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Archive for May, 2010

Broncos Win 2012 RBC Cup Bid

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 30, 2010

The Humboldt Broncos are going back to the Royal Bank Cup again. Word came down from Hockey Canada this morning that they selected Humboldt to host the 2012 national junior ‘A’ hockey championship. Events Manager of Hockey Canada Kevin Webster called Bronco president Lee Dufort with the news this morning. I called head coach Dean Brockman shortly after to confirm the rumour. He said it was true. Dean said, “It’s very exciting but also nervous in the same breath, but very exciting. I guess it’s a little bit overwhelming and maybe it hasn’t fully sunk in either but I guess we know what we’re going to be doing for the next couple of years.”

The bid from the Green & Gold beat out bids from Port Alberni, Fort McMurray and Kingston. Brockman told me a couple months back that he thought they presented a very strong bid and Hockey Canada did confirm that it was good (although they did not say it was stronger than anyone else’s). In my own opinion (sorry Kenny Trenton, who is voice of the Oil Barons), I think Fort Mac’s bid was hurt by the 2011 tournament being held in Camrose.

So where do the Broncos go from here? The Broncos 2012 RBC Cup committee has a meeting at 7:00 PM tonight. He said they have to get started right away on preparing ticket packages as they have guidelines that have to be strictly followed. One of the things the committee is trying to do is not just sell the Broncos games out but sell the whole event out.

The big question on everyone’s mind is what will Humboldt do this coming year with their 20 year olds. Do they trade for players that will still be around for the 2012 RBC Cup or do they hold on to them and make a run this year? One of the guidelines of Hockey Canada is that the host team must ice a competative team at the tournament. It would be a total emabarrassment for Humboldt if they lost every game in the round-robin and missed the playoff round. The problem is (if you want to call it a problem), the Broncos should have a pretty good team this upcoming season. I joked with Dean that it wouldn’t look good if you’re in first place at the trade deadline and you end up trading all your 20 year olds. He agreed but said it would be a nice problem to have. He told me he still plans on icing a very good hockey team for this season while building for next.

Assuming Humboldt isn’t in the 2011 RBC Cup, they will still have full representation there getting any insightful help they can get to help make the 2012 games a huge success. Dean said they even had people in Dauphin this past season. Of course Humboldt is already familiar with how the tournament runs as they were a part of it in Cornwall a couple years ago and in Victoria a year ago. One thing for sure is that this is great news for the team, the city and the province. Congratulations Broncos!

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Rita Compares Shaw To Past Greats

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 28, 2010

Brian Towriss said that it was apparent early on that Grant Shaw wouldn’t be returning to CIS football this upcoming season. Shaw was outstanding all season, so much so, that he was drafted early in the 2nd round of this year’s CFL Canadian draft by the Toronto Argonauts. Earlier this week, the Argos inked the 25 year old to a 3 year contract which will take him through the 2012 season.

I put a phone call in to the Argos office a few days ago and yesterday, Adam Rita, General Manager & Vice President of Football Operations returned my call. He said he thinks the Argos were lucky to get him in the 2nd round because he can do a multitude of things. He of course was talking about his talent regarding place kicking, punting, coverage on receivers and making tackles on special teams.

Rita was certainly not shy about giving Shaw high accolades even though Grant has never played a down in professional football. He said that he saw Shaw workout and thinks that he has a “gift” and with a little bit of work could be very consistent and also could be a kicker in the CFL for a long time.” He didn’t stop there however. When asked about who he would compare Shaw to, Rita said, “I think he’s got a very explosive leg like Hank Ilesic (former Eskimos great). I think he can get airtime on his punts like Lui Passaglia (fomer Lions great) so I think those are good company people. He just needs some repetition and he needs to focus on being a kicker more than the other positions. As we talked to him, he acceptable to that.” He also mentioned that it will be nice to have a kicker that can go down and make a tackle which of course is rare in football. How many times have we seen Paul McCallum get injured trying to make one as a Rider and a Lion?

Grant Shaw is a true professional so I don’t think anyone is too worried about his transition to the pro ranks. Rita summed up his thoughts saying, “I think Grant Shaw is a great fit for us and after watching him workout and mingling with some of our guys in our clubhouse, I think he’ll fit in just fine. It’s a little bit different environment than he’s used to but I think he’ll have fun playing for the Argos and we hope that he will be with us for a long, long time.”

Having seen Shaw’s work ethic, there’s no doubt that he won’t be outworked in camp. He has a great combination of athleticism and skill which is why we will be watching him on TSN every week for a a long time.

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Mustangs / Hawks Season Tickets

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 27, 2010

Yes, junior ‘A’ hockey just ended but it doesn’t mean that hockey operations have stopped. All 12 clubs in the SJHL are now already preparing for the upcoming season.

The Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks currently have their season tickets at Early-bird rates. I can’t speak for the Humboldt Broncos because no one has responded to my inquiries this week.

Early-bird prices for the Mustangs are:

Adults/Seniors: $210.00 plus GST ($220.50)
Students: $115.00 plus GST ($120.75)
Child: $70.00 plus GST ($73.50)

(Note: Early-bird prices are in effect until July 21st.)

Early-bird prices for the Hawks are:

Adults: $250.00
Students: $125.00
Children: $75.00

(Note: Early-bird prices are in effect until July 21st.)

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Shawn Hunter Commits To SAIT

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 21, 2010

Power forward Shawn Hunter will continue playing hockey next season as he has commited to SAIT. Hunter was one of just 3 third year Broncos last season (Andrew Bodnarchuk and Bryce Walker were the other 2; Dane Lindskog was as well but got traded to Bonnyville at the trade deadline). Dean Brockman still looks brilliant for acquiring the 6’3″ 220 pounder from the Drayton Valley Thunder on December 1st, 2007  for a small amount of cash.

I still remember talking to Shawn at a pre-game meal last season about his name circulating in trade rumours. The Broncos were not having a good season and some of the top teams were in need of a power forward. He told me that he won’t report anywhere as he wants to finish a Bronco where he won 2 Anavet Cups and 1 Royal Bank Cup. Unfortunately for the hard-nosed forward, he got hurt in Game 2 of the playoffs which ended his junior ‘A’ career. What a lot of people did not know is that he played the entire year injured. He has had surgery in the off-season and is now getting ready for his next venture.

He finished last season with 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 44 games. Many of those 17 goals were in key situations. It was a common theme throughout his career. He had 2 goals in his 2 playoff games against La Ronge. Probably his biggest goal came in last year’s Royal Bank Cup semi-final game when he potted the winner at 19:57 of overtime to send the Green & Gold into the RBC final for a 2nd straight year.

SAIT won the ACAC championship last year which makes 4 in the last 5 years for the Trojans. Hunter loves the fact that he’s going to a team with a winning tradition. The Caroline, Alberta native said, “It’s a pretty big deal for me. I came from a winning team in Humboldt and it’s just nice to go to a school like that which has a great history of winning as well as being a really good school so it’s nice.” Hunter believes he can help by bringing over his experience with the Broncos which included a couple of big playoff runs. He also said he learned a lot from playing with a lot of great players in his 3 years. He has a good buddy on the Trojans which is captain Brock Michalsky. That should make the transition easier. An old foe is also on the team in goaltender Ryan Nieszner. Nieszner was with the Kinderslery Klippers in that famous 7 game league final a few seasons ago in which the Broncos came back from being down 3 games to 1 to win it.

Shawn, who says he’d like to take Power Engineering, is currently doing physio as he continues his recovery to both his acl and mcl. I will always remember him for his grit on the ice, love of country music off the ice and his really bad playoff beard.

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Humboldt’s 2012 RBC Cup Update

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 20, 2010

The city of Humboldt and the Broncos organization are patiently waiting to hear who Hockey Canada believes the best city is to host the 2012 RBC Cup. The announcement is going to be made by June 1st at the latest but it could be as early as May 29th. As everyone knows, the 4 cities involved are Humboldt, Fort McMurray, Port Alberni and Kingston.

I tried to talk with Kevin Webster (Manager of Events) but he is on holidays so I spoke with someone else that was also on the Site Selection Committee. Dean McIntosh is the Director of Marketing, Services and Events for Hockey Canada. He said, “We are close to a recommendation from the Site Selection Committee for RBC 2012 and that will go forward to junior counsel and ultimately to the Hockey Canada board. Those meetings start in Ottawa May 28th.” After the city that is chosen has been accepted by the board, the bidding group will get a call from Hockey Canada and it will go from there.

All 4 communities made their presentations back in March and since then, Hockey Canada has called each group with questions and followed up with site visits where needed. All the information is now gathered and it’s basically going to be a formality for the Hockey Canada board to accept whatever proposal is given to them by the Site Selection Committee. McIntosh told me, “At this point, we are fairly confident that through the work that we’ve done researching and through the presentatations, we’re comfortable moving forward with the recommendation and are looking forward to that being accepted hopefully by the Hockey Canada board.”

I tried to get him to hint to me what the chances were for Humboldt but he wouldn’t say. He did talk about the criteria however which was based on the business plan (revenue & expense), athlete experience (the athletes feel like they’re in a professional setting) and host team history and success (can the host team ice a competative team). McIntosh said, “I think Darryl, you’re aware of the community of Humboldt and where some of those criteria match up, that gives you a sense of what we’re looking at for the bids.

One of the concerns Hockey Canada has had with Humboldt is as I was told “the facility.” They did do a site visit to Humboldt to see first hand what the Elgar Peterson Arena had to offer and what were some of its downfalls. He didn’t get into specific details but it is well-known that dressing rooms and press box area were just a couple of the concerns but the Humboldt group has told them that everything will be rectified to meet Hockey Canada’s standards. 3 of the 4 Site Committee members have been to Humboldt for a visit so they are well aware of the arena by now. He went on to say that Humboldt is smaller than many of the junior ‘A’ hockey markets across the country and they wanted to ensure the facility and accommodations would be right for the demand of the tournament.

He admitted that hosting Hockey Canada events before (which Humboldt has) is helpful but they also look into other areas such as the success rate for a community who has hosted a non’ hockey event like a “Canada Winter Games or Jazz Festival.”

I think my biggest fear for the Humboldt bid was the capacity of the Elgar Peterson Arena. I asked McIntosh if there was adequate seating. He said, “To be fair to Humboldt and fair to all the other communities, when we look at seating capacities for a facility for the RBC Cup, one is obviously maximizing revenues based on the capacity of the facility. Secondly is filling that facility for all 13 games of the RBC Cup. Historically, we’ve looked at arenas being between 1500 and 4000 for the low and the high thresholds. We could certainly go a little larger potentially but not much smaller but we’re certainly very comfortable with the history of Humboldt as far as filling that rink and the size of the venue.”

Finally I asked him about who the front-runner is and he simply told me who the 4 candidates were. I guess we’ll just have to wait another week and a half to see who it will be. That decision will greatly affect what the Humboldt Broncos will do for the rest of the off-season. I spoke with Dean Brockman on Monday as he was just finishing up a few things at the office before taking the rest of the week to head to the farm and put in 15-18 hour days as it is seeding season. No doubt, he is looking forward to this selection process being decided one way or another just like the rest of us.

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Wallace Can’t Wait For Dream Shot With Riders

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 17, 2010

He grew up watching the Saskatchewan Roughriders and now has a shot at being a member of the squad. Taylor Wallace will come into camp with great credentials but unlike a couple of his Huskie teammates, he did not get drafted in the CFL Canadian draft. The Riders called him last week to give him a shot. Needless to say, he is jumping at the chance to tryout for his favorite team growing up. Wallace said, “I’m just ecstatic, huge opportunity, wasn’t sure I’d get in with any team so I’m really happy I’m getting the opportunity to play (tryout) in that league and also with that team which makes it even more exciting.”

Taylor grew up watching the Riders and has always admired the whole organization so when the Riders called him he called the experience “Surreal” and an “Exciting experience.”

The 24 year old graduated with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies this past season after 6 seasons with the organization. He red-shirted his first year, then spent the next 5 on the roster. His resume includes 3 Vanier Cups including the year he red-shirted. Last season, he was also an all-star which followed up his Canada West Defensive Player of the Year honor. He was also one of head coach Brian Towriss’ favorite players. Wallace has also received several team and school awards from the U of S.

The 5’10”, 216 pound linebacker does not have to face Rider camp alone however. Two members of last year’s Huskies team will also be in camp. They are offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld and Kelly Bates. Neufeld was drafted in the 5th round in the CFL Canadian draft while Bates helped out in a coaching capacity while he was on the Injured Reserve List with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In regards to going to camp with those 2, Wallace said, “It makes it a little bit easier to head down there and deal with the trials of training camp with a couple of friends. It’s nice to have a couple people you know and to help share the experience. Kelly has been through it a lot with the BC Lions so he can help us out.”

I have never made it a secret on my feelings towards Taylor Wallace. He was one of my favorites, not just what he did on the field, but how he handled himself off of it as well. If the Riders are looking for a classy, mature guy who can also make a guy pay for touching the football, they may want to keep Wallace around. It will certainly be different seeing someone else wear #54 in the Huskies uniform next year. Those will be big shoes, or should I say shoulder pads to fill.

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Grant Shaw Looking Forward To His Shot

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 14, 2010

Grant Shaw’s mom found out that her son had been drafted by the Toronto Argonauts before he did. Regardless, Shaw was thrilled when he got the news seconds later and he is looking to make the most of his opportunity. He thinks the TV upstairs that his mom was watching was a little bit ahead of the one downstairs because while he was watching the draft, his Mom started screaming upstairs. After the scream, he heard his name being called.

He was the selected in the 2nd round, 11th overall by the Argos. Even though Shaw heard he was going to be drafted from various sources, he said he wasn’t sure that it was going to happen. As for it being the Argos, he said it didn’t matter what team took him. He is a fan of the entire CFL.

Shaw was an outstanding cornerback for the Dogs last season but it appears that Toronto is more interested in his right foot. The 25 year old said, “I think primarily they want me to come in and challenge for the field goal kicker position. I guess it depends on how that goes and will influence my other roles on the team but they told me to keep practicing my punting, make sure I keep running sprints, keep back pedalling and doing ball drills so that I’m able to play defence and able to play special teams as a gunner or whatever. But primarily they want me kicking because they said don’t allow anything to influence my field goal kicking.”

Shaw was at Spring Camp for the first couple of days but made a personal decision, which he talked to head coach Brian Towriss about, and decided he wanted to be at home with his family in Alberta.

The 6′ 3″ 210 pound Shaw made waves around the CIS last year as he went into the Huskie record books a couple times in a game against Manitoba. You’ll see his name beside the longest field goal (55 yards) and longest punt (94 yards). His accuracy was also impressive as he finished 25 of 31 (80.6%) which was 2nd in the Canada West and that included being 19 for 23 in the regular season (82.6%).

Of his highlights from last year, obviously the 2 records stand out but he also pointed to a game against SFU that went into overtime and SFU was trying to kick a field goal to win. Shaw blocked it and on the Huskies next offensive play, Tyler O’Gorman took it to the house for the win.

The Edmonton native has the best shot of the 4 Huskies that are going to be in CFL taining camps this year. Ex-Huskie Jamie Boreham was traded to the Argos from the Roughriders on Trade Day and is expected to be the punter. The field goal kicking will be between Shaw and an import so Shaw should have the advantage there as he is a non-import player.

Whatever position he ends up with, Grant Shaw is CFL material and should end up making a career playing the game that he loves.

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Patrick Neufeld Getting Ready For Riders Camp

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 13, 2010

As any other kid growing up in Saskatchewan, Patrick Neufeld wanted to get a shot for playing for his favorite team, the Roughriders. That dream is now a very real possibility after being selected in the 5th round, 33rd overall in the CFL Canadian draft. As one might expect, Neufeld is thrilled to death about the opportunity. He said, “When I first heard that I got drafted, I was ecstatic. It was a dream come true for me growing up, being a Rider fan and going to all the games as a kid, but when I found out, I was overwhelmed with happiness.” And why not? Not every person gets a chance to live out their child-hood dreams.

The History major never got to watch the CFL Canadian draft as the Huskies were in their last day of their 4-day Spring camp when it was taking place. However, there were players on the sidelines and people in the stands with blackberry’s trying to find out information as the draft happened. That’s how Neufeld found out. After he was told by a teammate he was drafted by the Riders, he looked into the stands and saw his mom talking on his phone with his agent.

The Huskies website has him listed at 6’4″ 290 pounds but he told he was closer to 6’6″ and 300 pounds now which bodes well for the 21 year old as the 300 pound mark really seems to be the standard for an offensive lineman these days. He still works out everyday, usually after working his summer job at Innovation Place. He starts work at 6 AM and is finished by 2 PM. You’ll usually find him in the gym from 3 PM to 6 PM. I get tired just thinking about that.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a history of drafting Huskies and especially offensive lineman. In fact, they currently have 3 ex-Huskie lineman in Gene Makowski, Kelly Bates and Jordan Rempel. Neufeld said, “Those are guys that I looked up to as a kid. Definitely Geno (Makowski) was one of my favorite players growing up. I worked really close with Kelly (Bates helped out the offensive line last season while on the injured reserve list with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers) recently and in the past. Having those 2 guys there will be awesome to learn from, I mean they’re great mentors and great teachers so I’m just going to try and soak everything in.

If the Riders decide not to keep Neufeld, the Luther College product will come back to use up his 4th year of eligibility with the Huskies. If the Riders do keep him, Paddy will try to finish school in the off-season. He said that if he’s kept around on the practice roster, he’ll do some online courses as well.

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Hawks Coach Looking Forward To Challenge Ahead

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 12, 2010

Doug Johnson arrived at work on Monday morning looking forward to the task at hand. That task being to get the Nipawin Hawks into the playoffs. Johnson arrived in Nipawin late last week to begin the next chapter of his life. He just finished a stint as the assistant coach of the Omaha Lancers of the USHL and seems to be feeling comfortable back in the place where he played his Junior ‘A’ hockey in the mid-90’s.

He will be looking to assistant coach Duane Thorpe as well as the scouting staff to learn more about the SJHL and its players. I spoke with him yesterday about how he is adjusting and he said, “It’s nice right now, just a little bit overwhelming to start with. Just a lot of things to do and get ready for next year (season) but it’s nice to finally be here, get settled in and the people have been great from the board to everyone in town, Duane the assistant. It’s just made me feel very comfortable and looking forward to the challenge.”

The Hawks are coming off a disappointing season where they missed the playoffs and had much turmoil in the organization. No doubt, there will be some challenges. Johnson said, “I think the biggest obstacle will be getting the right players in, I think we have a great group coming back. We need to sprinkle in the right players, our list looks very nice right now with a couple kids that could come in and really help out. I think the obstacle is building relationships with them and making sure they’re going to be buying into the new system.”

Over the past couple of seasons, there has been a huge turnover in players for the Black & Gold. I was told that there were something like 57 different players playing for the Hawks under Colin O’Hara’s reign. He revamped the team 2 years ago, then did an overhaul again last season keeping just 2 of his players (Brant Remenda and Cory Hodgins) from the previous season. Fans are wondering if we can expect a 3rd straight house cleaning with a new coach. Johnson says, “I think that’s a poor way to go about things because these guys have been through the battles already. Are there going to be tweaks? Yes, definitely but a major overhauling, I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially with me not knowing the league that well. I have to trust the staff that’s assembled, trust the scouts, trust the assistant coach. They said that we have a nice base right now. Until they step on the ice and prove me wrong, I’m going to trust in them.”

It’s easy to see what an integral part the supporting staff will play, especially early on as Doug gets his feet wet. Nipawin only dressed 3 20 year-olds last season which means a lot of returning players this year. Obviously, all of the returnees will not make the team but it should be a good enough nucleus to get Nipawin back into contention.

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Mustangs Acquire Haygarth In Stillar Trade

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 10, 2010

Stillargate is finally over. The Melfort Mustangs have acquired Brody Haygarth to complete the future considerations part of the Deven Stillar trade with the Flin Flon Bombers. The deal was done at the trade deadline (January 10th) which saw Stillar go to the Bombers for forward Darren Gillen and a substantial amount of cash. Head coach & Director of Hockey Operations Darrell Mann said, “He’s a player that’s proven in this league, this will be his 4th year, he was tied for 2nd in goals on the Bombers hockey club. He’s a guy that’s going to bring in a lot of dynamics to our hockey club and we’re really excited to announce that he’s a Melfort Mustang.”  That’s the same deal where Flin Flon coach Mike Reagen was suspended 3 games, the organization was fined $3000 dollars and also lost 5 spots on their player protected list for a year for tampering with Stillar before the trade was made official.

Haygarth is a top line player who can produce in the offensive end. He scored 24 goals and assisted on 17 others for 41 points in 47 games and remember that a lot of that was with a weaker Estevan Bruins team.

In other news, expect the Mustangs to be naming a new assistant coach in the coming weeks. Darrell said that there have been a lot of applications and they are looking through them now. That of course was neccessitated when Trevor Blevins stepped aside to become the head coach of the Tisdale Trojans in the SMAAAHL.

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Braeden George Shines In East-West Game

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 10, 2010

I think it’s safe to say that Braeden George has really come into his own. And that’s probably a good thing as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies are going to be asking big things from him this season, especially considering the team lost both Scott McHenry and Cory Jones to eligibilty after last season. He was selected to the East-West Bowl this year which is an honor in itself, but he also showed he is among the elite receivers in Canada this year. George’s West team may have lost 12-9 in the game on Saturday, but George was the best receiver for either side hauling in 8 balls for 132 yards and a touchdown. The next closest receiver had 46 yards.

When I spoke with George a few weeks ago, he said he was thrilled to represent the Huskies and the city in the game. I think that it probably goes both ways as we are all pretty proud to have him as one of our representatives.

Quarterback Laurence Nixon was also at the game. Laurence joked at the Dogs Breakfast saying that his cell phone rang just as the NFL draft was starting… unfortunately it was a call from Blockbuster Video saying he had rentals overdue. During Saturday’s contest, Nixon went 13 for 23 passing for 139 yards and threw 2 interceptions and was also sacked once.

The other representatives from the Dogs were offensive lineman Ben Heenan and middle linebacker Peter Thiel. Thiel was 4th in tackles for the West with 4 (3 solo and 2 assisted).

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Glen Suitor Boasts About Huskies

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 6, 2010

When people hear me talk about the Huskies football organization as being the class of the CIS, I always wonder if people think I’m being a homer or if they know what goes on behind the scenes. When TSN analyst Glen Suitor was in Saskatoon recently, I talked with him about some of his opinions regarding the Dogs. Glen may be a graduate of Simon Fraser (which I might add is not even in the CIS anymore), but he thinks of himself as a Huskie in some ways.

Here are a few of the Q & A’s from our interview.

Q- What keeps bringing you back to the Dogs Breakfast?
A- The class of this organization and Brian Towriss. And what a leadership role he has taken, not just in this community but with the college program in the entire country. This really is a program that has set the bar in our country for college football. It’s comparable to many of the big colleges in the United States. That bodes well. Even more importantly than the support for the athletes to get to the next level, they’re supporting and creating great citizens and that’s why it keeps drawing me back every year.

Q- It almost seems like you’re turning into a Huskie fan… am I wrong?
A- Not at all, you’re not wrong. Absolutely! I almost feel like I went to this University for a couple of reasons. Number 1, is my involvment with the Dogs Breakfast over the last 6 years but also because when we were in training camp here for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, we would stay up here. So my rookie season, I was staying in the dorms at the U of S. That combination makes me feel like I attended this school. It’s a pleasure to be here, to be part of it and I’m real proud of what this community always does. I’m proud of being an alumni of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and having grown up in this province because this kind of support and backing of the community is amazing.

Q- Obviously you get to look at different talent in the CIS, where would you say Saskatchewan ranks when it comes to recruiting and talent?
A- I think this is a team that will always compete for Vanier Cups. Once you build a program with the best interest of the players and continue to get the support that this community gives this program, it just leads to success. And success will continue to happen here because of the great leadership of B.T. and the community. All the good prospects will consider this University because this is a winning organization. It’s a winning organization with a winning foundation and that is appealing to all players.

Q- On a lighter note, do you ever miss working in radio in Regina?
A- (Laughs) I do and I may be doing a little more radio in Regina in the near future so stay tuned (laughs).

Glen told me he isn’t quitting his job at TSN, the radio gig would be more of a football report type of feature.

Suitor seems to be at most big Huskie events including hosting the premier of “Season of Dreams” a couple of years ago at TCU Place. He also promised he’d try and make a home game to really experience the Game Day atmosphere at Griffiths Stadium. Unfortunately, all the Huskie regular season home games clash with TSN’s Fiday Night Football so he may try to sneak down for one of the playoff games if his schedule allows.

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Dylan Barker Reminisces About His Huskie Days

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 5, 2010

Hamilton Tiger Cats safety Dylan Barker was at the Football Legends Reception in Saskatoon last week with many other former and current Huskie and CFL’ers. Barker just recently had his contract extended which is a little disappointing to a lot of Central Saskatchewan fans who’d love to see him in a Green & White uniform. The 6 foot 4, 200 pounder was the 1st overall selection in the 2008 CFL Canadian draft, the same draft where Paul Woldu was selected by the Montreal Alouettes and Hubert Buydens by the BC Lions. The Moose Jaw native set a new Ticats team record and tied the Canadian Football League record with 37 special teams tackles in 2009.  He also added 6 defensive tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and had a fumble recovery.

He looked to be in good spirits at the reception which also featured the likes of Kelly Bates, Gene Makowsky, Paul Woldu, Ken Miller, Jim Hopson, Ken Cheveldayoff and of course the Huskie coaching staff. I asked him about his favorite moment in a Huskie uniform and it was a no-brainer, “Definitely the Vanier Cup, when that was played here (2006), I never had that kind of chill go through my body. I mean walking out with the team feeling we had going into that one… we thought we were going to win that one. The snowbirds, the fireworks going off, the minus 40 degrees, you got 15 000 fans cheering for you. There was no feeling better than that with my time with the Huskies.”

Barker also talked about the some of the changes since his first year with the Huskies. He mentioned the dressing rooms and the field are much better now. “It’s all just top notch, if I was a player, this is a city where I would want to play in.”

The most impressive thing about Barker however is how he handles himself off the field. He is genuine and remembers his roots which was proved by him coming back. He is quick to thank Huskies head coach Brian Towriss and defensive coordinator Ed Carleton for his progress and believes they could be CFL coaches if they wanted to be. He even went further back in his career than that. ” I remember back to playing PeeWee football in Moose Jaw and growing up here in Saskatchewan, going through PeeWee, Bantam, high school, B.T. recruiting me out of Central and coming back for 4 years. That was 4 of the best years of my life. We had great football teams every year.” He went on to talk about the relationships and the community that have meant so much.

I believe that Dylan could make any CFL team just based on character alone, as for his talent, well that’s just a bonus. It’s hard not to believe him when he says he’s a Huskie for life.

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