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Archive for April, 2010

Dogs Breakfast Sold-Out

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 26, 2010

The 10th annual Dogs Breakfast is officially a sell-out. The over 2000 tickets at $100 per seat were sold as of last weekend. It is the biggest fundraiser of the year with the money raised going towards the Huskie Football Foundation scholarship program.

The breakfast starts at 7:00 Thursday morning in the largest hall at Prairieland Park but try to be there a few minutes early. The doors should be opening sometime between 6:30 and 6:45. A pre-show starts right at 7 so you’ll want to be in your seats. The actual program starts at 7:30. Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is this year’s guest speaker and as always, head coach Brian Towriss will be introducing some of the top players from this year’s recruiting class. The breakfast itself is always unbelieveable. Everyone in the Huskie Football Foundation deserves a big thanks including chairperson Ryan Lejbak and vice chair Hugh Vassos.

The support shown towards this event and the Huskie football organization has been overwhelming. Here is a clip of what Hugh Vassos said about the people buying tickets. 

The program for the morning is run to allow people to get to work in a timely fashion. It is always on schedule and there will be police and attendants in the parking lot to help with the traffic as people will be trying to get back to work by 9:00 AM.

Congratulations to everyone involved. This promises to be the biggest and best event ever.

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Dobie Excited About Bisons New Stadium

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 16, 2010

 

University of Manitoba Bisons head coach Brian Dobie called me from his cell phone yesterday morning on his 35 minute commute to work. He was eager to return my phone message to talk about the new digs the Bisons will have in a couple of years. Needless to say, he is very excited about finally getting out of University Stadium.

That’s not just good news for the Bisons but also good news for the other 5 Canada West football teams that come to visit. The stadium is old, outdated and unsafe. Brian told me that it’s amazing that no one has ever got hurt playing there. Of course he is referring to the infamous endzones where there is just 5 yards of grass and then 15 yards of track. The track actually extends well beyond the endzone as well. It’s the same on the sidelines with only a couple of yards of grass before the track starts there.

One thing we joked about however is the fact that even the new stadium won’t improve the weather conditions. I remember the game there last year when the wind seemed like it was about 100 km/hr and it was cold to say the least. I jokingly told him I was glad we don’t have to worry about weather like that in Saskatoon.

The new 33 000 seat stadium is expected to be done by March of 2012. It will also be expandable to 45 000 if necessary. The nice thing about it is, it will be right beside the current stadium so the Bisons won’t have to go any further to get to it. It will be shared with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The old stadium will remain however as it can still be used as a practice facility as well as for most track & field events.

Brian really got into detail about it so I encourage you to check out the interview in the “Interviews” secion of this website.

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Braeden George Adds Leadership To List Of Duties

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 15, 2010

Slotback Braeden George says he’s ready to take the next step in his development as a member of the U of S Huskies organization. The 20 year old is coming off a good season last year finishing 3rd on the team in receiving yards and 4th in catches during the regular season. In 7 games, he caught 17 balls for 212 yards and 1 touchdown.

George, along with quarterback Laurence Nixon, offensive lineman Ben Heenan and middle linebacker Peter Thiel were just recently named to the East-West Bowl in London, Ontario. The speedy receiver said, “It’s an honor, I feel privileged to represent this team and the city amongst all the other talent in the CanWest and the CIS.” The game is to be played on May 8th at the University of Western. The game features the top eligible prospects in the 2011 CFL draft.

As for his maturity, George says he has grown “leaps and bounds” not only physically but mentally as a player. He believes that last season was good for him as he learned more about the game and became a smarter player. His off-season training has been intense as usual. He’s in the gym numerous times a week as well as team on field drills.

This will be George’s 3rd year of eligibility this upcoming season and he says he ready to take on some extra responsibility. He says, “I’m hoping to play more of a leadership role. I want to be a guy that the coaches depend on, that the coaches trust to make big plays. I just want to lead on and off the field.”

As everyone knows, a quarterback and receiver have to have chemistry to be successful. George says that he is friends with Laurence Nixon off the field which is one of the reasons why they work well together on the field. He says that they can read each other very well during the game.

The Dogs should be very strong again this season. George agrees with that. He said, “We’re young and some people might think that’s a bad thing but I think it’s a good thing. A lot of young guys on our team last year stepped up and played big roles and I think they’re going to do the same this year. We have a lot of talent and we are getting older and wiser. He believes he will be one of the ‘go to’ guys this year along with Travis Gorski. He also mentioned Jeff Moore and Mitch Stevens as being a big part of the offence.

The psychology major (although he admits he’ll be changing over to sociology) is looking forward to spring camp. He said it’s always fun and talked about the great weather, environment and how the guys are always in great spirits for it. That should start near the end of May.

One has to think that the offence will be geared more to Braeden this season considering the loss of both Scott McHenry and Cory Jones. Right now however, his first emphasis must be on his school as he continues to study for exams.

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Hawks Spring Camp This Weekend

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 8, 2010

Close to 80 young hopefuls will be in Saskatoon this weekend to showcase their skills as they try to make an impression at the Nipawin Hawks Spring Camp. Assistant coach Duane Thorpe said that he wanted a small number like 80 players at the camp to make it easier for himself and the scouts to evaluate. Head coach Doug Johnson will not be there as his team, the Omaha Lancers, are in the 1st round of their USHL playoffs against Tri-City.

Players from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta make up the main core of players but some are further away including one coming all the way from Minnesota. All of the young men at camp will be 1992 to 1995 born players and nobody from the current roster will be there.

Things get underway on Saturday at noon at the Schroh Arena. The players will be split up into 4 teams. The evaluation camp ends early Sunday morning.

Despite having a young team last season, there will be areas of need this coming year for the Hawks. Thorpe said, “We’re going to have some spots open up and finishing 6th in the North, you have room for new kids coming in. We have lots of scouts coming out to the camp and Doug’s got 4 or 5 of his own scouts coming to the camp so if they can make a good impression, they’ll have a good shot at making the club next year.”

Nipawin only lost 3 players to overage but a couple of key players that are eligible to return may explore other options for next season. Time will only tell if that is indeed the case.

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Huskies Hoping Hard Work Will Pay Off

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 7, 2010

To be a Saskatchewan Huskie athlete means that you are willing to put your body on the line for the good of the program and that’s what the football players have been doing in the off-season waiting for another Canada West season to start. Yes, it’s still 4 and a half months until the Dogs non-conference game but that hasn’t stopped the athletes from pushing their bodies to the limits. They train for 9 months in the off-season to get ready for an 8-game schedule (and playoffs). This year’s version of the Green & White will have the same theme as the teams from the past few years. Veteran leadership, speed and highly touted rookies who can make an impact.

The coaching staff gave the players a workout routine for the off-season (as they do every year) and the players workout anywhere between 3-7 times per week. The Huskie players have also gone through an intensive 6 week conditioning camp which was followed by close to a dozen practices. They have now been given time off to study for their exams but the players continue to workout on their own and Spring camp is not too far off (end of May).

As we know, hard work leads directly to on field performance. Head coach Brian Towriss has high goals once again this year. He said, “Our expectations are the same here every year. We’ve been so close for the last 2, it’s coming down to making 1 or 2 more plays here or there. Our guys are continuing to work hard and do all the right things and we’re putting all our efforts into winning another national championship for this school.”

Besides the hard work, another thing the Huskies have working in their favor is the new recruits they bring in every year. B.T. believes this year is no different. Losing the likes of a Taylor Wallace is surely big shoes to fill but with their depth and recruiting skills, the team can more than manage. Towriss said, “We got a pretty good recruiting class, most of them are going to be introduced at the Dogs Breakfast. As most people know, we’ve chosen to bring in a couple players from Simon Fraser that played 3 or 4 years in our league. We think they can help us. We have a couple of outstanding young football players from high school ranks in Edmonton and they’re going to have an impact on our football team right away.” The 2 Simon Fraser Clan he was talking about of course is offensive lineman Dale Furber and receiver Owen Geier.

As B.T. mentioned, you can meet the new recruits at the Dogs Breaksfast which takes place on April 29th at Prairieland Park. It was announced some time ago now that Warren Moon is going to be the guest speaker. The Dogs are hoping the event will attract over 2000 people this year. B.T. told me they’ve already sold something like 1300 tickets for it already. If you’d like to purchase yours, go to http://huskiesfootballfoundation.com.

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Bodnarchuk Still A Bronco

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 5, 2010

Despite various schools talking to Humboldt goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk, he remains a Bronco. In an interview with the 19 year old, he said that he has not signed or committed with anyone as of yet. He still talks like he is coming back to the SJHL next season as well. When asked about what he still wants to accomplish he said, “Definitely the first thing on my mind is to get another league championship, Anavet, even RBC. Every year I’m sure that’s everyone’s goal throughout Canada playing junior ‘A’ hockey. Another one would be to get that shutout record under my belt. I know AJ Whiffen from Weyburn took it this year and I’d like to break that one and set a new league high.”

He is currently 2 shutouts behind Whiffen, who broke Taylor Nelson’s old record. He has told me on several occasions that he wants to finish his career as a Bronco but being a 20 year old next year, he would make for pretty high trade bait for Dean Brockman if Humboldt wins the 2012 RBC Cup bid. Brockman would obviously have to build for that year if it happens.

A funny story Andrew told me about winning league MVP last week was that he found out about it through his friends via text messages saying congratulations. He didn’t even know what he was being congratulated for. He had to look it up on the SJHL website to find out. It might be nice in the future if the league somehow let the major award winners know via text message or telephone call and give their congratulations personally.

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Wallace Named Top All-Round Male

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 4, 2010

U of S Huskie linebacker Taylor Wallace was awarded the “Rusty MacDonald Cup” which is given to the Top All-Round Male Athlete on Thursday night at the annual Huskie Salute. Wallace just finished his 5th year of eligibility with the Dogs and it was a good one. By season’s end, he was named the Canada West “Defensive Player of the Year” as well as a CanWest All-Star. The thing about Taylor is not just his accomplishments on the field. He is one of the first people you think of when someone mentions the word ‘class’. He is always very quickly to credit his teammates and coaches and always goes the extra mile to help out in the community such as raising money. I talked with him after he won the award and you can hear that in the “Interviews” section of this website.

Defensive end Joel Seuter was a runner-up for the “Howard Nixon Trophy” for “Male Rookie of the Year” while Equipment Manager Andrea Eccelston won the “Volunteer of the Year” award.

I will post head coach Brian Towriss’ comments in another post in the near future. I spoke with him about various subjects.

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Seutter And Wallace Nominated At Huskie Salute

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 1, 2010

The 2010 Huskie Salute is taking place tonight. It’s an annual event that honors some of the great Huskie athletes in the various sports. Here are the details:

Date: Thursday April 1
Time: 6:30 PM Cocktails / 8:00 PM Awards program
Location: TCU Place, Grand Salon
City: Saskatoon, SK
Attire: Semi-Formal
Theme: A Splash of Green

This year, Joel Suetter has been nominated for the Howard Nixon Trophy given to the Male Rookie of the Year. He is going up against Matthew Busse (Volleyball) and Lane Britnell (Track & Field). Seutter dressed in all 8 regular season games last season and finished with 18.5 tackles (12 solo and 13 assisted), 3.5 tackles for losses and also had a quarterback sack. He also started both playoff games and was a member of the Team Canada squad.

The other football Huskie up for an award is Taylor Wallace who is nominated for the Rusty MacDonald Trophy for All-Round Male Athlete. The other nominees he is up against are Jeff Harvey (Hockey) and Tim Kent (Wrestling). Wallace also played all 8 regular season games for the Dogs and finished 3rd on the team with 38 tackles (26 solo & 24 assisted). He also had 2.5 tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass break-up and 2 fumble recoveries. In addition, Wallace earned a Canada West all-star selection last season and won many individual awards at the Huskie Banquet.

I will post the results and get some audio clips from the Salute tonight. Good luck to Joel and Taylor and congratulations to all the nominees.

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Broncos Spring Camp Starts Today

Posted by Darryl Skender on April 1, 2010

The Elgar Peterson Arena will be filled with about 200 young hopefuls this morning as their Spring Camp gets underway. Head coach Dean Brockman has had a little more time to prepare for this one than in past year’s as his number one focus the past 3 seasons has been preparing for the SJHL finals. It starts at 10:15 this morning with the first ice session and it will end Saturday at about 6:00. This will allow everyone time to travel and have Easter Sunday off.

There’s more players attending this camp than normal which should make for some interesting competition. Brockman said, “We want to bring players in that are going to push our veterans or maybe take their jobs. This is the first step, a lot of these kids when they come to camp means they want to come and play for Humboldt and we got a bunch of young guys that we want to keep on the radar and see how they progressed over the winter months.”

The thought process of who Dean wants and doesn’t want could also hinge on the 2012 RBC Cup bid. Here’s what Dean Brockman said on that subject. Humboldt has 20 players eligible to return for next season.

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