Sunday, May 27, 2007

Giants Win; Memorial Cup Plays Out as Predicted

I must say the final for the Memorial Cup was a pretty exciting game between the Giants and Tigers. There's no doubt these are the two best teams in Major Junior hockey. Congratulations to the Giants on the victory.
They were the favorites going in and didn't disappoint. Many people thought the loser in the WHL final would go on to win the Memorial Cup - that's exactly what happened.

A couple things I noticed in the game was the loud crowd creating momentum for the Giants throughout the game. It was well officiated too. My experiences lead me to believe that Kyle Rehman is the best official in the WHL. One other thing... the Giants on-ice entourage would make rapper 50 Cent jealous. How many people did they stuff into that team photo on the ice? I swear I saw the popcorn vendors and the ushers sneaking into the shot.

So junior hockey is over for another year and I can't wait for another season to begin. The seven weeks away is long enough for me. I'm already anticipating training camp for the 07/08 season.
Reading Rod Pedersens blog today got me thinking about the upcoming Riders football season. I almost know I'll take some criticism for saying this, but I'm not a huge Riders fan. I used to be, and maybe should be considering I'm the sports guy for a group of radio stations. Now, I just find myself feeling indifferent. I know I'm in the minority here but this team has made it hard to like them over the years.

As a fan, they've torn out your heart time and time again. At what point is it enough? They've just let me down so many times it's tough to really be a die-hard. They're off-field problems have soured me a little too.

When I was young, I loved the Riders. I would maybe get to two games a year growing up in Lanigan. Whenever CBC had a Riders game on it was a huge treat - the highlight of the week. I also loved listening to the call of the game from Jeff Courier and Karm Carteri. I remember meeting Richie Hall when I was in grade four thinking "wow, Richie Hall!" In fact, our grade four teacher was actually the man behind the "Gainer the Gopher" suit. How cool is that when at nine years old, your teacher is Gainer?!

I used to call into the post-game show before I was in radio to share my thoughts. It was always a lot tougher to get through after a loss rather than a win, go figure? So is the Riders fan base.

I do sometimes wish I was still a big fan, but it's just not the case. I'm never the one to organize a big Riders road trip to Taylor Field but will go if there are some tickets and others are going. The atmosphere is 2nd to none in this province. It doesn't get much better than a warm Saskatchewan night in the Taylor Field stands, surrounded by friends with a few beer tokens jingling in your pocket. Or the classic Labour day afternoon game against the Bombers.

But now, win or lose, it doesn't much matter.

Of all the bloggers out there no one is more committed to it than Rod. I know he'll have something new everyday, and not just that, something interesting. The Rider coverage really is amazing. Rod's been called a lot of names but lazy is not one of them. He does a great job with his site.

An update to the Civic Center naming rights story. The city and the Broncos are seeking a long-term deal with whoever gets the bid. They're thinking a 10 year deal to get it properly branded. I'm told interest is HIGH. This will not a be a Broncos source of revenue though. The sponsorship dollars go to the city and in turn they will but the money back into the Civic Center with upgrades demanded by the WHL presently and into the future. Good deal. Looks like a Civic Center video screen/scoreclock could be in the works in the coming years among other things. We'll see what business or company steps up for that major ticket.

I'm excited about another season of Swift Current Indians baseball. The Eagle 94.1 FM will carry a 12 game on-air schedule and then the playoffs. Join the three-man team of Ryan Switzer, Trent Zoolander and Chris Martens all season long for all the action. I'll post some broadcast times as we get closer. The season begins Thursday night vs Saskatoon. Go Tribe.

Got out on the golf course twice this weekend. While standing over my ball on the 15th tee Saturday I came to this realization "I might be the worst golfer in this city for the amount I play". My foursome of Terry Pavely, Jerrod Schafer and Dr. Veason didn't argue with me, haha. Thanks.

I did have my best shot of my life Friday afternoon though. A 150 yard 7 iron for eagle on the par five 15th at the 'Wood. I knew it was close, but when we approached the green it was nowhere to be found. I checked the bunker, the back of the green, I even sifted through some trees 20 yards past the flag, nothing. Jokingly, I told Dave Hunchak to check the hole.... with a straight face he pulled the pin up and out popped the ball. I was laughing so hard that I almost missed my tee shot on 16. It ended up 20 yards to the right....back to my golfing reality. That's why you keep coming back.

Have a good week...



ernie said...

Wow Jon...big blog today! LOL

It sure was an entertaining game between the Tigers and Giants. I don't like the Giants, but thought it would be better if they won, because if the Tigers won, you would never hear the last of it. So there.

Did you shoot a hole-in-one??!! WOW! HAHA.

I was home to see my family on the weekend.... I finally got the green light to do so. It wasn't too bad. I had a pretty good visit.

Anyway, enjoy the week....I hope to get to the baseball game on Thursday.


Big Ern

mole said...

As far as the eagle goes, you should be more embarassed that you still had 150 yards in for your third shot. It sounds like you must have bunted your first two shots to have that kind of yardage remaining.

Second of all, the Memorial Cup format needs to change. To me it didn't feel like a true National Championship as I felt that the Medicine Hat Tigers had already proved on the ice over the past three weeks that they were a better team than the Vancouver Giants. The Hat goes 5 and 3 against the Giants in playoff action, and there reward is a one-game playoff with the Giants having hom ice for "all the marbles"??!! To me, this years Memorial Cup final felt more like a weekend minor hockey tournament than a true national championship. I think that the Tiger's had proved prior to this game that they are the country's top junior hockey team, therefore, I really couldn't get into this game at all. What are your thoughts about the format?

Before answering this question, think about the tarnished image the Memorial Cup would have had if a team in 1989 who lost in the second round of their league playoffs (Saskatoon Blades)got the overtime goal against the league champions from their own league (Swift Current Broncos) and walked away with the "national championship" due to a one-game playoff on their home ice.

One more thing to think about. The Prince Albert Raiders wer 18 - 18 on home ice this season. The Vancouver Giants were 18 - 18 on the road this season. Therefore, based on this information, if P.A. was awarded the Memorial Cup this year, and had to play Vancouver in the championship game, predicting the winner would be like flipping a coin. This points out how huge home ice is. I don't feel that it is fair for a "non-deserving" team to be awarded home ice for a championship game, if it is to be a true national championship.

Jon Keen said...

Mole, you know my thoughts on the tournament already. It's almost like a week of exhibition hockey because of the format.

The only saving grace is the two teams that ended up playing eachother in the final. They are the legitimate top two teams in the country. It's pretty fitting that one wins the WHL and the other the Memorial Cup. Both teams have a reason to smile. Like I said before, the WHL championship means more to me because of the 72 game regular season and the two month playoff grind.

And, about the par five, my first shot hit some trees about 100 yards off the tee. I had to pipe a three wood to the 150 marker. Moler, when are you bringing your sticks up here?

Rod Pedersen said...

Thanks for the props Keener. I know I wouldn't have much to say these days if it wasn't for the Riders. I get choked when I can't read a daily update on Keen's Korner, but without football I'd be in the same boat.

And my Dad calls me lazy.