My final week in Kelowna

Well the month of February went by in a flash, holy smokes. I’m done my time with the Rockets and I go back to school tomorrow, which I’m actually pretty stoked about. It’ll be nice to see everyone again, especially some people who I haven’t seen in a long time (*cough, cough Jacob*) but let me tell you about my final week.

This week was busy and quite interesting in some ways to be honest. We started the week off having to cancel the rest of our school visits due to the recent outbreak of the mumps. It sort of sucks because I looked forward to those visits and seeing all the smiles on the kids faces asking questions during the reading or going up against their favourite Rocket during the floor hockey game. All the schools made it such a huge event and would pack their gym during lunch time to see it. It was pretty incredible.

Tuesday I did another alumni Q&A with Kelly Guard. This one was especially cool for me due to the fact that Guard is known as one of the top Rockets of all time. He only played two seasons, but he won both a WHL Championship as well as a Memorial Cup where he was named MVP of the tournament. He also set a couple league records that may never be broken. I also did my usual game previews, which I have come to love. My parents also came up on Tuesday so it was really nice to see them after a month!

Wednesday was my final home game with the team, so I tried to soak in all of my regular routine of doing the media packs and game programs ready. Mom and dad came to the rink and I was able to introduce them to everyone as well as give them a tour of the rink and press box, which was cool. They also came to the game too! Was a cool all around experience for them to see what I do over the course of a game day. The Rockets won 5-1 over Prince George, and they’re on quite the roll lately. They’re record since I arrived was 13-2-1. I’d like to think I was sort of a good luck charm!

Thursday and Friday were prepping for my final game day with the Rockets. I did my last game preview and I did a story on Kaedan Korczak who was the Rockets 1st round selection in last years bantam draft, just a review on how his season/playoffs are going with his midget AAA Yorkton team.

Honestly, the experience went as well as I could of expected it. Everyone top to bottom of the organization welcomed me in with open arms and really took care of me like I was apart of the team. Special thanks goes out to the Hamilton family, Deaner and my boss Kevin. I’m honestly really going to miss you guys! Good luck in the playoffs and go get yourselves another ring.

Excited to get the ball rolling on my final few months at SAIT though. Feels real weird that I graduate here pretty soon, but as the saying goes, time really does fly when you’re having fun and you love what you do. Thanks to everyone who has followed along and I hoped you enjoyed reading my blog and my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

mom-and-dad

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Week 3 in the books

Well knock me down and call me Susan. Week 3 is in the books and its almost time for me to come back home.

This blog post is going to be pretty short because I’ll be tuning into the Rockets road game this afternoon in Spokane on my laptop. I’ll be live tweeting the game if you’d like to follow along.

Monday and Tuesday were both school visits in the morning and then in the afternoon I have been setting up interviews over the phone, facetime or by email with Rockets alumni to do Q&A’s with them and post them on the website. They’ve been quite interesting to do, and I’ve enjoyed them. Both of the players I’ve done them with so far have given great answers and I think Rocket fans appreciate seeing what former members of the team have been doing.

Wednesday was my second last home game with the team as they dismantled Edmonton 10-1… Wasn’t a pretty game and got so bad that I had to stop tweeting after Kelowna’s 7th goal.

Thursday we had a minor hockey team visit and we gave them a tour of the rink, dressing room and weight room. They got to watch practice and get some autographs from the players after while they ate pizza.

Friday was a prep day to get ready for the three games in three nights road trip where the guys played Friday night in Kamloops, Saturday night in Seattle and this afternoon in Spokane. Busy, busy, busy!

This week is exciting because my parents are coming down to see my this week and will be coming to the game on Wednesday! Check in next week!

 

Week 2

This blog is going to be a bit shorter than the last cause I have some stuff to do today, as it’s our only off day for a while and I badly need to get groceries (bless you Prospera Place/Rockets management for feeding me these past few days again). Which speaking off food, if you are ever in Kelowna, you NEED to visit the Wood Fire Bakery on Harvey Ave. It’s run by this German family and they make the absolute best sandwiches. I’m not a huge sandwich guy, but these are amazing. I got the chicken cordon bleu sandwich, which I’ll post a picture below and your mouth will water at the site of it.

Anyways! I thought last week was busy, this week totally surpassed that. This was a 3 game week as the Rockets are in the middle of a four game home stand, which started with a game on Family Day Monday against Seattle. I’ve gotten into a pretty good game day routine, which helps make things run a little smoother. Show up for 8:30, get prepped for work to actually start at 9, do the media packs and game day programs (see last blog for full details on these), go home and get ready and come back to the rink for 5. Coming back to the rink at 5 is probably the toughest part of game day, not because of any work I have to do, but I need to get the camera for post game interviews and such. Sounds easy right?? Well it’s not because up in the room is about 15 or 16 of the promotions girls, and jeez I have never been more intimidated in my life. I have to think of something witty to say when I first go in there, and usually only barely get a weak “hey ladies” out. Smooth Troy, real smooth. Hahaha but in all honestly they’re also great people who have been super nice to me!

Monday’s game was a little harder to work around since we need to have the media packs and game day programs done for 3, but Monday’s game started at 2… So we were in a bit of a rush to finish everything on time. The Rockets won, beating Seattle 6-3 thanks for 4 third period goals by Kelowna. It was Seattle’s first regulation loss in 19 games!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all visits to various schools across the city where the players again go in and read to students, take questions and then play floor hockey. All three were very welcoming towards us.

Friday and Saturday were both home games, and Friday night’s game against Spokane was televised on Sportsnet. It was really cool because RJ Broadhead (play by play for CHL hockey) and Sam Consentino (colour commentator) as well as what I think was the producer was sitting right beside me and I got to see first hand how televised games work. At one point the producer radioed down to one of the TV guys and asked him to build a full screen graphic and it was done in 5-10 minutes. Crazy how good those guys are. And they’re down to earth as well, talked with them pre game about school and such. Nice guys.

Last night was another home game against Prince George. I thought it ran the smoothest as far as live tweeting the game and stuff goes. I’m getting the hang of being on top of things as they happen and coming up with wittier remarks and hashtags. Even got my parents following along on twitter during the games so that’s cool too! I also found out that the local news papers post my game day previews and stuff too so I’ll post that below so you can see the comparison.

Now here is the picture of the legendary sandwich I was mentioning earlier!

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Now tell me that does not look heavenly. Anyways, check back for more next week!

http://kelownarockets.com/article/rockets-host-chiefs-and-cougars-in-two-game-wee

http://www.kelownacapnews.com/sports/414105703.html

 

Busy first week in Kelowna

Well I’m already done the first week of my practicum here in Kelowna with the Rockets, and man has it ever been busy. Before I start, I’d just like to mention that Kelowna is a beautiful city, and everyone I’ve met so far has been wonderful and great in helping me with finding grocery stores, restaurants, and other places in town. I honestly don’t think I could of picked a better city to move away from home for a month. So I’m pretty grateful for that. Anyways! I’ll get into my week a little bit.

My first day I spent a good portion of the morning just meeting my boss as well as everyone else in the Rockets organization, (everyone from the business side to players and coaching staff) as well as familiarizing myself with Prospera Place, which is the Rockets arena as well as headquarters. In the afternoon I got to go with some of the guys over to an elementary school when they read books and take questions from kindergarten, grade 1 and 2 students. I think the community events might be the thing I enjoy the most other than game days. I wrote my first story for the Rockets which was about Kole Lind winning WHL Player of the week. I’ll attach all the stories I’ve done below!

The rest of my week was hectic too, but a lot of fun. Doing interviews with coaches and players and writing stories for the web because the Rockets had an away game in Kamloops on Wednesday, so I was busy writing for that, as well as doing a few other community events like at CIBC where some of the players meet with fans and do autographs. Then I had my first home game day on Friday night.

Home game day’s are certainly the busiest day(s) of the week, but I enjoyed every second of it. To start off the morning my boss Kevin and I have to be in at 9 in order to do media packs and game day programs. Media packs are for scouts and media who may be attending the game that day, and they’re filled with rosters of both teams and each individual players statistics, standings and league leaders. Game day programs are for fans which have both team’s rosters and then divisional standings on the back. This usually takes until about noonish, so we then go home for a few hours and get ready to be back at 5 for the game. Come back to the rink in time for warm up’s and obviously the game, which was cool because I live tweeted the whole game! The Rockets won 6-0 over the Vancouver Giants and 16 year old Nolan Foote got his first career WHL hat trick. There were post game interviews and I went out for dinner with the owner of the team, his brother and wife after the game, which was also pretty cool (and bless their souls for letting this broke college student take home the leftovers haha), and a great way to end off my first game day.

Saturday was an off day for everyone, and I actually just got back from Home Depot where again some of the guys were down there helping kids build bird houses, trucks, and pretty much anything else you can think off. This week is going to be super busy as we have a game tomorrow on Family Day Monday, as well as home games on the 17th and 18th as well as possibly starting some TV stories for their website, as the Rockets have given me the freedom to do whatever stories I’d like to do.

I have attached the links of the stories I’ve done, as well as some pictures if people are interested! Catch you next week!

http://kelownarockets.com/article/rockets-face-off-with-giants-in-home-and-home

 

http://kelownarockets.com/article/rockets-looking-to-continue-momentum-against-the-blazers

http://kelownarockets.com/article/lind-named-whl-player-of-the-week

2016 CFL Pre-Season Predictions

It’s April, which means spring. You know what else that means? CFL Mini-camp is up and starting in a few weeks. You know what else that means? The top CFL players are meeting Toronto this week because the league is going through a rebranding period, with Adidas taking over all of the league’s sideline apparel as well as outfitting the teams with new uniforms, which by the way will be released May 12th in Montreal. So be sure to keep your eye out for those. I really like the direction the league is going in. Attendance ratings are still high, TV ratings are going up, and the league is doing everything right in order to keep the league going up. Big things are coming for the CFL, so stayed tuned. I’m going to do an early pre season prediction, so sit tight and let’s hear some thoughts about my picks.

WEST DIVISION

  1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS (14-4)
  2. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (12-6)
  3. CALGARY STAMPEDERS (11-7)
  4. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (8-10)
  5. BC LIONS (6-12)

Now, I’ll probably get some flack for this from Bombers and Stamps fans. But I still think Edmonton is the team to beat in the West Division and maybe the CFL until proven otherwise. They haven’t lost many weapons, and if Mike Reilly can avoid the injury bug, I’m excited to see what he and Jason Maas do this season. Maas was able to turn 40 year old Henry Burris into the CFL Most Outstanding Player, what do you think he’ll be able to do with a Grey Cup pedigree quarterback in his prime? I expect big things from Edmonton. I pegged Saskatchewan in second because I think they have vastly improved everything within their organization.

Taking Chris Jones and basically his entire staff along with the great football mind in John Murphy to take over the role of Assistant Vice President of Football Operations and Player Personal after he spent the 10 seasons in Calgary and 1 in Winnipeg. Plus with the additions of players such as Justin Capicciotti, Shamawd Chambers and John Chiles and a healthy Darian Durant, the Riders shouldn’t and won’t be looking at another 3-15 season.

Now let’s get to why I believe Calgary and Winnipeg will finish where they do. It might be puzzling but I have my reasons and debates are always fun. Blue Bombers fans are going to go “We added Andrew Harris, Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith though?” Yes you did, but Winnipeg didn’t address the major need to be successful in the CFL. Canadian content and quarterback depth. I’ll give credit, they added some Canadian talent (see Harris and defensive tackle Keith Shologan) but if you look at other teams who are contenders year in and year out, they have outstanding depth of Canadian talent, and rarely do they miss a beat when an important player goes down. And with Drew Willy yet to play a full season as a starting quarterback, Winnipeg again won’t be successful if he goes down, regardless of whoever that is has around him.

Now to Calgary. The Stampeders will take a step back this year and this year only. It’s not a major decline, but with the loss of players such as Eric Rogers, Jeff Fuller, Keon Raymond and Juwan Simpson coupled with the fact Dave Dickenson is in his first year coaching, I believe their will be a bit of a learning curve. The Stamps will be quite competitive, with most of there losses coming in the first half of the season before getting hot around Labour Day and will again be competing for the West Division title next season.

BC is sort of a toss up for me depending on who starts at quarterback, if its Jonathan Jennings, I think the Lions record could be better if he starts all year, and that’s not a knock on Lulay, but I was even surprised he signed back in Vancouver. That defence though might a difference maker.

EAST DIVISION

  1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (13-5)
  2. Ottawa REDBLACKS (10-8)
  3. Toronto Argonauts (9-9)
  4. Montreal Alouettes (5-13)

If Zach Collaros is back for the start of the season like he says he will be, Hamilton will be by far and away the class of the East Division. For Hamilton this off-season they were more concerned about keeping their players rather than signing others away from different teams. And that they did managing to retain the likes of Ted Laurent, Emanuel Davis and Jake Olsen. They then went out and signed linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis and defensive end John Chick to replace the lost Taylor Reed (Calgary) and Justin Hickman (Toronto), with the only key loss coming in losing Bryan Hall who also departed to Toronto. Look for Drake Nevis and Linden Gaydosh to fill that spot beside Laurent. Biggest test for the Ticats will be staying healthy and how effective the offence will be after offensive coordinator resigned. If things go as planned, watch out CFL.

Ottawa had a cinderella season last year cut short by falling to Edmonton in the 102nd Grey Cup, and don’t expect the slipper to fit again this year. REDBLACKS fans should see the team decline with the loss of key players such as Jovon Johnson or Justin Capicciotti. But the biggest loss is coming from the sidelines with the department of Jason Maas taking over the head coaching job in Edmonton. Former Argonauts offensive coordinator Jamie Elizondo will have some big shoes to fill in order to push that lethal Ottawa offence in the right direction after a record breaking season in 2015. One addition I do like for the plaid lumberjacks is the addition of quarterback Trevor Harris, who maybe could replace 2015 MOP Henry Burris if things don’t go as planned.

If you look at the Toronto Argonauts defence, there are a lot of familiar faces who came down the QEW. Defensive tackles Bryan Hall, Brian Bulcke and defensive end Justin Hickman all left their black and gold duds in the Hammer to join the double blue. Ricky Ray’s health will be the key to Toronto’s success, as Ray has been plagued by injuries over the last few seasons. If the 36 year old can stay healthy, he is a future hall of famer and Henry Burris proved last year, that age is really just a number.

This year might not be pretty for the Alouettes de Montréal. Kevin Glenn is pegged to be the starting quarterback, but the Als have had so much trouble keeping their field generals healthy over the past few seasons that their has been no real consistency. From Alex Brink and Troy Smith to Jonathan Crompton to Rakeem Cato/Dan LeFevour/Brandon Bridge to Kevin Glenn. Those are some of the quarterbacks from 2013-present who have been at the helm for Montreal post Anthony Calvillo. May we see more of Air Canada (aka Brandon Bridge) late in the season?

As most people are, I will probably be wrong with at least one of these predictions, because predictions are well… Predictions. Lets hear what you think!

 

Brotherly Love

It sucks when things don’t go exactly as you want them too. My not so little brother Reed played his final minor hockey game last night. And to make things worse, they lost in the most heart breaking fashion as he and his Cochrane tier 3 Rockies fell 5-4 in a shootout during the semi finals of the Yelnats (Stanley spelt backwards) Cup tournament to a team from Edmonton. They were up by one, took a penalty with two minutes left, and Edmonton scored with 6 seconds left on the clock to push the game to overtime and eventually a shootout. Where they lost. Just the way things go sometimes. He didn’t even get to play, as he’s a goalie and it was his turn to be the team’s number one cheerleader. Which I’m not sure if that makes it an easier, or harder pill to swallow. But even though they didn’t win and we ended up crying our eyes out, I am so proud of Reed and having the chance to call him my little brother. He really should be proud of everything he’s accomplished, not just in hockey but in life. Because I know I am. We have a brotherly bond that really only brothers can understand.

It’s so funny how similar he and I actually are. Sure there are the things like hockey and football, TV shows, food, etc. But the times I really notice it are when it’s almost like we can read each others minds. There are honestly some days where I think we possibly could be twins even with the two year age gap. We fight and chirp each other to no end, but what siblings don’t do that? And we’re both so competitive with each other, which pushes us to go further in order to stay one step ahead of the other. Things such as setting alarms in the morning to make sure we get that last slice of pizza, not talking to each other for the rest of the day because one of our football teams beat the other, or arguing in Moores about who looks better in a suit and has the better style. More important things like knowing when we screwed up and can’t tell mom or dad (sorry guys) about getting a bad grade, making a dumb choice, or girl problems. We have so many funny memories to name, and are the “you have to be there in order to get the reference” such as nicknames (sausage squeezers), events (White Ranger… Right Reed?) or just things we say to each other that we die laughing while everyone else gives us a funny look. Wouldn’t change any of that for the world.

I saw a post on social media explaining about how your brother is your first best friend, and they are always there for you no matter how much you pissed them off. They’ll stick around when no one else will, and to not take them for granted. I’d never really thought of it like that, and it’s the truest thing I’ve ever read. Reed graduates high school in May, and he will go on the do big things even though he’s not sure what those things may be. I don’t tell him this a lot either, but I do love him, and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else, because Johnny West can’t adventure without Grug. (Sorry, another reference) Last night made me realize how proud of him I actually am, which is why I wrote this out. And I know its soft and probably a little bit scrambled, but its from the heart. Love you bro, keep your head held high.

 

 

WHL Playoffs: 1st Round

Ahh the Western Hockey League (WHL) Playoffs are in full swing. 16 teams eventually turns into two as teams compete to represent the “Dub” in the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Now for those of you who don’t know, the Memorial Cup is a tournament where four teams (three league champions from the OHL, WHL and QMJHL) and the host team (who gets selected before the season and gets an automatic draw into the tournament), do battle for bragging rights and the ultimate prize in junior hockey. This year the tournament will be hosted in Red Deer by the Rebels. Red Deer gets the automatic bid, so we know one of the four teams playing in the middle of May, we just need the other three combatants. Sounds exciting right? Just to add a little more of top of that excitement, no Canadian NHL teams are qualifying for the playoffs this spring, so my focus will turn to junior hockey and the long road to become a National Champion.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS (1) VS. EDMONTON OIL KINGS (8)

Edmonton leads series 2-0

This series is one that everyone picked the Wheat Kings to easily breeze by the Oil Kings, as Brandon finished 37 points higher in the Eastern Conference standings. But Edmonton took three of four from the Wheaties during the regular season, all three wins coming by one goal. The Oil Kings had to play a tie breaker game with Medicine Hat to even qualify for the last playoff spot, but managed to go into Brandon and steal the first two games of the series, backed by Payton Lee who put on a goaltending clinic. Now Edmonton has a chance to go back to Edmonton with a 2-0 stranglehold on the series and home ice advantage. Brandon has the fire power and the experience to come back, but with the series being a 2-3-2 format (first two games in Brandon, next three in Edmonton and then game 6 and 7 in Brandon if necessary) it won’t be easy. Guys like Jayce Hawryluk, Nolan Patrick, Russian Ivan Provorov and Canadian World Junior John Quenneville will need to step up and take command for the Wheat Kings to have any chance getting back into the series.

PRINCE ALBERT RAIDERS (5) VS. MOOSE JAW WARRIORS (6)

Moose Jaw leads series 2-0

Moose Jaw took six of eight from Prince Albert and took both opening games from PA to start the series in a battle of Saskatchewan cities. The Raiders are a good team, who on paper seem evenly matched with the Warriors, but the ‘Jaw seem to have their number, led by WHL leading scorer Dryden Hunt and Canadian World Junior captain Brayden Point. For Prince Albert to get back into the series, the likes of Reid Gardiner, Simon Stransky and and Jordan Tkatch, who combined for a total of 219 points over the course of the regular season will need to step up and start producing. Thats no easy task as Moose Jaw boasts possibly the best goalie in the conference in 18 year old Zach Sawchenko. If the Raiders can pepper the Warriors netminder, this series could get interesting in a hurry. Game 3 is set to go tonight in Moose Jaw, 7 pm on Shaw.

LETHBRIDGE HURRICANES (2) VS. REGINA PATS (7)

Series tied 1-1

The Lethbridge Hurricanes were the feel good story of the WHL this campaign. After being the laughingstock of the league for the past few season, first year head coach Brent Kisio led the Hurricanes to a Central Division title, their first since 1996-97. But Regina is not a team to look past, as they’re led by the likes of 120 point man Adam Brooks, former 50 goal scorer Cole Stanford and draft eligible Sam Steel. The Hurricanes will have their hands full, but Lethbridge has more depth and balanced scoring across the board. The Hurricanes have 10 players with 40 plus points and seven with 20 plus goals. Tyler Wong, Brayden Burke and Giorgio Estephan are the go to guys up front, while Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andrew Nielsen brings up the backend. The ‘Canes also edge out the Pats in goaltending as Stuart Skinner posted better numbers than the duo of Tyler Brown and Jordan Hollett. The series is tied 1-1 going back to Regina.

RED DEER REBELS (3) VS CALGARY HITMEN (4)

Red Deer leads series 2-1

This series is the most intriguing to me, as two division rivals and evenly matched teams go head to head. Red Deer is the Memorial Cup host, but Brent Sutter would much rather have his team walk through the front door than the back. But the perennial, year in, year out playoff bound Calgary Hitmen stand in their way. Only separated by 5 points in the standings, the Hitmen won the season series, taking 4 of a possible 7 games. But after having back to back to back games over the weekend, Red Deer holds a 2-1 series lead. The Rebels are deeper upfront with Boston Bruins first rounder Jake DeBrusk, Ivan Nikolishin (injured in game 2) and Adam Helewka. But the Hitmen’s strength comes from their back end with a veteran group of defencemen. Travis Sanheim, Jake Bean and captain Colby Harmsworth headline the group, while Calgary Flames prospect Keegan Kanzig brings a large (literally and figuratively) force with his massive 6’7 frame. The match up that will be the difference maker is goaltending. With Rebels starting goaltender Rylan Toth out for the unforeseeable future, Trevor Martin mans the crease, while Calgary replies with 18 year old Cody Porter. Neither goaltender had made a playoff appearance before game 1, so whoever can play better between the two, could be the difference in the series. Another note, the Hitmen will be playing game 4 and possibly game 6 at the Stampede Corral because of the Juno awards and the Flames having a home game, so the old barn could give the Hitmen an edge.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

VICTORIA ROYALS (1) VS. SPOKANE CHIEFS (8)

Victoria leads series 2-0

The Victoria Royals were somewhat of a surprise. They came into the year projected to be a middle of the pack team, yet got hot and reeled off win after win to secure the Scotty Munro Trophy, awarded to the team with the most overall points at the end of the regular season. They also come into this series against the 8th seeded Spokane Chiefs and haven’t disappointed thus far. The season series was a 2-2 split, but injuries have plagued the Chiefs early in the first round. Victoria lacks a bonafide superstar (maybe Joe Hicketts) but they possibly have the most complete team in not only the conference but maybe the league as well. They have the horses to run over Spokane, unless Spoke’ goaltender Tyson Verhelst plays the best hockey of his life, this series could be over in a hurry.

KELOWNA ROCKETS (2) VS KAMLOOPS BLAZERS (4)

Series tied 1-1

Last year’s WHL Ed Chynoweth Champion and Memorial Cup runner up Kelowna Rockets looked prime to make another championship run during the spring. But injuries to key players such as starting goaltender Jackson Whistle and Arizona Coyotes first rounder Nick Merkley, forcing Whistle and Merkley to likely miss the playoffs. It put the Rockets in a bit of a rut at the end of the season and gave them a tough first round match up with their rivals from Kamloops. K-town still has plenty of talent to make a run though, with overaged forward Tyson Baillie leading the way. Supporting cast Justin Kirkland and Cochrane born Dillon Dube gives Kelowna a fierce offensive group. Collin Shirley and Matt Needham can score with the best of them for Kamloops, but Blazers goaltender Connor Ingram posted stellar numbers and could be the difference maker seeing Kelowna is without Whistle. This series has potential to go 7 between the intense BC Division rivals.

SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (3) VS. PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS (6)

Seattle leads series 2-0

Seattle won the US Division for the first time since 2004-05, largely off the backs of two stud forwards in Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp. The duo combined for a total of 158 points and the T-Birds have been consistent all year long. The Cougars have a most veteran group led by Winnipeg Jets second rounder Jansen Harkins, but have struggled with being hot and cold all year long. If Prince George will have any success it will be because 40 goal men Chase Witala and Jesse Gabrielle put the puck in the net. Seattle took the first two games, but both games were decided by one goal, while the Cougars are in a hole, but going back home should give them a boost.

EVERETT SILVERTIPS (5) VS. PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (7)

Everett leads series 2-0

This all US Division match up should be no different from any other of years past in terms of intensity. But this series could be more about who’s not playing than who is. Everett has several injuries to depth players, while Portland is missing arguably their top player in Columbus Blue Jackets second rounder Paul Bittner, who has missed the majority of the season after having hip surgery back in December. This series will be a grind it out battle compared to the high scoring affairs in previous meetings. It will also test the depth of both teams, and so far Everett has gotten the better of Portland outscoring the ‘Hawks 6-1, but the series shifts back to PXD, where its no easy task to take a game or two out of Moda Center where Portland will look to bounce back.

Playoff hockey is like no other, intensity get ramped up and all the hard work during the season could come to an end in a short period of time. Check back for more next week, as some of the series could be wrapping up or hitting the deciding games, so I’ll discuss those results and what to expect next.

Photo credit: Candice Ward Photography

Is This What Industry Feels Like?

So on Friday night, I had probably the coolest school/work experience to date. I was lucky enough to job shadow Kristen Odland, who works for the Calgary Herald and covers the Calgary Flames, you’ve probably seen her writing (because she is REALLY good at what she does) anyways, she came to SAIT about a month ago to talk to our class about social media, and about what her job is all about. Fast forward to present day and wouldn’t you know, I’m sitting in the press box with her writing about the Flames 4-1 loss at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes, I’m going to go a little more in depth about my experience!

So my night starts off eating dinner down in the media lounge, I have been there a few times before but this time was a little different, because all those big names you see on TV covering the Flames or the NHL were eating literally a few feet away from me. Guys such as Jermaine Franklin and Roger Millions were sitting in the same room as me *act cool Troy, don’t freak out* Beesley was eating dinner with Kristen and I, which was nice because I felt more comfortable with a recognizable face and he actually introduced me to Roger Millions who said to get him my contact info so I could job shadow him! Like come on, I’m just a small town kid from Cochrane. Anyways, we chatted for a few minutes, asking me where I went to school and why I wanted to get into the industry. That right there honestly would of been enough for me, but my night gets even better. As I’m walking upstairs I walked right by Coyotes stars Max Domi and Anthony Duclair who gave me a little nod as they were headed out for warm up.I finally get up to the press box where Kristen puts me to work looking out for line combinations, if Dennis Wideman (back from his suspension) has a letter on his jersey, and who were scratched for both teams. She then has me write “Game in 150 Words” which got put in the Herald the next day, and I’ll also post below this if you were interested in reading it. The game itself was a little dull, as the Coyotes are a grind it out team who doesn’t generate much offence, but they managed to come out with a 4-1 win and are now 4-0 against the Flames this season.

This is where the most exciting part for me happens is post game. Wideman and Flames head coach Bob Hartley were doing their post game press conference to discuss the game, and Wideman made a statement saying he hoped Don Henderson (the ref he hit) was okay in his recovery, but he is staying true to his word that it was an accident, while Hartley gave his opinion on the outcome of the game while updating us on the status of the injured TJ Brodie and Sam Bennett, who in all likelihood will miss Monday’s game against St. Louis. This is the press conference you see on television directly after the game on TSN and Sportsnet, so again all those big name reporters were there standing beside me asking Hartley questions *again Troy, act professional*. To end off the night, I managed to catch a few minutes of the Hot Stove Lounge hosted by Pat Steinberg (former SAIT graduate) as well as 960 the Fan Flames radio’s Peter Loubardias and Derek Wills, which was neat because I’d listen to them on the drive home to Cochrane after the game. As Kristen and I were leaving the rink, I briefly said hi to Tie Domi (Max Domi’s dad, duh) which was a pretty sweet end to an unreal night.

I want to give a special thanks to Kirsten, the Herald, the Flames and Richard Stroobant (you were the first step for this to happen) for making this job shadow possible. It makes me want to get into industry that much quicker.

GAME IN 150 WORDS:

FIRST PERIOD

Scoreless First period… Ferland mixed it up with Connauton behind the net… Flames couldn’t take advantage of a Max Domi goaltender interference penalty… Joni Ortio makes a flurry of saves… Jakub Nakladal takes an interference penalty with 33.6 seconds left in the period… Shots 9-8 Arizona.

SECOND PERIOD

Flames: 0:21 2nd Mikael Backlund (Frolik) SH

Coyotes: 15:01 2nd Boyd Gordon (Martinook) SH

Backlund with a shorthanded goal, on a backdoor pass from Frolik… Ferland takes a cross check checking penalty, but Flames kill it off… Ferland turned away point blank… Alex Tanguay takes a hooking minor, Coyotes convert on a shorthanded two on one on a goal by Boyd Gordon from Jordan Martinook.

THIRD PERIOD

Coyotes: 3:15 3rd Antoine Vermette (Hanzel, Doan) PP

Coyotes: 14:18 3rd Brad Richardson (Doan, Domi)

Coyotes: 18:19 3rd Brad Richardson (Vermette) EN

Ortio makes a big save to start the period… Jyrki Jokipakka takes a holding minor… Antoine Vermette proceeds to tap in a Martin Hanzel offering to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead early in the third… Goal line scramble attempt goes just wide as Arizona still leads 2-1 half way through the third… Garnet Hathaway doing his usual dirty work, as he’s in the middle of another scrum… Sean Monahan has a glorious opportunity to tie the game, but misses high… Moments after, Brad Richardson’s backhand off a Maxi Domi and Shane Doan rush extends the ‘Yotes lead to 3-1… Richardson gets his second of the game to put the icing on the cake, with an empty netter to give the Coyotes a 4-1 victory.

Is it June Yet?

Ahh, June. Warm weather, school is out, you and your family are booking your summer holidays and my personal favourite, the CFL season is kickstarting up again. Thats right, our family books our summer holidays based on when our teams (I say teams because all four members of my family have different teams they cheer for, go figure right?) play during the summer. Now, some might say that’s a little insane, but don’t worry we do it for the World Juniors during Christmas time too, and we’re use to it. You want to know what else is insane? I have a timer on my phone to alarm me how many days are left until kickoff. Yes it’s crazy and weird, but that’s just our family. We live and breathe CFL football. And in case you’re wondering it’s 3 months and 17 days until the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts kick off the 2016 season at Toronto’s new home in BMO Field. In my 19 years of living I’ve been to 5 Grey Cup games and have seen a game in every city except for Montreal and Ottawa, while most people can’t say they’ve been to 1 Grey Cup in their life time, let alone 5.

The Canadian Football League has been in my family forever, my dad was born in Moose Jaw and majority of my family are from Saskatchewan, so you know they bleed green and drink pilsner for breakfast with their cheerios, and even though they had a horrible 3-15 season, they will never fail to let you know how proud they are of their Riders. Mom is a Stampeder fan, while Reed yells and screams until his face is red for the Blue Bombers from Winnipeg. The way I came about liking my favourite team (which as you all know is Hamilton) was because when I was a young boy, I sat in front of the TV watching the recording my dad had of quite possibly the greatest Grey Cup game ever played. Also known as the 1989 Grey Cup when Dave Ridgeway kicked a last second game winning field goal to lead the Riders to a 43-40 classic over the Ticats. My dad was thinking “oh man this is great, my boy is going to become a Rider fan” while rubbing his hands with an evil grin, (not sure if thats how it happened, but that’s how I picture it) and then I swung the other way and took the boys in black and gold. So I apologize for that dad! I still love you hahahaha. So many of my memories and good times as a child, which there were a lot of by the way, involved my family and football. They still do, and it’s something I will cherish forever. And honestly, a main reason why I decided to take broadcasting at SAIT, to hopefully be on the sidelines, in the broadcast booth or on the TSN panel covering the CFL.

Now, some of you may ask why the CFL? Trust me, I get bugged about it all the time but the truth is, it’s cool to watch someone who doesn’t make millions upon millions of dollars play, simply because they love the game. Don’t get me wrong, we have nothing against the NFL, its a great product with the best players in the world, but it’s neat that CFLers really are just normal people. Former Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel lives 10 houses down the street from me, while Cochrane born fullback Rob Cote lives around the other corner. Even legends like Ron Lancaster, George Reed or Russ Jackson had other jobs in the offseason, and you could stop them on the street or in the grocery store and talk football or about anything else going on in life and they would take time out of their day to chat. And don’t even get me started on Grey Cup weekend, if you haven’t experienced it once, you have too because it’s a must. It’s one of those experiences where you truly go “yup, this is what being Canadian is all about.”

So yeah, we love Canadian football and are counting down the days until June 23rd. As I sit here writing it, I truly have to ask. Is It June Yet?

Video Credits to: CFL Official

Why the NHL Trade Deadline Never Lives Up to the Hype

Today is February 29th, 2016. For some, this is considered a “leap year” but for most Canadians and hockey fans everywhere, today will be known as the NHL Trade Deadline Day. Where non-playoffs teams unload all their future free agents in order to stock up on draft picks, while teams looking to make a run at Lord Stanley’s Mug add these rental players to improve their roster and add that missing piece. Sounds exciting right?

Sports networks always, always, always build up the trade deadline and free agent frenzy on Canada Day and rarely do they ever live up to all the hype and coverage they get on TV and social media. These past few deadlines have actually been more of a snooze fest than anything. 19 trades took place today (think of that compared to the 18 that happened over the past week) where very few big names got moved. Loui Eriksson? Still with Boston. Jonathan Drouin? Still with Tampa Bay. Dan Hamhuis? Still with Vancouver. You get the point. But don’t you worry hockey fans! Names like Sergei Plotnikov and Brett Sutter we’re both traded! If you don’t know who they are, don’t worry, neither does most of the hockey world. But in all seriousness, Kris Russell went to Dallas in a move good for both Calgary and the Stars (up and coming defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka, junior forward Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft.) and Danish forward Mikkel Bodker went to Colorado for Alex Tanguay, Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood went back to Arizona. Which were decent deadline trades, but in other years would they be headliners? Probably not. I love the NHL and the game of hockey, but putting this much talk and hype into “what ifs” and “this guy could potentially be moved” isn’t worth the 6 am to 2 pm 24/7 coverage.

Don’t get me wrong, I use to be that kid who would stay home from school in order to watch the Trade Deadline, but honestly really glad I didn’t this year (Mainly because I’m in college now) but I really didn’t miss anything that I went “AWEEEE MAN, wish I was there to see that.” And I talk about this like I hate the deadline, I really don’t, if someone told me I was going to be covering the NHL Trade Deadline for Sportsnet or TSN do you think I would take it? Hell to the yeah I would. But I’m challenging my friends or whoever is reading this to inform me of a year where the deadline really (and I mean REALLY) lived up to all the media attention it gets, I’m more than willing to debate.