West standings just two points ahead of the third place Dinos, who improved to 4-1-3.
    The Huskies are off until Nov. 10, when they host the UBC Thunderbirds (5-3) at 7 p.m. at the Rutherford Rink.

Kubic backs Blades to second straight win

Ryan Kubic made 32 stops in goal for the Blades on Saturday.
    Netminder Ryan Kubic is starting to find his groove with the Saskatoon Blades.
    On Saturday night before 3,058 spectators at the SaskTel Centre, Kubic made 32 saves to back the Blades to a 4-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a WHL clash. The Wheat Kings fell to 9-5-1 with that loss, while the Blades improved to 5-7-1.
    One night earlier in Swift Current, the 19-year-old Kubic, who was acquired right before the start of the regular season in a trade with the Vancouver Giants, turned away 33 shots to help the Blades best the host Broncos 4-3. The Broncos currently have a 10-2-1 record and are rated second in the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 rankings.
    Kubic had some tough outings before those two wins replacing former Blades starting goalie Logan Flodell. Flodell, who is an overager this season, was traded to the Broncos on the same day Kubic was acquired by Saskatoon.
    Against the Wheat Kings on Saturday, the Blades jumped out to a 4-0 with a pair of goals from star centre Cameron Hebig and singles from Tyler Lees and Chase Wouters.
    Tanner Kaspick scored inside of the final minute of the third period for the Wheat Kings. Logan Thompson turned away 19 shots to take the setback in goal for Brandon.
    The consecutive wins over the Broncos and Wheat Kings mark the first time the Blades have won two straight in the current campaign.
    The Blades will try for their third win in a row on Wednesday, when they start a three-game road trip traveling to Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes, who are currently 7-5.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Friday, 27 October 2017

Bannatyne’s veteran move helps Huskies best Dinos

Defender Kira Bannatyne (#20) celebrates scoring for the Huskies.
    Kira Bannatyne is best known for her defence, but she made a veteran move offensively when the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team needed it the most.
    On Friday night at the ancient Rutherford Rink, the Huskies entered the third period of a U Sports regular season contest locked in a 0-0 draw with the visiting U of Calgary Dinos. The hosts held a 33-6 edge in shots on goal over the first 40 minutes, and sophomore netminder Kelsey Roberts was doing her best to try and steal the contest for the Dinos.
    With 9:34 to play in the third, the Huskies top forward line of Kaitlin Willoughby, Emily Upgang and Brooklyn Haubrich were pressing for the game’s first goal. As the intensity increased around the Dinos net, Bannatyne, who a fifth-year defender for the U of S, pinched down from the point to the right side of the U of C goal.
Kira Bannatyne gets set to fire a shot on goal.
    A shot from Upgang from the left side of the goal snuck past Roberts and sat loose backdoor in front of an open net. Bannatyne tucked home the loose puck to put the Huskies up 1-0. The Dogs proceeded to add two more goals to pull out a 3-0 win.
    With the way the contest had been going, Bannatyne was thankful she picked up the game’s first tally to break the deadlock.
    “It was such a relief actually,” said Bannatyne. “We obviously didn’t put any in until the third, so it was all banking on the third.
    “Going into it, we knew that we had to score and we did. We came out winning, so it was good.”
    The 22-year-old Winnipeg product has been known as a solid defensive defender throughout her U Sports career.
    Between action in the regular season and playoffs, her last goal before Friday came way back on Feb. 20, 2015, when she had the Huskies only tally in a 5-1 playoff game loss to the Dinos in Calgary.
    Bannatyne, who stands 5-foot-7, hadn’t scored a goal in the regular season since her rookie campaign in 2013-14, when the Huskies won the Canada West title. She had two goals in regular season play as a first-year player.
    Against the Dinos on Friday, Bannatyne played a big part on the Huskies second goal.
Goalie Kelsey Roberts makes a blocker stop for the Dinos.
    With 6:53 to play in the third, she sprung right-winger Bailee Bourassa on a breakaway with a stretch pass.
    Bourassa’s initial backhander was stopped by Roberts, but the sophomore forward banged home her rebound to put the hosts up 2-0.
    “It is a nice cushion, but we can’t give up,” said Bannatyne. “We still have to play as hard as we did.”
    Fifth-year right-winger Kori Herner sealed victory scoring into an empty net to put the Huskies up 3-0 with 28 seconds to play.
    Roberts stopped 43-of-45 shots in a spectacular effort in the setback for the Dinos, who fell to 1-5-1.
    Jasey Book stopped all 13 shots sent her way to earn her first career U Sports regular season shutout and help the Huskies improve to 4-2-1.
Winger Bailee Bourassa (#14) had the Huskies second goal on Friday.
    Book’s efforts were a testament to her mental stamina, because she kept her concentration in the contest during long stretches of inaction.
    The Loreburn, Sask., product turned away some quality chances from the Dinos including a breakaway by sophomore forward Rachel Paul with the game still scoreless early in the third.
    While the puck didn’t go in for the Huskies for the longest time, Bannatyne said everyone on her team didn’t panic.
    “I don’t think there is like any time to be nervous,” said Bannatyne. “You just have to play how we have been playing.
    “If you do what you have to do and you do your roles, then it turns out good on your side, and it did.”
    Over the Huskies first seven games, Bannatyne has posted a goal, three assists and a plus-four rating in the plus-minus department.
    While she has put up good statistics, she believes she hasn’t been as consistent as she would like to be.
Netminder Jasey Book, left, enjoys her shutout with Emma Nutter.
    “I’d say I’ve had not so good games and some good games,” said Bannatyne. “It has been up and down.
    “I am trying to steady it out and just have some good games from here on out.”
    Along the way, she is trying to soak in all the moments of her final campaign.
    “It goes by fast,” said Bannatyne. “Five years, it just flies by.
    “You don’t really realize it until your last year. It is crazy.”
    The Huskies and Dinos go at it again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rutherford.
    U of S is in search of its first weekend series sweep of the campaign.

Cooke takes goalie duel after shootout

Star goalie Jordon Cooke backed the Huskies to a win in Calgary.
    Jordon Cooke, who is the star goalie for the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team, had to be on his game on Friday night on the road in Calgary, because his counterpart in goal for the U of Calgary Dinos was trying to steal the show.
    Dinos sophomore netminder Matthew Greenfield made 42 save through regulation and two five-minute overtime periods to allow his side to go to a tiebreaking shootout with the Huskies locked in a 1-1 draw. Cooke saw plenty of action as well making 29 stops, which included seven saves in the overtime sessions to ensure the Huskies made it to the shootout at the Father David Bauer Arena.
    Huskies captain Kendall McFaull and Dinos fourth-year rearguard Dylan Busenius traded singles in the second period.
    In the shootout, Huskies forward Connor Gay scored the lone goal giving the Huskies a 1-0 win in the shootout and a 2-1 victory in the game. Cooke stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout, while Greenfield turned away one of two shooters.
    The win allowed the Huskies, who are rated fourth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, to improve to 6-0-1, while the Dinos, who are rated eighth in the U Sports Top 10 rankings, saw their record move to 3-1-3.
    The two teams go at it again on Saturday in Calgary.

Hebig’s hatty powers Blades to big road upset win

Cameron Hebig is on fire for the Blades.
    Cameron Hebig’s first hat trick of the WHL season powered the Saskatoon Blades to major 4-3 road upset win over the Broncos in Swift Current.
    With the Blades trailing the Broncos 1-0 entering the second period, Hebig went to work scoring three straight goals to give the visitors a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission at the Credit Union i-plex. Saskatoon’s advantage grew to 4-1 at the 5:51 mark of the third when 17-year-old forward Tyler Lees potted his second career WHL goal.
    The Broncos attempted to mount a comeback before a crowd of 2,132 spectators. Just 12 seconds after Lees’ goal, Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin netted his ninth of the campaign to cut the Blades lead to 4-2.
    Shortly before the midway point of the third, Russian import defenceman Artyom Minulin scored to further trim the Blades lead to 4-3. Swift Current was unable to final the equalizer from that point. Winger and Finnish import Aleksi Heponiemi scored for the Broncos in the first period.
    Ryan Kubic turned away 33 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Blades, who ended a three-game winless skid to improve to 4-7-1. Logan Flodell turned away 29 shots to take the setback in goal for the Broncos, who fell to 9-2-1. The Broncos are currently ranked second in the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 rankings.
    With his hat trick, Hebig has 10 goals and seven assist in 10 games with the Blades this season.
    The Blades return to action on Saturday, when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings (9-4-1) at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Stumborg will do whatever it takes to help Hilltops

FB Colin Stumborg has played a key part in the Hilltops success.
    Out of all the high points Colin Stumborg has been part of with the Saskatoon Hilltops, nothing might beat getting some love from the offensive line.
    When Stumborg joined the Hilltops in 2013 after graduating from Saskatoon’s Bishop James Mahoney High School, he was tasked with switching from tailback to fullback. That move meant Stumborg would have to block more than any previous point in time during his football career.
    The 22-year-old believes the nod he received over the past couple of seasons from the Hilltops offensive line means he got the blocking part of the team’s game right.
    “The past couple of years they’ve called me their piglet,” said Stumborg, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 235 pounds. “The O-line are always the hogs, and I got sort of adopted into the family as the piglet.
    “It feels good to have the respect and support of those guys.”
    While he has become a top-rate blocker, Stumborg has the skills to make key plays offensively. A lot of times, the plays Stumborg makes will catch opponents off guard, because he might only get two or three touches a game.
    Last Sunday in the Hilltops 36-24 PFC final victory over the Regina Thunder at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, Stumborg scored a rushing touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 23.3 seconds to play before halftime to give the toppers a 23-10 lead.
Colin Stumborg hammers his way into the end zone.
    Late in the fourth quarter with the Hilltops holding a 29-24 advantage, Stumborg hauled in a 26-yard pass on a play action play to get his team deep in Thunder territory. His catch set up a game-sealing touchdown from defensive tackle Garth Knitting on a short-yardage play.
    “Those were some of the biggest plays I have ever had to be a part of,” said Stumborg, who has helped the Hilltops win the last three straight Canadian Junior Football League titles. “That is the biggest moment my number has ever been called.
    “When I got called, it was a good confidence boost. I knew that Sarge (Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant) and the other coaches that they trusted me to make that play. I just knew that I have to go out there and do it.”
    Sargeant said Stumborg has given the Hilltops another dimension with what they can do offensively.
    “I’d say about the last month we just fell in love with the type of game he adds to us,” said Sargeant. “We bring him in for a blocking area, and we keep him out in a quad of four receiver set.
    “Because he has good hands and he is a good blocker, he just make everyone better around him. He has been a great leader, a great kid. We’ve just been real happy with his production, his performance and his leadership.
    “He’s done exactly what we’ve asked.”
Colin Stumborg scores on a TD reception.
    Now in his fifth and final year of CJFL eligibility, Stumborg said it hasn’t sunk in that he will play his final home game ever for the blue and gold this coming Sunday. The Hilltops (9-1) host the Vancouver Island Raiders (8-3-1), who are based out of Nanaimo, B.C., in a CJFL national semifinal match at 1 p.m. at SMF Field.
    The winner advances to the CJFL national championship game – the Canadian Bowl. The Canadian Bowl will be held on Nov. 11 by the team that wins the Ontario Football Conference title game. The OFC final is set for this coming Sunday in Windsor, when the host AKO Fratmen (8-1) take on the Hamilton Hurricanes (6-3).
    For Stumborg, it doesn’t seem that long ago, when he was trying to earn his place on the Hilltops roster in 2013.
    “It is a battle,” said Stumborg. “It is a grind.
    “I didn’t play a whole lot in my first year, but that is most guys on the team. You just have to come out, and you have to keep battling and you have to grind and you have to get better every single day.
    “Hopefully by the end of your fifth year, you’re in the spot that we are in right now.”
    He has enjoyed being part of three straight CJFL championship victories.
    “It has been a wild ride,” said Stumborg, whose Hilltops have won their last 11 straight post-season games. “I’ve been to every one of those three victories playing more and more every year.
    “It would feel really good as a fifth-year to go out with that fourth one.”
    Sargeant said Stumborg has had a big impact with the Hilltops during his five seasons with the team.
Colin Stumborg (#28) got to enjoy a PFC title win last Sunday.
    “He (Stumborg) has been fantastic,” said Sargeant. “He has been our special teams’ leader with the punt team for the last couple of years, and he has great hands.
    “It is not a big deal for him to make plays, and he was one of the best players on the field (last) Sunday.”
    Against the Raiders this coming Sunday, Stumborg said he will do whatever it takes to get the win. If the coaches want him on the field for just two plays or every play, he will do whatever task he is given.
    “As long as we come out with the “W” that is really all that matters,” he said.

Saskatchewan sends strong squad to under-18 nationals

Hannah Koroll is part of a strong Saskatchewan provincial team.
  Saskatchewan will send a strong team to Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Championship, which runs Nov. 1 to 5 in Quebec City.
    The 20-player roster for the Saskatchewan squad is comprised of 10 members from the Saskatoon Stars female midget AAA program. The Stars players heading to the event include forwards Joelle Fiala, Jordyn Holmes, Kaitlin Jockims, Anna Leschyshyn, Mackenna Parker, Jayda Sachs and Grace Shirley. They will be joined by Saskatoon defenders Grace Tam and Dana Wood along with netminder Jordan Ivanco.
    The defending Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League champion Prince Albert Northern Bears have three representatives on the provincial team including forward Kate Ball, defender Hannah Koroll and netminder Ryan Fontaine.
Grace Shirley will join Saskatchewan’s stellar provincial team roster.
    The Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats placed two players on the provincial team in forward Taylor Lind and defender Taylor Kirwan.
    Defenders Allison Hayhurst and Hannah Pennell from the Melville Prairie Fire round of the blue-liners on the Saskatchewan squad.
    Miranda Hatt of the Regina Rebels, Jenna MacLean from the Notre Dame Hounds and Regina product Kennedy Bobyck, who is playing for the Edge School female prep team based out of Calgary, round out the forwards on the Saskatchewan team.
    Wildcats head coach Terry Pavely will be the head coach for the Saskatchewan under-18 squad. The assistant coaches will be Greg Slobodzian, who is the head coach of the Stars, and Kelsie Graham from the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.
    Saskatchewan opens the under-18 tournament on Nov. 1 against British Columbia’s provincial team.

Apathy should worry Blades

Captain Evan Fiala and the Blades are off to a slow start.
    When the Saskatoon Blades dropped a 7-2 decision to the Victoria Royals on Tuesday night at the SaskTel Centre, it felt like you didn’t hear too much rageahol from fans.
    As weird as that sounds, that actually might be a worry as apathy for local sports teams seems to be a reoccurring characteristic from sports fans in Saskatoon.
    Having missed the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, there was optimism at the start of this season after the Blades went 28-35-7-2 and finished five points back of the Calgary Hitmen for the final playoff berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference in 2016-17.
    Going into the current campaign, the Blades put together a wonderful marketing blitz bringing back their classic Pac-Man logo and look as the club’s regular full-time look for the first time since the 1993-94 season ended.
    A 3-7-1 start seems to be dampening enthusiasm. After drawing 7,460 spectators to their home opener where they honoured the now late Bruce Gordon on Sept. 22, the Blades have drawn over 3,000 fans just once in their following five home dates.
    While there is still lots of time to get things turned around, the ability to draw in the casual fans helps create the larger attendance figures and wins are needed to create that ability. A lot of times, those causal fans won’t look at the ins and outs of the everyday activities regarding the team if they want to go to games.
Blades rookie Kirby Dach and company have played before small crowds.
    They will notice the scores like the last two home clashes in the loss to the Royals and the 6-3 setback to the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 18. Combine those results, the team’s current record and four straight years out of the post-season, the apathy switch gets turned on.
    Against the Royals, the Blades drew 2,732 spectators and 2,578 came out for the loss to the Giants.
Following the setback to the Royals, I have heard from a couple of regulars that attend games, but the Blades don’t come up in talks with people unless I bring them up. If I focus a blog post around the Blades after they had a bad loss, page views come in with very low numbers.
    On the other hand if the Blades win on the road against the Pats in Regina, the page views pour in.
    The Blades have been outstanding on the marketing and community side over the past four and a bit seasons, and they need to continue that. I get a big feeling people in Saskatoon want to see them win.
    With that said, it seems like any continued losing will be met with shoulder shrugs and empty seats.
    Starting Nov. 1, the Blades play a stretch where they will be on the road 12 times and at home four times over 16 contests. It would be nice locally, if some positive momentum could be started before the team’s schedule gets home heavy to help attract fans.
    Until then, the Blades travel to Swift Current to face a tough Broncos (9-1-1) side on Friday and host the Brandon Wheat Kings (9-3-0-1) at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre on Saturday.

Could a Leason re-flame a Saskatoon rivalry?

Quarterback Darryl Leason in action for the Rams in 2000.
    For those that have a long memory of Saskatchewan sports rivalries, the head was raised with a trade on the WHL front.
    After the Prince Albert Raiders had defeated the visiting Victoria Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night at the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders announced they sent a third round selection in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft to the Tri-City Americans in exchange for 18-year-old centre Brett Leason. Leason is the son of legendary Regina Rams quarterback Darryl Leason.
    Darryl, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 230 pounds, helped stoke the rivalry pretty good between Regina and Saskatoon over two stretches. The first came in battles with the Hilltops from 1992 to 1995, when the Rams were still part of the Canadian Junior Football League.
    The Rams won three straight CJFL titles from 1993 to 1995.
    After the Rams moved to the U Sports ranks in 1999, Leason rejoined the Rams to cause aggravation in “the Bridge City” for those who supported the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team from 2000 to 2001. Leason guided the Rams to a 42-39 loss in the 2000 Vanier Cup to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
    Brett plays for the Raiders and their biggest rival happens to be the Saskatoon Blades. It is a different time in sports in the present day, but it would be interesting if there are rivalry sparks that ignite with Brett playing for the Raiders.
    Darryl’s time with the Rams included two high points in the rivalry between Regina and Saskatoon. The first came in the 1995 Prairie Football Conference final against the Hilltops.
    On the frozen concrete of Regina’s Taylor Field, the Rams had a 19-8 win sealed, and all their offence had to do was kneel on the ball one last play to officially end the game. Darryl started to go down on one knee only to stand up quickly and throw a touchdown pass to a wide open Josh Shaw. The play was nullified by a penalty, but tensions ran high between the two centres for a long time over that moment.
    The second high came during a Canada West semifinal playoff game in November of 2001 between the Rams and Huskies at Taylor Field. Entering that contest, Darryl missed three straight games and was going to attempt to play the Huskies with a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament and a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Rams QB Darryl Leason steps up in the pocket to throw in 2001.
    Darryl hit the field and led the Rams to a 58-31 victory. He completed 20-of-33 passes for 418 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions before giving way to backup Mike Wong for mop up duty.
    Twice in the contest there were questionable hits on Darryl including Huskies linebacker Colin Dutton launching himself at the signal caller’s knees. The hits drew boos from a large contingent of the 7,122 spectators that came to support the Rams.
    Emotions were so high that Huskies supporters believed the Rams were a desperate team having Darryl play in such a beat up physical state.
    Rams supports thought the cheap shotting Huskies would sink to all types of new lows to keep their season alive.
    The Rams were penalized 11 times for 106 yards in the contest, and the Huskies took 13 penalties for 153 yards.
    Ian Hamilton, who was the Rams beat writer at the time for the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Darryl had a game for the ages. Kevin Mitchell, who was the Huskies beat writer for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, wrote Darryl dropped bombs on the field and during the post-game media scrum.
    Darryl gave a doozy quote for all media in attendance stating, “I was hoping for 450 (yards passing). I made a few bad decisions.
    “I could have been (taken) out of the ball game earlier than I was (by the Rams’ coaches in the fourth quarter) if I didn’t throw a couple of interceptions and some other bad passes.”
    Huskies supporters took that as Darryl rubbing in the final outcome of that contest.
QB Darryl Leason and the Rams win the Hall of Fame game in 2001.
    As for Brett, he has played in 81 career WHL regular season games collecting a modest nine goals and 19 assists. His rookie campaign in 2016-17 has been his only full season so far.
    Growing up in Calgary, Brett, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 206 pounds, has been a phenom at all levels of minor hockey piling up points. During his last minor hockey campaign in the midget AAA ranks in 2015-16 with the Calgary Flames, he had 21 goals and 29 assists in 32 regular season games.
    Due to having depth at forward, the Americans traded Brett, who was selected by Tri-City in the third round and 50th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, to the Raiders in hopes that he would get more ice time and opportunity in Prince Albert. If Brett can start scoring like he did in minor hockey, he will be a very key pick up for the Raiders and a thorn in the side of every opponent including the Blades.
    It is a different era, so time will tell if Brett has his father’s skill when it comes to stirring up any rivalries in media interviews.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Nagy sparks Royals to 7-2 romp over Blades

The Royals celebrate their first of seven goals on Tuesday.
    Regan Nagy was pumped he could supply a highlight night for his followers on his second last Saskatchewan road trip with the Victoria Royals.
    The 20-year-old right-winger from Ogema, Sask., had a stellar Tuesday night at the SaskTel Centre netting a hat trick, one assist and a plus-four rating in the plus-minus department in the Royals 7-2 romp over the host Saskatoon Blades. While most of the 2,732 spectators headed home disappointed, Nagy had a small group of about five to six family members and friends he was able to make happy.
    “It is always nice to come out here and play in front of your friends and family no matter how old you are,” said Nagy, who stands 6-feet and weighs 195 pounds. “This last year it is nice to get out here and play in front of everyone again one more time.
Regan Nagy had a hat trick for the Royals.
    “I had a lot of fun. Another game tomorrow, so I am going to be ready for that one.”
    Nagy’s contingent will follow him to Prince Albert on Wednesday, when the Royals face the host Raiders at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. That contest will conclude a stretch of seven straight road games for the Royals.
    Just 87 seconds into Tuesday’s win over the Blades, the Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead, when Nagy and linemate Yan Khomenko teamed up to set up centre Dante Hannoun for his ninth goal of the season. Khomenko put a pass across the face of the Blades goal, and Hannoun knocked the puck past sprawling Blades netminder Ryan Kubic.
    A little over five minutes later, Hannoun slipped a smart pass into Nagy to give him a one-on-one chance against Kubic. Nagy made no mistake tucking home his first of the contest. He added his second of the contest before the period ended to give the Royals a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
    “It is a lot of fun, when the puck is going in for you,” said Nagy, whose Royals improved their B.C. Division leading record to 10-3-1 with their win. “It is a lot of fun for the team too.
    “It makes the guys enjoy the game a little more and take a little stress off everyone, so it is always fun to do that.”
Some of Regan Nagy’s supporters watch Tuesday’s game.
    The Royals kept rolling in the second. At the 4:43 mark, right-winger Jared Legien, who is from Pilot Butte, Sask., beat Kubic with a deke on a breakaway to give the visitors a 4-0 edge.
Victoria’s lead grew to 5-0 at the 11:53 mark, when Nagy was sprung on a breakaway and fired a laser shot past Kubic for the hat trick. The three-goal night was the second for Nagy in his WHL career.
    Kubic was pulled after that tally turning away nine of 14 shots fired his way taking the loss in goal for the Blades (3-7-1). Rookie Joel Grzybowski played the rest of the way in relief turning away 10 of 12 shots sent in his direction.
Yan Khomenko had three assists for the Royals on Tuesday.
    Nagy’s line with Hannoun and Khomenko combined for four goals and five assists in Victoria’s runaway win. Khomenko had three assists, while Hannoun had an assist to go with his goal.
    When the Royals lost 4-2 in their last outing against the Wheat Kings in Brandon last Saturday, Nagy was on a line with Legien and Tyler Soy. The Royals coaches switched the line combinations up for Tuesday’s game putting Nagy with Hannoun and Khomenko.
    “I had some pretty good chemistry with those two before tonight,” said Nagy, whose team ended a two-game losing skid. “Things are just clicking for us, and it is a lot of fun.”
    Soy scored on a partial breakaway to give the Royals a 6-0 lead at the 15:09 mark of the second.
    Left-winger Dryden Michaud got the Blades on the board with his first of the season with 3:40 to play in the second to cut Victoria’s lead to 6-1.
Dante Hannoun (#19) had a goal and an assist for the Royals.
    With 43.9 seconds to play in the second, Royals star captain Matthew Phillips scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway to give the visitors a 7-1 edge. The officials turned to a video review to confirm the goal from Phillips.
    Nagy said his team has been successful this season, when the burn opponents with speed.
    “We have just been playing fast, and we have playing our game,” said Nagy, whose Royals were rated third in the Canadian Hockey League’s top 10 rankings. “If we keep doing that, we will keep being successful.
    “We just have to work hard each and every night and that is kind of our game. We have to stick through it throughout the whole 60 minutes.”
    Right-winger Josh Paterson scored for the Blades in the third to round out the scoring in the contest.
Jared Legien (#23) celebrates scoring a goal for the Royals.
    Griffen Outhouse started the game for the Royals, and the 19-year-old veteran stopped 28-of-29 shots over the first two periods.
    With the Royals entering the third holding a 7-1 edge, the Victoria coaches elected to insert rookie 17-year-old backup Dean McNabb in net for the third, and he turned away 10-of-11 shots in mop up action.
    Nagy is playing out his fourth full season in the WHL and has been with the Royals his entire major junior career.
    He hopes the good times keep coming as the season progresses.
    He will also get to make one more road trip back to Saskatchewan in late November, when the Royals visit the Moose Jaw Warriors on Nov. 28 and the Swift Current Broncos on Nov. 29.
    He said he couldn’t believe how quickly his time in the league is passing.
The Royals enjoy their road win in Saskatoon on Tuesday.
    “It goes by fast,” said Nagy. “I remember just being in my first year in the league thinking that it (his final season) is so far away.
    “Now thinking back, it goes by a lot faster than you think. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.
    “Hopefully, we can just keep things rolling and keep playing good like that. If we do that, we should have a good year, and it will be a lot of fun. We’ll enjoy it a lot.”
    The Blades are back in action Friday, when they travel to Swift Current to take on the Broncos. One night later, Saskatoon hosts the Brandon Wheat Kings at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.

Back in the Express with Hebig, other notes

Cameron Hebig has been on fire this season for the Blades.
    I was back in the pages of the Saskatoon Express this week with a feature story on Saskatoon Blades star centre Cameron Hebig.
    Hebig missed the entire 2016-17 campaign with his hometown WHL team with an upper body injury, which was originally thought to be a concussion. It was never diagnosed definitively.
During the time he was out, he received a lot of support from those in “The Bridge City.”
    When he returned, one wondered if he could build off the breakout campaign he had in 2015-16, when he netted 26 goals and 43 assists in 59 regular season games. He has jetted to a great start in his overage season piling up seven goals and seven assists in nine games.
    The Express story on Hebig can be found right here.
  • The Blades traded 17-year-old forward Matt Mosher to the Prince George Cougars on Tuesday in exchange for a ninth round selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. Mosher appeared in four career regular season games with the Blades and didn’t record any points. The Blades selected Mosher, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 190 pounds, in the third round and 44th overall in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
  • The University of Saskatchewan Huskies (2-5) football team will control their own playoff destiny heading into their final U Sports regular season game, when they host the U of Manitoba Bisons (1-6) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium. If the Huskies lose, they will be unable to finish fourth in the Canada West Conference and will miss the post-season for the first time since 2000. If the Huskies, Bisons and U of Alberta Golden Bears (2-5) all finish at 2-6, the Golden Bears would advance to the post-season due to having the best winning percentage in head-to-head games between the three teams. If the Huskies beat the Bisons, they would likely make the post-season unless the Golden Bears can beat the U of Calgary Dinos (7-0) earlier in the day by a blowout margin. At the moment, the Huskies hold the head-to-head standings tiebreaker with the Golden Bears due to a better point differential for the whole campaign. The Huskies are -37, while the Golden Bears are -51.
  • Singer Michele Dubois continues to be a good luck charm for the three-time defending Canadian Junior Football League champion Saskatoon Hilltops. When Dubois has sung the national anthem at Hilltops home games, it is believed the Toppers have never lost. She sang the national anthem for last Sunday’s PFC final at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, and the Hilltops downed the Regina Thunder 36-24. The Hilltops host a CJFL national semifinal this coming Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Vancouver Island Raiders, who are based out of Nanaimo, B.C. We wait to see of Dubois will sing the national anthem for that contest.
  • Kieran Block, who is a former utility play for the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, wrote an autobiography about his life entitled, “The Ups and Downs of Almost Dying.” After concluding his WHL career an overager with the Tigers following the 2005-06 campaign, Block was severely injured in a cliff jumping accident. Block spoke with Oilersnation.com about his book, and that story can be found here.
  • The University of Regina Rams football team made a video for the “Man Up Against Violence” initiative at that institution. The initiative strives to inspire men to accept their role as advocates in the movement to prevent violence in our communities related to gender, race, socio-economic status, ability level and beyond. The video the Rams produced was on locker room talk featuring former Rams and CFL star with the British Columbia Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders Jason Clermont. The video can be found here.
    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.