Tagged: cfl

Planes, Trains and Automobiles : How the Grey Cup Train tour missed Kingston

The title will make sense as this blog entry goes along.

So, the Grey Cup train tour wrapped up. Those who might follow me on Twitter had seen the tweets about there not being a train stop in Kingston. Which was a head scratcher for me. Queen’s Football has a big following and the school even won 3 Cups back in the day. Looked at the schedule on train tour website and no Kingston stop to be seen. Which thankfully I have a shot of. This is where the story begins.


Others on Twitter were surprised by lack of a stop. The train was a way to bring the Cup across the country to sports fans. They had events where fans could come by and take pictures and the like.  Tour even hit Newfoundland and Nunavut where they had to fly in.  So the ‘Planes’ part of the title now makes sense.

So, you can imagine my surprise when on a Sunday night on TSN SportsCentre I see a quick story with the Grey Cup inside a hall at Queen’s. Huh? Checked their website again and they added a photo-op at Queen’s.

http://greycuptour.ca/stops/131-tindall-field-queen-s-university

Happened early Sunday morning around 7am and was done by 8:30am. “The Grey Cup very briefly returned to one of its many former homes today, visiting Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.”

So at least it did stop in the town. No chance for the public to stop by though. What they did was drop off some championship banners for the school to recognize their Grey Cup wins. Now why they decided to stay in Ottawa for 6 entire days instead of hitting more communities, I have no clue.  Bad scheduling there.  Thought a main selling point of the train was going to places which don’t get to see the CFL in person.

Kate McKenna who was on the train doing reports for TSN all along the route did respond to me on Twitter about the Kingston stop. I actually saw Kate around Kingston that Saturday night. Heard her interviewed on the Jay and Dan Podcast and knew she went to Queen’s. I assumed she was in town for the Golden Gaels playoff game since I hadn’t seen any Kingston stop on the schedule.

And when she said it was a last minute change. It REALLY was. CKWS, the only TV station in Kingston had nothing about it. Kingston Whig-Standard on Saturday had articles about the Golden Gaels playoff game, no mention of anything happening on Sunday.  The trophy must have traveled in an Automobile of some sort to Kingston. [That completes the title of today’s blog]

But the biggest sign that hardly anyone in Kingston knew it was happening was from an email newsletter. It’s one that supports Queen’s Football and mentions fundraising events and tailgate parties at road games. The newsletter is very connected, evidenced by the fact a few days after the Gaels were eliminated in the OUA playoffs they emailed everyone a letter written by Coach Pat Sheahan to the fans. If that group didn’t know about what was happening that Sunday morning.

Strangely some get the facts wrong after the fact. Even the local paper. From a recent Kingston Whig-Standard.

The train stopped in Kingston? No it didn’t. I know what you might be thinking: “Sun Media messing up? That never happens.” But seriously it wasn’t written by a Whig reporter who would’ve known better.

All in all, it isn’t the most important thing in the world. Was disappointing for all the football fans in the Kingston area. Especially with all the Queen’s/Kingston connections with the CFL. Sit back this will take a while.

The aforementioned Kate McKenna, from TSN went to Queen’s.

Jaime Stein used to be with the CFRC sports department when he was at the university. Jaime worked with the CFL on the digital side for a few years.

Jock Climie works on the ‘CFL on TSN’ panel and former football player. Is a member of the Queen’s Football Hall of Fame.

Rod Smith, from TSN SportsCentre was an offensive guard for the Gaels. And did play by play for the Mitchell Bowl when Queen’s beat Laval on the way to the Vanier Cup.

Neate Sager, Queen’s Alumni and writes for Yahoo Sports on ‘Buzzing the Net’ blog. Chatted with Neate on my show after Queen’s Vanier Cup win, since CFRC didn’t have a sports show at the time.

Andrew Bucholtz who runs the CFL Blog “55 Yard Line” on Yahoo. He is Toronto for the Grey Cup of course this week. You can guess where Andrew went for his post-secondary education.

Mike Hogan, born in Kingston is the radio play by play voice for the Argos. Mike will be calling the game for TSN Radio 1050 this Sunday. Also Mike co-hosts ‘Football Sunday’ a radio show with Chris Schultz and ‘Argos All-Access’ on the same station. When I used to work on Offsides with Tyler King, Mike was a guest on a few occasions so he helped us out at CFRC. And I also recall he stopped by at a halftime show of a Golden Gaels football broadcast.

Finally Chris Cuthbert, play by play voice for TSN with CFL and NHL. Who will call the Grey Cup for TSN. You might’ve heard of him. From his bio on the TSN website:

“Throughout his celebrated career, Cuthbert has covered every sport at every level. Cuthbert’s inaugural job in sports broadcasting was doing the play-by-play for Golden Gaels football games in 1978 for CFRC Radio in Kingston, Ont. while still a student at Queen’s University.”

And I found a piece Andrew wrote for the Queen’s Journal on Chris and his days at Queen’s. Worth reading for more details on how he got started.

http://queensjournal.ca/story/2009-02-09/sports/making-it-big-leagues/

So…… the powers at be decided there wasn’t a good reason for the Grey Cup Train tour to stop in Kingston. Perfect sense.

For fans of CIS Football tomorrow is the Vanier Cup between Laval and McMaster. Rematch of last year’s great game. I’ll be watching that. Sunday is the Grey Cup. Which I haven’t seen in a few years. I work Saturday nights at 11pm and Sunday at 11pm. Not ideal times to catch a 6pm football game on Sunday. I should record it on the PVR this year. Good luck to the media members with a Queen’s/Kingston connection covering the game this year.

Since it is US Thanksgiving today, I should have a clip from ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ to end this.  It takes place on Thanksgiving and this clip has a football reference in it.  Good way to wrap things up.

NFL Picks Week 3 : Carnell Knowledge

Some East Coast football content today with Touchdown Atlantic in Moncton. Home game for Toronto vs Edmonton. And from all accounts this will be the Argos’ home game with the most revenue. Shows how much support there is in Atlantic Canada. I’ll write more after the fact.

7-9 last week, so I’m going backwards this season. Not as in depth as before, writing this very early on a Sunday. Maybe that will help since I left it later than usual.

San Francisco at Kansas City. CHIEFS.

Kansas City surprising this season in a good way, 49ers in the opposite direction.

Detroit at Minnesota. LIONS.

Brett Favre 0-3, could be after Sunday. He pushed his luck by one season too many.

Buffalo at New England. PATRIOTS.

Pats played one good half and one bad half last week in that lost to the Jets. Bills are the Bills.

Atlanta at New Orleans. SAINTS.

Saints scratched out a 2-0 record. Being at home I’ll give them the edge.

Tennessee at New York Giants. TITANS.

After Sunday night’s beatdown against Indy I will go with another AFC South team to beat New York.

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay. STEELERS.

Pittsburgh defense pulling them through so far. Tampa Bay 2-0 as well. Haven’t really paid attention to those wins.

Cincinnati at Carolina. BENGALS.

Cincinnati coming off a victory against Baltimore. I think they have 8 division victories in a row. Which is just weird.

Cleveland at Baltimore. RAVENS.

Talking about AFC North, Ravens should rebound here.

Dallas at Houston. TEXANS.

If Cowboys lose to their cross state rivals it will be big for both sides.

Washington at St. Louis. REDSKINS.

Redskins scored a lot last week and still lost. As a Skins fan it’s been years since I’ve seen an offense.

Philadelphia at Jacksonville. EAGLES.

Vick in as QB which is the good move. Especially with a guy coming back from a concussion who is not a proven starter.

Indianapolis at Denver. COLTS.

Don’t recall these teams playing very often. After Peyton smacked NYG around I’m going with them.

Oakland at Arizona. RAIDERS.

Wow, some poor schmucks have to broadcast that game. Good luck.

San Diego at Seattle. CHARGERS.

Seahawks were great in Week 1 and horrible in Week 2. They’re probably somewhere in the middle.

New York Jets at Miami. DOLPHINS.

Lost in the Jets-mania during the offseason was they were beat twice by Miami last year.

Green Bay at Chicago. PACKERS.

Strange to think this might be a shootout. More sold on the Packers then the Bears.

Good Luck Matt/Redskins/CFL Out East

A non-music post for today.  CFRC online archive has been down for a few weeks.  Which is how I would grab the older episodes.  Now I have to go to the station computers and get them that way.  More out of the way then doing it from home as you can imagine.

Good luck to Matthew Bisson who is now working in Edmonton, Alberta.  If you’ve listened to CFRC Sports over the last 4 years you’ll recognize Matt.  Play by play for the football team is what most listeners will remember.  After doing a Vanier Cup victory that is as high as you can go.  He also hosted GlobeTrotting which I worked on for 2 years.  Weekly 30 minute soccer show that has now come to an end.  Too bad since the World Cup was just around the corner in South Africa.

He was at CHUM in town and lately one of the morning guys at 98.9 FM The Drive.  He will be at AM630 CHED in Edmonton.  Home of the radio broadcasts of the Eskimos and Oilers.  There is also another sister station but can’t remember that off the top of my head.  Congratulations to Matt on the move.  He just got to Edmonton on the weekend after driving from Kingston.  Yes, drove about 4000 km.  At least it wasn’t in the middle of winter.

Onto other football talk, since my NFL team is the Redskins.  Which is why I follow the NFL in its entirety.  Hasn’t been a great decade or so for Washington.  This season the word isn’t hopeful as much as ‘interesting’.  I have no clue what the 2010/11 season will be like.  Could be bad, could be good.  No idea.

Donovan McNabb the starting QB.  Woke up at 2am early Monday morning and put on the TV.  I had NFL Network on before I went to sleep.  I see “Redskins acquire McNabb” on screen.  What?  A rare trade in which there was no speculation about Washington trying to grab him.  Talk about Raiders for the most part.  This fall a new GM, a new coach, a new QB and two new running backs.  Might not have heard about the running backs.  Skins grabbed Larry Johnson and Willie Parker in free agency.  As of today they still have Clinton Portis too.  All this adds up to a fun season.  Could go horribly wrong however it will be entertaining.

CFL in Moncton is sold out.  A regular season game is being held in that town this September.  Eskimos against the Argos called ‘Touchdown Atlantic’.  Few tickets are there for kids associations and bus trips.  But other than that the tickets sold out in 32 hours.  Keep in mind the first 24 hours only tickets were available to people who registered online ahead of time.  For all the football fans in Atlantic Canada this isn’t a surprise.  Now there is finally some talk about an expansion team out east.  Although why they’re obsessed with trying Ottawa yet again I don’t know.

Went to high school in Pembroke near the end of the Ottawa RoughRiders.  They were viewed as a joke and fans had jumped on the Senators bandwagon.  Heck, I saw more Ottawa Lynx merchandise the first time I went to an Ottawa mall around 1993.  AAA Baseball was more popular than the CFL in town.  Ended up going to college in Ottawa after the RoughRiders were gone and before the Renegades came to town.  3 years and I don’t remember anyone complain about CFL not being there.  I did 2 years of TV Broadcasting and no one did one thing about CFL in Ottawa.  Was that far off the radar.  You have the Senators, 67’s and even the Gee Gees.  Wasn’t around during the Renegades years.  A team that lasted only 4 seasons isn’t a good omen.  I get to end a post with a quote from Albert Einstein to describe the CFL in Ottawa.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Schooners, Manatees and a Posse

Glad to find the Atlantic Schooners group got to the Grey Cup this year after a 1 year absence.  Found out about them a year ago or so.

Quick history lesson.  Atlantic Canada did get a CFL expansion team, once upon a time.  Halifax was awarded a franchise in 1984.  When cell phones were the size of a shoe box.

Years before the failed US expansion which didn’t make sense then and still doesn’t.  If you’re going to expand to the US, go to states near the border.  Baltimore worked out.  But picking places like Sacramento and Memphis was head scratching.

Team didn’t start up because financing couldn’t be found for a new stadium in Halifax.  You’d think between 1984 and today the league would look at the east coast instead of Ottawa, again.

In case you’re wondering if that’s the only CFL team to fold before they began, you forget the Miami Manatees.  Don’t laugh that was a real name.

The Las Vegas Posse had ceased operations and a group from Miami wanted to start it up again.  One of the stranger ideas since the team’s players had already been dispersed in a draft a year earlier.  Then what were they buying exactly? Not sure but the price was less than an expansion team.  Go figure.

The Miami story has one link to this Sunday’s Grey Cup.  Starting QB for the Las Vegas Posse was Anthony Cavillo.  The Posse was his first CFL team.

You can use that trivia at a Grey Cup party if you like.

Back to the Schooners, they have some places on the web to keep track of them this Grey Cup weekend.  And more information in general.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlantic-Schooners-DownEast-Kitchen-Party/166866339252

http://twitter.com/DEKitchenParty

http://www.atlanticschooners.com/

One of the “urban legends” of the team I had heard before.  Story goes the owner in preparing for the expansion team bought the old scoreboard from Foxboro Stadium.  It would’ve been used in the new stadium.  That never was built so the legend is that scoreboard still sits in a warehouse in the Halifax/Dartmouth area.

The other one is that the owner had also bought turf for the new facility.  He didn’t keep that.  Rumour is he dumped the turf into the Atlantic Ocean….. OK then.

Can we believe these stories? They’re not any stranger than before the playoffs the league saying it wanted to reduce the amount of Canadians on each team.  Nice timing on that guys.

“It’s OUR League”, except for the East Coast and the fact we want less Canucks on the teams….. other than that it’s Canada all the way.

They are having a regular season game in Moncton next year which is a good step in the right direction.  If they can take their eyes off the Ottawa obsession.

I lived in Ottawa for 3 years [1998-2001] when there was no CFL team.  I honestly cannot remember anyone complaining about not having a team. The previous ownership was a big reason for that. Went to high school in Pembroke and the Red Riders were covered more for their wacky owners than any on the field success.

Less said about the Renegades the better.  Any franchise that had to be taken over by the Gliebermans deserved to be eliminated. [I won’t go into those guys, it would take too long.]

Back to present day.  Usually I watch some of the Grey Cup, but after the long day with the Vanier Cup broadcast and work I’ll have to skip it this year.  Might catch the tail end.

Week 1 Picks

Let’s hope the games you watch on Sunday isn’t as bad as the Queen’s game was on Saturday. 8-7 win for the Golden Gaels over McMaster. That’s more like a baseball score than a football one.

Picked Steelers to win on Thursday so got one right. I did the Week 1 picks on the show, going by memory since I just brought up the schedule and picked them on the fly. It’s Week 1 though and it’s a hard week to get right no matter what. Which teams are good, bad or average? Don’t know yet.

Starting off with the 1pm games.

Miami at Atlanta [CBS]: Both teams had easier schedules last year so they’ll have a tougher time in 2009. Plus the Falcons have never had back to back winning seasons. But this week I’ll pick them to beat the Dolphins.

Kansas City at Baltimore [CBS]: Baltimore, this is a big mismatch.

Philadelphia at Carolina [FOX]: Philly. Do you remember how badly Carolina played against Arizona in the playoffs? And they rewarded the QB with a new 5 year contract. Mind boggling.

Denver at Cincinnati [CBS]: Yuck. Have to pick one of them so the Bengals.

Minnesota at Cleveland [FOX]: Vikings. Picked them before I knew who would be starting for the Browns this week. Like that will matter.

NY Jets at Houston [CBS]: Jets. The Texans have a great offense, but can’t stop anyone. That’s a slight problem.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis [CBS]: Colts. Think this is the year where Indy starts to slip a bit. But they’ll beat the Jags. Who have new uniforms…. a new coach would’ve made more sense.

Detroit at New Orleans [FOX]: Saints.

Dallas at Tampa Bay [FOX]: Dallas. Think I picked the Cowboys to win on the radio. Not sold on them but I have no confidence in Tampa. They fired the offensive co-ordinator in the preseason, which make them look they don’t know what they’re doing. Which is the case when you have Leftwich as your starting QB.

Now the 4:15pm kickoffs.

San Francisco at Arizona [FOX]: Cardinals. They’re not getting back to the Superbowl but they can handle the Niners.

Washington at NY Giants [FOX]: Redskins. My team, but picking them because I think the Giants have been overrated this year. Mainly because of the Giant receivers or lack of them. Burress is going to jail and Amani Toomer is with the Chiefs. I would have to search to name the ones they have this season.

St. Louis at Seattle [FOX]: Seahawks. Rams have been bad so an easy pick. Seattle was decimated with injuries last year. Think they can win that division, but that’s not saying much. Arizona needed a 9-7 record to win it in 2008.

Sunday Night, Chicago at Green Bay [NBC]. Packers with a victory since I don’t think the Bears and their new QB have gotten things going yet. Green Bay was scoring left and right in the preseason.

A pair of Monday Night Football games. One time of the year they air a game at a good start time. Other one is for the west coast or night owls like myself.

Buffalo at New England 7pm [TSN]: Patriots. Bills decided to copy Tampa and they also fired the Offensive Co-ordinator in the preseason. Dumb. I’m writing off their season. New England is getting someone named Tom back who might make a difference.

San Diego at Oakland 10:15pm [TSN]: Not many people going to see this one. Chargers with the victory. Raiders have become a joke.
When does the CFL playoffs start? I don’t pay attention till then. Not much point when so many teams make the playoffs. The ads touting it as
“Canada’s Game” are always annoying.

No shots of the East Coast, eh? Oh that’s right you don’t have teams across the country.

Finally there is a story recently that “Moncton finalizing deal for 5 CFL games”. One regular season game a year would be held in town. Small step considering the CFL awarded an expansion team for Halifax in 1984. That’s a story for another time.

They don’t want to expand to a new market but they’re fine with going back to Ottawa again from what it sounds like. Another reason for me to ignore the league till the playoffs.