Saturday, 13 July 2019

Can the regular person identify with today’s elite athlete?

Most regular people can’t comprehend the work Tyler Chow (#5) put in.
    Can the regular person identify with today’s elite athlete?
    That is a question I have been struggling with for the past two years, especially looking at the sports scene in Canada. I don’t think the regular person realizes how hard today’s athlete has to work at their craft to be good at the elite levels of sport, unless the regular person worked in elite athletes in recent time in some capacity.
    I feel like there is a perception out there that lives of elite level athletes are like what had been before the late 1990s when year round training came into vogue.
    Before the late 1990s came around, there was a period of a good 80 to 90 years where the commonly viewed approach to elite athletics was the same.
    You basically showed up at training camp to get into shape and take part in practices and games. When you were not participating in a practice or a game, you likely weren’t doing something specific to your sport.
    You were doing normal real life things like tending to family matters, participating in social activities or even working a regular job in the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours.
    Actually, the elite athlete in the old days was viewed as a regular person who happened to be good at sports.
Most regular persons wouldn’t understand Libby Epoch’s joy for basketball.
    When the off-season came around, the time you spent on your sport likely got spent lying on a beach, golfing or partying. Often when one sports season ended, you might even follow another sport pursuit.
    For example, if you played hockey in the winter you might play baseball in the summer.
    If you worked out or lifted weights during a season, you likely got teased by your teammates.
    In the late 60s and early 70s, it was common for players in a sport like in professional tackle football to sit back, drink a coffee or smoke a cigarette at halftime.
    If you are an elite athlete in the current day in Canada, your sport is your full-time job, and it seems like you are doing something sports specific year round.
    There are very few athletes that participate in two sports at an elite level like Saskatoon’s Kaitlin Jockims, who is gifted in both hockey and basketball.
    The off-season conditioning programs of the current day are far more advanced and evolved than those offered in the early 1990s. If you visit a training facility like Ignite Athletics in Saskatoon, you will end up getting an education in core conditioning and be surprised how much goes into getting physically prepared for sport at the elite level.
    Most regular persons have never stepped into a facility like Ignite Athletics and would be shocked at what all happens there under the guidance of the facility’s outstanding staff.
Kaitlin Jockims is the rare star in two sports at the elite level.
    When the sports season begins right from training camp, elite athletes will also be immersed in classroom video sessions in their sport.
    In hockey, you are already starting to execute the systems a team wants to use during the regular season and playoffs. When the regular season starts, you hit the ice going at full pace.
    Regular persons would be shocked at how much time goes into video preparation.
    Even eating is different. Elite athletes are very aware about eating healthy. Even if they are out at a social function where alcohol is present, elite athletes will be aware about even having one alcoholic drink and might not even have an alcoholic drink at all.
    In athletics at the university level and even in major junior hockey just 10 years ago, athletes often looked forward to the Saturday game, because afterwards you were usually allowed to go out and party on a non-curfew night.
    That was usually time elite athletes in those sports were able to let loose and have fun, because in university you didn’t play a game again until the upcoming Friday.
Jaime Bourbonnais - a highly talented athlete who works hard.
    In major junior hockey, you usually went out and socialized on the Saturday if you next game wasn’t until Wednesday.
    Now, university athletes and major junior hockey players are worried about rest and recovery after the Saturday game even if a long break follows. In those situations, you often find players holding a protein shake and finishing off a cool down after visiting family.
    If teams go out on average twice every four months on a social outing these days, that is a lot.
    Even in curling which has always been viewed as the most social of sports, the athletes in that sport are now perfectly conditioned. The elite curlers aren’t stopping at the curling club lounge to have an alcoholic drink after their games, which was commonplace in the past.
    Most regular persons wouldn’t image putting all of that attention in to be able to do a sport. Also with the way the world has changed, most regular persons in Canada are often focused on the hustle and bustle of their own lives trying to get by.
    The goal is often to go on a vacation to a tropical spot like Hawaii. In most cases, the regular person worries about themselves and finds anything outside of their worlds as being irrelevant.
    Most of today’s elite athletes put full-time job efforts into their sport for very little financial reward.
Rylan Kleiter excels at football and curling.
    The number of athletes that reaches the level to make millions at the professional level is a very small fraction of the elite athletes who have tried to get to that spot.
    For most regular persons, it is all about the financial reward. They are better off financially working a full-time job than most elite athletes and will view those elite athletes as being stupid.
    The regular person can’t see positive traits elite athletes establish in pursuing their sport. Some of those traits and skills are better social skills, strong work ethic, teamwork and leadership skills.
    Due to the fact today’s elite athletes focus on their sports more than ever before, they don’t interact as much with persons in the regular work world. As a result, regular persons have no emotional investment in elite athletes.
    So yes, I believe there is a disconnection between regular persons and elite athletes in Canada in today’s world.
    The regular person just can’t get why elite athletes do what they do.

Dach watch intensifies for Blades fans

Kirby Dach has signed with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
    The watch by Saskatoon Blades fans to see if star centre Kirby Dach will return to the team next season got a surge in intensity.
    On Monday, the 18-year-old product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., signed a three year NHL entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks selected Dach in the first round and third overall in the NHL Entry Draft held in June.
    Due to Dach’s early draft selection and now that he has a signed NHL contract, the odds have increased that he could play in the NHL next season.
    As Dach hasn’t entered his overage season of junior eligibility, the Blackhawks have to return him to the major junior ranks if they don’t elect to have him play in the NHL.
    Last season, Dach, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds, appeared in 62 regular season games with the Blades last season posting 25 goals, 48 assists and a plus-15 rating in the plus-minus department.
    He helped the Blades finish fourth overall in the WHL’s regular season standings at 45-15-8 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Blades fell in six games in the second round to the eventual WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders.
    If Dach makes the NHL this season, most would be happy for his success. The Blades would take that development as a good thing and move on as best they can.

“Texan Sniper” takes his talents to Switzerland

Max Gerlach is going to be sniping in pros in Switzerland.
    Sharpshooting right-winger Max Gerlach is on his way to Switzerland.
    On Wednesday, the former Saskatoon Blades standout, who is nicknamed the “Texan Sniper,” signed a one-year contract with HC Ambri-Piotta in Quinto, Switzerland. He will be loaned to the HCB Ticino Rockets in Biasca, Switzerland.
    Last season, Gerlach played out his overage major junior campaign with the Blades appearing in all of the team’s 68 regular season games posting 42 goals, 32 assists and a plus-seven rating in the plus-minus department.
    He played four seasons in the WHL split between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Blades recording 141 goals and 110 assists in 278 career regular season games.
    The product of Flower Mound, Texas, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 165 pounds, was a fan favourite in both of his WHL stops.

Nickolet departs Blades for NHL’s Hurricanes

    No matter Cody Nickolet will no longer be a fixture around Saskatoon Blades games.
    On Thursday, Nickolet joined the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as an amateur scout. Last season, Nickolet was the Blades director of analytics for the WHL and one of their scouts in Saskatchewan.
    He first joined the Blades way back in 2011-12 as the team’s communications manager. Nickolet was on the Blades scouting staff for the past four seasons.
    His time with the Blades was broken up being a prospect analyst for one season with the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
    It will be a change for SaskTel Centre building staff and team supporters to no longer see Nickolet around the rink on a regular basis. He got along well with everyone, and you can bet those that know him are happy to see this opportunity come his way.

Raiders’ Leason signs NHL deal with Capitals

Brett Leason has signed with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
    Prince Albert Raiders star right-winger Brett Leason further cemented his path to the professional game.
    On Thursday, Leason signed a three-year NHL entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals selected Leason in the second round and 56th overall in the NHL Entry Draft held this past June.
    Last season, Leason, who stand 6-foot-4 and weighs 210 pounds, had a breakout year with the Raiders posting 36 goals, 53 assists and a plus-55 rating in the plus-minus department in 55 regular season games.
    He helped the Raiders finish first overall in the WHL regular season with a 54-10-2-2 record and win their second WHL title and appear in the Memorial Cup tournament. In the WHL playoffs, Leason posted 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points and a plus-six rating in 22 games.
    The Calgary, Alta., product also earned a spot on Canada’s team at the last world junior tournament played in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.
    Leason is eligible to return to the Raiders for an overage campaign, but he will likely play somewhere in the Capitals system next season.

Raiders’ Protas also signs with Capitals

Aliaksei Protas, left, has signed with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
    Prince Albert Raiders import left-winger Aliaksei Protas professional hockey path has moved more towards the capital city of the United States.
    On Wednesday, Protas, who is from Vitebsk, Belarus, signed a three-year NHL entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals selected Protas in the third round in and 91st overall in the NHL Entry Draft that was held this past June.
    Protas, who is 18-years-old, signed a day before his linemate in right-winger Brett Leason inked a three-year NHL entry-level contract with the Capitals.
    Protas, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 205 pounds, was a WHL rookie in the 2018-19 campaign, and he steadily improved posting 11 goals, 29 assists and a plus-24 rating in 61 regular season games. He had a head turning WHL playoffs posting 12 goals, 10 assists and a plus-12 rating in 23 games helping the Raiders win a league title.
    Protas will likely rejoin the Raiders next season for a sophomore campaign unless he makes the Capitals NHL team.

Football Canada Cup Hail Mary something to see

    If a television-type broadcast camera had been present, the Football Canada Cup would have had a highlight that could have potentially on viral across North America.
    This year’s Football Canada Cup is going on right now in Kingston, Ont., the first of two semifinal games held on Wednesday provided a crazy highlight.
    In the first semifinal, Team Quebec led Team Alberta 23-16 with one snap to go in the fourth quarter and Alberta had the ball around midfield. Alberta quarterback Eli Hetlinger fired a Hail Mary pass down the right sideline that deflected off the hands of two Quebec defensive backs to Alberta receiver Dawson Gladue.
    Gladue secured the catch at the Quebec 16 yard-line and raced the rest of the way for a touchdown that forced a 23-23 tie score and overtime.
    Quebec prevailed 29-27 after a fourth set of overtime possessions.
    Gladue’s touchdown catch was shown on TSN, but the cameras used for the Internet telecast of the game weren’t the best quality. The score still looked good on the overhead shot, but it could have been better.
    Had there been a television broadcast quality camera present, you would have had a crazy highlight that could have been shown anywhere.
    There are NCAA athletic programs in the United States that have Internet broadcast quality cameras that are almost as good as television broadcast cameras.
    Unfortunately, sports bodies in Canada don’t have that type of money to purchase technology that is used by the top end NCAA athletic programs.
    Gladue will always have that lasting memory of his catch. Still, it could have been bigger moment for amateur sports in Canada.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.