The Saskatchewan Rush phenomenon continues to astonish.
The National Lacrosse team continues to grow in popularity. It sure didn't hurt to come to Saskatoon from Edmonton as defending league champion and repeat in its rookie run at SaskTel Centre and continues to contend.
Saskatoon's perfect storm in sports entertainment is a mix of musically enhanced continuous action on the floor, along with a pleasing promotional package.
An 18-game season featuring mostly Saturday night home games creates instant demand for the nine SaskTel Centre dates and allows the team time to give each of those nights event style attention.
The Lacrosse crowd is much different than the navel-gazing hockey crowds with closet coaches in every corner. Rush fans seem to just want to go to the rink and have fun.
The players who are amazing athletes that work their day jobs all week and fly wherever to play on the weekends are dedicated professionals who will never sign seven-figure contracts.
The Rush front office and hockey operations department is taking nothing for granted with the goal to recapture the Champion's Cup. So Saturday night's season opener against New England should mark the beginning of what will be another memorable season in Saskatoon's "Not so Little House of Pro Lacrosse on the Prairies".
Signing Brandon Bridge to a one-year contract extension makes sense on several fronts. It tells the 25-year-old Canadian the Riders think he has the potential to become the team's starting quarterback in 2018 and at one year only, it's not a long-term investment in a player who is still only a prospect.
For Bridge, it means certainty for one season with the chance to raise his game and his stock for a 2019 deal that may also be influenced with the CFL's possible Canadian ratio change to include home-cooked quarterbacks.
Now it's up to the towering 25-year-old Torontonian to take his game to the next level and win the starting job in what will be a competitive training camp battle. In addition to Kevin Glenn, expect Riders Head Coach/GM and Vice President of Football Operations Chris Jones to bring in some high octane competition, whether it's former Eskimo James Franklin who is tentative Toronto property, or soon to be cast-off Ti-Cat pivot Zach Collaros and hopefully not Vince "I'm certainly not" Young.
Yes, it could be a furious February for free agency in Riderville.
The Vegas Golden Knights are an anomaly. The NHL's expansion entry for this season is tied for their divisional and conference leads through 30 games. Bizarre!
Although they were blessed with a much more relaxed NHL expansion draft and a lot of good players to choose from, their record is astonishing.
Jonathan Marchessault is their leading point producer at 31, sitting 27th in the league and who would have imagined James Neal as their leading goal scorer with 17.
Making their record even more remarkable is starting goaltender Marc Andre Fleury was concussed for an extended period and their netminding injury situation was so bad they had to call up Dylan Ferguson from the Kamloops Blazers.
All this points to brilliant drafting by GM George McPhee and his staff as well as the ingenious hiring of Gerard Gallant as head coach.
The thriving Golden Knights probably has Seattle smitten Commissioner Gary Bettman jumping up and down like a baby goat over the prospect of adding a deep-pocketed Pacific-Northwestern team to the fold.
However, don't expect the Seattle whomevers to have the same kind of success.