I have an important announcement to make. I am covering sports again this weekend! It is my turn to work the weekend, so I will be at the Civic Centre covering hockey when the midget Battlefords AAA Stars host Moose Jaw. Also, on Friday it is the senior Sask. Prairie Hockey League with the Meota Combines taking on the Spiritwood Timberwolves at the Civic Centre.
Obviously, because I am going to be covering the SPHL game it means I will not be able to be at the big home opener for the Saskatchewan Rush at SaskTel Centre tomorrow for the National Lacrosse League. The turf has gone in, and I hope they get a big crowd and that good word-of-mouth spreads about the NLL product. I’m going to try and at least catch some of the opening ceremonies on Fox Sports GO before I head to the senior hockey game tomorrow.
As I said before, the Sask. Rush promise to be the only championship-caliber action we are going to see around here, because there is no hope of that from the Saskatchewan Roughriders anytime soon.
Today, Rider Nation went nuts on word that slotback Weston Dressler and defensive back John Chick were released by the team. The fan reaction was emotional, to say the least. The move seemed bewildering when it hit the news, but when it was explained the issue was money, it made sense. They were both too expensive, plus both guys are over 30. The Riders are doing exactly what losing teams do — they are clearing cap space and freeing up money so the team can be overhauled. Sadly, when you are 3-15, tough decisions get made. And this was one of the more brutal ones.
I’m as disappointed to see Dressler and Chick go as everyone else is, but I understand the rationale behind it. Heck, I’m a big baseball fan, too, so I’ve been through this drill many times. It’s cybermetrics, pure and simple.
So that explanation has tempered my own personal reaction. But on the talk shows and on social media, you didn’t see or hear a lot of calm reactions from Riders fans. People were letting their emotional attachment to Dressler and Chick get the better of them. A lot of fans wanted to string GM Chris Jones up. It’s understandable, though. The fact is that Dressler and Chick gave their all for the Roughriders. They gave us thrilling moments and a great Grey Cup victory in ’13. They truly left it all on the field. So you can understand fans reacting as if they, themselves, were the ones who were cut today.
Sad day, indeed, for “Rider Nation.”