Summing up Ken Shields' career in a few paragraphs sells him short, but the legendary former UVic coach is going into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Seven national championships in a row? That will never happen again. Of course, no one will do it while simultaneously serving as his school's athletic coordinator, as he did at Victoria. Another part left out of his bio is that he coached the UBC women's team to a national championship in 1970, which gives him a career double that you're also unlikely to see.

Of course, Shields' influence goes way beyond winning, whether it extended to helping Victoria stage the 1994 Commonwealth Games, or helping coach national teams in Japan, Great Britain and the Republic of Georgia. He's had six or seven great careers, so far, imparting the finer points of one of the finest things in life, hoops. He's had plenty of honours, but it would be remiss not to mention this one.

(Now when does Kathy Shields get into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame?)

Ken Shields Makes Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (Canada Basketball release)
The Canada West football schedule was released this afternoon. A few quick highlights, week by week:
  • Week 1: Simon Fraser at UBC. The two B.C. schools get the honour of starting before the rest of the country, on the Aug. 28-29 weekend.

  • Week 2: Calgary at Saskatchewan. Blake Nill's team, likely with a new quarterback, Erik Glavic, get a tough matchup right out of the gate.

  • Week 3: Regina at Saskatchewan. Who knows what the Rams will be like without graduated QB Teale Orban, but their games vs. the green dogs are often good.

  • Week 4: Alberta at Simon Fraser. A good test for the Golden Bears, going on the road vs. a team that plays good defence.

  • Week 5: Simon Fraser at Calgary. Coach Dave Johnson's Clan visit McMahon Stadium for the first time since the Hardy Cup game.

    UBC is also home to Regina this weekend. Remember what happened to the T-Birds the last time the Rams visited?

  • Week 6: Saskatchewan at Simon Fraser. Remember what happened to the Huskies when they made this trip last year. They lost 27-17 after being up by 15 points at halftime.

  • Week 7: Manitoba at Calgary. The only scheduled matchup of the past two Canada West champions. It's kind of a bummer it was put on Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Week 8: UBC at Simon Fraser. Presumably, this will be the Shrum Bowl game.

  • Week 9: Regina at Calgary. The Rams didn't get in the end zone the last time they went into McMahon Stadium.

  • Week 10: Saskatchewan at Regina and Calgary at Alberta. Two rivalry games to cap off the regular season, on Halloween weekend.
The CFL Canadian college draft is Saturday, so the league's scouting bureau has released its list of top CIS prospects. Bishop's and Regina were the only teams to have more than one player listed. Bishop's Jamall Lee signed a free-agent contract with the NFL's Carolina Panthers, it's far-fetched to think he wouldn't go in the first round. His hometown B.C. Lions have the Nos. 4, 5, 6 picks, by the way.

The first two rounds of the draft air Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern on TSN.
  1. Simeon Rottier, offensive line, Alberta (1)
  2. Jamall Lee, running back, Bishop's (2)
  3. Étienne Légaré, defensive line, Laval (4)
  4. Matt Carter, slotback, Acadia (8)
  5. Dylan Steenbergen, offensive line, Calgary (9)
  6. Matt Morencie, offensive line, Windsor (3)
  7. Dee Sterling, defensive line, Queen's (-)
  8. Tamon George, defensive back, Regina (13)
  9. Matt Morris, defensive back, Toronto (-)
  10. James Yurichuk, linebacker, Bishop's (-)
  11. Scott McHenry, slotback, Saskatchewan (6)
  12. Jonathan Pierre-Étienne, defensive line, Montreal (-)
  13. Steve Myddelton, offensive line, St. Francis Xavier (7)
  14. Mike Cornell, linebacker, Ottawa (11)
  15. Stan Van Sichem, defensive line, Regina (-)
Cross-posted to Out of Left Field.
Not one - but both of this year's CIS Athlete of the Year winners are Alberta natives.

UBC student and Edmonton native Annamay Pierse has been named female athlete of the year. Pierse swins for UBC and broke the 200-metre breaststroke short-course record during Canadian Spring Nationals. Pierse competed for Canada this summer in Beijing. Pierse had an incredible performance at CIS nationals this year - winning the 50-, 100- and 200- metre individual breaststroke events.

The male athlete of the year is U of A volleyball player Joel Schmuland. Schmuland led the Golden Bears to the national championship and an undefeated season. Schmuland caputed CIS volleyball player of the year and won tournament MVP at nationals. The 6 foot 7 power hitter finished his career at the U of A with 3 national championships.

Each athlete won a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Jamall Lee's free-agent deal with Carolina Panthers probably rates just as much attention as Vaughn Martin being drafted.

It's all about filling a role. The Panthers are a power-running team which employs a tailback platoon, with one physical runner and a speedster who can break off a big run when the defence is worn down. In six of the past seven seasons, they have had at least two backs with 100 carries, so the opportunity for advancement is there if the 225-lb. Lee, who ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the CFL combine, can make the leap (although some Laval fans would joke that going from facing the Rouge et Or to the New Orleans Saints is a lateral move at most).

Last season, their No. 2 tailback, Jonathan Stewart, had 184 carries, which is as much as some NFL teams give to their busiest back (okay, not quite, but that's a lot for a guy who split time with 1,500-yard rusher, DeAngelo Williams). Lee has a lot to learn and there's always the risk any Canadian athlete

The Panthers also used their fourth-round pick on a running back, Mike Goodson from Texas A&M, who probably stacks up as a third-down back (he had almost as many yards receiving, 386, as he did rushing, 406, last season). Lee might offer some potential as a kick returner.

(Apologies for not getting this up sooner; busy night at work yesterday.)

Bishop's running back to get NFL shot with Carolina (The Canadian Press)
It was no risk at all Vaughn Martin to declare for the NFL draft. It's a great day for him, first and foremost, getting drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round, 113th overall. It's a great day for Canadian university football, too.

He is an outlier, since 330-pound men who are hostile, mobile and agile don't come along too often in Canadian university football. Point being, defy anyone to find a downside to having an underclassman drafted by the NFL out of CIS. It's a good advertisement for the game, as far as most media and fans are concerned.

(And a commenter called it!)

The National Football Post, on behalf of Yahoo! Sports, says:
"Martin is one of the most intriguing talents in this draft. He's a massive 6-foot-3, 330-pound nose tackle who played the past year in Canada. But he is a gifted athlete who has the makings of a potential steal and the guy who could take over for Jamal Williams in the coming years."
Williams is 33, for anyone interested.

It helped Martin that the 3-4 defence (three down linemen, four linebackers; most pro and collegiate teams in Canada run a 4-3) has enjoyed a renaissance in the NFL. At the start of this decade, it seemed like a football anachronism and has almost disappeared from the NFL.

Half a dozen teams use the 3-4 full-time and a couple others are working it into their defences, since it gives them another fleet defender. Martin seems to have the physical specs, namely the size and longish arms to help hold off blockers.

San Diego's roster seems to reflect that with interior defensive linemen, it really doesn't matter what school you attended. Three of their DLs, Jacques Cesaire (Southern Connecticut St.), Andre Coleman (Albany) Keith Grennan (Eastern Washington) played below the NCAA's top division.

The Chargers also have their share of small-school or "project" players. Their all-everything tight end, Antonio Gates, is a converted basketball player. Starting wide receiver Vincent Jackson played at Northern Colorado, a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) school.

As for the impact on Western, the Mustangs are relatively well-stocked in the middle of the defensive line. Mike Van Praet, who tips the Toledos at 300 lbs., entering his sophomore season after playing as a true freshman in 2008. Chris Greaves, listed at 6-foot, 275 lbs., would be entering his fourth season. Greg Best was limited to two games last fall, but he was nimble enough to occasionally serve as a blocking back for Randy McAuley during the 2007 season.
Western d-lineman Vaughn Martin won't go until the second day of the NFL draft, if he's taken at all. The gut feeling here is he gets a free-agent shot.

However, it might be wise to keep an eye peeled to see if the teams that are said to have shown interest in Martin draft a space-eating defensive tackle. Teams aren't likely to draft two players at the same position in a league where the draft is only seven rounds.

Update the first: The Green Bay Packers have taken B.J. Raji from Boston College with the No. 9 overall choice.

Update 2: The Atlanta Falcons also took a tackle, Peria Jerry from Mississippi (no holier-than-thou liberal ever calls it Ole Miss). Jerry's more of a pass rusher (6-foot-2, 290 lbs).

Update 3: The New England Patriots used one of their four second-rounders on Ron Brace of Boston College, who projects as a nosetackle in a 3-4 defence.

Update 4: The Indianapolis Colts, who did check out Martin and have been willing to take on Canadians, took 6-foot-5, 295-lb. Fili Moala from Southern California at No. 56.

Third round: Three DTs were taken, Terrance Knighton (Temple) by Jacksonville; Roy Miller (Texas) by Tampa Bay; Corvey Irvin (Georgia) by Carolina (one of the teams which reportedly was interested in Martin).

Fourth round: St. Louis Rams took Clemson's 6-4, 320-lb. Dorell Scott.

The San Diego Chargers, who brought Martin in for a visit, used their first two picks on a defensive end and a linebacker. They have seven picks across rounds 4-7, so keep that in mind (or not).

None of this is meant to imply one of these teams wouldn't take a chance on Martin, but he'd have more competition going up against a high draft pick.
Guard Tyrell Mara is going to attempt to play in the Final 8 the season after playing in the NCAA tournament.

Mara, a 6-foot-5 guard, has transferred from the Portland State Vikings to Trinity Western, where he'll work with his former high school coach, Scott Allen. He averaged 16.5 minutes, scoring 3.7 points with 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists for Portland State, which was a tournament team each of the past two seasons. Mara will have two years of eligibility, since he lost all but three games of 2006-07 to a knee injury and received a medical redshirt.

The Spartans, who came within one game of a Final 8 trip last season, also have another talented transfer who's a big guard, 6-foot-5 Calvin Westbrook. The one-time Canadian junior national team member sat out last season after transferring from NCAA Division II Cal State Stanislaus, where he averaged 9.1 points in 2007-08.

Howard Tsumura notes that with Jacob Doerksen coming back, Mara and Westbrook should "form the nucleus of what is likely the most talented team in Spartans' history."

For anyone wondering, Canada West is bringing in a cross-over playoff format next season with the two-division format. The first-place team in the West will play the fourth-place team in the East and vice-versa, with both finalists going to the Final 8 in Ottawa. It means TWU's route to nationals wouldn't have go to through UBC.

Mara's journey brings him back to B.C. and a spot in Spartans' star-studded lineup (Howard Tsumura, Little Man on Campus)
Tragedy strikes all worlds, even those as small as the CIS. The most recent casualty from Afghanistan, Major Michelle Mendes, was the wife of RMC men's soccer coach Victor Mendes. Our thoughts go out to him and the RMC community during this difficult time.
A round-up of media reports on Western d-lineman Vaughn Martin is called for, since he is eligible for this weekend's NFL draft.

Martin was on Prime Time Sports on The FAN 590 in Toronto tonight. He came across very well and got a laugh out of hosts Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt when he joked that scouts liked him because he's "barbaric."

Martin's representation (his agent is Matt Baxter, banned for CIS for doping, and human nature is that where there's smoke, there's fire), or how he's had time to write his winter semester exams while working out and interviewing with close to half the teams in the NFL, did not come up. Paul Kuharsky of also noted, that he liked the idea of a team such as Indianapolis, which already has two CIS players on their rosters, taking him.

"They might be thrilled to get a guy half as big," Kuharsky said during a chat on Thursday.

"But NFLDraftScout has him unrated -- so there's got to be some concern."

Stampede Blue, a Colts blog, was also high on Martin. Its suggestion was that signing Martin would be worth it, just to keep him away from AFC rivals such as San Diego or New England. talked up Martin as a small-school sleeper.
"Only on rare occasions does a college player from Canada catch the fancy of NFL decision makers, and that's exactly what Vaughn Martin has done. Five teams went to London, Ontario, to watch Martin work out on the second Saturday in March. The 327-pound defender put on a show, running as fast as 5.07 in the 40 after completing 31 reps on the bench. (Ed.'s note: 25 reps at 225 lbs. is considered the standard for linemen, correct me if I'm wrong.)

"Martin has the size and strength to be used at nose tackle or middle guard. The Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers not only attended Martin's workout, but also brought him to the states for an official visit."
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also provided a capsule:
"Born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto and London, Martin tried to play football in the U.S. but had trouble getting his transcripts accepted and played at Western Ontario. Last season, he played mostly at defensive tackle, but also filled in at end. Probably is better suited for nose tackle in a 3-4. He had 36 tackles, 3½ sacks and 7½ tackles for loss last season. Also served as a blocker in short yardage plays. Visited Packers and had private workout at school. Late-round pick or free agent."
Last and certainly least, Gregg Easterbrook at Tuesday Morning Quarterback, which used to be really funny back around 2001, joked the Buffalo Bills should draft Martin with their second first-round pick, 28th overall:
"With the Bills becoming the NFL's first globalized franchise, a Canadian is a box-office must. Canadian law requires disclosure of the salaries of highly paid public employees, including at public universities. Here, the University of Western Ontario discloses 16 pages of staff paid more than $100,000 per year Canadian, including hundreds of professors. Eat your hearts out, temp faculty at American public colleges!
It's been a hot topic of discussion at the dot-org whether Martin will get drafted on Sunday, when rounds 3-7 of the draft are held.

The bottom line is there aren't many players who are 325 lbs. and can run the 40-yard dash in 5-flat. A scout is really going to have to do a selling job to convince a team to draft Martin, so this will be interesting. A gut feeling is Martin gets a free-agent shot.
Eric Thurston is officially the head coach of the Alberta Golden Bears hockey team, with the 'interim' tag being taken off his job title. Thurston was serving on an interim basis while Rob Daum was on a three-year leave.

Thurston has put together an impressive resume in his four years at the helm of the country's winningest university program compiling a record of 84-26-2 in conference play, and capturing two national titles along the way as well as being named CIS coach of the year this past season which saw the Bears advance to the national tournament before falling to UNB in the opener.

Athletics Director Dale Schulha made it clear that the university received a great amount of interest for the head coaching position. This comes as no surprise as the head coaching position at the U of A is a highly coveted one with the program's rich tradition of great coaches and national championships.

The announcement won't change how Thurston has been going about his business, as he has been approaching recruiting and preperation for next season as if he would be the Bears head coach.

Thurston has a couple large holes to fill in the Bears roster before September rolls around. Aaron Sorochan in goal will be missed greatly by the Bears as he was far and away the best goaltender in the Canada West last season, and should have pro options for the upcoming season. Along with Sorochan, the Bears lose fifth year forward Ben Kilgour who was one of the team's best players the second half of the season and also held a key leadership role in the locker room.

Thurston is more than deserving of the job as he has been with the program for 14 years as a coach and proved himself as a head coach over the past four seasons. Thurston will now be able to continue to make his mark on the program moving forward without the 'interim' tag. As Thurston said in the release:

“It’s nice to have the interim tag removed so that I can really move forward with this program, but at the same time, I’ve never approached the job with an interim mind-set."

That leaves only Calgary unsettled behind the bench in the Canada West.
A heads-up: New Brunswick forward Kevin Henderson has signed an entry-level NHL contract with the NHL's San Jose Sharks:
"Kevin will be a great addition to our organization and we are looking forward to continuing his development as a professional hockey player. He’s someone who can play in all situations and we commend the job that UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall and his staff have done."
The national champion Varsity Reds will have to replace two-thirds of their top line, since Jimmy Cuddihy completed his eligibility.

Incidentally, for anyone ever in need of a university hockey fix, check out

(Thanks to David Kilfoil for the tip.)
Last week the Calgary Dinos sent hockey head coach Scott Atkinson packing after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 24 years. The season was a huge disappointment for the Dinos, with few highs and many lows.

The highlight of the Dinos season was a two game sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies the last weekend of January, as they looked to have finally found their stride. That was not the case though, as the Dinos finished up the regular season with three straight losses to fall short in their push for the playoffs. Atkinson who compiled a record of 108-103-10 over eight seasons at the helm of the red and white was overshadowed by a 15-20 record in the post-season. Despite being praised for the academic success of players under Atkinson, that clearly was not enough for U of C athletic director Kevin Boyles.

Along with the changes in Calgary, Mike Sirant is officially returning to be the head coach of the Manitoba Bisons as anticipated and reported several weeks ago in a previous post. This leaves Don MacGillivray who was the head coach in an interim basis while Sirant was on his leave of absence in a position to pursue a CIS job with another Canada West job opening up. It will be interesting to see if MacGillivray decides to look at the Calgary option and if he is emerges as a serious candidate - he is a former Canada West coach of the year winner and would be a legitimate option for the Dinos.

Eric Thurston at the University of Alberta should have his 'interim' head coach tag removed sometime in the very near future assuring he will be at the helm for the Bears for years to come.

That leaves only Calgary unsettled behind the bench for the upcoming season, and a replacement should come relatively quickly before recruiting season really heats up with the end of major junior playoffs.
Saying Josh Wright went wrong for the Ottawa Gee-Gees was a bit much. At the end of the day, Ottawa coach Dave DeAveiro took a high-reward move on a legit NCAA D-1 point guard. The just-the-facts-ma'am is that the Gee-Gees were ranked high as No. 2 in the country and ended up bowing out of the Final 8 hunt with a 20-some-point loss to Western in the first round (although granted, Western was probably good enough to win the national championship).
"Guard Josh Wright will not return to the Gee-Gees men's basketball team next season.

"The six-foot-one transfer from Utica, New York who played half a season in the CIS is hoping to secure a professional contract in Europe.

" 'It's something we thought would happen,' said Gee-Gees men's head basketball coach Dave DeAveiro. 'It was his goal to play pro somewhere.'

"Wright, 22, scored just under 17 points per game over 12 regular season games with uOttawa after joining the Gee-Gees in December, 2008 following three seasons at Syracuse.

"It is not known where Wright intends to play. A call to his home in New York State was not returned." — school release
Wright was a treat to watch, but there were a few along press row at the Final 8 who felt he did not make Gee-Gees combo guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe a better player.

The Gee-Gees will be a bit of a X-factor in the OUA in 2009-10. Carleton has the automatic entry into the Final 8, so once again an OUA East team will have two shots to qualify for nationals, either be winning the division or a third-place game. Ottawa will have new starters at the 4 and 5 spots, since David Labentowicz and Dax Dessureault have graduated. Forward Nemanja Baletic and centre Louis Gauthier each started to come on at the end of last season.

Sophomore swingman Warren "Worldwide" Ward is going to have nights where he takes your breath away, while third-year man Jacob Gibson-Bascombe and fifth-year senior Donnie Gibson are still in the backcourt picture.

Cross-posted to Out of Left Field.
Spare a thought for those close to Daryl Mahler. The coach and teacher at Denis Morris in St. Catharines, who served as convener for the popular Ontario Catholic Classic basketball tournament, was killed in a crash in southwest Ontario this weekend.

Mahler also coached football, cross-country and track and field at Denis Morris. He survived by his spouse, Theresa, who suffered bruises in the crash and their five children — Adam, 23; Ryan, 21; Matt, 20; Danielle, 18; and Michael, 14.

Condolences are due, since as we all know, every school community has someone such as Daryl Mahler who helps keep varsity athletics running smoothly.

Popular phys-ed teacher killed in crash (Karena Walter, St. Catharines Standard)
Chris Critelli of Brock became the second women's coach with 25-plus years of service to step down this month, joining Dalhousie's Carolyn Savoy. She made reference to the burnout factor in the profession, who often have extra duties piled on top of having to coach 15 often high-maintenance 18- to 24-year-old athletes.
" 'In Canada, coaching is tough. I'm a high-energy person and that's the only reason why I stayed in it.'

"Maybe if all she had to do was coach, things might be different.

" 'I don't know where we're going with coaching in this country unless we come up with 80 factor or something to get coaches in the game and keep them in the game. It's going to get tougher and tougher.' " — St. Catharines Standard
Si Khounviseth, an assistant coach, has been tapped to take over the Badgers next season.

Critelli, of course, is an institution in women's hoops in Canada, having played on the national team at age 17 before going on to play on national championship teams in both the CIAU and NCAA. You'll never see anyone pull that feat off again.

Critelli gives up coaching; Assistant coach Si Khounviseth will take over at Brock (St. Catharines Standard)
Justin McElroy, a past news editor at The Ubyssey, the UBC campus newspaper was kind enough to give the lay of the land in the wake of news the Thunderbirds won't join the NCAA for 2009-10:
"General reaction from students seems to be 'smart call' — given the state of the economy right now (UBC lost $200 million in its endowment this past year), and the lack of enthusiasm the community has to the athletics program, there isn't much complaint. The only people who have been really championing this have been Athletic Director Bob Philip (he's been pushing for this since 1999, I believe), a few donors/alumni, and most players/coaches.

"The window isn't completely closed on going to the NCAA, but according to president Stephen Toope, next year is the final year of the three-year window. For UBC to reverse course, a) the university community would have to get on board, b) accreditation would have to be waived, c) the economy would have to improve, d) the CIS would have to remain stubborn on all the issues UBC has with them. Possible? Perhaps. Likely? Not really.

"The reason it's always been in doubt is simply the litany of problems with it. Students have been against it since the beginning (UBC students pay more in athletic plus gym fees than anywhere else in the country).

"University officials have been lukewarm on the idea (the new president is much less a 'build build build/make the university world-class guy,' and more of a 'let's listen to people and make this a good place for teaching and learning' guy). Athletics has been publicly deliberately unclear in whether this is a stepping stone to D1, which has muddled the debate, and made it easy to attack the finances/culture change of potentially going to D1. People don't see real benefits in going to D2. None of these things are deal-breakers in themselves, but there's just way too many obstacles."
Vancouver Province sportswriter Marc Weber, who was previously the sports information director at UBC, left a comment earlier today, saying in part,
"Two things: One is GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference -- ed.) is almost all travel by bus, which everyone knows is much cheaper than flying, especially when you factor in a major sport like football or hockey. More importantly, CIS cost-shares championship travel, which schools pay almost half a million into. There is no such thing in NCAA, where the league pays for championship travel.

"Most of all when you consider UBC, you have to understand their long term vision is D1 not D2. They're not going to talk about that while they're trying to go D2 and be a valuable member there, but everyone knows it's the case. The Athletic Department stated it publicly years ago when they first went down this road.

"And if you need a more 'legit' reason to explore this avenue, look no further than the very real potential of an all-B.C. division within Canada West in a couple of years. Yes, perhaps that reduces the travel cost argument, but it raises a more important one about competitive opportunity. UBC gets to play... Vancouver Island University? UBC Okanagan? UNBC? As well as Fraser Valley and Thompson Rivers. How is that any different than your Academy of Art.

"As far as attracting athletes: Will being a D2 school keep kids at home who have good D1 opportunities down south? No. But what about all the kids playing at no-name D1 schools or D2 schools. Personally, I believe you will keep some of those kids home simply because you can give them a full ride and they can stay in Canada and get a great education."
Again, it's complex. It seems pretty clear the centre will not hold from UBC Athletics' point of view. Sports doesn't happen in a vacuum, though, and a subtext here seems to be the divide you sometimes see between varsity athletics and student life on Canadian campuses. (That by no means is limited to one school.)

UBC puts NCAA Div. 2 application on hold (Marc Weber, Vancouver Province)
Justin McElroy of The Ubyssey just passed along word that UBC is not applying to join Division II of the NCAA:
"(UBC president Stephen) Toope said the university had several unresolved issues with joining the NCAA that prevented an application from going forward.

"First, Toope cited the divided opinion within UBC for moving to the American association, which he characterized as 'dramatic.' Of the 537 people that responded to a survey done by the review committee in October 2008, only 48 per cent said they agreed that UBC should proceed with an application for membership in the NCAA.

"The president also mentioned concerns about UBC being forced to undergo academic accreditation by a US agency, which is required to join the NCAA. The issue has been a sticking block of the academic community at the university, and while Toope said the NCAA are considering waiving the requirement for UBC, no decision has been made as of yet."
The question is whether this is a "no" or a "not now" from the University of British Columbia.

It's an emotional and logistical hornets' nest for the largest university in B.C., especially with Premier Gordon Campbell minting new universities like they were Facebook groups.

Speaking as an Easterner in a have-not province, the only concern on this end is that ultimately something will be done that does right by the athletes, in terms of offering them a good level of competition without overtaxing the ol' budget. Presumably, dual membership is the way to go there, but as the article notes, there's no clarity there.

UBC not applying for NCAA membership (Justin McElroy, The Ubyssey)
SFU's path to NCAA is clear-cut; UBC's is complicated (March 27)
The University of Calgary announced Wednesday it has cut funding to two CIS team sports, men's soccer and women's field hockey.

It's not a final decision; the release says "alternative funding models" will be explored by both programs to keep them in Canada West. The upshot is that Calgary will concentrate on football, basketball, hockey (the women's team will likely join CIS in 2009-10), volleyball and women's soccer, along with the individual sports: Track and field, wrestling and swimming.

It seems understandable, as much as this sucks for the affected athletes. Across Canada, there's a movement for universities to concentrate scarce resources (cough) on what they do best. Offering a women's soccer program is justifiable, since men probably have more opportunities to play outside of university (more intramural leagues, more club teams, more leisure time as they move into their late 20s and 30s). Maybe they can organize a tea party.

A university doesn't owe people a varsity team. At the same time, it should preserve individual sports such as track, swimming and cross-country for the same reason a school has to have an English or philosophy department. It's sort of central to the idea of university that you offer these sports that might not be sexy, but reveal character and discipline. (Sorry to get so flowery!)

UC Dinos announce programming changes (press release)
Lakehead is a different kettle of fish than almost every other men's hockey team in Canada, but replacing coach Don McKee with Joel Scherban, the former captain ... to paraphrase Bart in The Simpsons episode where Homer abruptly stands up in the middle of dinner to tell the family he's going to clown college, "I don't think any of us expected them to do that."
"Scherban returns to the program after graduating three seasons ago as its most successful player. The 28-year-old Thunder Bay native won multiple MVPs and spearheaded the Thunderwolves to two appearances at the Canadian university championship, reaching the gold medal game in his final year. However, the prevailing theme after Tuesday‘s news conference on campus was Scherban‘s lack of coaching experience.

"He hadn't coached a minor hockey team before being given the keys to the most high-profile team in Thunder Bay." — Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
It could work, who knows? Lakehead was looking for a shakeup after the Thunderwolves failed to reach the final in both the OUA playoffs and Cavendish University Cup. Hiring a newbie coach who's still on the cool side of the big three-oh is a shakeup, for sure.

Scherban would be the third 20-something to head up an OUA team, joining RMC's Adam Shell and Queen's Brett Gibson.

Thunderwolves drop bombshell (Reuben Villagracia, Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal)
Thunderwolves fire coach Don McKee (TB Television)
The Vancouver Whitecaps announced yesterday that they've signed Trinity Western defender Paul Hamilton to a one-year contract with their Premier Development League team.

Hamilton's been a standout at the CIS level for some time now; he's been named a Canada West first-team all-star and a second-team All-Canadian for both of the last two seasons. In 2007, he led the Spartans to the best record in the Canada West regular season, and also was a big part of their Canada West championship. In 2008, his strong defending played an important role in their run to the silver medal at the nationals. He also played for the Cape Breton Capers back in 2005, helping them to the AUS title, and was named the conference rookie of the year and a second-team conference all-star along the way.

It's going to be tough for Hamilton to crack the Whitecaps' senior side at the moment, as they have a considerable amount of talented centre backs (unlike many MLS teams). Marco Reda and Wesley Charles will be the opening-day starters, with Jeff Parke expected to step in after returning from his suspension. Still, Hamilton should have plenty of time to develop with the PDL team and may even get in a first-side appearance here and there if some of the other players are called away on international duty. The above release mentions that he's been loaned to the senior team for tonight's season opener [7 p.m. Pacific vs. the Charleston Battery; I'll be live-blogging it over at The 24th Minute], so he may even see time as a substitute.

It's also going to be interesting to watch and see what happens with the Trinity program next season. They've been a long-time powerhouse, but Canada West is full of great men's soccer teams, including UBC and UVic. Moreover, long-time head coach Al Alderson resigned last month after 17 successful seasons of off-and-on coaching. Whoever they bring in will have to work to maintain the tremendous recruiting relationships Alderson had. It's not clear if Hamilton's PDL obligations will prevent him from playing another year for Trinity or not, but if they do, he'll also be a big loss.

(By the way, Hamilton will have CIS company on the Whitecaps' defence. They're expected to start former SFU star Luca Bellisomo at right back tonight.)
Attention must be said when a coach with 858 wins across four decades passes the reins. Dalhousie's Carolyn Savoy is going to focus on academic work in the south-end Halifax university's School of Health and Human Performance, reports the hometown Herald
"Ive been very fortunate to be in a job where I loved running practices, the individual sessions with players, seeing them grow from freshmen to seniors and now they are doctors and successful in business. I loved that and I love being part of their lives.

"As a coach, you have those fond memories. Not just who they are as players but who they are as people. And some of them are still good friends of mine to this day and they are in their 50s."
Savoy is 61 and started at Dal in 1977 after seven years at St. FX, so by our math, she would have been a head coach at age 22. It's really hard to get wrapped around that, knowing what we were like at age 22.

Veteran Dal hoops coach Savoy retires (Glenn MacDonald, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Two out of three ain't bad for Dave Smart and the Carleton Ravens.

Much vaunted forward Tyson Hinz of Orleans according to Hoopstars Canada, is committed to Carleton, meaning the most-feted player in the city is staying home for his collegiate career (and, shades of a certain man who played the same position and wore No. 42, he helped his school win an OFSAA title in his final season)

Six-foot-5 swingman Greg Faulkner out of Kingston, also a Hoopstars Canada top 50 player, is headed to Carleton, the Kingston Whig-Standard reported this morning. The Ravens got two of the three top-50 players from Eastern Ontario, since 6-foot-8 post Owen Klassen from Kingston Bayridge committed to Acadia.

No one you need any reminder that Hinz' decision was probably the most closely watched in Ottawa basketall circles. He led his St. Matthew Tigers to a 45-1 season and the Ontario AAA title. His dad, Will Hinz, was a superb player at McGill during the 1980s, where he has a Rhodes Scholar at McGill, which sparked talk his son would follow in his footsteps, plus Redmen coach Craig Norman has often recruited in the Ottawa area (Orleans' Kevin Dulude was the lynchpin when Norman had RMC playing winning basketball in the first half of the 2000s.)

Faulkner's club coaches with the Kingston Impact were Rob Smart Sr. and Duncan Cowan, the Queen's coaches. His literary namesake should concoct such a subplot.
"Duncan and Rob have done a lot for me to get me where I am. It's just that I want to move on and try something different." — Faulkner, via The Whig sports editor Mike Koreen
The estimable Koreen also caught up with Acadia-bound post player Owen Klassen, who played club ball with Faulkner on the Kingston Impact and against him in high school. Klassen's high school coach at Bayridge Secondary, Geoff Stewart, told The Whig:
"Owen can make a significant impact. I've compared him to Aaron Doornekamp. He has a similar skill set, he's tall and co-ordinated and he can play inside and outside like Aaron."
Evidently, every 6-foot-7ish kid who can shoot the three and pass out double-teams is going to be held to that standard.

(Cross-posted to Out of Left Field; thanks to a commenter for the hook-up on Hinz.)
The expansion Nipissing Lakers will likely be Team X in the OUA, since as a first-year team has its work cut out for it, especially in a northern community.

Recruits so far include former Ottawa 67's d-man Brodie Beard "who played 3 seasons of Major Junior with the Ottawa 67's." (And, uh, also played nine games for Carleton last season, meaning he might have to sit out half of 2009-10.) Goalie Kyle Cantlon who played provincial Junior A with the Couchiching Terriers, is also said to be coming.

There's a hint about a "defenceman from the Oshawa Generals." The Gennies, who missed the OHL playoffs like a certain other team from a city located along Highway 401, had one overage D left at the end of the season, John Quarrie.

The Lakers,w ho will wear Vancouver Canucks blue and green, plan to give their first 500 season-ticket holders a replica jersey. Granted, with a team that chooses to model its uniform on Vancouver, who have to assume they'll change their colours every two or three years (eh, Andrew?)

Lakers Hockey tickets hit the market (
Former Alberta Golden Bear Cory Clouston has been rewarded with a two-year deal to stay on as the head coach of Ottawa Senators. Clouston, who spent four seasons at the U of A and was a part of the Bears' 1992 national championship team, has guided the Sens to an impressive 19-10-3 mark since Craig Hartsburg was fired earlier in the season.

The Sens have flourished under Clouston's more offensive style, and thanks to the team's great improvement Clouston will start next season without the interim tag.

After his four years at the U of A, Clouston spent time in both the BCHL and AJHL as first an assistant in Powell River of the BCHL, and then in the AJHL as head coach and GM of Grand Prairie. Clouston then joined the Kootenay Ice of the WHL as an assistant coach for the 1999-2000 season under then head coach Ryan McGill. After two seasons as an assistant, Clouston took over the head coaching position - a job he held for five seasons before joining the Sens organization as its AHL head coach in Binghamton.

Clouston is a major part of the Sens' late season reurgence, and should help the team return to the playoffs for the '09-'10 season. His ability to turn the struggling Sens in the right direction might have saved his GM Bryan Murray's job in the process.
The list of nominees for the BLG Awards, given annually to the top male and female CIS athletes, was announced earlier today [The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail]. They're detailed below. We'll have more analysis on who's likely to win closer to the date of the awards ceremony (April 27).


Canada West nominee: Joel Schmuland, University of Alberta Golden Bears
Sport: Volleyball
Position: Right-side hitter
Key accomplishments:CIS Player of the Year, three national titles in five years

OUA nominee: Francesco Bruno, York Lions
Sport: Soccer
Position: Midfielder
Key accomplishments: CIS men's soccer MVP, helped earn York's first national championship in soccer since 1977

QSSF nominee: Etienne Legare, Laval Rouge et Or
Sport: Football
Position: Defensive lineman
Key accomplishments: CIS lineman of the year, ranked fourth among Canadian college players by CFL Scouting Bureau, helped Laval to second Vanier Cup in three years

AUS nominee: Marc Rancourt, Saint Mary's Huskies
Sport: Hockey
Position: Left wing
Key accomplishments: Men's hockey player of the year, led the country in points and assists

Canada West nominee: Annamay Pierse, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds
Sport: Swimming
Key accomplishments: 2008 Olympian, short-course world-record holder in 200m breaststroke, swept breaststroke events at nationals this year

OUA nominee: Lindsay Carson, Guelph Gryphons
Sport: Cross-country and track
Key accomplishments: Led Guelph [Greg Layson, The Guelph Mercury] to fourth straight national cross-country championship and second place overall at track nationals, won OUA silver and CIS bronze in cross-country, earned OUA and CIS gold in 1,500m and 3,000m, recorded second-fastest 3,000m time in CIS history

QSSF nominee: Charline Labonte, McGill Martlets
Sport: Hockey
Position Goalie
Key accomplishments: First-team All-Canadian, member of national team since 2005, earned gold with Canadian women's hockey team at 2006 Olympics, led McGill to 36-0 record and second straight national championship this year, currently playing for Canada at world championships

AUS nominee: Ghislaine Landry, St. Francis Xavier X-Women
Sport: Rugby
Position Fullback
Key accomplishments: Two-time CIS player of the year, rookie of the year in 2006, silver medalist [Monty Mosher, Halifax Chronicle-Herald] with Team Canada at 2008 world sevens championship, led X-Women to silver medals at nationals
Former CFL president Jeff Giles will be picking up [Larry Moko, The Hamilton Spectator] the reins of McMaster's athletic program after Therese Quigley leaves this summer to take the helm at Western. Giles is an interesting figure and his years in a variety of roles with the CFL were full of highs and lows; his team was able to reignite a passion for the game in a younger audience and get the league on a sound financial footing, but they also were involved in the muddled U.S. expansion era and ran into some severe boardroom clashes. Some are quite high on his involvement, though: as David Grossman of the Toronto Star wrote, Giles "was once credited with saving the Canadian Football league, the oldest professional football league in North America, from near collapse." By the way, Giles' book Bigger Balls: The CFL and Overcoming the Canadian Inferiority Complex is a terrific read for anyone interested in an insider's perspective on the CFL of the 1990s.

Giles has a strong background in a variety of sports-related areas, which should help him do well at McMaster. He's a former Queen's track and field athlete and graduated with a B.A. and a B.P.H.E., so he knows the university sports and recreation world. He's got a solid grasp on the business and marketing side of the game from his time with the CFL and the years he spent as the president of the Toronto Argonauts. He's a chartered accountant, so he should know the numbers game quite well, and he has strong potential fundraising connections with key Mac alumni like David Braley (owner of the B.C. Lions) and Ron Foxcroft. He's worked as a corporate turnaround and restructuring specialist, which should give him some valuable insight into what parts of Mac's programs are effective, which need more help and which should be pruned. He's also well-connected in the business community from his recent role as president and co-founder of MedProDirect and his time as an author/motivational speaker, and his CFL connections could prove very useful in marketing Mac football. He told the Spectator he's always been a big Tiger-Cats fan; could some cross-promotion be in the works?

Giles is entering an interesting situation, though. In her past 24 years with the program (18 as director), Quigley did an excellent job of turning Mac into an athletics powerhouse in several sports (you can find a partial championship list here) and building several state-of-the-art facilities; I've seen the indoor ones first-hand on a couple of road trips and have been very impressed. Quigley will not be an easy act to follow. To make matters worse, some of the Marauders' most significant recent success has come in lower-profile sports such as volleyball. They've acheived a lot of success in selling students and the community on these sports, but wider-scale attention usually only comes in football and men's basketball. McMaster is decent in the big-ticket sports, but they haven't been dominant lately. However, he does have a nice $10.5 million athletics and recreation budget to work with (by comparison, Queen's had a budget of around $6.5 million this year), several strong coaches, great facilities and a passionate and engaged community of alumni.

It will be revealing to watch and see what Giles does with McMaster. In the above Spectator article, two of his top priorities are listed as "To expand the opportunities for intramural, club or inter-university athletes to participate in sport." and "To strengthen athletic programs by providing financial and coaching resources." As anyone who's been following the wake of athletic reviews [myself, Queen's Journal] around the OUA knows, those goals of increased participation and sustained excellence in competition are often diametrically opposed; the first requires cutting more slices into the financial pie, while the second usually involves investing larger amounts of resources into a few sports (often the higher-profile ones) and letting the other ones fall by the wayside. Which goal Giles gives precedence to will largely determine the course of McMaster's athletics programs over the next several years.

However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Giles' tenure to follow will be what he does on the external front. The other two priorities he enumerates in that article are "To elevate the profile of university sport in Canada and avoid losing CIS teams to United States NCAA leagues" and "To continue to integrate McMaster into the community for events such as the Pan Am Games." Those are bold goals for a new athletic director, but they sound much more realistic when you consider the scope of his responsibilities with the CFL. The portrait of Giles that emerged from Bigger Balls was of a brash, confident, unconventional young marketing guru, willing to think outside the box and try a vast array of initiatives in the hopes that one of them would work. Giles annoyed the traditionalists (perhaps never more so than with the "Bigger Balls" campaign itself), but he brought fresh thinking to the game and sold a new generation on it. It will be well worth watching to see if he's able to bring that excitement and avant-garde thinking to the CIS.

There are a lot of similarities between the CFL at the start of Giles' tenure and the CIS today. Both leagues were facing significant threats; financial instability in the case of the CFL, defecting schools and financial issues in the case of the CIS. Both leagues were relatively minor presences on a national scale, with their products undermarketed, underwatched and underattended. Giles made significant improvements to those areas during his time with the CFL; it remains to be seen what he'll be able to do in the CIS.

(By the way, Giles is not the first guy to make the CFL head office to CIS athletic director transition. Michael Lysko went from CFL commissioner to director of athletics at Western, where he made some pretty impressive strides [Sports Business Journal] in three years before leaving to become a vice-president of marketing partnerships at Intersport.)
Acadia has landed Owen Klassen, who was ranked as the No. 2 power forward in the country by Hoopstars Canada:
"Owen is a great competitor, but combines the skills, size, and athleticism to play every position on the floor. His versatility will allow us to find match-ups that we want to exploit, and use a variety of looks on the defensive end of the floor. He will, no doubt, be an impact player." — Stephen Baur, Acadia coach, team release
They don't rank just anybody second-best in the country at his position. Klassen, who's from Kingston (a town that's produced some pretty good CIS bigs such as Carleton's graduating Aaron Doornekamp and Queen's fourth-year forward Mitch Leger is said to be a pretty rangy, athletic 6-foot-8.

One does wonder if this has an influence on where Tyson Hinz, of Ottawa, ends up going, since they would have competed for minutes. Ideally, the education and the opportunity to grow as a person and player should trump wanting to pay right away. Besides, if you're confident in what you're doing and have the ability, the chance will come.
With the current struggles of several East Coast Hockey League teams, CIS schools could benefit from a larger crop of players looking for a place to play after finishing their major junior careers.

Both the Fresno Falcons and Augusta Lynx folded midway through the ECHL season, and three other teams will follow suit at the end of the season. The Phoenix RoadRunners, Dayton Bombers and Mississippi Sea Wolves will also cease operations at the end of the season. On a positive note for the league, a new team will be added for next season - the Toledo Walleyes, but still the league will be four teams smaller next season than they were when this season got underway in October.

What does that mean for the CIS? It means some players who were considering turning pro after finishing their junior careers will either think twice about joining a floundering ECHL team, or simply won't have enough options at the pro level and will be forced to look elsewhere. This adds up to players looking more closely at the CIS route.

With CHL grads receiving a minimum scholarship of tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees towards an undergraduate degree for each year played in major junior, taking some time to attend university while continuing to develop their game is an attractive option - especially with the ECHL's current instability.

With fewer options at the ECHL level, the CIS can only stand to benefit with more players putting off playing pro straight out of junior. It should benefit the players as well, as they receive an education, improve their skills and then down the road could find themselves more sought after by pro teams in North America and Europe after proving themselves at the CIS level.
Mike Sirant will likely return to coach the Manitoba Bisons mens hockey squad for the 2009-2010 season. Sirant took a two year leave of absence back in July of 2006 to become the Sports Director and head coach of the Danish National men’s ice hockey team. Sirant then asked for and received an extra year on that leave last year.

If Sirant returns it will be after guiding Denmark at both the 2007 and 2008 World Championships, including a ninth place finish at the 2007 championships - the countries highest finish ever. Sirant, the winningest coach the program has ever had, would be taking over a team that finished third in the Canada West this past season under the leadership of Don MacGillivray.

MacGillivray lead the team to a 13-9-6 record, but lost their opening playoff round to the Regina Cougars. MacGillivray had success of his own at Manitoba, as he was named the CW Coach of the Year back in 2007-2008.

Sirant had the leave of absence, and will most likely be taking advantage of the opportunity to return to Manitoba. He's a two time CW Coach of the Year, and a proven commodity when it comes to CIS hockey. MacGillivray did a good job during Sirant's leave, and knew the situation he was getting into when it came to the possibility of Sirant returning. MacGillivray should have no problem finding a job if Sirant returns. MacGillivray coached in the MJHL prior to Manitoba the U of M, and will have no problem finding a job in the MJHL or at another level after leading a solid CIS program for three seasons, and garnering a Coach of the Year award to boot.
It's time for Oilers owner Daryl Katz to take a page from David Asper and the University of Manitoba's playbook.

As detailed in Sager's post Football: Give them a place where the Bisons can roam... , David Asper has taken the initiative to push forward with not only his plans to become the owner of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but also to get a new stadium in the 'Peg built for his CFL team and also to share it with his alma mater the University of Manitoba. Daryl Katz should take note.

Katz, who bought the Oilers from the community minded Edmonton Investors Group last June, finds himself in a similar situation to Asper only with hockey on his mind. Katz who owns the Oilers, and the WHL Oil Kings has a glorious chance to expand his sports empire while helping his own alma mater - the University of Alberta.

Here's a list of some similarities between Katz and Asper: both recently bought pro sports teams from community based groups, both have close ties with their respective universities, both are big supporters of sport in their cities and last but certainly not least - they have a whole lot of cash.

The U of A has been talking about building a new arena for years now, and even though Clare Drake Arena is a great ol' barn - a new arena is overdue. The Drake continues to rack up higher and higher maintenance costs. With the 2015 Universiade all but guaranteed for Edmonton, the U of A will be getting a brand new gymnasium at its South Campus - so what about hockey?

Here's where Katz comes in. I've talked with people in the athletics department at the university, including AD Dale Schula and as of now nothing is in the works for a new arena, but of course Schula would be more than happy to talk with Katz.

Katz's Oil Kings need a different facility, you can't play in a 16 000 seat arena, averaging less than 5 000 fans a game and expect atmosphere. Rexall Place where the O-Kings play is one of the busiest venues in North America -the ice is horrible and the atmosphere most nights is just as bad for the mini Oil (case in point, they got less than 4 000 people out to their first modern franchise playoff game against the best team in the WHL the Calgary Hitmen in the opening round).

The South Campus at the U of A is home to Foote Field, and is the perfect location for a new arena to be shared by the Oil Kings, Bears, Pandas and even the Oilers as a practice facility.

It's been made clear by the federal government that new sports facilities will need to be tied to universities if the project wants public funding. Katz could put up the majority of funds for the project just like Asper, strike a deal with the university (who better jump up and down at the prospect of a new arena), get the federal and provincial governments to chip in, and build the place.

Build something that is suited for junior hockey, say a 7 000 seat arena something along the lines of Red Deer's ENMAX Centrium - a great sized barn for junior hockey. The Bears wouldn't sell the place out every night, but when it comes time for the U of A vs U of S, people will come out in far greater numbers at a modern arena.

All parties involved would benefit. Rexall just is not the right venue for junior hockey, and Clare Drake is a great barn, but if the U of A wants to grow its already strong fan base it needs to step up and modernize the off-ice product, and that begins with a new arena. People simply don't want to watch a game on Clare Drake Arena's wooden benches anymore.

Katz has a glorious opportunity to grow his sports empire by putting his junior team in a proper building, while helping out his old school at the same time. The opportunity is there for a great partnership. Everybody get together and make it happen, it's never easy but it needs to be done - that's what Asper did and Winnipeg is sure to benefit for years to come.
Western's Vaughn Martin grades out very well in size and skill, but the big takeaway from the Globe & Mail feature on the D-lineman who's declared for the NFL draft comes from scout Ron Dias, as quoted by David Naylor:
"As I look back over the years, since 1985, I would say he's one of the top-10 potential great football players I've had the opportunity to scout. His biggest problem was inconsistency."
The article is up on the dot-org, Dias' quote runs a little longer: "His biggest problem was inconsistency. He's got to be consistently challenged to rise. But he's a great, great kid."

Some healthy skepticism is necessary, even as one wishes Martin all the best. He does seem to be a polarizing figure in the OUA.

People can certainly take issue with Martin hiring an agent who was banned from CIS football for a doping infraction (which no newspaper has acknowledged, even those who covered it when Matt Baxter was suspended), or wonder how he could get into an elite school such as Western when, quoth the G&M, "academic issues prevented him from attending" Michigan State.

Current Chicago Bear Israel Idonije was also a dominant defensive lineman at Manitoba before moving on to the NFL; Martin could take plays off sometimes. There have been some other character questions raised, stuff that you can't mention unless you've got it triple-sourcedfrom people willing to go on the record. As for admission policies, it's best not stay away from such powder kegs. It's fair game to note that people are wondering. Michigan State isn't Cal Tech, although Canadians have encountered problems when they apply to NCAA schools.

Whatever happens, happens and it's a small person who stands in his way. If Vaughn Martin gets invited to a NFL training camp or ends up on a practice roster, eight OUA teams won't have to game-plan for him this season.

NFL awake to Western's 'sleeper' (Morris Dalla Costa, London Free Press)
Martin turning heads; Defensive lineman entering NFL draft after just two seasons of Canadian university ball (David Naylor, Globe & Mail)

Mustangs' Martin declares for NFL draft (Feb. 19)
It's tough not to look at Winnipeg with a little envy: A $120-million football stadium (subject to cost overruns, but of course). It's minor-league ballpark will actually be put to good use this season, too.
"The plan calls for the Bombers and U of M Bisons to play the 2011 season in new digs that include 30,000 permanent seats and a host of improvements over the existing stadium. The preliminary design must still be priced out." Sun Media
There are doubters (always are), especially since Bombers owner David Asper's media holdings with CanWest Global are going through a rocky time. (At one newspaper, they've eliminated water coolers for the employees.) At least Winnipeg is moving toward something instead of farting around like other cities of 700,000 people one could name.

Paul Friesen of Sun Media notes the new stadium would be the first 30,000-seat stadium built in Canada "in three decades." C'est la vie in country where sports is often foreign to the culture.

(Rogers Centre would technically be an arena, not a stadium, is that right?)

Asper guarantees it; New Bombers home will be more comfortable, more stylish (Paul Friesen, Sun Media)
Is Asper crazy for trying?; Asper confident in stadium plan (Paul Friesen, Sun Media)
Isn't it time for boo choir to sing?; They're always proven wrong, but that's never stopped them (Randy Turner, Winnipeg Free Press)
Bisons coach Dobie happy beyond words (Ashley Prest, Winnipeg Free Press)
It's not clear where the stadium debate in Ottawa leaves the Gee-Gees football team ... but now it has come out that the north side stands need major repairs.

You'll recall half the south-side stand was blown up in 2007.
"Lansdowne Park is in far worse shape than originally thought and large scale renovations of the stadium's north end stands are going to be needed just to bring it up acceptable standards.

"Regional ward councilor Clive Doucet was already leading the charge yesterday to declare the stadium plans a write off and is now pushing to launch an international design competition - which, if they like, could include a nondescript stadium.

" 'It's really taken the stadium out of the we can actually get back to doing business the way we should be.' "
Doucet's "international design competition" is a lot of hot air, but as commenters on Duane Rollins' Out of Left Field post noted, this is a real wedge to the residents of Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood. The Glebeites have been trying to get the "great unwashed" which come to CFL and OHL games, not mention the summer Superex, out of their hair for the last 30 years. This helps their chances. There is also the fear that "a stadium for the CFL or for MLS, but not both" might morph into "a stadium for no one."

It raises the question of where the Gee-Gees fit into the grand scheme (a question that almost never seems to come up in the mainstream media coverage of the story). A city report six weeks ago listed Bayview Yards, near the Ottawa River and close to downtown, and Carleton as the top two sites for a stadium.

Bayview Yards is about a 15-minute bus trip (no transfer) from the uOttawa campus, if I'm not mistaken.

Lansdowne will cost extra $20 million over 10 years (Patrick Dare, Ottawa Citizen)
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