High School Football
Barrel Racing AdrenalineReginaSports.com
PROMOTEADVOCATEUNITE 2205 Victoria Avenue Regina, SK S4P 0S4 Ph: 306.780.9274 Fax: 306.525.4009
Realize. Your future is here. Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies We offer dynamic programs: • Bachelor of Kinesiology • Bachelor of Health Studies
• Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Studies • Master and Doctoral Degrees
We offer innovative research labs and first class facilities. Contact Us Today!
www.uregina.ca/kinesiology firstname.lastname@example.org 306-585-4360 • 800-644-4756
2 November 2011
04 From the Editor 06 In Regina Jingle Bell Walk & Run 10 Rolande Moses
November 2011 08 Grey Cup 2013
Regina has been selected as the host city for the 2013 Grey Cup and the good news brings back fond memories of 1995 and 2003.
12 Matt Hewitt 14 Get to Know Dannielle Dinius 17 Focus On Fencing
22 Forever & Today Gerry Harris A recent inductee into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame shares memories of his life inside and outside the world of athletics.
20 Riffel Football 24 Michelle Sweeting 28 ALWAYS Team
26 Figure Skating
An ambitious new initiative called the Centre of Excellence is taking education from the classroom to the skating rink and back again.
30 Yâ€™er Welcome AdrenalineReginaSports.com
Issue 23: November 2011 Editor-in-Chief: Julie Folk Admin Manager: Allie Folk Creative Director: Jay Roach Sales Representative: Paul E. Huff
From The Editor Community We also continue to ask that you support our advertisers - all reputable local businesses who not only have valuable products and services to offer but back the local sports community through supporting this magazine.
Contributors: Bob Hughes, Maurice Laprairie, Randy Lewis, Nick Miliokas Printing: Printwest ISSN: 1920-4698 Cover Photo: lewisimages Cover design: Jay Roach/AdSpark Copyright covers all contents of this magazine. No part of the publication may be re-used or copied without the expressed written consent of Adrenaline: Regina Sports.
Enjoy the read this month, and continue to be healthy, active, involved and supportive. Cheer hard,
SUBSCRIPTIONS JUST $21/year! www.adrenalinereginasports.com
GET YOUR COPY ! Stapleford Physio Italian Star Deli Flaman Fitness New Line Boxing Black & Blue Boxing Club Western Cycle River City Sports Track & Trail/Sunshine & Ski Off Axis University of Regina Java Express, Stone’s Throw, Second Cup, Roca House Southland Mall, Victoria Square Mall, Northgate Mall, Cornwall Centre Best Western Seven Oaks Leisure & Fitness Centres Galon Insurance
4 November 2011
“Regina” is in our name for a reason. Adrenaline began over two years ago with the purpose of promoting and supporting local sports in our community. We continue to be fascinated by the people we meet and the activities we encounter each and every day. From the athletes and participants to those supporting them and cheering them on, we are proud to provide a space for information to be shared. We would like to encourage you to cheer on your favourite team, or try a new activity.
Julie Folk Editor Contact: Adrenaline: Regina Sports (306) 751-0787 email@example.com To advertise: firstname.lastname@example.org www.adrenalinereginasports.com Column photo by Maurice Laprairie
CONTEST Ron MacLean’s co-author, Regina-born Kirstie McLellan Day, has written six books. Name at least two others in addition to Cornered. Email your answer to email@example.com and you will be entered in a draw to win a signed copy of Cornered.
When disaster hits, you donâ€™t have to face
Restoration Specialists have a team of certified specialists on call 24 hours a day to help you in any emergency. Whether the damage is caused by flood, fire, hail, wind, mould, or vandalism, Winmar can respond to emergencies within the hour to clean up and rebuild, getting you back to your normal routine as soon as possible. In residential or commercial buildings, Winmar performs quality work in a quick response time. Winmar works in the community and for the community, supporting charities and local events.
WATER WIND FIRE
Coming Through For You! Find out more: www.winmar.ca or call 949-0032. AdrenalineReginaSports.com
Ring and Run By Julie Folk
Bells ring in unison as over 500 people perform an aerobic warmup together.
he sound brings smiles to faces as the bells – attached to walkers, joggers and runners – are a reminder of the holiday season as well as the cause everyone is there to support: living with arthritis.
The Jingle Bell Walk and Run for Arthritis is being held for the 19th consecutive year in Regina. The multi-distance event provides an opportunity for everyone to participate and have a good time on a Sunday morning in November. “It’s fun, it’s festive, it’s friendly,” said Wanda Bouchard-Barry, event co-ordinator for The Arthritis Society in Saskatchewan. “It’s pretty hard not to hear the event when you’re around the lake area. When you hear the bells, it’s tremendous, and puts a smile on people’s faces.” While the event literally sounds like fun, it also looks like fun, as costumes – while not mandatory – are encouraged. Participants dress up in holiday or other themed costumes and enter as individuals or on a team. Renae Grubb’s Track & Trail running group has led the way for several years with outstanding costumes and themes. “The one that spearheaded it all was the 12 Days of Christmas,” said Grubb, who was the Partridge in a Pear Tree that year,
6 November 2011
with fellow team members representing everything from the Maids-a-Milking to Swans-a-Swimming. “The year after that we had the 101 Dalmatians. We did famous singers... the costumes were hilarious.” Bouchard-Barry said the event has seen participants dressed as Christmas trees, Christmas presents, a family of Santa Clauses from grandma and grandpa down to the kids and dogs, to Santa Claus in his sled with reindeer, to the Christmas dinner itself. Erin Marchuk, senior development officer at The Arthritis Society in Saskatchewan, initially brought the event to this province in 1993 from a similar fundraiser that was held in the United States. The Jingle Bell
Walk & Run has grown and developed over the years in both Regina and Saskatoon. “Key elements to a successful event are good food, fun, and T-shirts,” said Marchuk, referencing the post-event, buffet-style breakfast. “It’s been an exciting event. People put it on their running calendars and they look forward to it and they train for it.” There are 2 km, 5 km and 10 km routes, in additional to a 1 km Reindeer Challenge for kids ages 1 to 11 or for those who choose not to cover the longer distances. The Arthritis Society took away the clock years ago to eliminate the competitive aspect and highlight the enjoyment of the event,
as well as the importance of fundraising. To encourage fundraising, incentives are provided for participants, while there are also costume and door prizes. The most important aspect is, of course, the cause. Every year at the post-event an arthritis hero speaks to participants about living with the disease. The faces of arthritis are often not what are expected. “It’s quite inspirational to people, especially when you’re watching a 13-year-old up onstage talking about arthritis,” said Marchuk. “They’re not the face of their grandparents.” This year, Jill Docking is discussing living with arthritis since she was diagnosed as a teenager. At the post-event, participants are asked to stand if they are living with arthritis, if there is someone in their family with arthritis, or if they are there because of someone they know with arthritis. By the end, almost everyone in the room is standing, as one in five people are living with the disease – more than 140,000 people in Saskatchewan alone. Funds generated from this event support necessary client services, education programs and research to benefit people living with arthritis. The Jingle Bell Walk & Run for Arthritis takes place on Sunday, November 6th at 10 a.m., with registration and team photos from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at the Conexus Arts Centre. Donations for this event can be made until the end of November. To sponsor a participant, visit the website at www.jinglebellwalkrun.ca or call 1-800-321-1433. Donations are accepted year round. Visit www.arthritis.ca (see Saskatchewan) or call the number above for more information.
Photos courtesy of The Arthritis Society
Renew your plates
Your Sports Liability Specialists “No matter what the outcome we’ve got you covered” Jason Galon, CAIB
Galon Insurance Brokers
Grey Cup 2013: Let’s Do It Again By Nick Miliokas
For the longest time Grey Cup was something that happened somewhere else – everywhere else in the Canadian Football League except Saskatchewan.
ootball fans in this province had steadfastly supported their team through good times and bad. Their passion for the Green and White was unsurpassed by anything anywhere in the world of professional sport. Their dedication was acknowledged and applauded and envied throughout the land. In 1989 the Roughriders had won a Grey Cup that many consider to be the greatest Grey Cup in league history. Yet football fans in Saskatchewan had never known the pleasure of seeing a CFL championship decided in their backyard. As hosts, they were deemed if not unworthy then certainly lacking in the necessities. There were concerns at league headquarters that the stadium was too small and the hotel accommodations were insufficient. With a shrug of their collective shoulders the fans here accepted this grudgingly as a sad fact of football life.
8 November 2011
All of that changed in 1995. The impossible dream came true. Regina was selected as the site of the 83rd Grey Cup. Initially it was thought that perhaps the choice was made for strictly sentimental reasons. It was the right thing to do. This was a reward long-overdue for a cornerstone franchise. Sentiment may well have been a factor, but it was not the over-riding one. The CFL, as always, was concerned with dollars and cents. From the board of governors’ perspective,
if it didn’t make dollars, it didn’t make sense.
Could a profit actually be turned in Saskatchewan? Or would a Grey Cup game in Regina lose money? It seems preposterous now, but the bottom line was indeed a concern at the time. That’s where Roy Romanow came into the picture. The premier of the province, with the support of the government, agreed to underwrite any and all losses.
Romanow’s commitment, in writing, sealed the deal. The league had its guarantee and Saskatchewan got its Grey Cup. It turned out to be a resounding success, as everyone knew it would. Chairman Bob Ellard and some 3,000 volunteers did the city and the province proud. The 1995 Grey Cup was an historic event in more ways than one. Not only was this the first time the Grey Cup was held in Regina, it was also the first (and only) time the Grey Cup was won by an American-based team. In what would come to be known as The Wind Bowl, the Baltimore Stallions defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20. The game featured two of the CFL’s all-time great quarterbacks, Tracy Ham and Doug Flutie, and two of its most successful coaches, Don Matthews and Wally Buono. Temporary bleachers at Taylor Field increased the seating capacity to 52,564 and every last seat was sold. Never again would there be any doubt that Saskatchewan was capable of hosting the Grey Cup. It was inevitable, of course, that a second such opportunity would arise. This time it didn’t take the governors nearly as long, and there was no hesitation whatsoever. The Grey Cup returned to Regina in 2003. For Regina, and for Saskatchewan, the 91st Grey Cup does not hold the same historical significance – how could it? – but it was just as entertaining and, thanks to chairman Marty Klyne, every bit as successful.
Matthews was back, this time with the Montreal Alouettes, who were matched against Tom Higgins and the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos prevailed, 34-22, avenging a loss to the Als the previous year. The opposing quarterbacks in this one were future hall-of-famers Anthony Calvillo and Ricky Ray. Needless to say the game was a sellout, albeit at a slightly reduced capacity of 50,909. If 1995 was a hard act to follow, 2003 was proof positive that the first Grey Cup in Saskatchewan was not a fluke, and that Regina could expect to host the game on a more regular basis. This brings us to the present.
Once again Saskatchewan is galvanized at the prospect of hosting a Grey Cup, the CFL having announced that the championship game will be played in Regina in 2013.
The news had been leaked to the media days earlier, and the official announcement was made in the Show Lounge at Casino Regina by league commissioner Mark Cohon. Saskatchewan is an appropriate choice, the commissioner said, to lead the CFL into its second century. Following in the footsteps of Ellard and Klyne are two men who currently serve on the Roughriders’ executive: Jim Hopson, the team’s president and CEO, and Roger Brandvold, chairman of the board. Hopson and Brandvold will have the same strong volunteer base to assist them, and they have appointed Neil Donnelly as their executive director, to serve as point man. Understandably, the announcements concerning the 2003 and 2013 Grey Cups were not as electrifying as the news that Saskatchewan had been awarded the game for 1995.
That’s not to say, however, that the prospect of hosting the championship game is any less thrilling now than it was then. It’s just that 1995 was the first time, and the first time is special in a way that cannot be duplicated.
Photo by sharpshooter photography
Rolling with the punches By Julie Folk
Rolande Moses seems, at first, soft-spoken. Polite and friendly, it’s easy to fall into conversation with him.
nce he’s in the boxing ring, however, his strength and willpower emerge. He trains hard and expects a lot from his athletes - which he achieves through mutual respect. Moses has learned how to dodge a punch – and how to fight back with an unstoppable determination to achieve his goal of boxing with Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
“The only way someone can be better than you is if they work harder, are in better shape, and have a better mental way of thinking,” said the 28-year-old boxer, who has made his home in Regina. “The way I see it is that in any sport you do, first you have to have the brains, then you have to have the heart, then you have to have the courage and the mental toughness.” Many of the lessons Moses learned were through his experience at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where he boxed as the lone entry from Grenada. When he was young, Moses moved with his family to Toronto, and was raised in Ontario. He took up the sport in Niagara Falls, where he met his coach, Jamie Phelps.
10 November 2011
When Moses began boxing he had a goal – to compete at the 2008 Olympics. When the time arrived, he felt he was ready, but with only seven fights and three years of experience under his belt, he was deemed too inexperienced to fight with the Canadian team. As a small country, Grenada had the option to apply to the International Olympic Committee on his behalf, and soon Moses was confirmed as a 2008 Olympian. Moses had only three weeks to train full-time for the Olympics. Once he arrived in Beijing, Moses – a novice boxer at the time – discovered he had been entered into the wrong weight class. He was to box in the 69 kg division as opposed to the 64 kg division. “I was probably the only guy at weighins with water and waffles, trying to gain weight,” he said with a laugh. “That whole process made me a little sluggish, tired – and my confidence dropped from where it was before. I also didn’t have my coach with me... I said to myself, ‘I didn’t come this far not to fight and get in the ring.’” Moses faced Toureano Johnson of the Bahamas. He lost 18-3, but gained a resolve to return, next time fighting for Canada. “I said to myself, I’ve got to really reset myself and think of what I’m going to do, and try to make myself better. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years,” said
Rolande Moses has the body now he’s working on his mind. Moses. “Life is like a book. Now I’m writing a new chapter in my life.” Part of that next chapter included a new setting. Moses and his wife, Kristen, moved to Regina for reasons having to do with her career. Moses began searching for a place to train. He volunteered at the Regina Boxing Club as a coach, and eventually, through encouragement from his boxers, began his own club. He started at Midwest Karate before the Black and Blue Boxing Club was formed and found a home on Hamilton Street. “My guys will say, ‘oh you’ve been to the Olympics,’” said Moses. “I say, ‘Yeah you can do it too.’ It doesn’t make me any more special. What I’m trying to get to these guys is (that) hard work, dedication and focus are needed to help you get to where you want to go.”
Train your brain, Optimize your performance, using Brain Wave Optimization technology
Now Moses spends his days working full-time in carpentry, training his athletes, and training himself. He keeps his workouts fresh, calling them “crazy and hard,” with Phelps continuing to coach him long distance. Moses will visit Phelps when possible, and they are consistently in touch. In addition to his physical training, Moses has incorporated mental training as well, working with Dami Egbeyemi at Mind Body Harmonics. After an initial assessment of his brainwave patterns, Moses spent two weeks in sessions at Mind Body Harmonics, and now incorporates the mental preparation into his everyday routine.
Owner/Brain Wave Optimization Trainer Phone:(306)501-5381 firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you’re going to be physically great,” Moses said, “you have to be mentally great.” Egbeyemi found brainwave patterns he expected in Moses, and worked to improve other aspects. “We went through all the different brain lobes, reading each area and seeing which areas were optimized already and which areas had a little bit of work that needed to be done,” said Egbeyemi. “In general, things were really good for Rolande, especially his brain-body connection and his reflexes, which I expected from a professional athlete. I noticed certain things – for instance, his delta frequencies were a little high, which is also to be expected from someone in a contact sport. “With that, I did training to assist him in bringing down his delta frequencies while increasing his alpha frequencies. When you increase the alpha frequency, a person is able to get into the zone a lot quicker, and any sort of brain fog that’s causing them to have problems with focus, concentration, or even just endurance, can be helped.” Moses also completed visualizations, focusing on training and responding. He would envision himself in the ring, with the lights, cameras, smells and sweat – total immersion in the whole event. “I see punches better, I react a lot quicker, and there’s spaces in the ring that I can lure somebody in and they wouldn’t even know,” said Moses. “Boxing is like playing chess. You move and the other person moves. It’s all about trying to outwit the other person... Boxing is 30 percent physical; the rest is all mental, because you have to be a thinker in the ring.” Moses is now focused on the Senior Canadian National Championships, taking place in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia January 10th through 14th of 2012. Following this event, he is planning to compete in two additional Olympic qualifiers to achieve his goal of boxing with Canada at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Come visit us!
1172 Albert Street Regina, SK 586.4757 AdrenalineReginaSports.com
A View from the Crease By Nick Miliokas
It was a simple enough question, direct and to the point. “How long have you been playing hockey?” Matt Hewitt paused for a moment and then he started to laugh.
ll my life,” said the talented, well-spoken and personable goaltender who anchors the Regina Pats as the last line of defence. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing hockey. My dad had me on skates from the minute I could walk.” For this native of New Westminster, B.C., a young man who will celebrate his 19th birthday in December, hockey has not only been a way of life, it has been his entire life. And that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Hewitt has his heart set on a career in the NHL. “That’s the dream right there,” he said. “It almost seems like I can reach out and grab it. I want it so badly. I’m going to make it come true. “I’ve always been excited about coming to the rink every day. This is what I live for.” Playing professional hockey at the highest level has been a lifelong commitment for Hewitt. If his resolve wasn’t already airtight,
12 November 2011
it became so last spring as he watched the Boston Bruins march to the Stanley Cup backstopped in net by the bearded Tim Thomas. Thomas carried his team to the championship and earned the admiration of a kindred spirit in Regina whom he has never met but for whom he is now an inspiration.
“Tim Thomas was amazing, not only the way he played, game after game, in
pressure situations, but the leadership he provided for his teammates,” Hewitt said. “I’ve never had a favourite player, so to speak, but he’s my role model, for sure.” Initially, the skates Lee Hewitt placed on the feet of his young son were not a goaltender’s skates, of course. That would come later. At the entry levels of minor hockey, many kids experiment by spending at
least a little bit of time in the crease. Matt Hewitt simply happens to be one of the kids who never left. “I was comfortable there from the very beginning,” he said. “I felt it was right for me.” As the parent of any young goaltender knows, a career in the crease brings not only added responsibility; it generally comes with additional expense. The equipment is pricey.
“This is what I live for.” - Matt Hewitt If Hewitt didn’t fully appreciate the monetary and moral support back then, as a child, he certainly does now as a young adult. “My dad,” he said, “is a huge part of why I’m here today.” For Hewitt, “here today” means a sophomore season in which he has secured the job as No. 1 after a rookie campaign spent backing up Damien Ketlo, who was traded to the
Lethbridge Hurricanes before training camp concluded. “That gave me confidence, to know that they felt I could shoulder the load and carry the team,” Hewitt said. “I’ve always wanted to be the type of goalie who carries his team and now I’ve got a chance to do that. “I came to camp this year with the attitude of just keep battling and battling no matter how things were going.” That last phrase is pretty much the message Pat Conacher has been preaching since he arrived on the scene as head coach and began the rebuilding task assigned to him by team president Brent Parker and general manager Chad Lang. “Just keep battling and battling no matter how things are going.” The team has been rewarded for its hard work with a promising start to the 201112 campaign, to an extent that may have surprised even the Pats themselves. “Things are going well so far, but it’s a long season, right?” Hewitt said. “We’re not going to take anything for granted,
none of us, from the coaches to the players. This team is going to have to work hard to succeed. We all know that. We’re prepared to do whatever it takes. “To be honest, I guess you could say I am a little surprised,” he added. “I’m not surprised that we’re winning, but maybe at the way the team came together so nicely and so quickly. “The atmosphere is a big change from last year. The guys have a different attitude, including myself. But, like I say, it’s a long season. We have to continue to keep surprising people, to keep opening people’s eyes. My attitude is, I’m only as good as my last game.” Hewitt gives the credit largely to Conacher. “It all has to do with attitude. He has us in the right mindset. He came in here really wanting the job, and it means so much to him to do well for the organization. “For a young hockey team, this is a very mature hockey team. We have talent at every position. If we work hard, good things will happen.” Photos by Maurice Laprairie
GET TO KNOW
Dannielle Dinius By Julie Folk
Dannielle Dinius heads into the 2011 Canadian Cowboys Association Championships as the leader in ladies barrel racing. Despite having won the finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Dinius, of Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan, is quick to credit her horses over her own skills. But her record speaks for itself and she hopes to prove herself once again November 22nd through 26th as the rodeo finals take place at the Canadian Western Agribition at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
n barrel racing, riders lead their horses in tight turns around barrels at maximum speeds, ensuring the barrels stay upright in the process. It’s a sport that involves considerable discipline and “communication” between the horse and rider. Competitors accumulate points at rodeos throughout the season, culminating with the finals in Regina. We talked to Dinius as she prepared for this event. Adrenaline Regina Sports: How has your season progressed this year? Dannielle Dinius: It started off with a bang in Yorkton, the first rodeo of the year. My young horse managed to win that one, and it seemed to be a good year following that. I didn’t have to hit as many rodeos as I normally would, but I still hit 24 total, with Stettler and Virden the furthest we went to. ARS: What do you enjoy most about barrel racing? DD: The horsemanship. Everybody thinks it’s about getting on, running fast
14 November 2011
and turning barrels, but there’s so much (more) to it. You have to have a horse that can run and turn and rate (approach the barrels) and move off your hand, move off your leg. Your horse has to be broke and I don’t think a lot of people realize that. You can have good horses but you have to be in tune with them... The speed helps too – but you have to have a horse that can handle that too.
ARS: What horse are you riding this year? DD: I have two that I’ve been running. The horse I won the finals on the first two years is a 14-year-old gelding. We call him Tricks. He’s not one of the easiest horses I’ve ever had to ride, but when he puts runs together, he’s so, so tough. I used him at some pro rodeos last year, and then I found he was
getting really tired on me. I (also) have a mare – I call her Legacy. I’d been running her at jackpots and she had been doing really, really well. I brought her back to the CCA and did 18 rodeos (last year) and we won year-end. She’s an amazing, amazing horse. I’m lucky to have her. She doesn’t have any quirks – she goes in there and works her butt off... She completely exceeded her expectations. This year I ran her at most of the rodeos, and my gelding I ran at six or seven and he won four with them. I seem to have a lot of success with both of them. ARS: How did you get your start in barrel racing? DD: I got my first horse when I was about seven. We had a saddle but we didn’t have a cinch to keep the saddles on the horses so (my brothers and I) had to learn how to ride bareback. There were quite a few wrecks, but it gave us good balance. I started (barrel racing) when I was nine, then quit and did 4H. When I was about 16, I decided to start the high school rodeos and did that for my Grade 11 and 12 years. As soon as I graduated I bought my first CCA horse who I knew would be tough enough to compete. My first year I made final and won rookie of the year, and since then I think only one year I haven’t made it. ARS: You have had great success over the last few years. How have you improved? DD: It seems like every year the competitions get harder and the calibre of horses and riders is getting stronger. In order to keep up with the pace you have to have a really nice horse beneath you. If you have that, it sure helps you out; and to be able to ride them, how they move, their styles. You have to be up on everything and willing to make the miles. You have to be willing to take clinics to learn too. ARS: What kind of support do you have in place? DD: My parents have definitely helped me. I work for the PFRA, so at times I’ll be away and my mom will get on my horse or pony them off the quad (lead them behind an ATV). In the rodeos, the girls are so fantastic. You have good friends and the ones that are there behind you. Dwight Dokken is a mentor and taught me the most about what I do. He’s an amazing horseman and is such a smooth, fluent
rider. My rodeo mentor would be Sue Smith, the way she rides and trains. My grandpa too – he got me into rodeo and it was always such a passion of his.
“It seems like every year the competitions get harder and the calibre of horses and riders is getting stronger.” - Dannielle Dinius ARS: What are you looking forward to about the rodeo finals? DD: It never seems to come quick enough. My mare loves running with a big crowd – me, I kind of get nervous. It’s nice because you see so many people there and it’s so big and exciting, and the chance to show off how good your horse is. It’s the 11 top, toughest girls. It’s a long five days because it revolves around your horse. But it’s such a blast. It’s what we strive for all year.
Live life now. Stapleford Physiotherapy & Rehab Clinic is a quality wellness centre in Regina. We offer a wide range of programs and services to get you back to optimal health. Our team of professionals are friendly and knowledgeable. We want you living life to the fullest. Call our office at 543-0990 or visit www.staplefordphysio.ca.
376 McCarthy Blvd N., Regina, Saskatchewan
Photos by lewisimages
16 November 2011
PhysiotheraPy • exercise theraPy • occuPational theraPy • Dietician
Fencing En garde! By Nick Miliokas
It never fails. When movies of a certain genre hit the theatres there is a renewed interest in the sport of fencing.
he spike in popularity is nearly as dramatic as the climactic scene where the valiant hero and the dastardly villain cross blades in a duel to end all duels. The genre, of course, is the swashbuckling flick (for lack of a more academic label) and as luck would have it, one such feature film opened just a couple of weeks ago. The Three Musketeers is the latest remake of an oldie but a goody. The reverberations are certain to be felt from Hollywood to Campbell Collegiate, home of the Regina Rapiers and the South Zone Fencing Club. “Funny how that works, isn’t it?” said a smiling Dennis Wendel, head coach of the Rapiers, who maintain a close association with their younger South Zone counterparts and a third group consisting of children. “It goes all the way back to Zorro and even further.” Indeed it does and that’s only in terms of the movies. The sport
itself, modern fencing, evolved from historical fencing, which can be traced to the 15th century and the Renaissance. “Fencing has a long history and a rich tradition,” Wendel said enthusiastically, “and it still thrives today.”
Wendel himself has been fencing since the 1970s. He started at the age of 18, attracted by the physical fitness component, and also by the social aspects and the opportunities for travel. “I enjoyed it,” he said, “so I stuck with it.”
It thrives today as an activity that can be highly competitive or strictly recreational.
Wendel was “OK, but not Olympic calibre,” by his own modest admission.
The Rapiers and South Zone are classified as “non-compete,” but that does not prohibit club members from entering tournaments independently. Many of them do.
“My highest ranking was 10th in the country. That’s seven ranks away from qualifying for the Olympics.”
Erica Emery, too, has competed at the provincial and national levels, but not on the international scene. “I never did crack it,” she said good-naturedly. “My highest (national) ranking was ninth.” Emery, whose clubmates include husband Kirk Brecht, describes herself as “kind of a weird one.” She took up fencing without the influence of a family member or friend who was already involved in the sport, which is generally the way it happens. “I asked my mom to sign me up,” she said. “I was looking for something different.” Because she is in the third trimester of her pregnancy, Emery is not as much a participant these days as she is a coach, assisting with the South Zone group. The Rapiers have 10 adult members, the oldest of whom (at 66) is Wendel. South Zone, a club for fencers of high school age, has an enrolment of 20. The children’s instructional class has 16 participants. Fencing season extends from September through June. During this period the Rapiers and South Zone meet for workouts twice a week, the children’s group just once. Typically, the sessions begin with a warmup and proceed to
18 November 2011
Looking to escape the cold this winter?
instruction on footwork techniques such as advances, retreats, and lunges.
(membership) numbers and (competition) results.”
Technique is then practised in groups.
As with any sport, the possibility of injury exists, but the frequency and the severity are lower than you might expect, Emery said.
After that comes “free fencing,” or as Emery puts it: “You approach anyone who’s free and ask them if they want to fence.” Fencing combatants have a choice of three weapons. There is the foil, the epee, and the sabre, which has sharpened edges whereas the other two rely strictly on the tip. To begin, participants require only gym clothes, indoor shoes, and a glove. Swords, chest protectors, and masks are supplied. “That’s all you need at the recreational level,” Emery said. For competition, the fighters wear long socks, knickers, and an underjacket as well. “It’s not as expensive as hockey,” said Emery. Competitors are classified in four age divisions, namely cadet (under 17), junior (under 20), open and senior (over 40). “We have a strong fencing group for the size of our province,” Emery said. “Quebec dominates in terms of both
Bruises on the arms and chest, from contact, are the most common injuries. There are also twisted ankles from tripping. Fencing demands a considerable investment of time on the part of the beginner, but the rewards are immense once the fundamentals are mastered. Primarily, it’s a matter of replacing reflex actions with learned skills. “Discipline is required,” Wendel said, “and you should leave your instincts at home, because hand and foot movement changes entirely from what you would do naturally.” Wendel often tells beginners they can become proficient with 200 good practices, but the operative word is “good.” The process could take five years. “However,” he said, “this is not like the 100 metres where you either have it or you don’t. In fencing, everyone will be good.”
Regina fencing photos by Maurice Laprairie. Opposite page from The Three Musketeers, Photo: Rolf Konow, SMPSP © 2011 Constantin Film Produktion GmbH, NEF Productions, S.A.S., and New Legacy Film Ltd. All rights reserved.
Regina’s one stop dive shop Scuba
Come visit us!
1172 Albert Street Regina, SK 586.4757 AdrenalineReginaSports.com
High school football:
It’s about more than just the wins and losses By Julie Folk
There is much to accomplish in the short season of high school football.
n three months, coaches are found, players evaluated, teams formed, positions assigned, plays learned and – hopefully – competitiveness and success follows.
In his 26th season as head coach of the Riffel Royals, John Bolen has seen it all come together many times, and the benefits gained both on and off the field. “A provincial championship is a rare opportunity,” said Bolen of the ultimate goal every team sets at the beginning of the season. “Unless all the pieces fit together at the right time, you don’t get those... You could have all the talent in the world, but if they can’t play together and they can’t respect each other’s abilities, it’s rare you’re going to make it all the way.” The Riffel Royals finished the 2011 regular season undefeated due to a close-knit team as well as strengths on both sides of the football. They began with two rookie quarterbacks in Jeremy Sylvester and Austin Thompson, but the duo performed well throughout the season, gelling with the receivers and the three-
20 November 2011
player rotation of running backs Mason Rossler, Ryan Filyk, and Brett Wihlidal. The offensive line includes anchors such as Matt Knight, who provided the protection that is essential at any level of football. Combined with a strong defence, including linebackers Rossler and Lance Pitka, that has been particularly effective against the running game, the Royals were happy to have a competitive season. “To go out every game and be
competitive,” is important for the team, said Bolen, but there is more to football, he added, than the game on the field. “Football’s important, and we’ve had kids move onto the Rams, Huskies, Thunder, CFL, so we’ve had success stories that way. But for the majority of (players), it’s to teach them discipline and camaraderie and sportsmanship that are life-long lessons.” Rossler found his 2011 senior football season has gone by quickly. While he noted the goal every year is to win it
all, he also discovered other victories throughout the season. “It’s not just the practising, it’s not just the playing – (the coaches) push you off the field just as much. You’re always thinking about it. You have to be pretty dedicated,” said Rossler, adding that teamwork also comes into play for success. “We have 12 guys on each series on defence that are hungry for the ball. It’s not one defensive person carrying the D. Every single person contributes.” The highlight of the regular season, Rossler said, came in a close game against the Winston Knoll Wolverines, Riffel’s Rochdale Boulevard rival. The Royals were ahead 3-0 in the fourth quarter with only a couple of minutes remaining. “We ran back a touchdown from midfield, so that shows we can perform under pressure too,” he said.
It was linebacker Pitka who revealed that Rossler had run back the touchdown, making a play for the team. But in the game of football, it’s the team effort that counts.
“It’s to teach them discipline and camaraderie and sportsmanship.” - John Bolen “It’s not just one or two people carrying the team. We have many leaders on the team, great players,” said Pitka. “All through the summer, everyone’s been working out, training hard. And through the season, we take it very seriously.”
division. Within three years they had moved to the 4A division, and won the provincial title in 1989. When Winston Knoll opened in 1995, Riffel lost quite a few students to the new school and moved back to the 3A division, where they successfully rebuilt and later returned to 4A. They competed in the city final for ten years, until 2009 and 2010, when they lost in the semifinals. “Success breeds success,” said Bolen. “No matter who you are, you have to have the horses and you have to have the coaches, and be able to bring that together. We definitely attracted kids to our program by being a strong, competitive team. Not saying just because we win – that’s important, but it’s not the whole picture. It’s the competitiveness, to go out every game and be competitive.”
The Riffel program has a history of success. When the school first opened in 1985, the Royals were in the 3A (smaller school)
FOREVER & TODAY
Gerry Harris By Nick Miliokas
These days “retirement” may not be a myth exactly, but it’s certainly an ambiguous term. Take Gerry Harris, for example. “I go harder now, “ he said, “than before I retired.”
t’s difficult to imagine someone going harder than he did for 32 years as a high school teacher, all the more so a teacher who coached football and volunteered tirelessly for any and every extra-curricular activity that required a helping hand. But there you go. That’s Gerry Harris. Now, five years after his career as a physical education teacher at Luther College came to an end, Harris is keeping himself busy with not one, not two, but three business ventures. “For me,” he said, “settling down is impossible, even at 60.” Harris operates a project-management business, assisting home owners in lining up tradesmen for renovations and repairs, AND a mobile-pressure-washer business that cleans motor vehicles, AND a tourguide business, a labour of love, if ever there was. “I like to stay busy, and I want to enjoy life at the same time,” said Harris, who continues to take tourists to Holland twice a year for bicycle tours, a tradition that started (and continues) with a tour each spring for Luther students and parents, and another each fall for adults alone. “Tour de Harris,” they call it. None of this should come as a surprise,
22 November 2011
you understand. There were indications, early warning signs, many years ago, when, during a sabbatical, Harris sold insurance and then abandoned it to play the stock market as a day trader. “It was a bit unconventional. Now I have a stockbroker and I’m in it strictly for the yields,” he said, smiling. “But I’ll tell you, it taught me something I needed to know. It made me realize that Luther was where I belonged. Luther was where I should have been, anyway. Luther was perfect for me.” It worked the other way, as well. Gerry Harris was perfect for Luther. “When it came time to go,” he said, “it was tough to leave.”
Harris was an institution at Luther College and will be remembered there with a reverence that is reversed for people like basketball coach Dick Stark, a respected colleague, close friend, and invaluable mentor. “I’m an ideas guy. It was Dick who made sure that things actually got done,” Harris said, modestly. “He was always 15 minutes early and I was always 15 late, so I guess if you took the average, we were always on time.”
In addition to his commitment as head coach of the Lions football team, Harris assisted Stark with the Luther Invitational Tournament, a basketball competition that is
ranked among the finest in Western Canada. Somehow, Harris also found the time and energy to coach with the Regina Rams, working with the defence in 1978 and with the offence from 1979 through 1983. Now affiliated with the University of Regina, the Rams were then a Prairie Junior Football Conference powerhouse supported by an organization of volunteers that operated the team in a first-class manner and at the highest level of amateur sport. “Those guys gobbled the game up. You had to keep challenging them,” Harris said of the players. “Our hardest games were at practice. Our only tough opponent was the Saskatoon Hilltops.” Gerry Harris was four years old when the family moved from Saskatoon to Regina. He grew up in Douglas Park, living a charmed childhood that was defined by pickup games in neighbourhood playgrounds, the sports changing with the seasons and quite often overlapping, Mother Nature setting the schedule. “Sports back then were like Ritalin. Your parents sent you out of the house and you came home tired,” he said. “That’s what you did, played sports. Sports were your life.” Harris owes a huge debt of gratitude to his parents, Gerald and Ina, and has drawn much inspiration from his sister, Heather, and his brother, Ross, “a pretty special guy,” who died 17 years ago from complications arising from sleep apnea at a time when treatment for that condition was not what it is today. As a student at Luther, Harris distinguished himself as an athlete in football, basketball, hockey, and track and field. He also played baseball with the Regina Junior Red Sox, under the legendary Lionel Ruhr, who also coached the Lions football team. Harris graduated from high school in 1969 and by then he had fallen head over heels in love with his future wife, Jill Hitchie, a student at Martin Collegiate. They were in Grade 11 at the time. Jill had organized a “Y” dance for Martin students and Gerry was there as a guest. “I had the guts to do a lot of things,” he said, “but asking a girl to dance wasn’t one of them.” He made an exception for Jill, however, and the two were wed in 1974. They’ve been married for 37 years and have two daughters, Meghan, who works in Calgary
as a consultant in climate change, and Logan, who is employed here in Regina by the Farm Credit Corporation. Jill is retired after a career with SGI, in the licensing division. Following high school, Harris enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan, not only because he had family connections in Saskatoon, but also due to the influence of Huskies head coach Al Ledingham, who told him: “If you come to Saskatoon, I’ll teach you football.”
During his career with the Huskies, Harris was a quarterback and punter in his first season; a linebacker, quarterback and punter in his second; and a receiver in seasons three, four and five. In his fourth year, 1972, he earned all-Canadian status. Harris was selected in the CFL draft by Saskatchewan, but his aspiring career as a Roughrider amounted to a single training camp. “By then, football was no longer fun for me, and maybe I just wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Whatever the reason, I respected their decision and I accepted it. I moved on.” Last month, in recognition of his many and diverse accomplishments, Gerry Harris was welcomed into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. “For me,” he said, “this was very humbling, and the reason is, the people on the Wall didn’t do what they did because they were thinking, ‘Someday I’ll be on the Wall.’ They did what they did because it was their passion. And there are a lot of people out there who are doing the same thing, every day, for the same reason – passion.”
Photos: Opposite page: Harris in his last game as head coach with the Luther Lions. This page, top: Harris with the Saskatchewan Huskies. Bottom: Harrison a bike tour in Holland.
Jumping higher By Julie Folk
Michelle Sweeting continues to jump to the next level.
er skill and dedication to volleyball has taken her from her high school team in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, to the University of Regina Cougars, and selection camps for the Canadian senior women’s volleyball team. Now beginning her second season at the CIS level, Sweeting said the last year has gone by very quickly.
“Last year felt, personally, like a blur,” she said. “Being a ‘first-year’ and being put in as a starter – that was shocking for me... It was a big moment in my volleyball career.” Sweeting humbly said she only started because she was the lone middle on the team, but her accomplishments speak to her skill on the court. She attended an open identification camp for the national team in Calgary in March and was invited to a second camp in Winnipeg in May. “That was big for me, because I got to meet some of the national players and to be able to play side by side with them was really cool,” said Sweeting. “Their hits (and talent) was on a whole other level, and their drive – nothing hit the floor
24 November 2011
it seemed, it was so hard on everything. I just loved it.” Sweeting was told she had talent and with some improvement may have opportunities with the team in the future. “For the national (team), I’m short for a middle,” said the sixfoot-one Sweeting. “I went (to the camp) and I was looking up at everyone. It was like, ‘What’s going on?’” In the summer, Sweeting resides in Maryfield, a three-hour drive from Regina. Sweeting is no stranger to commuting. Following her Grade 9 year, her high school team at Maryfield joined with the school in nearby Manor. This required significant driving time each day. Sweeting also played at the club level with the Rocanville Brash, which meant another hour of driving. As her Grade 11 year unfolded, Sweeting, also a fastball player, realized her passion for volleyball and her commitment to pursue the sport.
“I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could handle a sport and an education, and I have a love for it,” said Sweeting, who is taking classes in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies with
plans to follow her degree with further studies in physiotherapy or education. Sweeting said she feels she has greatly improved since first stepping on the court with the Cougars one year ago. She has significant speed for her height, and a natural leadership on the court. Melanie Sandford, the head coach of the University of Regina Cougar women’s volleyball team, said Sweeting’s experiences, coupled with her athleticism, are a real asset. “Michelle’s approach to what she does is important,” said Sanford. “She’s coachable, she’s very positive, she’s a leader, she wants to win, and she wants to do well.” Sweeting’s goal is to continue to improve while helping the Cougars compete and make it to the national championship. Now two games into the schedule, the Cougars are looking forward to the season ahead. “We’ve got a good mix with two fourth-years, four fifthyears, and a good mix of first-, second- and third-(year) athletes with a very good recruiting class coming in this year,” said Sanford. “We have a solid starting line-up with some good depth, so I expect good things from this group in terms of utilizing their experience and their ability to perform on the court.” Sweeting said the team has been through ups and downs, and they now just have to find it within themselves to reach their goals. “Our team has a fighting spirit,” she said. “We’re hard-working on and off the court with our training.” And hard work, for Sweeting, means results, as she looks forward to another successful four years with the Cougars.
Photos by Maurice Laprairie
Proud to support youth sport in Regina Two locations:
3115 Quance St.
(across the street from Old Navy) 306.569.6000
4530 Rochdale Blvd.
(across the street from Robin’s Donuts) 306.352.4844
School on ice
By Julie Folk
Education comes in many different forms.
ours in the classroom provide teachings on many subjects and the base for a life of learning. In addition, activities outside the schoolroom can help students progress and expand their knowledge.
All elite athletes must learn the skills needed to advance in their sport, as well as the qualities required at the next level – including commitment, determination and time management. Sylvie Wandzura, the high performance coach for Skate Canada – Saskatchewan, saw a need in figure skating in this province. A need for skaters to spend more individual training time with their coaches, and a need for a better place and time to perfect their skills on the ice. And so, through collaboration with schools and the Co-operators Centre, the Centre of Excellence was formed. “What we want to do is have a facility that encourages coaches and their athletes to be welcome to train,” said Wandzura. “We’re a very dispersed province and we want a centre
26 November 2011
where we can encourage them to come in to use the facility and the ice or get extra help with technique.” The Centre of Excellence uses drop-in ice time available at the Co-operators Centre from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Elite figure skaters attend and work with their individual coaches, while the coaches also act as a team with the athletes, providing growth and development in the knowledge base of all participants. Figure skaters involved have immensely improved with the additional ice time, in addition to working with mental trainers, physiotherapists, fitness trainers and yoga instructors. Many also train in the evenings at their clubs’ regularly scheduled times, and find the daytime ice significantly enhances their development. “To do simulations and to have the quality ice where
“You have the room and the extra time to work on stuff,” said McNaughton of the ice time. “You get more private time,” added Lingenfelter. “It’s coaching, practicing and stroking when we’re on the ice, and we have off-ice as well.” Nina Hill, in Grade 8, and Emery Millette, in Grade 9, see both education and figure skating as priorities. Millette works with a coach in Yorkton on the weekends, so to have the opportunity to train in the afternoons provides her with additional free time in the evenings. She attends her fourth period class at school on Mondays and Fridays, while it was determined she would not have to complete arts education until Grade 10. Hill skates on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and catches up on homework in the evenings. “I don’t get any special treatment,” said Hill. “I have to do the same as everybody else... It’s mostly independent (learning), which is a good skill to (develop).”
you’re the most functional too – during the day – works well,” said Wandzura. “That’s where sports schools (in other provinces) are really succeeding with their athletes in all sports. Programs work with kids to go to school and train and then they can be home for supper. It’s a better schedule for the kids and they improve.” At this stage, athletes are working cooperatively with their respective schools and teachers to coordinate school and training. Eventually, Wandzura is interested in developing a program with the education system and other sports to create a sports school. “Most of the students do excel in school and are doing well,” said Wandzura. “On the other hand, it can motivate natural athletes that may not be interested in doing well in school, to maintain a good grade in school to be involved.” Athletes are identified to participate based on their performance, training, and commitment to improve. Those just beginning in the sport to others who are seeing their long-term goals become a reality, create a focused group of learners. Hannah Lingenfelter, Bella McNaughton and Emma Davidson, ages 11, 9 and 10 respectively, are just a few years into their skating careers and yet have set high goals for themselves of short term success and a future at an elite level. Previously, they were skating at lunch hour at the Balfour Arena. Now they have the opportunity to spend more time with their coaches at the Centre of Excellence.
Both skaters have found their development on the ice has grown in leaps and bounds – or jumps and spins. “This rink is really nice and there’s lots of room for warm up and off-ice,” said Millette. “We can be here and skate for a long time instead of just short periods.” Garrett Gosselin and Christine Laprairie have developed time management skills as all high level athletes in post-secondary must learn. Laprairie schedules her Kinesiology classes around skating, while Gosselin takes online classes in psychology. They have both been utilizing the Centre’s ice time for the past year and a half, but last year spent many days alone on the ice. “We’ve developed our own atmosphere here,” said Gosselin, whose aspirations include being among the top 5 male skaters in Canada in a couple of years and make the 2018 Canadian Olympic team. “It’s great the new Centre of Excellence is starting. Eventually it will grow even bigger. For me, I probably won’t have to travel around during summer to go train with other competitive skaters because we’ll have a nice competitive atmosphere here.” With the Centre of Excellence, Gosselin said it is possible to set your own rules – play your own music, practice your program as needed and have so much more space on the ice, making training efficient and effective. “I like having other skaters around to motivate you,” added Laprairie, who has a short-term goal of making it on the Western Challenge team this season. “When I was in high school, we skated at the Balfour at lunch. Coming here would have been way better and you get more done. The size (of the ice) allows you to do a program, so there is definitely an advantage.”
“I like being with my friends,” said Davidson of her time on the ice. Davidson spends one afternoon a week with the Centre of Excellence, which replaces Phys. Ed. and arts education. Lingenfelter and McNaughton spend at least three afternoons a week on the ice, and commit to additional schoolwork outside of regular hours. Photos by Maurice Laprairie
The ALWAYS Team ‘lives’ deep in the heart of Riderville By Julie Folk
No matter what their record on the field might be, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are ALWAYS part of the heartbeat of Saskatchewan.
his sentiment is captured on the pages of “The ALWAYS Team” and “The ALWAYS Team: Trouble in Riderville,” children’s books written by Holly Preston and illustrated by Val Lawton.
“The impetus for the book really came in 2007,” said Preston, who, like Lawton, grew up in Regina, and now lives in Calgary. “I started to see the number of kids in the stands. And at that point I thought, you know, there are jerseys and there are ball caps, and wouldn’t it be nice to have something specific to little kids who are walking into the stands holding their uncle’s hand, or going with their grandma and becoming part of this great spectacle that is Rider Nation?” An initiation to the phenomenon that is Rider Nation includes watermelon helmets, creative signs, and honouring the history and tradition of the team. All
28 November 2011
are elements Preston and Lawton included in the books, which include faces, names and landmarks familiar to the Queen City. “We had fun adding the bands on the trees, and the little details fans in Regina would pick up,” said Preston. “Only folks in Saskatchewan would know why the Jolly Roger is on Regina’s mighty shores, and Val did such a beautiful job on the Albert Street bridge.” Preston grew up around the Roughriders as her father, Ted Child, has been a season ticket holder for 45 years. She worked for many years in television at CBC and CTV. When she began writing her first book, she was a senior producer for Newsworld in Calgary; today she continues to
work in radio. Her experience was valuable for the book projects in that it helped to develop the storylines and also spawned ideas for visuals. She and Lawton then collaborated in bringing the drawings to life. “The ALWAYS Team,” released in September of 2010, follows Rob, Stevie and Brandon, members of the Rae Street Riders, as Gramps takes them to their first Saskatchewan Roughriders football game, where they learn important lessons such as: “Believe. Play like a team. Celebrate only the big plays. Play tough ... and with heart.
not only help Saskatchewan win the West final – by training Gainer the Gopher to replace the team’s injured kicker – but also, in the end, find a replacement for the quarterback of their own team: a little girl who has a great arm and whose jersey bears the number 23. “We wanted to recognize the tradition,” said Preston, explaining that she and Lawton drew on imagery from Mosaic Stadium, and from Regina, and from personal experiences. Preston’s characters, Rob and Stevie, are named after (and based on) her own sons, and the lessons they learn are similar to those her sons encountered growing up playing sports in Regina. Preston has been touched by meeting readers of her books at signings and school visits. The books have been sold throughout Canada; they are often purchased as a gift for children. Preston said the books were made possible through the support of the Roughriders as well as the fans. While a third book hasn’t been planned, she suggested there is a good possibility for another in the future. The ALWAYS books are available at Roughrider stories, online at www.riderville.com, or bookstores across Canada.
Photo, opposite page: Holly Preston Photos courtesy of Holly Preston
Have fun. ALWAYS honour the tradition. And ALWAYS thank your fans, the 13th man.” Preston said many of the lessons were inspired by words spoken by Roughrider players after they won the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto. “The ALWAYS Team: Trouble in Riderville,” was released in September of 2011. In this book, Rob and Stevie find out that their teammate, Brandon, the Rae Street Riders’ quarterback, is moving. To lift their spirits, Grandma takes Rob and Stevie to a Riders game, where the boys
what a difference a year can make By Bob Hughes
Well, the Grey Cup
parties in these parts just ain’t gonna be the same in 2011. The theme song, strummed across the province of eternal hope, played out, really, mid-way through the Canadian Football League season for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All we needed to make it a perfect storm was Willie Nelson singing “Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over.” Because it was over before the season even got up a head of steam. For the first time in three years, the Roughriders are not going to be playing in the Grey Cup. They didn’t even make the playoffs in one of the biggest collapses in CFL history. How, the Rider Nation has been asking since that fateful October afternoon when the Riders were officially eliminated, could a team that has won one Grey Cup and played in two others since 2007 have undergone such a dramatic and shocking transformation? When the B.C. Lions beat the Riders in the 15th game of the schedule, eliminating a Saskatchewan team that failed to score a touchdown for the fourth game in a row, it simply made official what a lot of people had seen coming for quite some time now. In some ways, the Roughriders have been an accident waiting to happen. Their best moments were in 2007, you suppose, because they won a Grey Cup championship under general manager Eric Tillman and head coach Kent Austin. Right after, Austin left to coach college football in the U.S. and two years later Tillman was ousted after an incident with a babysitter. Nothing has really been the same since. Except the Riders kept winning. They made the playoffs every year, they hosted playoff games and in two of those three years they made it to the Grey Cup games, losing both of them. They played before one sellout after another and made millions of dollars in merchandise sales as they indeed did become “Canada’s Team.” Hovering in the background, though, was this feeling that they had become so hugely successful
30 November 2011
so fast that it created a false sense of security for them. They got themselves into a comfort zone they couldn’t get out of. They loaded up the front office and they didn’t pay enough attention to the football side. Those who say the Riders made a mistake in naming Ken Miller as head coach have difficulty mounting a credible argument. After all, he produced two Western championship teams. Yet, there is ample evidence that those two Grey Cup losses to Montreal were because of game coaching deficiencies. Still, as a head coach, Miller was a success based on his overall record. When he stepped down after the 2010 Cup loss, and was named to the hardly-needed but nevertheless newly-created position of vice president of football operations, the wheels came off. What that did was create the most unique front-end setup in pro sports, a scenario where the general manager (Brendan Taman) reported to the former head coach. The division of powers was as clear as mud. And nobody could ever figure out what exactly Miller’s job entailed. Miller’s lack of management experience at the pro level also resulted in his stubborn determination to hire Greg Marshall as head coach. It was a bad move and the Riders never recovered from it. That, plus the failure to recruit top-line new talent every season, ended up with the Riders essentially living off what Austin and Tillman had built. The Roughriders did have more talent in 2011 than their record showed. That being said, it is obvious that the coaching was not there, from top to bottom and just about everywhere in between. Firing Marshall and offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry eight games into the season only served to underline even more Miller’s inexperience at the pro level. Everything, you see, caught up to the Roughriders in 2011, and it wasn’t pretty. It’s obvious that the whole football side of the operation must be put under a microscope and run through an x-ray machine. It’s seriously damaged, but it’s not yet broken, not yet ready for the junk pile. One more wrong move like the ones that have brought the franchise to where it is, and it could turn out to be one of those scenarios that takes a long time to fix. And, we’ve seen that act here before, haven’t we?
Column photo by Maurice Laprairie
Peter Woldu Sales Associate
Independently Owned and Operated
3889 Arcola Avenue East Regina, SK S4V 1P5 Phone: (306) 359-1900 Cell: (306) 527-1941 email@example.com
Buying? Selling? AdrenalineReginaSports.com
As the old Adage goes, it's easier to turn a sports car than a bus. AdSpark is small enough to respond quickly to life's wonderful surprises. We are Adamant about defining the business sense of a campaign before any resources are allocated. We practice intelligent Advertising. Our ability to Adapt to the needs of our clients creates lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. Advertising isn't about spending money to drive sales. It's about communicating value in a way that's sincere and effective.
Ad Agency Social Media Branding
2011 32 November To view
our portfolio visit: AdvertisingRegina.ca