Reflections on the past decade in sports, in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2006, as I made the move to Regina for a second time, there was a Canadian team, the once mighty Oilers, in the Stanley Cup final. They lost to the Carolina Hurricanes but it was darn exciting for a sport that shouldn’t be played in June.
In Winnipeg, the original Jets had moved to the Arizona desert 10 years earlier, and nobody thought the NHL would ever return. But there was a bright new downtown arena in Winnipeg, and thanks to a couple of rich guys named Chipman and Thomson, a losing team in Atlanta came north and the Jets 2.1 were reborn. They’re still losing, but they’re better than the Oilers and the future is promising.
There are seven Canadian-based teams in the NHL, and this year not one of them even made it into the first round. Will there be many people sitting indoors in June this year watching Florida vs. Anaheim? The Oilers will be in a sparkling new building next season, and in 2017 the Roughriders of the CFL will have a brand new home after 70 plus years at Taylor Field.
In Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers are into their 4th year at Investors Group Field , but it hasn’t helped. Bombers fans pass by a statue of Bud Grant on their way into the ballpark and that only seems to make it worse. At 26 years and counting since Winnipeg players sipped the bubbly from the Grey Cup, it’s a very long time between drinks.
We lost a lot of football legends since 2006, including Ron Lancaster and Leo Lewis and Sam Etchevery. But we are back to 9 teams, and only one of them are called the Roughriders. That has to be progress worth celebrating, plus the fact that they’ve promised to never again try 3-down football in strange places like Shreveport and Las Vegas.
Now where’s my popcorn?
I’m Roger Currie