|Blades Get Support From Unexpected Source|
|Written by Les Lazaruk|
|Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:10|
It’s unlikely the Saskatoon Blades are on Brent Parker’s Christmas card list…and vice-versa…but the Regina Pats’ president has seen, read and heard enough from critics of the Bridge City Bunch when it comes to whether they deserve to be hosts of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament.
“The Memorial Cup is not going away (from Saskatoon)…it’s not getting taken away. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken,” Parker flatly stated this past Sunday while watching his Pats absorb a 7-0 home-ice thrashing from the Blades. “The event is there, celebrate the event, enjoy the event, support your team…support these kids (Blades’ players) in their endeavours and enjoy it…enjoy junior hockey!”
The Blades have been under fire following a 2-7-0 start with media members, hockey observers and fans from all over, outside Saskatoon, calling for a change in venue for the Canadian Hockey League’s championship event or for the Bridge City Bunch to be removed as the host team if their record doesn’t markedly improve. Having been president and general manager of the Regina franchise when it was the host team for the 2001 Memorial Cup, Parker doesn’t feel as if the Blades have to knuckle under to the outside pressures.
“I always told people when they said, ‘Oh, you’re not worthy of getting into the Memorial Cup,’ well, there’s two ways you win your way into the Memorial Cup,” explained Parker. “You win a bid process or you win your league and I wasn’t going to apologize for that (back in 2001), nor should Saskatoon. That’s how it works!
“I think some of the people don’t grasp that concept. It’s about the big event, it’s about the event of the Memorial Cup and celebrating junior hockey.”
Following a 4-1 loss last Wednesday to the visiting Spokane Chiefs, the Blades took the Pats to task, sweeping a home-and-home series by scores of 9-0 Saturday at Credit Union Centre and 7-0 Sunday at the Brandt Centre to move back above .500…at 15-14-1…the 31 points putting them into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference as of Monday.
While Brent Parker feels for the Saskatoon players and all the pressure they face being the MasterCard Memorial Cup host team, his experience also tells him something else, “I think the one thing I would say, especially to the Saskatoon fans, is that you will see an entirely different hockey club at 3:01 (p.m.) on January 10th.”
That’s the W.H.L. trade deadline and it’s four weeks away! Buckle up because the ride is about to become wild again!
UPCOMING GAMES – The final five games of the Blades’ pre-Christmas schedule line up this way...tonight in Brandon, tomorrow at MooseJaw, Friday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos and Saturday when the Kootenay Ice are at Credit Union Centre…before Saskatoon goes to Speedy Creek on Tuesday. All five radio radio broadcasts on 92-9, THE BULL start with pre-game talk at 6:30, followed by the play-by-play at either 7 or 7:05 p.m. The first contest for the Bridge City Bunch after the holiday break is on Friday, December 28 at Prince Albert.
BLADES PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK – For the second straight week, captain Brenden Walker gets this writer’s choice award. In the three games last week, the 20-year-old notched eight points, including three goals. One of the goals was the first one Sunday in Regina, standing as the game winner. Overall, the former Brandon right winger has accumulated 10 goals and 26 points in 30 games.