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Jaster's Jabberings

  • NFL players entitled to protest if they want

    The age-old question of does politics belong in sports popped up again last week. At a rally in Alabama on Friday, United States President Donald Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired.”
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS: Ashley Neufeld Softball Complex receives praise

    There were two frequent comments that were made during the western Canadian under-16 girls’ softball championship on the weekend. The first was that it was good quality ball and entertaining games were played. The second was praise for the Ashley Neufeld Softball Complex.
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS: Hawrysh leaves sport of skeleton with no regrets

    A lot of Cassie Hawrysh’s career in skeleton was plagued with unfortunate circumstances that were out of her control. Those events cause Hawrysh to change tours she raced on and potentially cost her a spot on the Canadian team that competed in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. So it seems fitting that the 33-year-old Brandon product is going out on her own terms, announcing her retirement from the sport last week, just seven months away from the start of the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS: Riders' stadium quickly feels like their new home

    There was one question going through the minds of Brandon University Bobcats and Winnipeg football fans a few years ago. It’s now a question Saskatchewan football fans are dealing with: When does a new stadium feel like home?
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS — Dinsdale recognized by MHSAA for volunteering as a coach

    Rob Dinsdale took over a very difficult situation last year. After Kevin Boyd unexpectedly passed away, Dinsdale became the new head coach of the Crocus Plainsmen football team, replacing a man loved by players and coaches alike who helped make “Plainsmen for life” and the pride in the high school an earmark of the program.
  • Jaster's Jabberings — WHSFL needs to look at its divisions

    The Winnipeg High School Football League made a mistake moving programs up and down divisions in the past, and it looks like it’s making another one. In 2014, the Crocus Plainsmen were bumped up from the Kas Vidruk (AA) Division to the John Potter (AAA) Division despite losing a lot of key players. They went winless, getting outscored 294-27 along the way. The late Kevin Boyd, who was the team’s head coach at the time, tried to remain positive by viewing it as a challenge, but let’s be honest, that team should not have moved up in the first place.
  • Concussion bill needs a little tweak

    If there’s one word that seems to have dominated the sports injury lexicon, and strikes fear in a lot of people, during the last few years, it’s concussions. One mention to anyone in football circles can make them shiver. People are learning more and more about them and how serious they can become, which is why the provincial government introduced a bill last Monday that will require youth and high school sports organizations to establish detailed concussion protocols for anyone under the age of 18.
  • Track delays shrink Special O Games

    The Special Olympics Manitoba estimated around 600 athletes and coaches would be in Brandon for its provincial Summer Games from June 16 to 18. That number has been cut by around a quarter. The track at UCT Stadium is in the process of being replaced and the rubberized surface won’t be laid down until June, which means it won’t be useable for the multi-sport event. Unfortunately for Brandon, around 150 to 200 track and field athletes, coaches and volunteers from out of town were expected to come in for that part of the Special Olympic Games, and those people won’t be in the city at all.
  • Jerry Maguire said it all

    There’s a classic scene in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire” where the title character, a sports agent played by Tom Cruise, begs football receiver Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. to help Tidwell help him negotiate a contract. Today, I’m asking the same of the various sporting groups in our community. Help us help you.
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS: Year of change in high school hockey league

    Last fall, Corey Forbes and a few other members of the Westman High School Hockey League were a little concerned about how much longer the circuit would be viable after Melita-Waskada and Rivers-Elton were unable to ice teams. A lot of change will take place next season, including the disappearance of that worry. Forbes, who’s from Glenboro, and Jason Alf of Dauphin are taking over as co-presidents after Brad Twordik resigned the position and they will have a bunch of new teams. Both Melita-Waskada and Rivers-Elton have committed to return, and three new teams were approved to join at the league at its AGM last week.
  • Soccer community in a tough situation

    For the baseball, softball, football and rugby communities, it’s an exciting time with new fields being built or opened or their current ones getting a facelift this year. For soccer, it’s an entirely different story. My look at community fields wraps up this week with the world’s most popular sport.
  • Playoff hockey living up to its billing as great entertainment

    I’m taking a one-week break from my series of looking at sports fields around the community to make some random observations from the world of sports. The series will continue next week with a look at the situation for soccer in the community.
  • Westman Youth Football, Brandon Barbarians teaming up

    It’s really hard to find two closer sports than rugby and football. In fact, football grew out of rugby, so it only makes sense that the Westman Youth Football Association and the Brandon Barbarians rugby club would form a partnership when one organization was in trouble. That’s exactly what happened this year.
  • JASTER'S JABBERINGS: Ashley Neufeld complex nearly ready for action

    Winter sports are wrapping with the start dates for the spring ones nearing. There’s always a sense of excitement when people can be outside playing softball, baseball, soccer, football, rugby, cricket or whatever physical activity in which they choose to indulge. It’s a fun time of year for local sports organizations as well, being that they get to start up a busy season and they can upgrade their fields and complexes. There are a lot of changes coming.
  • Women's hockey may have taken a hit with UND's decision

    The fight for equal rights on the hockey ice is alive and well, and it’s fantastic to see. With the popularity of major junior, college and professional hockey in North America, the women’s game is often sent to the background, which doesn’t seem right. But the American women’s team brought it to the forefront before their world championship tournament. They wanted to make the same amount of money as the men, threatening to boycott the event in Michigan unless a new agreement was reached.
  • Gang Green taking a break to develop other players

    A disease has been running through the roller derby world for the last few years and it finally hit the Wheat City league and its Gang Green team. It seems like teams all over Canada build up their program to be highly competitive, while forgetting to develop the next set of players so when the older ones decide to leave the program it doesn’t die. The Wheat City league took a step in preventing that by creating a Scarlet Fever B team, but a lot of the players didn’t get track time with the main travelling team, Gang Green, and didn’t go to a lot of bootcamps.
  • Wheat Kings will be in tough in first-round series with Tigers

    The Western Hockey League’s regular season is over and the playoffs are about to begin this week, so it’s time to pull out my prognosticator’s hat. However, I must warn all readers that it’s rare that I’m bang on with my picks, so please don’t try to make wagers based on these.
  • Madhouse on Mountain getting wild

    If the last two games at the Yellowhead Centre have been any indication, Manitoba Junior Hockey League fans in Neepawa have been hungry to watch playoff hockey in their community. Through the first 29 regular-season games this year, the Natives’ average attendance was just under 386 people. Game 30 put it over 400.
  • Pattle's confidence growing on the slopes

    A lot of hockey players have rinks in their backyards so that they can play the game more often and try to improve their skills. Journie Pattle has something similar for her sport. The 17-year-old Brandonite has a starting ramp and a rail in her backyard to help her with her slopestyle snowboarding. Competitors perform moves on the rails and jumps during their run down the course in the sport.
  • St. Pierre-Laviolette heading to Europe to keep playing

    Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette tore up the Prairie Football Conference with the Regina Thunder last season and, if he has his way, he’ll be even more dominant this year. He doesn’t expect to be rusty when training camp rolls around in the fall, especially since he’ll be playing football again in April. The 20-year-old Crocus Plains graduate has been recruited to join the Uppsala 86ers of the Swedish Superseries football league. He heads out in just over a week for what he believes will be an adventure of a lifetime.
  • Jaster's Jabberings: Dyck, Prairie Storm show rural athletes just as competitive

    The Prairie Storm Athletics club is proving to be the little organization that could. Despite being a small club from rural Manitoba, the Neepawa-based organization is sending a competitor to the Simplot Games for the second straight year. Last year it was sprinters Charlot Butler of Brandon and Morgan Ramsay of Rivers, while this year it will be Daniele Dyck of Brandon competing in Pocatello, Idaho.
  • The community will miss the MSBL in numerous ways

    Just a few random thoughts for this week: • Last week’s news of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League folding wasn’t a huge shock but was still disappointing to hear. The senior AAA circuit had been struggling for years to keep teams in it. However, the league did bring some prestige to Westman. It was the only senior AAA ball played in the province, which kept the region on the national and international map as Manitoba’s representative at nationals would always be from here. It also brought some decent ballplayers from around the world to showcase their skills here as import players.
  • Jaster's Jabberings: Tournament of Champions continues to grow

    Organizers of Hockey Brandon’s Tournament of Champions have the unenviable task of trying to trying to keep the event from going stale. That doesn’t seem to be a problem as the tournament gets ready to drop the puck on its 48th edition on Friday. In fact, the event is growing, with new financial support, a new division and it some games will be played in a new community as well.
  • Granting Thomas and Wilson tenure a smart move by BU

    The Brandon University Bobcat men’s volleyball and women’s basketball programs have been in good hands for the last five years and they will be for a lot longer than that. Novell Thomas, the head coach of the women’s hoops squad, and Grant Wilson, the men’s volleyball bench boss, both applied for tenure and were approved for it by various levels of bureaucracy, up to and including the president of the university, who thoroughly vetted them. It was a smart choice by the administration and one that will benefit both programs in the future.
  • Jaster's Jabberings: Emotions aside, deadline deals were good for Wheaties

    It was a difficult week for some Brandon Wheat Kings fans. Although the team came away with four of a possible six points, it was the departure of goalie Jordan Papirny on Tuesday that sent a ripple through the Wheat City.

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