The Simon Fraser Clan has added receiver Matt Chapdelaine, who many people thought was headed to Queen's to play with his brother, Justin, a rookie quarterback.

It's a neat angle to have one of the sons of B.C. Lions offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine (the former Laval coach) playing for SFU. No doubt some Queen's fans will be disappointed to only have one Chapdelaine. Talking to Clan offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shawn Olson, it sounds like each player found a good fit. Olson sees Matt Chapdelaine, who has had some concussion woes over the past two years since playing at Alberta in 2006, coming in and push for playing time at either wideout or inside receiver.

"He's been to one to two of our throwarounds and the reviews from all our players have been very good," Olson said. "It's early in the process, but you can tell Matt is a very good athlete, he's big, he's physical. If he can stay healthy, I believe he's going to be one of the better receivers in Canada West."

There is also the son-of-a-coach factor.

"Something you get talking to Matt is that he's very intelligent and you can tell he's been coached well. He does things and does things quickly that I've been trying to get our guys to do for a couple years."

Olson added that Chapdelaines considered SFU. However, the Clan have a "packed house situation" at quarterback.

Bernd Dittrich
emerged as the starter last fall when SFU went from a winless season in '07 to a 5-3 record and a spot in the Canada West final. Ryan Schwartz of North Vancouver has had a year in the system. Newcomer Caleb Clark, who spent four years (one as a redshirt) at Western Michigan, has enroled at Simon Fraser to do his MBA, so he provides an experienced option. At Queen's, fifth-year QB Dan Brannagan has taken almost every snap for the last four seasons.

"For Justin, it wasn't a good fit at Simon Fraser because of our our quarterback situation," Olson says. "We have our starter (Dittrich) going into his third year and a redshirt freshman (Schwartz) whom we're very excited about, plus we had a chance to add an experienced backup from the NCAA and there's only so much scholarship money."

Simon Fraser and UBC will kick off the season on Aug. 29.

(Note to readers: There are not enough hours in the day to do this all the time, but it seemed newsworthy and it contradicted previous posts, so duty called.)
... with Western's Jenny Vaughan and Laval's Elyse Jobin hitting big baskets on a day when scoring was at a premium.

The inclination is always to look for little details when a game goes down like Canada's 50-49 upset of the previously unbeaten Gems at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Thailand. The quarter-final win, which puts the Rich Chambers-coached Canadians into a semi-final vs. the France-U.S. winner and guarantees it a top four finish, had to be recorded for posterity, hopefully for reasons beyond shoving it in the face of the highers-up of Canadian sport whose decisions hastened the demise of the National Elite Development Agency, which helped many of these players develop. Australia, a serious summer-sport nation, is No. 3 in the FIBA women's rankings. Canada is No. 13.

Enough with the political commentary, how about the CIS kids? Vaughan, the point guard who logged a team-high 33 minutes, saved her only two baskets for the right times. She made a tie-breaking three at the first-half buzzer, part of a 16-2 run which spanned the halftime break. With 3:13 left, she put Canada ahead for good with a triple to answer a 9-2 Australian run. Jobin, only five months removed from a broken leg, also contributed a pair of three-balls.

Every little bit helped in a game which had almost 100 missed shots. Notre Dame-bound Natalie Achonwa matched her tender age with a sweet 16 points (Doug Smith noted recently she'll probably be joining the national team in a few weeks). Six-foot-4 Kayla Alexander also had a game-high 15 rebounds. She and Achonwa helped turn Australia into a one-woman show. The tourney's leading scorer, Elizabeth Campage had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, but the rest of the Aussies shot a sickly 8-of-49. (In the Gems' team photo, Campage, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, is in the middle of the back row, a head taller than any of the other players who are standing.)

Greater hoops minds such as Smith at the Toronto Star and Canada Basketball's people can fill in more details. As last night's Tweets should show, it was a white-knuckle ride all the way. Canada never trailed in the final 20 minutes, but never led by more than eight and for a while it seemed like they would rue not opening a bigger lead when Campage was resting in the third quarter with three fouls. Nevertheless, it's cool to know that across this country, there are a few hoopheads who stayed up for it (one of the comments on's game story was from Tim Orpin, a long-time assistant with the Queen's women's team).

It will likely be a Canada-U.S. semi-final at 6:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday morning.
From time to time there is not enough time to break out everything, so here are a few tide-over tidbits for this morning.

  • Slotback Chris Getzlaf (Regina) is likely to start in place for Andy Fantuz (Western) for the Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Calgary on Saturday. (Regina Leader-Post)

  • B.C. Lions O-lineman Andrew Jones, who played defence at McMaster, has been practising at nosetackle for the Leos. (Vancouver Province)

    Wideout Samuel Giguère (Sherbrooke) likely figures to be on the Indianapolis Colts practice roster again the season. Make your own "beats playing for the Tiger-Cats joke." (Stampede Blue)

  • Tailback Jamall Lee (Bishop's) is facing stiff competition as undrafted rookie at the Carolina Panthers camp, where he has been given No. 22. Readers of a certain vintage, please speak up, was that Orville Lee's number? (

    (As an aside: Is "keep your head on a swivel" a big football player buzz phrase? Carolina tailback DeAngelo Williams used it in that article. Brander Craighead, a Belleville native (by way of Barrhaven) who is an offensive line recruit at Texas-El Paso, also used it in a Sun Media feature earlier this week.
  • Team Canada goalies Charline Labonté and Kim St. Pierre, a pair of McGill Martlets alumnae, are featured at

  • The Saskatchewan Huskies have added 20-year-old D-man Cody Hobbs from Prince George of the WHL. (Taking Note)

  • Another new name to learn: The perennially nationally ranked Laurier Golden Hawks have added 20-year-old forward Mitch Good, who had 85 points last season with the Jr. B. Stratford Cullitons. Junior B is actually a decent calibre in southwestern Ontario, since Tier II teams are mostly clustered around Toronto. (Stratford Gazette)

  • Premium pricing has come to NCAA Division 1 men's hockey. How long until you see it in Canada when teams like UNB or Alberta come to town? (Gross Misconduct)
  • Mark Wacyk continues his pre-season prognoses with a look at Guelph and passes along congratulations to Dave Smart. The Carleton men's coach and his spouse, Emily, welcomed into the world their first child, a baby boy named Theo, earlier this week. (

  • Two CCAA transfers have joined the Lakehead Thunderwolves women, 5-foot-10 wing Chelsea Nekuliak (Algoma) and 6-1 post Amy Beauchamp (Douglas College).

    Beauchamp is from Surrey, B.C., home of our own Andrew Bucholtz. (TbNewsWatch)
This is how poised Jim Allin is: He answered his cell phone while on a roller coaster.

The Queen's cornerbachas confirmed he will return to the Golden Gaels for a fifth season. Like with all players who have competed a degree and have eligibility remaining, he was on the fence.

"It's not 100% official, but unofficially, I can’t see myself not playing," said Allin, 23, who earned his life sciences degree and Queen's male athlete of the year award recently. "I'm not ready to be done yet."

Allin's unique skill set gives Queen's another dimension on defence and in the return game, where he was an all-Canadian kick returner in 2008 (second-team at corner). He's only 5-foot-11, 170 lbs., but set a record in the shuttle run at the CFL evaluation camp in March. He's also a pretty heady player, an aspiring doctor who is leaning toward following in the footsteps of his dad, Dr. Jeffrey Allin, a family practitioner in Belleville, Ont.

The FAN 590's Mike Hogan went on record a few months back saying it would be a "travesty" if Allin, 23, didn't get a long look at the CFL camp. He was at Montreal's camp in the spring.

"When things didn't work out (in Montreal), it was a chance to take a step back and take a look at what I wanted to do," said Allin, who has an offer to study medicine in Brisbane, Australia (yep, in Queensland). "There's no way I’m ready to hang up yet ... it was a good experience with the Als, I have to believe everything works out the way it does for a reason. I'm looking forward to going deep into the season."

Of course, what happens to Queen's this year is first of all what happened to them the past two post-seasons. The Golden Gaels are 14-2 in the regular season the past two years, but lost home playoff games to Western and Ottawa.

"Last season was just like the year before, our season ended way too early," Allin says. "I don’t know if we weren't just ready. We definitely have to finish and win those games. I think we have the team that can do it."

The Gaels already got some welcome news when all-Canadian receiver Scott Valberg successfully appealed. The upshot is Queen's has lost its best interior D-lineman, Dee Sterling and force-of-nature feature back, Mike Giffin, to the pros, but they have returned their No. 1 pass receiver and best defender against the pass. That should be reassuring in Queen'sland.
From time to time there's stuff worth noting, but there isn't enough time to give each one a unique post ...

(As of 3:30 p.m. July 30).

  • Punter Burke Dales (Concordia) brawled with kicker Sandro DeAngelis during a Calgary Stampeders practice. Please don't let Sports By Brooks get word of a kicker throwdown.

    It is sexist to joke that what set Dales off was DeAngelis calling him "Stacey," so don't. (The Calgary Herald.)

  • Obby Khan (Simon Fraser), the Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting centre, has been called out publicly over his play. Khan has handled it like a champ. (Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg Sun.)

  • The Edmonton Journal profiles Eskimos safety Elliott Richardson, the Acadia grad who took over as the starting safety after veteran Scott Gordon (uOttawa) was injured.

  • The Halifax Herald's excellent Monty Mosher followed up his earlier story by confirming brothers Devon and Tristan Jones will team up with the Saint Mary's Huskies. Both of them play tailback, so that spot on the depth chart

    Mosher's story also includes a full list of Saint Mary's recruits.

  • Cool pictures of St. FX's new football field before the lines get painted.

  • OK, it's not football per se, but remember the post about using the Create-A-School feature in NCAA 10 video game so you and your friends can play as CIS teams? The Daily Norseman has reviewed the game.

  • Windsor previously announced it was playing Ohio State, but the Big Ten's Buckeyes will also play the Western Mustangs at noon on Aug. 31 at the St. Denis Centre.

    Mark Wacyk as always has nailed an in-depth look at the two-time OUA West champions, who have to replace five key guys, including No. 1 scoring option Brad Smith who signed to play in Britain.

    Ohio State-Western? Who is a Queen'sman who had a childhood rooting interest in the Michigan Wolverines (cool helmets, the Fab Five, Desmond Howard doing the Heisman pose) going to root for in that one?

  • The Hamilton Spectator has a look at McMaster's women's basketball recruiting. It might be be old news by now to some, but it will still be a Final 8 format for at least one more season on the women's side. This does make it possible for both championships to go to 16 teams with a Final Four concurrently in 2011, just saying.
The B.C. Lions qualify as a hot mess these days, but Bishop's grad James Yurichuk is getting some pub for his play on special teams.
"Yurichuk insists pro football has lived up to all his expectations.

"Since his first college game at Bishop’s University he claims he’s known his ticket to the CFL would initially be through special-teams duty. He’s been invaluable to the Lions in that role, currently sitting one off the league lead in special-teams tackles with seven as he helps fill the large void left by the off-season departures of Jamall Johnson and Jason Pottinger.

" 'My coach in college (Leroy Blugh) always emphasized special teams would be the key to me making the CFL,” says Yurichuk, whose father once played for defensive coordinator Mike Benevides at York University.

"The Lions are relieved Yurichuk has worked out so well."
Of course, as the Vancouver Sun story notes, there is another Gaiter from the 2009 CFL draft whom the Lions would like to have in uniform, guy named Jamall Lee.
As Sager posted earlier today the Alberta Golden Bears announced the commitment of six players for the upcoming 2009-2010 season, and as mentioned the biggest name on that list is four-year WHL netminder Travis Yonkman.

The Saskatoon native put up impressive numbers in his final two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, posting a career high 31 wins in 2007-2008. Yonkman's numbers in '07-'08 are eerily similar to the career season of former Bears goalie Aaaron Sorochan who put up a 35 -19 - 8 mark with a 0.917 GAA with the Lethbridge Hurricanes back in '04-'05. Compare those numbers to Yonkman's 31 - 19 - 6 record and 0.909 GAA in '07-'08 and the two seasons are not far off. Yonkman will not be handed the starting job after the departure of four year starter Sorochan, as Real Cyr will be looking to push Yonkman for the title of number one goalie. Cyr backed up Sorochan last season and filled in admirably as a rookie when Sorochan went down with an injury in the first half of the season. It would not surprise me if the two split time until head coach Eric Thurston feels it's time to run with one or the other. Yonkman may have the inside track between the two to capture the job out of camp based on his WHL resume - but more than any other position goaltender is a 'what have you done for me lately' postion, so things can change rapidly.

An interesting side-note with Yonkman, the Saskatchewan Huskies must have been trying feverishly to recruit the hometown boy with starting goalie Jeff Harvey entering his final year of eligibilty - the Dawgs would have loved to have Yonkman spend a season behind Harvey and then step into a starting role the next season.

The Bears also added three to their back-end including: Colin Joe, Ian Barteaux, and Reade Wolansky.

Joe joins the Alberta boys after five years in the WHL and was a member of the 2004-2005 WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. After seeing Joe play last season, he should be a steady defensive presence who will be given the chance to step up and perform on special teams as well.

Barteaux is coming off his best season of major junior point production wise, as he scored 10 goals and added 19 assists with the Kootenay Ice. He will also bring some needed toughness to the d-core after leading the Ice in PIM last season with 153.

Wolansky will be joining the Bears after spending a season with the NCAA school Sacred Heart University of the Atlantic Hockey Conference. Wolansky is a Fort Saskatchewan, AB product.

Up front the Bears have the commitment of both Sean Ringrose and Michael MacAngus.

Ringrose spent two seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers after spending three seasons in the AJHL. The Edmonton native scored a combined 38 goals in his two WHL seasons.

Rounding out Thurston's six recrutis is another Edmonton native, Michaeal MacAngus who spent parts of four seasons in the WHL with Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.
Let this be prefaced by saying there's a general affinity for Dave DeAveiro's program at Ottawa, and not so much fondness for reporting rumours. (MLB Trade Rumors this ain't. Those guys do good work, but my head would explode after 20 minutes of trying to figure out what is bona fide and what's a bum steer with respect to what the Blue Jays are going to do with Roy Halladay.)

However, one's ears should perk up upon reading the blogfather himself, Mark Wacyk, saying that Ryerson will soon be naming its new men's basketball coach. Glenn Taylor was let go several weeks ago.

A post on Canadian Hoops Talk said that Ryerson AD Ivan Joseph, who certainly wants to lead Ryerson to great sports prominence, had four candidates in: DeAveiro, high school legend Roy Rana from Eastern Commerce and a pair of OCAA coaches from the GTA, Darrell Glenn and Radcliffe Goulbourne.

Here is Mark's take:
"(E)xpect the new coach to be announced shortly and don't be surprised if the Rams are able to pull in a big-name, successful coach as Joseph looks to make an early big splash with what is likely their showcase sport at the University. If my guess is correct, expect one of the bigger rivalries in the CIS to suffer but another great rivalry in downtown Toronto to start. More on this topic hopefully sooner than later."
You can probably read between the lines from this point, since only one of the four coaches listed above is currently in the university game. Let's see, does Ottawa have any big rivals in basketball, whose campus might be located in Ottawa, off Bronson Ave.? Logically, if you are Ivan Joseph, how do you pass up the chance to hire a coach with a winning track record in the league, no slight intended to other candidates?

Other than that, it's time to invoke the Cliff Clavin Rule ("if only three people know the answer to something and none of them have been in your kitchen, then drink a glass of shut-the-hell-up.") and leave an out clause. I'm as inside as your patio furniture in this regard.

(Update: Dr. Joseph is away from Ryerson until Tuesday, Aug. 4, so the school is not making any comment since they are "still in progress.")

Meantime, Mark, whose contributions to coverage of Canadian university basketball are irreplaceable, noted at this site "practicalities of life to which I am committed take a higher priority" proscribes blogging every day, but he'll chime in when life allows. As fans and chroniclers of the CIS, we're lucky to have him for however much we have him.
There goes the last lingering thread of hope Burlington guard Brady Heslip would matriculate at Guelph, likely.
"Heslip served as a weapon of mass destruction down at Cincinnati, dropping 37 points during one pivotal matchup. Opponents tried executing a serious clamp down operation on Heslip, to no avail. They threw double and triple-teams at him. Heslip fended defenders off, reeling off a personal 17-0 spurt in one game.

" 'He was still on fire no matter what they threw at him,' (coach Ro) Russell recalls. 'He's really starting to blow up. He's like a Mark Price, Scott Skiles type player. He’s the last one to leave the gym, always. He'll shoot all day. The kid absolutely loves the game.'

"Heslip's sharpshooting antics have elicited drool from a plethora of high major programs. Boston College, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida are all beginning to express interest in the 6-2 guard. Boston College has already presented a scholarship offer to Heslip, who’s entering his senior year."
SLAM Online
Grassroots Canada, as has so often been the case, continues to be one of the great underreported stories in Canada. They lost a white-knuckler in the round of 16 at the adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas after's Gary Parrish gave them a glowing write-up. That is basketball, though. Russell notes he has four players ranked among the top 50 high school seniors in the U.S., including big man Tristan Thompson and combo guard Cory Joseph off the junior national team.

Of course, the kneejerk Canadian response would be that many of these players don't attend high school in their country, so why should we care about them? Parrish shows a sensitivity.
"That's the truly unique thing about Grassroots, how the best of the best leave Canada for better training in the United States during the school year but return each summer to play for their home program. They understand that basketball is more of an 'activity' than a serious sport in the Canadian school system, so they find new homes at places like IMG Academy and Findlay Prep (the Las Vegas school Joseph attends - Ed.). Still, they are loyal to the Grassroots program, and that loyalty has allowed them to develop as a cohesive group that understands how to win while similarly talented prospects from Los Angeles might play for the Southern California All-Stars one summer, then the Pump N Run Elite the next, then the Compton Magic the next."
This is very tangentially related to the Canadian university game, but it's welcome news. One would hope traditional media pay a little more attention to the world-beater ballers with a Canadian passport.

For instance, do you remember a Canadian sprinter from the 1980s named Marita Payne, who was part of Canada's two silver medal-winning women's relay teams at the Los Angeles Olympics? (That was the Soviet bloc-boycotted Olympiad were Canada won 44 medals, which you'll likely never see again.) Parrish noted Payne and her former NBA player spouse Mitchell Wiggins' 13-year-old son, Andrew Wiggins, is already 6-5 and plays for Grassroots Canada's 16-and-under team. It's cool finding that out.

It is understood there is not much regard for world of summer basketball, which might be an expression of taste, givensome of the stuff you read about coaches who attend these tournaments being charged $300 for programs with incomplete information.
Apparently, the solution is simple when a team has a fast quarterback but finishes last in their league in passing yardage, as Concordia did last fall: Move him to receiver.

Former CIS rookie-of-the-year QB Liam Mahoney is moving to to receiver, as Remi Aboussouan at reported. The Stingers have veteran Robert Mackay, who is more of a pocket passer, ready to step in.
"L’électrisant Liam Mahoney, qui a dirigé l’offensive des Stingers au cours des deux dernières années, s’alignera au poste de receveur, l’an prochain. C’est Robert Mackay qui retrouvera son poste de quart partant, lui qui a complètement raté la dernière saison, en raison d’une opération à un genou."
Concordia passed for only six touchdowns last season, one less than Mahoney alone had rushing. Last season, Mahoney led all quarterbacks in rushing, gaining 561 yards, which was fourth overall in the QUFL. Of course, it's a team game and Concordia struggled in the passing game; Mahoney's yards per rush (7.1) almost matched the Stingers' yards per pass (7.6, which drops if you take into account they averaged nearly one sack per 10 dropbacks and had more interceptions than TDs).

Of course, this move could also be to better showcase Mahoney for the CFL, but there are pure football reasons. He is also not the only former Peter Gorman Trophy-winning QB whose status is in limbo. Calgary's Dalin Tollestrup won in 2006, went on a two-year Mormon mission and now the Dinos have Erik Glavic in the fold.

If you click through to Aboussouan's column, he is also reporting that linebacker Frédéric Plésius is transferring to Laval from Baylor in the Big 12 (this was covered previously). Plésius would be eligible to play right away. The report also notes that defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, who was said to be interested in leaving Rice after a pretty successful freshman season, might just take a year off from football.

À travers la LFUQ (Rémi Aboussouan, RDS,ca, via lvroberts' Twitter)
Queen's wide receiver Scott Valberg is out to wash away the stain, as the school song goes.

A source has confirmed the all-Canadian wideout, who is attending teacher's college in the fall, won his appeal to have a year of eligibility restored.

As a frosh in 2004, Valberg played in Queen's opener vs. Windsor. He dressed for the second game vs. Guelph, got in for about four plays and suffered a serious muscle pull which knocked him out for the rest of the season.

As is my understanding, the eligibility people are pretty forgiving if a football player participated in only one game. Because Valberg suited up a second time that season, it was less clear-cut.

Needless to say, this should be welcome news in Kingston. Valberg led the country in yards (1,013) and touchdown catches (11) last fall and provides ton of experience in the receiving corps.

Queen's already has inside-receiver position to fill, since tight end Scott Stinson graduated. They also lost an all-Canadian on each side of the ball to the CFL, with tailback Mike Giffin and defensive tackle Dee Sterling respectively moving up to Montreal and Edmonton.

Fourth-year slotback Devan Sheahan (28 catches for 427 yards) last season also returns, with former Alberta receiver Matt Chapdelaine transferring in. (Nope, he is going to Simon Fraser.)

A big question — besides who's going to be the feature back — surrounding the Golden Gaels six weeks out from the season opener is who else might be returning to a team which went 8-0 in the regular season before suffering a bitter defeat to Ottawa in the OUA semi-final.

The door is open to all-Canadian defensive end Osie Ukwuoma coming back from the Calgary Stampeders. He has not dressed yet, so it is more than likely he will be back in the Tricolour. Presidents' Trophy-winning inside linebacker Thaine Carter dinged up his shoulder at Winnipeg's camp, so his status might not be known until some time in August. There could be a few more surprises.

In the here and now, though, Valberg's return means QB Dan Brannagan has his No. 1 receiver back.

(Photo courtesy Jeff Chan.)
A user was kind enough to pass along a link to a Moncton Times-Transcript note about the Ottawa Gee-Gees adding left wing Jon Reid, who set the Junior A Truro Bearcats' career scoring record with 189 points across the last three seasons.

Reid, who was born in Germany but resides in St. John's, N.L., related that Gee-Gees defenceman Tim Greene, who's also a Newfoundlander, played a part in his recruiting. The two played together in Truro, which went to the Maritime Junior A Hockey League final last season, losing out to eventual Eastern champion Summerside.
"I ultimately had my heart set on Ottawa but Tim played there last season and had been selling me on going there for quite a while. Tim played a part in getting their head coach (Dave Leger) to make a trip east to see me play. He took in Game 5 of our series with Amherst and it turned out to be a strong game for me, so he told me he was interested in having me with the club. I applied and was accepted and that's how I got where I am today." —
Please bear in mind a lot of posts about incoming players are about someone whom the writer has not seen play. Here's a 12-second YouTube clip of Reid scoring a goal on a nifty give-and-go in the playoffs, though:

The Gee-Gees certainly have some scoring to replace with Dan McDonald, their leading scorer the past two seasons, going pro at the end of last season. Former Ottawa 67 Matthieu Methot, the brother of the Columbus Blue Jackets' Marc Methot, was limited to 12 regular-season games, so he could emerge.

Hockey Gee-Gees add high-scoring wing (Ottawa Sun)
No doubt there is some ennui toward the Phoenix Coyotes story. Most people lost interest once hope was dashed that Jim Balsillie would move them to Southern Ontario and employ fellow Waterloo whiz-kid Rob Pettapiece as capologist, number-cruncher and vice-president of common sense.

There is, however, speculation which could affect the Lakehead Thunderwolves, one way or another.
"Mr. LeBlanc and the others haven't forgotten Thunder Bay. If they win the auction, the group plans to move the Coyotes' farm team, the San Antonio Rampage, from Texas to Thunder Bay and help build a new arena." Globe & Mail, July 25
Daryl Jones has done much of the talking for the group, but the other two members, Keith McCullough and Ottawa resident Anthony LeBlanc, are both from T-Bay. Their original intent was to put a major junior team in their hometown.

Lakehead, of course, has among the highest attendance in Canada at Fort William Gardens. Due to the nature of their program, depends on being able to sell tickets, unlike other teams which are under the aegis of their school's athletic department.

It's way too early in the game to speculate about this coming to pass (if you read the Make It Eight site, you'll understand why). However, the notion of an American Hockey League team in Thunder Bay is not as far-fetched as it might seem at first blush. With a population of 110,000, it's comparable in size to AHL cities such as Manchester, N.H., Springfield, Mass., and Abbotsford, B.C., where the Calgary Flames have moved their affiliate. Of course, those cities are much more densely populated areas.

The Thunderwolves might have to share their market at some point.

Former RIM executive bids on Coyotes; Anthony LeBlanc, friends from the investment world, present competing offer to buy NHL franchise for $150-million and keep it in Phoenix (Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail)
A little shameless self-promotion: Your humble agent will be liveblogging this afternoon's St. Louis Cardinals-Philadelphia Phillies game for The Score. It's a 1:35 p.m. first pitch, so we'll strike up the band around 1:20.

It's a matchup of two first-place teams, although the Cardinals could end up in second in NL Central by the time the day is done.
It seems like one way to coordinate coverage of CIS grads in the CFL might be

Montréal Alouettes (4-0) — Four games in, the Shea Emry Experiment can be pronounced a success. The Alouettes are off to a great start with their sophomore Canadian middle linebacker. Being a SOAC (Son of a Coach) has presumably played some factor in Emry's quick rise, at least.

Edmonton Eskimos (2-2) — The Eskies' contingent of CIS alumni made a lot of little plays in their 38-33 comeback win at Saskatchewan. Fullback Mathieu Bertrand (Laval) did some good work blocking as their tailbacks, combined, rushed 23 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns (Bertrand had at least two key blocks on the go-ahead TD). They had two long TD runs behind Derrick Armstrong (St. FX) at right tackle.

Safety Elliott Richardson (Acadia) was involved in two key stops in the final minutes. Saskatchewan was driving, inside the 30-yard line, with less than four minutes left when Richardson came up from his safety spot to make a sure tackle on Wes Cates on a short pass. That proved critical, since a second-down completion came up short and Saskatchewan was stopped on the ensuing third-and-inches gamble. On that play, Richardson appeared to get his helmet on the ball, stopping 'Riders designated sneaker Steven Jyles from getting the necessary inchage. Apparently, he's not bothered by headhunting accusations.

Tim St. Pierre (Saint Mary's) also threw a big block on Tristan Jackson's 74-yard punt-return touchdown which arguably swung the momentum to Edmonton.

Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-2) — Hands up if you thought Rob Bagg would get more yards on Saturday than Jason Clermont has all season. The 'Riders collapse Saturday vs. Edmonton, blowing a 22-point lead in a 38-33 loss, and the struggle to get Clermont (the U of Regina grad had only one catch, for 33 yards) going will likely be main topics in Regina for the next week. To add injury to the insult of losing to Edmonton, they lost linebacker Carlos Armour to a broken leg.

It's likely the glue-guy work Bagg (Queen's) did on Saturday will get lost in the shuffle. Bagg had a game-high 83 yards on six catches, all for first downs. In baseball terms, Bagg was a table-setter, since most of his work came when the 'Riders were trying to move out of their own territory. Andy Fantuz (Western) had 52 yards on four catches, not counting a grab for a two-point conversion. Bottom line, the 'Riders Canadians showed some nice hands, but they need someone to provide a deep threat. Bagg, for the record, told that it wasn't about him:
"We're all pretty disappointed but it’s a long year ... We can play a lot better than that. We had some good drives but you have to play a full sixty minutes. We learned that today.

"I wouldn’t say it was my coming-out party. I've done some good things in the past but that wide-side (wide receiver) spot is tough to get the ball to, and I'm just happy to have made some."
First- and second-guessers will have a field day with 'Riders coach Ken Miller and the officiating. Up by three with 11 minutes to play, Miller conceded a safety rather than punt. Edmonton promptly scored to go ahead for good. Down by five with four minutes to go (the Eskimos missed a 2-point convert on that TD), Miller elected to go for a first down on third-and-1 rather than have Luca Congi try a short field goal to get within two. They came away empty-handed. Both moves might have right, but when it doesn't work, well, you know.

There were some close calls down the stretch, too. It did look like 'Riders slotback Weston Dressler dropped the pass that ended the game's final drive.

Guard Gene Makowsky (U of Saskatchewan) is due to return to the lineup next week.

Calgary Stampeders (2-2) — Hey, LS Randy Chevrier (McGill) is playing on a bad knee (there is no "might" about it), but he still managed to recover a fumble in that laugher out in Vancouver (Calgary won 48-10). Burke Dales (Concordia) averaged 49.2 yards on six punts.

Toronto Argonauts (2-2) — The situation with Arland Bruce III and a season-ending injury to Canadian rookie Mike Lambros has created an opening for Mike Bradwell (McMaster) and Brad Smith (Queen's). Smith (three catches, 16 yards) and Bradwell (one for nine) each got their names in the official summary in Toronto's win over Winnipeg on Friday which sent offensive football back about 20 years.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-2) —
Wideout Dave Stala (Saint Mary's) had a team-high 86 receiving yards vs. the Als on Thursday, when Hamilton failed to stick it in the end zone despite their quarterbacks averaging 8.8 yards per attempt (seriously, how did that happen)?

B.C. Lions (1-3) — MLB Javy Glatt (UBC) might have ended up on the hot seat even if he wasn't being accused of a horse-collar tackle (not saying it was a horse-collar, but some people are). Glatt seems to be at the heart of some schematic issues the Lions, who got pounded 48-10 at home by Calgary, are having. Their defensive front got manhandled Friday when Calgary's Joffrey Reynolds ran 17 times for 130 yards, which is going to lead to questions about whether he's big enough to play the middle, or whether the Lions can get away with playing a 4-2-6 defence instead of the more standard 4-3-5.

Rush end Ricky Foley (York) has three sacks in four games, tied for fifth in the league.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-3) — WR Aaron Hargreaves (Simon Fraser) made two catches for 15 yards, which with the way the Bombers are going, practically qualifies as productive.

Mike Renaud (Concordia) had to punt a lot, but averaged only 35.9 yards.
It would be remiss not express some support for Canada's junior women's basketball team, which has two critical games within the next 36 hours at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Thailand.

In FIBA's argot, Canada, whose roster includes Laval's Elyse Jobin, Saint Mary's rookie Justine Colley and Western guard Jenny Vaughan (a transfer from the University of Denver who'll become eligible in 2010-11), is into the eighth-finals. They play Spain Tuesday at 8:45 Eastern time, then face China around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. They need to finish at least fourth in their group to make it to Friday's quarters.

A few people across the country will surely be up early for the Canada-China game. For some of us, even an 8:45 a.m. tip-off is too early.
The Indianapolis Colts blog Stampede Blue is engaged in a fun little exercise. Describing each player on the team using the same number of characters as the player's roster number. For instance, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, No. 11, it's, "Super quick."

What is it for wideout Samuel Giguère, Sherbrooke alum, who wears No. 14?
"Dude got guns!"
Guard Dan Federkeil, the former Calgary Dino, wears No. 76, so his career is described as:
"Making Canadians proud about something other than hockey and Shania Twain..."
The ellipse might seem like a bit of a cheat. Then again, the author had to come up with about 60 of these.
Running back Devon Jones impressed in limited action at Saint Mary's last season, gaining 507 yards in just four games.

There was a Halifax Herald report in January that he and his older brother Tristan Jones, a running back and former Canadian junior player of the year, were going to try to reprise the dynamic that they enjoyed with Edmonton Wildcats by teaming up with the Saint Mary's Huskies. Well, guess what, there was another passing reference to the it in a feature the Regina Leader-Post carried on their dad, Milson Jones, as part of their coverage of the 1989 Roughriders' 20th anniversary celebration. Jones Sr. was the fullback on that fondly remembered Grey Cup championship team (well, not so fondly remembered in Hamilton and Edmonton).
"In 2007, Tristan won the Wally Buono Award, which is presented to the outstanding junior football player in Canada. The year before, he ran for an eye-popping 1,903 yards (averaging 9.9 yards per carry) and scored 25 touchdowns. After spending the 2008 season out of football, he is to return to the gridiron with Saint Mary’s in the fall.

"As a first-year Huskie in 2008, Devon made quite an impression — rushing for 251 yards and two TDs in his first start en route to earning CIS offensive player-of-the-week honours.

"Tristan reminds me of when I was younger,' Milson Jones says. 'Devon reminds me of running when I was older. They’re both effective in their own way. They’re my sons and I love them both and they’re equal in my eyes.' "
Quarterback was a much bigger trouble spot for Saint Mary's than running back last season, as they rotated between sophomore-to-be Jack Creighton, Nathan Beeler-Marsman and Ted Abraham after Erik Glavic was unable to return (and transferred to Calgary).

They moved the ball along the ground with little difficulty throughout 2008, even in the Mitchell Bowl loss to Western, where they had rushed for 242 yards at 8.6 per shot.

Allister Blair has eligibility remaining (if he doesn't, please, speak up) and 185-lb. Craig Leger emerged last season, along with Devon Jones. However, if Tristan Jones is indeed coming to SMU and he's everything they say he is, SMU coach Steve Sumurah might have to find a place for him. He tried his luck with Laval last season and that fizzled.

The season-long theme for Saint Mary's is that they're on collision course with Calgary and former coach Blake Nill. The AUS champion hosts the Canada West champs in the Uteck Bowl in November. One of these days, I'll get that right on the first crack and will not need a SID to correct it in the comments!

(Thank you, John Edwards. It was the U of C's Ben Matchett the last time.)

Roughrider Milson Jones pushing forward (Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post, July 24)
It's odd how you can look for one thing and find another. The Syracuse Post-Standard is a regular stop for someone with a strong interest in Syracuse Orange basketball (and a mostly morbid interest in the SU football team, which has won only 10 games in four seasons).

Going there turned up a note that former NHLer, Jared Aulin, who tore it up in a restorative half-season with the Calgary Dinos in 2007-08, is going to a NHL camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Aulin, 27, then played for Portland, Hershey and Springfield, and has dropped off the map since. Two years ago, he skated for the University of Calgary.

" 'Basically it's a tryout to see where he's at,' said Columbus assistant GM Chris MacFarland. 'He hasn't played competitive hockey in a few years, to my knowledge. He's a skilled player.'

"It's a similar situation to when Columbus brought in Shane Willis on a tryout deal last season, but did not sign him to a regular contract."
Aulin averaged two points per game (14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points in 16 games) when he played for the Dinos. This is more a hockey story than a CIS story, but it's worth passing along.

Could Aulin come out of nowhere to help Crunch? (Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard)
Ben Shutron is going from one Canadian championship team to another.

The 6-foot, 190-pound defenceman and one-time member of Canada's under-18 hockey team has committed to join the UNB Varsity Reds, two months after he hoisted the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires. He also played in the Memorial Cup final in 2008 as a member of the Kitchener Rangers.

The Daily Gleaner notes the University Cup champion V-Reds have a "cavity" to fill on the back end with graduations of captain Dustin Friesen and David Bowman.

Shutron spent his first 3½ seasons of major junior with the human comedy which is the Kingston Frontenacs. Suffice to say, that earned him the right to join a first-rate university team.

Another hockey note: Former Lakehead forward Richard Molenaar has taken an assistant coaching position with the Merritt (Sask.) Centennials, a provincial Junior A team.

Shutron commits to UNB (Frederiction Daily Gleaner)
Deep-down, people knew Vaughn Martin was headed for bigger and brighter things:
"TSN Insider Dave Naylor of the Globe and Mail is reporting that Canadian defensive end Vaughn Martin has signed a four-year deal with the San Diego Chargers."

No financial details werereleased. —
There will be some effort to keep an eye peeled for nuggets from Chargers training camp.
The Saint Mary's Huskies went for experience in their recruiting.

SMU, which went to the University Cup last March, has added defensive forward Cory Tanaka, who set an OHL record for career games played last winter when he played for the Bellevile Bulls.

Duane Rollins of The 24th minute, who's a big Bulls fan, wrote an appreciation of Tanaka last winter when he sent the mark.

SMU coach Trevor Stienburg has a nice pipeline into Belleville. Last season's CIS player of the year, Marc Rancourt, played for the Bulls, as two did other Huskies regulars, Ryan Rorabeck, and Cody Thornton.

Another Bull-turned-Huskie, Jim Midgley, is coaching Team Atlantic at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Midgley was the setup man when current Queen's coach Brett Gibson was a scoring star for some strong Huskies teams in the early 2000s.
Confirming an earlier report at Out of Left Field, coach Dave Smart's Carleton Ravens will face a Big East team in September, the St. John's Red Storm.

As per the press release, the game is on Sept. 6, the Sunday of Labour Day weekend. It would follow that St. John's would probably play Ottawa.

The St. John's-Carleton game will be at the Ravens' Nest. Scotiabank Place is booked for an Aerosmith concert that weekend. It's a downer not to have the games at that venue, but ultimately a big arena rock band is a better seller, even if Aerosmith is well past it. (If you were ever in doubt about Ottawa's musical tastes, last week KISS drew a crowd of 30,000 and Green Day got 8,000. KISS wasn't even good when they were the same age as the members of Green Day.)

The Red Storm were 16-18 last season, but are considered a "veteran team" (New York Daily News). In terms of hoops celebrity, one of their main forwards is 6-foot-7 Anthony Mason Jr., son of the former New York Knicks player. Mason is coming off an ankle injury and St. John's coach Norm Roberts noted the Canada trip will give him a chance to get back to game speed, so hopefully he would play extended minutes.

Carleton has a history with the Big East. They hosted Villanova, which went to the Final Four last season, at the start of 2007-08. They also took Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals to overtime in September 2006 and if memory serves, both they and the Gee-Gees have travelled south to play Cincinnati.

Carleton's release also confirmed a game on Aug. 18 vs. the Towson Tigers, as also previously noted. The Tigers will play a Ravens alumni team on Aug. 17, face the Ottawa Gee-Gees that night and face the Ravens the following evening.

On the women's side, coach Taffe Charles' Ravens will host two D-1 teams, Fairleigh Dickinson and Vermont, on Aug. 27-28, both 8 p.m. tip-offs at the Ravens' Nest. The latter game should be a homecoming for Vermont senior guard Courtnay Pilypaitis, a St. Peter alumna who led the Catamounts to the America East conference title and the NCAA Tournament last season. Vermont is also playing a game in Waterloo, since that's the hometown of another of their starters, May Kotsopoulos.
The rational move is to take recruiting news on catch-as-catch-can basis. Here's a couple from around the Internets:

  • St. FX announced its men's hockey recruits. The big gets would include five-year Western Hockey League netminder Joey Perricone; defenceman Stephen Simms, who apparently turned down a NCAA scholarship at Lake Superior State; and two players who wore a letter with major junior teams, defenceman Nick Pageau from the Belleville Bulls and forward Ryan Sparling from the Saint John Sea Dogs.

    Personally, Pageau is the most familiar of the lot since he played in Belleville, the unofficial spring team of Kingston Frontenacs fans.

  • Queen's centre Billy Burke (not to be confused with the Queen's Centre, the new campus complex which won't have a hockey arena) has signed with the Port Huron IceHawks in the IHL. Burke, who carried Queen's offensively in a last-ditch bid to squeak into the OUA playoffs, played both football and hockey for the (Golden) Gaels. His parents Denise and Bill run the OHL's Niagara IceDogs.
  • Capital Region Football Blog linked to a Langley Times feature on incoming Ottawa Gee-Gees receiver Chris Robitaille. The 19-year-old is converting from quarterback, which seems to be a thing to do among Ottawa players (leading receiver Cyril Adjeity used to play QB).
Again, if you see anything and are feeling generous, add a link or fire off an e-mail.

The plan is to make the morning roundups a more regular feature once the season starts up.
No doubt people in Canada West circles will be happy to hear, although they probably know already: The U of Calgary's head athletic therapist, Schad Richea, has taken a job in the NHL, as reported by
"Dysart, SK's Schad Richea has been hired as assistant Athletic Therapist with the Calgary Flames. Schad gave me the news this morning and said it was okay to break the story."
Richea, as outlined in a profile on, was responsible for every Dinos varsity athlete. He took his degree and qualifications at in Ontario at Waterloo and Sheridan College. By the way, that above-linked article included some sage advice for any students who might be filling out a course calendar in the next little while:
"I always encourage the students here, if you have an elective don't take dance and don't take archaeology. Take another biology or biochem or something that's going to be functional for you. It's nice to know those other things and pad your stats but there's way more to being an athletic therapist. Nobody ever asked me once what my marks were in university."
Cool. That ties in with something yours truly was told only after the fact: If someone wants to know what your grades were, you don't want to work for someone so uptight. Better to be someone who can learn.

Local Boy To NHL (
Keeping an eye open on what U.S. media with collegiate sports coverage is generally a good idea. The Sun Belt Conference came up with a money-saving idea to help better promote its product. They held their football media days via video conferencing.
"(M)ore than 50 reporters registered to cover the two days of media sessions online, compared to fewer than 40 last summer at a downtown New Orleans hotel. The hope was that making it more convenient and less costly for the media might improve coverage for the Sun Belt, which began sponsoring Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs in 2001.

" ... Several coaches agreed the format saved time, giving them about two more days to be on campus with their coaching staffs and prepare for training camp when they might otherwise have been on the road.

" 'I think this is a great way to do it,' Louisiana-Monroe head coach Charlie Weatherbie said. 'We're maybe starting a new trend here.' "
— The Associated Press
The Sun Belt Conference, which is mostly mid-major Southern schools who are overshadowed by the big boys in the Southeastern Conference. To give an idea, the SEC had 800 media people accredited for its football media days. With travel budgets shrinking, the point is the obvious — a media outlet faced with a choice of sending a college football reporter to the SEC's media extravaganza or the Sun Belt's will take the first option every time.

That is analogous to the challenges Canadian schools face. Media outlets have a staff crunch, plus there's the Hockey Reflex, but that isn't a reason to fold the tent. Obviously, this is a self-serving statement, but video conferencing is something conferences should look at in order to facilitate media coverage which covers their leagues in more depth, not just in terms of how a local team is making out. It's easy to imagine Canada West (with teams spread from Winnipeg to Vancouver, for now) or the OUA, whose football programs are spread across a fairly wide geographic span (Windsor to Ottawa), setting up similar. Get each team's head coach and marquee player on a webcam.

As Andrew Bucholtz noted in a post for The Phoenix Pub, the audience is there and there are relatively inexpensive ways to access them. It just takes finding the right platform and being efficient.

It's really navel-gazing to post it, but Andrew had some words about new media which are pertinent for many SIDs, about why this site, or, or cisfootballorg, has a following.
"Canadian university sports ... don’t get a lot of national coverage ... there is the audience out there across the country for this coverage, and that’s left a nice niche for us to fill. Traditionally, if you were a writer interested in these kind of obscure sports, you might be able to get a newspaper piece in on them once in a while, but you’d have a hard time making that information available to the fans across the country who were interested in it. The Internet's removed that barrier. Now, you can write about what you’re passionate about, not what your editor demands, and if it’s interesting enough, people will come to read it."
Saving time, money, Sun Belt meets media online (The Associated Press, July 20)
There's a celebrity connection with one of the NCAA teams coming north for exhibition basketball.

The Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs are playing four games in Southern Ontario over the Labour Day weekend. The hook that's not really a hook is that Tennessee-Chattanooga is the alma mater of reality television star Terrell Owens, who is a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills professional football team, although both of the latter two statements have become a matter of opinion in the past few years. Regardless of whether T.O., who will be spending some time in Toronto this year, would be there, hoopheads in the GTA will be able to get a fix:
Sat., Sept. 5: U of T, Noon
Sat., Sept. 5: York, 8 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 6: Guelph, 8 p.m.
Mon., Sept. 7: Sheridan, 11 a.m.
Tennessee-Chattanooga graduated all five of its starters, but they play in the Southern Conference, which is a decent enough brand of basketball.

Terrell Owens was a sixth man on the 1995 Mocs teams which made a run to the Sweet 16. The Bills also have Labour Day weekend off, oddly enough.

Mocs Head to Canada for Pre-Season Tour ( press release)
There are a million and one stories about well-rounded, self-possessed teenagers who left their mark on their high school. Since it's Ottawa-related, one should send some eyes toward a nice Ottawa Citizen feature on Awo Farah, a prospective Ottawa Gee-Gees basketball player. As Martin Cleary details, Farah arrived in Ottawa from Djibouti (a small African nation which encompasses less than 10 square miles) in 2001 not knowing a word of English, but ended up becoming her high school's student council co-president.

Three guesses whether Farah attributes her decision to attend the U of O and try to play her wy on to the defending OUA East champion Gee-Gees to wanting to play for Andy Sparks. The first two don't count!

'Sports kept me going. It made me come to school more.'; Rideau's senior athlete of year spoke no English when she arrived in Canada (Martin Cleary, Ottawa Citizen)
Bess Lennox finished her season in Western Australia as a top-10 player in the league.

That's a fairly declarative statement out of nowhere, so let's explain it a little bit.

You may recall that Lennox ended up with the second-highest adjusted game score in the CIS last year, behind only player of the year Kayla Dykstra, and that she signed with the Southwest Slammers of the helpfully-named State Basketball League. Well, there's no reason we can't do the same game score analysis for all the players in the SBL. As before, we're adjusting the original game score (definition here) by the RPI of the opponents each player faced. Here are the top 10:

Top 10 adjusted Game Scores in the SBL, 2009 season (at least 12 games played)
23.5, Deanna Smith (Perry Lakes Hawks, 15 games played)
18.1, Brooke Hiddlestone (Perth Redbacks, 21)
13.6, Shelley Boston (Mandurah Magic, 15)
12.9, Ashley Gilmore (Willetton TIgers, 20)
11.1, Samantha Norwood (Kalamunda Eastern Suns, 22)
10.7, Elizabeth Lennox (Southwest Slammers, 17)
10.4, Natalie Young (Lakeside Lightning, 22)
8.8, Kate Malpass (Willetton Tigers, 21)
8.2, Kaye Tucker (Rockingham Flames, 21)
7.7, Sherelle Johnson (Rockingham Flames, 22)

A few thoughts:
  • Not knowing anything about the league, it seems it might be a little below the quality of the CIS. Consider, for instance, the shooting percentages: last year, here in Canada, the women averaged 38% from the field, 30% on three-pointers, and 68% from the line. In the SBL, those rates were all lower: 36%, 28%, and 63%.
  • There was certainly one huge difference Lennox had to adjust to, though: a losing team. Her Slammers won only 3 out of 22 games and finished second-last, a far cry from the Western Mustangs' recent success. See below for more on this.
  • Apparently you don't want to be the one defending Deanna Smith, whoever that is.
Also notable is that everyone ranked ahead of Lennox played for a winning team, so finishing sixth out of 132 qualifying players is more impressive than at first glance.

Lennox's former coach at Western, Steph Barrie, has been in touch with her regularly, and passes along word that "she has really loved her time there. Obviously the losing has been difficult for her as she just is not used to that and for her it would not be easy to accept. But, the cultural experience, the people - have been great. She may look to jump up into Australia's top league if she gets an opportunity."

And based on her results so far, it seems like she won't have much difficulty in doing so.
It's fair to say The Globe & Mail's editorial about Simon Fraser joining the NCAA all but left a gauntlet outside the front door at 801 King Edward Ave.
"Whatever prestige comes with NCAA membership, it will also bring greater challenges as well.

"But this is undoubtedly the point. Canadian university sports have never developed into serious spectator pastimes, as they are in the U.S. A smaller market means fewer resources and a lower level of competition. Canadian high school students must often decide whether to study at home or depart for more lucrative offers and stiffer competition south of the border. Keeping more of these young men and woman at home would be a good thing.

" ... this change means the CIS now faces serious competition for the loyalty of its members. If such a situation produces a more accommodating stance within the organization regarding scholarships, travel and other complaints from Western schools, so much the better. A little competition never hurt anyone."
That echoes a general point about the CIS/NCAA debate: The national body has to give schools a reason to stay. Justify the love.

Holding to the status quo does not work in Canadian sport. Simon Fraser's move to the NCAA might be more about SFU being SFU, unique for the sake of being unique, but it's hard to believe this happened in a vacuum when UBC is considering the same move and many top teams are now beating NCAA Division 1 teams in exhibition and non-conference games.

For the sake of clarity, this is called The CIS Blog but that does not necessarily connote fealty toward the national organization. I'm a Canadian who loves college sports and believes there should be more of a spotlight on young people excelling in them, whatever the umbrella organization. Traditional media should pay more attention if someone from their coverage area is starting for a NCAA D-1 basketball or football team, since that is a notable feat. That's my bias.

Again, this is an "emotional and logistical hornets' nest" (some random idiot, April 16, 2009). Please keep the dialogue going on Justin McElroy's post, which is down below.

Simon Fraser's boldness (Globe & Mail)
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie is unpopular among Toronto sports fans, but the sports executive's hometown of Windsor must love him. (After all, most of them cheer for the Detroit Red Wings, not the Leafs.)

Peddie, a Windsor alum, helped Lancers men's hoops coach Chris Oliver secure a deal with 6-foot-8 big man Lien Phillip, as the Windsor Star reported Saturday.
" 'With him and Blake Pauls (a six-10 centre from Leamington), we're set in the post for the next four or five years.'

"The Lancers' basketball coach first took notice of Phillip in his senior year at St. Mary's where his game was still 'pretty raw.'

"In steering him towards Windsor and away from other potential OUA suitors, Oliver lined up a lunch with Richard Peddie, a Windsor graduate and president and CEO of Maple Leaf Entertainment.

"Peddie studied business at Windsor, just as Phillip will this fall." — Windsor Star
Along with Pauls and Phillip (you just know scorekeepers will have to be double careful which name they put the S on), the Lancers' class also includes a big guard, 6-6 Justin Wiltshire, who helped the Pickering Trojans win the OFSAA quad-A boys basketball banner in 2008.

Lancers nab dream recruit; Phillip shows smarts on, off court (Mary Caton, Windsor Star)
The best posts, like the best trades in hockey, are the ones you don't make.

When news arose of Vicki Thistle transferring from Memorial to Saskatchewan, there was thought of going into depth about what might entice a player from eastern Canada to transfer to the Huskies, since McMaster star Lindsay DeGroot had already done so (short answers: Canada West is the place to be for a lady baller and Saskatchewan is now a have province). Turns out Thistle, who had the third-highest game score in the AUS last season, is staying in St. John's with the Sea-Hawks.
"Vicki Thistle, a third-year student from St. John's, who said in March she would be leaving Memorial University and the province this fall as the result of 'a personal decision,' has apparently decided to return to MUN.

"When Thistle (16.3 points-per-game, 6.8 rebounds per game) revealed she was going to the University of Saskatchewan, coach Doug Partridge said at the time it was a, 'blow to our program' and that, 'It's never good to lose a player of that calibre any time.'

"Now things have changed ... again." — St. John's Telegram
This is as good a time as any to note The CIS Blog would really like to have someone who can take the AUS beat and make it her or his own. It's not a life-changing commitment, but a once or twice a week column on basketball or hockey would really hit the spot. That's how most of the writers on this site got involved, but suggesting a particular area that needed to be covered.

Just send an e-mail to neate.sager(at)

Lady Hawk returns to nest; Scoring star Vicki Thistle looks to wear red and white again (John Browne, St. John's Telegram)
(There is new content farther down the page, but this is the talker. -- Ed.)

Since last week's official Simon Fraser/NCAA Div. II announcement, it's been all quiet on the (Canada) Western front. That might not be the case for long though. There's chatter that Canada West may impose sanctions which would reduce SFU's games in the upcoming year to exhibition status.

I emailed David Bandla, the communications chief for Canada West, whether sanctions had been discussed yet, and here's what he had to say:

The Canada West Universities Athletic Association conference is in the process of determining all the correct, official details associated with the Simon Fraser University application and any possible effects to the CWUAA.

Once Canada West Athletics is in a position to properly assess the situation, meetings will be held and we will prepare a response, however, there is no current timeline for such a response.

Which is pretty much a non-denial denial. You can't blame Canada West for considering this route though. To use a hackneyed analogy, SFU has demanded a divorce, has found another partner...but would still very much like to live with Canada West for a little while longer.

On the other hand, the recruiting season is at this point basically over, and SFU has said that they plan to move virtually all of their teams to the NCAA for the 2010-2011 year, so whether they've gained any sort of competitive advantage for the upcoming year is questionable.
Just noticed this on Laurier Football Club: The OUA has renamed its football coach of the year award after Tuffy Knight, the legendary Laurier Golden Hawks and Waterloo Warriors coach.

It's a fitting honour. Not only did Knight win conference titles with two teams, Laurier and Waterloo, which is pretty rare (Western's Greg Marshall and Calgary's Blake Nill have each achieved that distinction recently), but as noted in a previous post, he was a catalyst for changing the structure of football in Ontario. When Knight arrived at WLU (then Waterloo Lutheran) in 1965, most of the attention was focused on the Big Four, McGill, Queen's, Toronto and Western. Other schools played in what was called an intermediate league (in the 1950s, Queen's actually had a "second team" which played in the league).

There were a lot of macro factors involved in the change. The program Knight built at Laurier, then known as the little school, played a part in developing a new OUAA through the 1970s and '80s.

From this vantage point, Knight's Wiki epitomizes the spirit of football. He went from Laurier to helping Waterloo, which was in the midst of a national record losing streak when he arrived, achieve a modicum of respectability, peaking with an improbable Yates Cup in '97. He also returned to the Golden Hawks as an assistant coach and has stayed in the game by coaching high school football in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Can you imagine a coach who had been to the top in the NCAA coaching high school football well into his 70s? There is something very cool and genuine about Tuffy Knight.

The honour is also timely, since exactly 20 seasons ago, Knight won the Frank Tindall Trophy as national coach of the year while skipping the Warriors.
Anything which helps bring Canadian university hockey more into the loop of traditional media should be welcomed, so it's good to see that St. Thomas Tommies winger Jason Cassidy is blogging (here's the RSS feed) for The Hockey News.

The fifth-year forward, who posted a respectable 22 points in 27 AUS games last season, is a journalism major who played four seasons in the OHL with Brampton and the then Toronto-St. Michael's Majors. His first post laid out how the scholarship program in major junior hockey works.
"... it’s based on what your draft position is.

"OHL teams offer more substantial education packages to the highest-rated prospects. For example, a first round draft pick will be offered somewhere in the range of $10,000-20,000 towards education for each full season completed in the league. So if a player is offered a package of $12,000 per season and he plays five years of junior, he can decide to claim that $60,000 as long as he’s enrolled in a post-secondary institution. I hope this isn't too confusing. 

"The later you’re selected in the draft, the less the package is worth.

"The catch is the money can be revoked if a player plays professional hockey for more than 18 months. It’s no wonder junior teams shower their top prospects with opportunities - they’re hoping the player signs a professional contract, so the team can be relieved of its financial commitment."
Here is hoping Cassidy will stick with it and put a personable face on CIS hockey. Having insights from someone who's been on in the inside and writes well (see former Toronto Blue Jays executive Bart Given's Inside The Majors blog) is very beneficial.

There are a lot of features of university hockey which bear explaining to a more general audience. Cassidy could certainly touch on what it's like to go from a 68-game marathon in junior to a 28-game schedule in the CIS and the adjustment to carrying a full course load. Another is the "rude awakening" phenomena that a lot of major junior grads are hit with when they come to university hockey. Many saunter in expecting university hockey will be a cakewalk, only to find out it's actually tougher than junior.

Cassidy also touched on the nature of the beast which is Atlantic University Sport men's hockey, where the Tommies represent the smallest school in the league. The way the joke should go is that STU is everyone's third-favourite team, with whoever's playing UNB in second (that's a compliment, Varsity Reds fans).
"The Tommies are an annual underdog. We compete against large schools like Dalhousie, St. Francis Xavier and Université de Moncton.

" ... Stay tuned and I’ll give you a taste of what the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is all about."
No doubt some users might say, "Sager, aren't you bitter that a journalism student is writing for The Hockey News?" Hey, your humble agent has been published in the bible of shinny ... I had a letter published in Bruce Hood's Ask The Referee column in 1987 when I was 10. So there.

Deciding between university and pro (Jason Cassidy's Blog)
Jason Cassidy moves up to the big leagues (
ESPN reported a couple days ago that supposedly Guelph-bound point guard Brady Heslip "walked away with at least 10 mid-to-high D-I scholarship offers," including one from Boston College in the ACC, after shining at a recent AAU tournament.

Heslip, a Burlington native whose dad starred at the U of G, is also listed as being in the class of 2010, leading to speculation he's leaning toward a prep school.
"Brady was a relative unknown prior to this tournament (Adidas It Takes 5ive Classic). He walked away with at least 10 mid-to-high D-I scholarship offers. Brady is a skilled scoring point guard that can shoot with range to 22 feet. He can also create his own shot off the dribble. Brady can create for his teammates also. He can penetrate in the lane and kick to open teammates. He was a major factor in the tournament and will be one of the heavily recruited point guards in this class based off his performance here." —
The and forums are fairly alight about Heslip apparently de-committing. Personal judgments should be withheld. A young adult only gets one crack at playing high-level basketball, although there is grass-is-always-greener aspect with respect to going to a NCAA Division 1 program outside of teams in major conferences. (If North Carolina or UConn is calling, go, if it's

There is also the matter of the money quote Heslip gave to SLAM! Online two months ago:
"Just the fact that I’m going to be home in Canada and I'm going to be an impact player right away and be able to start. I’m going to be able to do what I want to do for five years as opposed to learning the ropes down there for two years and getting my two years to play. That was a major factor in me wanting to stay."
This is a young person who has the right to change his mind. If this is the case, the Gryphons' coaches will understandably feel burned, but those are the breaks in recruiting.
Coach Gardiner MacDougall's reigning University Cup-champion UNB Varsity Reds have gone a lot of attention for hanging in and often beating NCAA teams such as Boston College and Maine.

UNB announced Thursday it will also travel south to play the Providence Reds each of the next two seasons. Providence will also play at the Varsity Reds' annual Pete Kelly tournament in December 2010, which is a two-game trip..

In all, UNB will play four games vs. NCAA opponents next season (Oct. 3 vs. UMass-Amherst, Oct. 4 vs. Vermont and Jan. 2 at Maine). Their title defence begins Sept. 15 vs. St. Thomas.

UNB and Providence Announce Three Year Partnership (UNB Athletics press release)
Have mad hops and the game to back it up, will travel.

Calgary Dinos grad Henry Bekkering got right to work once he joined the Matrixx Magix Nijmegen in the Netherlands, putting on one of his patented dunking displays — hurdling four kids, the whole nine yards.

Mattrixx seems a pretty respectable squad, near as a non-Dutch-reading international basketball neophyte can tell. Based in the 2,000-year-old city of Nijmegen, the club finished fifth in the 11-team Eredivisie last season, the top flight of pro hoops in the Netherlands. The reports, as best as I could glean, seem full of excitement about bringing in a player of Dutch lineage who averaged 20 points in Canadian university ball (and whose brother Ross Bekkering was a 15-and-10 forward).

(Bekkering clip via Basketball Dunk Videos.)

Magixx krijgt dunkmonster (de Gelderlander, July 11)
The Windsor Lancers, a top 5 team nationally, have added two tall recruits: Jessica Gordon (6-7) from down the 401 in London and Jessica Clemencon (6-2) out of...wait, where? Tell us, coach Chantal Vallee:

"She's an incredible basketball player. France is one of the best countries in Europe in terms of basketball so making any national team there is huge and playing in the first division, none of our players here could do that."
And here you thought Lakehead went for international recruits.

To be honest, not much is known of Clemencon besides vague statistical records: she appeared in five games at the European U20 this past week, averaging 4.2 points in 15 minutes. But she sounds like a player to watch, as long as you have a seat a few rows up. (Gordon appears a few years away; she is described as a project by Vallee.)

Now, as for the "undersized" Lancers...well, Windsor seemed big enough last year, albeit their 21-1 record only went so far against Canada West teams in March. In any event, they will work Clemencon in with the 6-4 Iva Peklova in what sounds like something few OUA teams can measure up to. (We will pause to acknowledge that listed heights in basketball only occasionally flirt with reality, but this team is qualitatively much bigger than the average Ontario team.)

Vallee later says: "We're going to prepare an offence where we play two posts at a time and where we focus on the inside a lot. If we go two tall at all times, it will create incredible matchup difficulties." As alluded to above, Peklova's size already creates difficulties, so if Clemencon can contribute in the expected ways, it's not going to be a particularly close race in the OUA West this year.

Hoops Lancers recruit top French player [Mary Caton, Windsor Star]
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