The Prince Albert Raiders won a WHL exhibition game on Saturday night, beating the Pats, 3-2, in Regina on a goal at 18:23 of the third period by 15-year-old F Dayce Derkatch. “It’s what you always dream of,” Derkatch told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s so special. I’m so honoured and so proud.” . . . He was a third-round selection by the Pats in the 2022 WHL draft. . . . His father, Dale, is in the books as one of the best and most-exciting players in WHL history. Playing with the Pats, he put up 491 points, including 222 goals, in 204 regular-season games. In 54 playoff games, he scored 30 goals and added 73 assists. Add it up — 252 goals, 342 assists, 594 points, all accomplished in 258 games. . . . Vanstone wrote: “Dayce’s ground-breaking goal was scored nearly 41 years after his father registered his first pre-season tally. In his exhibition debut with Regina, Dale had a goal — and two fights — in a 9-4 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades on Sept. 15, 1981. He went on to enjoy a 62-goal, 142-point rookie season.” . . . Dayce signed with the Raiders on Monday and is expected to spend this season with his hometown Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.
If it hadn’t before now, I would suggest that baseball statistics have jumped the shark. Officially. . . . I saw this on Twitter on Saturday morning: “Bo Bichette’s HR last night came on a pitch 16″ off the ground. It was the second-lowest pitch hit for a HR in Bichette’s career & the lowest by a #BlueJays hitter this season.” . . . Seriously! . . . Perhaps the MLB player who homers off the closest pitch to the ground each season gets a lifetime supply of tees?
If you hang out regularly in these parts, you may remember the five-part WHL history that I posted here a while back. Well, a short time ago, I received an email asking where it could be found. . . . If you’re new here and you haven’t seen them, you may enjoy these pieces . . .
Here’s Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times with a look ahead to a major sporting event that is quickly approaching: “Another prestigious sporting event will return to the global stage after being mothballed two years by COVID: the 37th World Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Ireland, on Sept. 21-22. The winner — the Marquis de Sod? — will undoubtedly be decided by the turnover advantage.”
IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART I — Under the subhead ‘Pot, meet Kettle,’ Perry writes: “Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney — the same guy who once said, ‘As far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me . . . there’s enough entitlement in this world as there is’ — has just agreed to a record 10-year, $115-million contract.”
BTW, a national championship would be worth an extra $1 million to Swinney. His average annual salary — $11.5 million — is behind only Nick Saban at Alabama, who is at $11.7 million. No. 3 on the list is Kirby Smart of Georgia, at $11.25 million. . . . The Athletic’s Grace Raynor notes that only one coach (Saban) made at least $9.5 million in 2021. Now there are at least six of them, the other three being Mel Tucker of Michigan State, Ryan Day of Ohio State and Bryan Kelly of LSU. . . . For coaching football. College football.
IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART II — The Nebraska Cornhuskers lost, 45-42, to visiting Georgia Southern on Saturday and promptly fired head coach Scott Frost, never mind that the season is only three games old. Nebraska will pay him US$15 million not to coach, a figure that would have been $7.5 million had it waited until Oct. 1 to make the move. Frost, in his fifth season with Nebraska, watched his guys lose 10-straight one-score decisions. . . . You may recall that Frost was the biggest thing in college football since Knute Rockne when he led Central Florida to a 13-0 record in 2018. Well, he left Nebraska with a 16-31 mark, including 10-16 in the Big Ten. Oh yes, he left with a whack of cash, too. . . . From Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports: “It’s hard to contextualize how badly Nebraska wanted this hire to work. Frost was a beloved son and the apparent chosen one for this program. Unfortunately, his winning percentage goes down as the worst by any full-time Nebraska coach since the Eisenhower administration.”
IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART III — The Tampa Bay Rays are again in Toronto with without reliever Brooks Raley, who isn’t vaccinated and will miss the five-game set with the Blue Jays. The Rays put him on the restricted list, meaning it will cost him US$93,407 in salary. . . . He wasn’t allowed into Canada earlier in the season and that also cost him four days’ pay. . . . What it means is that his decision not to get vaccinated has cost him $186,814. No biggie, though, because the Rays are paying him $4.25 million this season. . . . BTW, when the Rays were in Toronto earlier, reliever Ryan Thompson also wasn’t on the trip because he isn’t vaccinated. But he’s on the injured list this time. . . . The Blue Jays opened with a 3-2 victory on Monday night. They’ll play two today.
It is hard to mis-state the size of the mess in which MLB finds itself these days. It’s hard to argue against outlawing the shift and the pitch clock and the larger bases, but, sheesh, when you are bringing in rule changes that legislate against strategy you really have some issues. Especially when there is — or at least used to be — so much strategy involved in baseball. . . . But, hey, if you really want to improve the offensive side of the game, why not limit pitchers to throwing no harder than 90 mph? Just make any pitch faster than 90 a ball. . . . Hello, Bud Segal, are you interested in being commissioner, again? Please.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has a couple of rule changes that he would like to see MLB implement:
“No more check swings. A check swing, no matter how far the bat goes around, is no swing. These are garbage strikeouts, pure umpire guesswork and satisfying to nobody. Result: Fewer strikeouts, more action.
“If there are five or more people in line at a beer stand, everyone in line gets free beer. Hire more damn vendors. If we want to stand in line, we’ll go to Disneyland or the DMV.”
THE COACHING GAME:
Carter Rigby has joined the Prince George Cougars as an assistant coach. He had been the head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Hockey League, who actually announced the signing on Thursday night. The Cougars made their own announcement on Saturday. . . . Rigby played in the WHL, spending time with three teams — the Cougars, Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos — through 2015. He had been with the Coyotes for the past three seasons. . . . Ken Law has been named the Coyotes’ new head coach. . . .
Eric Williams, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as their goaltending coach. He also works with the BCEHL’s West Valley Giants and the CSSHL’s West Vancouver Academy. . . . Williams, 29, played four seasons (2010-14) in the WHL, spending time with the Prince Albert Raiders and Spokane Chiefs. . . . In Chilliwack, he takes over from Mackenzie Skapski, another former WHL goaltender, who now is the development goaltending coach for the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.
Chase Johnston is the new radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He joins them after calling games for the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors for the past four seasons. In Brandon, he takes over from Brandon Crowe, who left the position late last season to join Hockey Canada. . . . The Wheat Kings also announced that their broadcasts are returning to 91.5 FM (Q Country) and 880 AM, both of which recently were purchased by the Jim Pattison Group. . . . It was only a year ago that the Wheat Kings had announced an agreement with Bell Media that put games on Bounce 96.1. Prior to that, the games had been heard on CKLQ from 1992-2021.
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