Sports This Week - Big surprise at the Grey Cup

To start this week a tip of the hat to whoever came up with the original teddy bear toss at a hockey game during the holiday season.

It’s always a special event for the local Junior ‘A’ Terriers with some added anticipation of the first home goal which sends plush toys raining down to the ice, as was the case Friday.

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The Terriers deserve a pat on the back for holding the event, one copied in arenas far and wide, such as the WHL Calgary Hitmen where they are advertising to hit 25,000 toys.

The Grey Cup

The chili was in the oven, a huge pan of it to be honest, and friends were over, two sure signs it was Grey Cup Sunday.

As is often the case when you cheer for Saskatchewan, I didn’t have a favourite in this one, although I can’t ever cheer for Winnipeg the nemesis of our Roughriders. I was also expecting Hamilton to walk away with this one.

And now as I sit here stuffed with chili, I admit I didn’t see a 33-12 Bomber win. It was unexpected.

But credit Winnipeg, their defence was staunch. They stymied the Roughriders repeatedly in the west final, and did it again against the TiCats; full credit for the win.

A big congratulations to Andrew Harris who ran for more than 130 yards in a dominating effort that had him named the first ever Most Outstanding Player and Top Canadian. He is a special talent.

Now it’s Roughriders for the win in 2020.

Canadian college sports

The Vanier Cup was held Saturday. For someone who followed the universities of Saskatchewan and Regina through the Canada West season thanks to games being broadcast on SaskTel Max, I was keenly interested.

The University of Calgary won its first title in 24-years over the Montreal Carabins 27-13, in a game that was entertaining if not outstanding.

Having watched a fair amount of Canadian college football the last two years, probably 30 games, I find it a shame we don’t see more college sports on our Canadian sports channels.

I watched the Canadian rugby finals tourney last week too, and again was well-satisfied by the quality.

The college level of hockey in Canada is second only to the pros because players are 21+ with many having time in major junior to develop their games.

And, given our growing relationship with basketball thanks to the Raptors, Canadian college ball would seem a natural for some channel to jump on in Canada. It’s too bad their mandate was not to promote domestic sports more.

Underappreciated sport

I suspect for most the start of the Major Arena Soccer League season on the weekend went unnoticed, which is unfortunate if you are a fan of sports. This is not the one goal and a long nap outdoor form of soccer. The arena game is much more about scoring.  Opening day four games were played and they averaged 12 goals scored.

If you like hockey, or box lacrosse, then you should check out MASL.

Given the game’s general similarities I am left to wonder what went wrong with the Mississauga Metrostars.

The team was an expansion team in the MASL last season, and while they did not win often, the fate of expansion sport franchises unless you are Las Vegas where the NHL Commissioner orchestrated a system to ensure his gamble succeeded, the Stars were entertaining. However, they never found a fan base, and as the league launched its 2019-20 season the team folded. As a fan of Canadian teams that was a sad announcement for me, as it will make another try at a team in this country hard to launch. Thankfully Milwaukee is powered by some key Canadian players so I will still be tuning in to MASLTV.

Rush season launches Friday

Speaking of new seasons the Saskatchewan Rush start their new season this Friday heading to Colorado. Their first home game sees the Rush host New England Dec. 14.

This is another big year for the National Lacrosse League with New York and Halifax home to teams for the first time in years (NY had a team ages ago). The league continues steady growth and with each new team interest seems to grow. If you have attended a Rush game, it is a blast that is easy to recommend.

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