Rob Vanstone, if you missed it, celebrated 30 years at the Regina Leader-Post the other day.
And it must have been a big deal.
I mean, there were Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, who flog Tim Hortons stuff five nights a week on TSN now that they’ve escaped from whatever it is Fox Sports is trying to do in the southland, talking about Vanstone on Friday’s show.
“Congratulations to Rob Vanstone, a good friend of our show,” Onrait offered near show’s end.
I guess that makes it — officially — a big deal.
It’s also a big deal on Facebook where posts on the subject have received hundreds of likes and a whole bunch of comments. It’s the same story on Twitter.
Sheesh, Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix even took the time to write a column. It’s right here and, yes, it’s glowing, as it should be.
Vanstone even supplied a column, writing about career highlights in chronological order. That piece is right here.
Somehow, though, despite all the reminiscing, it seems there may have been a bit of misremembering, as Roger Clemens might have put it.
Vanstone started at The Leader-Post on a full-time basis on Sept. 8, 1987. Yes, I was there. (He actually was hired as a part-timer earlier that summer, but hung around and hung around, like a migraine. Then, one day, he told us he had filled out and signed a bunch of forms and would be sticking around for a while longer. Yeah, but 30 years!)
Somehow, there isn’t a mention in the reminiscing of his favourite place to read The Leader-Post. No, not there. I can’t tell you how many nights I left The Leader-Post and saw him parked under a street light in the Burger King parking lot kitty corner from the paper. I don’t know that he ever was eating anything, but I always could see his face buried in the paper.
Also missing from the memories was any mention of rice. Yes, Vanstone mentions his wife and his marriage, but there isn’t any mention of the folks standing outside the church throwing rice and how he found a piece in one ear some weeks later. Seriously!
Somehow, he also forgot to write about the day he walked into the Regina Pats’ dressing room and . . . well, the Pats were his beat and this was before the days of the Parker ownership. There were times back then when things were a bit hairy around that team. Anyway, it seems there was a disagreement of sorts in the dressing room that day and, just as Vanstone walked through the door, someone threw a hockey stick, spear-style, at someone else. You know those pictures of Steve Martin with the arrow through his head . . . well, that was almost Vanstone, only with a hockey stick.
Oh, and back in the day when newspapers had money and recognized the importance of providing readers with a quality product, the two of us actually used to go on the road to Moose Jaw. Yes, and even to Swift Current. That meant eating together in restaurants. You know, I still don’t understand why he never received an offer to endorse iced tea.
His timing, as he will tell you, has always been impeccable, too. Why, he had a piece on his newspaper’s website Friday that carried this headline: Resurgent Roughriders no longer the butt of jokes.
“At 5-4,” he wrote, “the Roughriders boast a winning record for the first time since 2014. They entered the past two Banjo Bowls at 1-9. Boredom Bowls ensued.
“This year should be different.”
The Roughriders played in Winnipeg on Saturday, where they were blitzed to the tune of 48-28, and lost veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn with an injury to his throwing hand.
Yes, Vanstone strikes again!
Seriously, though, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the almost 13 years I spent working with him. We had a great crew for a lot of that time and spent a lot of late nights and early mornings writing, planning, talking, laughing, loving life and hoping the dream would never end.
It’s over for some of us — I stopped in downtown Kamloops on Saturday afternoon and scooped a souvenir brick from the partially demolished Daily News building — and it lives on for others.
Here’s hoping Vanstone gets 30 more years, just like the first 30, only better.
Two front-line WHLers suffered undisclosed injuries while with NHL rookie teams on the weekend.
D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors is in camp with the Montreal Canadiens. He was injured during a 5-2 victory over the host Toronto Maple Leafs in a Friday exhibition game.
A second-round selection by the Canadiens in the 2017 NHL draft, Brook had 40 points in 69 games for the Warriors last season.
Meanwhile, F Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2017 NHL draft, left a Saturday exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with an injury.
Cory Pronman, an NHL writer for The Athletic, tweeted that Shaw “took a tough hit. Being helped off the ice as can’t put pressure on one leg.”
Shaw, who turns 19 on Nov. 3, has 154 points, including 44 goals, in 138 games over the past two seasons.
In Kennewick, Wash., F Barrett Sheen’s two goals helped the Kootenay Ice to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . This was the first victory in three tries, all of them at the tournament in Kennewick, for the Ice’s new organization under owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who also is the GM, and head coach James Patrick. . . . Seattle got two goals and an assist from F Zack Andrusiak, who now has four of each in five exhibition games. Last season, he had five goals and four assists in 52 regular-season games with Seattle. . . . Kootenay (1-2-0) was 1-4 on the PP; Seattle (1-4-0) was 1-6. . . . G Mario Petit went the distance for the Ice, stopping 21 shots. . . .
Rebels down 2-0 to the Winterhawks after one period in Kennewick. Shots 10-8 RD. On the plus side, both coaches are still in the game. #RDR
— Red Deer Rebels (@Rebelshockey) September 9, 2017
In Kennewick, Wash., F Colton Veloso had a goal and two assists as the Portland Winterhawks completed their exhibition schedule with a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Winterhawks won three games in Kennewick to improve to 4-2-0. . . . The Rebels now are 3-1-0. . . . Portland was 1-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-6. . . . G Shane Farkas stopped 27 shots in running his record to 3-0-0 for Portland. . . . Red Deer got 29 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Winterhawks won’t play again until Sept. 23 when they open the season in Everett. . . .
— Robert (Bob) Tory (@BTORY) September 10, 2017
In Kennewick, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs built a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Nolan Reid had a goal and an assist for Spokane, with F Milos Fafrak getting two assists. . . . F Nolan Yaremko had both Tri-City goals, giving him nine in four games in this exhibition season. Yaremko, 19, scored eight goals in each of the previous two seasons, in 67 and 69 games. . . . The Chiefs (3-1-2) were 2-7 on the PP; the Americans (3-2-1) were 1-7. . . . Spokane G Donovan Buskey stopped all 10 shots he faced in 30:21, then gave way to Declan Hobbs who allowed two goals on 26 shots. . . . G Beck Warm blocked 29 shots for the Americans. . . .
In Langley, B.C., Dorrin Luding looked after the goaltending and F Connor Dewar handled the scoring as the Everett Silvertips beat the Prince George Cougars, 1-0. . . . Luding, who is from Prince George, stopped 26 shots to record the shutout. . . . Dewar scored the game’s lone goal at 17:50 of the third period. He’s got four goals and three assists in three exhibition games. . . . F Matt Fonteyne, who drew an assist on the goal, has two goals and five assists in three games. . . . G Tavin Grant started and blocked 22 shots for the Cougars, with Taylor Gauthier coming on to finish up by allowing one goal on 11 shots. . . . Prince George (2-2-0) was 0-4 on the PP; Everett (3-1-0) was 0-6. . . .
In Langley, B.C., D Bowen Byram broke a 2-2 tie at 14:40 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants won their third straight game, beating the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Byram also drew an assist on the game’s first goal, from F Jack Flaman, at 18:17 of the first period. . . . The Giants led 2-0 early in the second, only to have the Royals come back and tie it on a PP goal from F Ryan Peckford at 7:52 of the third. . . . F Regan Nagy drew two assists for the Royals. . . . Vancouver (4-1-0) was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria (2-2-1) was 1-5. . . . G Todd Scott, the Vancouver starter, blocked 13 of 14 shots in 30:36. Ryan Kubic came on in relief to stop 14 of 15. . . . Victoria starter Dean McNabb allowed two goals on 14 shots in 30:36, with Brock Gould stopping eight of nine in relief. . . .
In Moose Jaw, the Warriors skated to a 6-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Daemon Hunt, F Tate Popple and F Tanner Jeannot each had a goal and an assist for the winners. . . . Each team was 0-1 on the PP. . . . The Warriors improved to 3-1-0, while the Tigers now are 2-1-0. . . . G Adam Evanoff earned the victory with 32 saves. . . . The Tigers started Duncan McGovern, who was beaten once on 14 shots in 29:38. Kaeden Lane allowed five goals on 19 shots to finish the game. . . .
A SUPER rushed game day for the BWK. Flat tire on the bus outside Virden, arrive in Regina 40 mins before warm-up. #quickturnaround
— Branden Crowe (@branden_crowe) September 10, 2017
In Regina, F Jeff de Wit scored his sixth goal of the exhibition season to help the Pats earn a 3-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . De Wit’s goal, at 5:06 of the second period, gave the home side a 2-0 lead. . . . De Wit also had an assist. . . . Regina got two assists from each of F Emil Iksanen and D Egor Zamula. . . . Regina (2-2-0) was 2-7 on the PP; Brandon (1-1-0) was 0-4. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 28 shots for Regina, six more than Brandon’s Dylan Myskiw, who was making his first appearance since being acquired from the Victoria Royals earlier in the week. . . . Brandon D Kade Jensen drew a boarding major and game misconduct at 17:21 of the third period so is likely to hear from the WHL office. . . .
In Warman, Sask., F Cam Hebig scored three times to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Hebig, who sat out all of last season with post-concussion syndrome, has five goals and an assist in three exhibition games. He had 69 points, including 26 goals, in 59 games for the Blades in 2015-16. . . . F Braylon Shmyr had four assists. . . . F Sean Montgomery had two goals for Prince Albert, his second two-goal game in a row. . . . F Curtis Miske, the Raiders’ recently named captain, drew two assists. . . . Saskatoon (3-2-0) was 2-10 on the PP; Prince Albert (1-2-0) was 1-7. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 30 saves, eight fewer than Prince Albert’s Brett Balas. . . .
In Kamloops, F Jack Cowell scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Blazers. . . . The game was played at the McArthur Sport and Event Centre, as the Blazers’ home arena, the Sandman Centre, continues to be used as a wildfire evacuation centre. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s first three goals, with F Kyle Topping giving them a 3-0 lead 16 seconds into the second period. . . . F Justin Sigrist got the Blazers on the board at 15:17 of the second, and they tied it on third-period scores from F Nic Holowko, at 8:41, and F Brodi Stuart, on a PP, at 11:41. . . . Kamloops (1-3-0) was 1-8 on the PP; Kelowna (3-0-1) was 0-2. . . . G Brody Salmond started for Kelowna and stopped all 24 shots he faced in 29:05. Cody Porter finished up, allowing three goals on 21 shots. . . . The Blazers opened with Kyle Dumba, who gave up three goals on nine shots in 29:05. Max Palaga came on in relief to stop 12 shots and three more in the shootout. Those two are battling for backup spot behind starter Dylan Ferguson, who is in camp with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers played the Banjo Bowl in the Manitoba capital on Saturday afternoon. While out and about, I was listening to the game on Winnipeg radio station CJOB, the home of play-by-play legend Bob Irving — to the uninitiated he is Canadian football’s Vin Scully. . . . Anyway, he mentioned that some of the fans had been late getting to the game because of a loose moose in the vicinity of the stadium that had forced police to close some roads in the area. The evidence, with Winnipeg’s football stadium in the background . . .