WINNIPEG — The promoters of an NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg remained enthusiastic in the hours before Thursday’s kickoff despite some earlier fumbles.
“It’s going to be an exciting game and I know the fans that are going to be here are going to be passionate, committed and they are going to see one heck of a good show,” said Terry Dale, operations manager with On Ice Entertainment.
City Coun. Kevin Klein thanked the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers on Twitter for choosing to play in the city, even if it meant they faced some “social media bumps” along the way.
There were many online jabs after some players arrived wearing “Winnipeg, Alberta” shirts.
Raiders punter A.J. Cole apologized to the city and responded to a Twitter user that he’d purchased the shirt on Amazon, saying he’s “just a kid from Atlanta, Florida playing football in Oakland, Nevada with a low geography IQ.”
Safety Johnathan Abram was also spotted in the same shirt in a photo posted on the Raiders website.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers embraced the Prairie locale by sporting a jean-on-jean-on-jean “Canadian tuxedo” with a bolo tie.
Organizers of the game received word from NFL inspectors late Wednesday that IG Field, home of the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was approved for play. But to get there, Dale said, it was all hands on deck for three days following a soccer game Monday.
Goalposts had to be pulled out and specially ordered NFL posts were brought in and mounted, which involved digging holes and filling concrete 1.5 metres deep.
CFL Bombers logos and lines were stripped off the field which was repainted to match NFL regulations. An entire edge of asphalt around the field was replaced with synthetic turf.
Even the team rooms had to be reconfigured.
There was also plenty of skepticism about whether the game would fill seats. Tickets sales appeared slow with people pointing to high prices. Lower-bowl seats cost about $300, although end-zone tickets were recently reduced through a sponsorship deal to $75 from $164.
Earlier this week, the president and CEO of the Bombers announced the team would hold a viewing party downtown.
“Based on the price of these tickets, there was going to be a lot of fans who wouldn’t be able to afford to come to the game and we wanted to make sure that our season-ticket members and football fans in the entire community had a place to gather and have a great event,” said Wade Miller.
Dale said there was a lot of ticket movement in the last few days and he was eager to see seats full of football fans.
Thirty youth and members from northern Manitoba First Nations were being flown in to attend the game. There was also to be an area for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Amateur football players will on deck to hold the Canadian and American flags at the game.
Dale said it’s clear from their Winnipeg-themed arrival that the players were excited, too.
“When they arrived, I can be very straight up and say they were laughing. They were joking. They were excited. They were having fun. They were looking forward to it.”
The game is the first NFL contest in Canada since the Buffalo Bills completed a run of eight games in Toronto with a regular-season clash against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.
Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
Red Deer’s Kaylee Domoney “digs” up a huge win for RDC in battle of top volleyball teams
From Red Deer College
Red Deer College Athletics is proud to announce the Bedford Food Company Athletes of the Week
- Kaylee Domoney – Queens Volleyball
Hometown – Red Deer, AB
Kinesiology General (4th year)
Kaylee Domoney had another magnificent weekend on the court for the Red Deer College Queens Volleyball team (19-3). Despite having the difficult task of facing the previously undefeated Briercrest College Clippers, the fourth-year libero was a difference maker. On Friday, the Queens did what no other team in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) had done before – defeat the Clippers. In the four set home victory (23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22), Domoney was a steady influence on defence, contributing 11 digs and four assists, and earning the Collegiate Sports Medicine Queens Player-of-the-Game. Even though Briercrest College captured Saturday’s rematch in four sets (16-25, 25-23, 25-22 and 25-15), the Kinesiology General student had another strong game, totaling 12 digs and two assists. Domoney ranks seventh in the league with 3.48 digs per set. The second place RDC Queens have already sealed a spot in the ACAC Championship Feb. 27-29 at Medicine Hat College.
- Dylan Thudium – Kings Hockey
Hometown – Sylvan Lake, AB
Bachelor of Business Administration General Management (5th year)
Centre Dylan Thudium made RDC Kings Hockey history this past weekend in a pair of victories against the Portage College Voyageurs. With his four points, the fifth-year student-athlete surpassed former all-star captain Tanner Butler, becoming the Kings all-time points leader with 113. In nearly five years with RDC, Thudium has scored 39 goals and 74 assists, with four regular season games remaining.
In Friday’s 5-3 win, the Kings trailed heading into the third period and the Sylvan Lake product sniped the tying goal. He also assisted on RDC’s first tally. Then in Saturday’s thrilling 7-6 overtime victory, Thudium recorded a pair of assists. The Bachelor of Business Administration General Management student provides leadership and is an offensive threat when he steps on the ice. Thudium and the Kings have already earned a trip to the postseason.
This Week in RDC Athletics is sponsored by Cam Clark Ford
It’s another exciting week ahead in RDC Athletics as teams jockey for positions in the standings. The Red Deer College student-athletes appreciate the community’s support, and the energy provided by the crowd gives them an extra boost.
Both basketball teams will play the Ambrose University Lions two times, as they look to finish their final four games strong in their chase for the playoffs. The Kings & Queens Volleyball squads will entertain the Medicine Hat College Rattlers twice. The Hockey Queens will round out the regular season against the NAIT Ooks, which will be a preview of the semi-finals. The Red Deer College Kings Hockey team will face-off against the Briercrest College Clippers in a pair of road games.
For convenience, tickets can be purchased online.
RDC learners can attend the games for free with valid student ID.
Here is a summary of what is happening this week:
Queens Basketball | Friday, Feb. 21 | 6:00 pm | Ambrose University
The fifth place RDC Queens (8-9) will face the Ambrose University Lions (3-14) in Calgary. All four remaining games have significant meaning with eight points up for grabs in the standings. The Red Deer College Queens have won four of their past six contests.
Harneet Sidhu has been effective from beyond the arc. The second-year guard from Surrey has connected on 43.2 per cent of her three-point attempts, which ranks third in the league.
The Rattlers (9-10) sit fourth in the south, but have locked a position in the postseason as hosts of the championship from March 5-7. The Queens are chasing the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (10-9), who sit in third with 20 points. RDC also has two games in hand.
Queens Basketball | Saturday, Feb. 22 | 6:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The RDC Queens will compete against the Lions at RDC.
Kings Basketball | Friday, Feb. 21 | 8:00 pm | Ambrose University
The fifth seed Red Deer College Kings (8-9) will challenge the third place Ambrose University Lions (10-7) on the road.
The Kings have averaged 86.1 points with Spencer Klassen (22.3) leading the team and sitting third in the league. Guard Linden Jackson (17.2) provides an offensive touch for the Lions (88.6).
It will come down to the final game to determine the final two playoff spots. First place Lethbridge College (18-1) and second seed SAIT (13-4) have already qualified from the south. Briercrest College (9-8) currently has the fourth spot with 18 points. St. Mary’s University (8-10) is even with the Kings with 16 points, but has also played one more game.
Kings Basketball | Friday, Feb. 22 | 8:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The Kings and Lions will meet in Red Deer.
Queens Volleyball | Friday, Feb. 21 | 6:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The second place Red Deer College Queens (19-3) will host the fourth seed Medicine Hat College Rattlers (8-14) in the final regular season series. The Queens have been playing well, winning 19 of their past 20 matches. Emma Holmes and Tess Pearman have both averaged 3.11 kills per set, which ranks the two talented RDC outside hitters fourth in the league. McKenna Olson provides an offensive option from the middle and she has been effective at the net, sitting fourth in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Volleyball with 0.64 blocks per set.
Rattlers middle Megan Hoeber ranks first with 0.69 blocks per set. Outside hitter Amber Stigter is one of Medicine Hat’s offensive leaders, averaging 2.52 kills per set.
The Rattlers will host the ACAC Women’s Volleyball Championship from Feb. 27-29.
Queens Volleyball | Saturday, Feb. 22 | 1:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The RDC Queens will entertain the Rattlers in the last match before the playoffs.
Kings Volleyball | Friday, Feb. 21 | 8:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The first place RDC Kings (18-4) will play the fifth seed Medicine Hat College Rattlers (6-16). The Kings have been on a roll, winning eight consecutive matches and 14 of their past 15. RDC has averaged 11.66 kills per set, with Legal, Alberta’s Carter Hills (3.01) leading the charge. Setter Thomas Wass continues to rank first in ACAC Men’s Volleyball with 9.25 assists per set.
The Rattlers have knocked down 9.70 kills per set and right side hitter KeAndre Evans (3.29) is their go-to offensive weapon.
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks (18-4) will host the ACAC Men’s Volleyball Championship from Feb. 27-29.
Kings Volleyball | Saturday, Feb. 22 | 3:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The Kings will wrap up the regular season against the Rattlers in an afternoon match.
Queens Hockey | Friday, Feb. 21 | 7:00 pm | NAIT
The second seed Red Deer College Queens (14-5-3-0) and third place NAIT Ooks (12-9-1-0) will meet in Edmonton. In four head-to-head games this season, the Queens have not lost in regulation to the Ooks and have earned six-of-eight points in the standings. RDC won 4-2 and 3-2 and dropped a pair of games in the shootout (4-3 and 5-4), still earning a point in each contest. Goaltender Karlee Fetch has played extremely well lately and sports a 2.20 goals against average and 0.921 save percentage. The two teams will also face each other in the semi-finals.
Queens Hockey | Saturday, Feb. 22 | 7:00 pm | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
The RDC Queens and NAIT Ooks will clash in Red Deer.
Kings Hockey | Friday, Feb. 21 | 7:00 pm | Briercrest College
The second place Red Deer College Kings (17-5-2-0) will take their top ranked power play (25%) into Saskatchewan and battle the sixth seed Briercrest College Clippers (7-14-2-1). Over 24 games, the Kings have scored 4.25 goals per game and allowed 2.88. The Clippers have lit the lamp 2.79 times and let in 5.67.
Kings Hockey | Saturday, Feb. 22 | 2:00 pm | Briercrest College
For more information on RDC Athletics, the student-athletes and teams, please visit: rdcathletics.ca
The Kings and Queens Survive!!
From Red Deer College
Kings and Queens will remain names for RDU Athletics teams
When Red Deer College announced its intention to change the names of the Kings and Queens Athletics teams when it becomes Red Deer University, the community spoke up. More than 1,000 people provided their feedback through RDC’s online survey, direct emails and other means, demonstrating their passion that the names represent both the College’s history and the future of Red Deer University.
Based on the positive feedback in support of student-athletes, Athletic teams and alumni, RDC will keep the Kings and Queens names for its teams when it evolves to be Red Deer University.
“For everyone who shared your positive feedback and your support of our extensive Athletics community, thank you. We have heard you,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, RDC President. “Reflecting on this process, we recognize that we needed to reach out to you sooner for your feedback on what Red Deer University Athletics should look like, before deciding that we would change the names. We’re sorry for initially overlooking that step.”
With the College making the decision to keep the RDU Kings and Queens names to represent its student-athletes and teams in the future, the February 11 community consultation sessions have been cancelled. People who registered for these sessions will be notified.
RDC’s student-athletes have created a strong legacy of excellence in competition, the classroom and making an impact in surrounding communities through coaching, volunteering and more. The College is committed to maintaining the Kings and Queens legacy as it becomes Red Deer University. In support of its student-athletes, RDC appreciates the community’s commitment to post-secondary athletics in this region, by people attending games, volunteering or giving back in other ways.
There is one more important issue Red Deer College must address regarding the feedback received during the past few weeks about renaming RDC Athletics.
“It’s very important that people understand our decision to keep the names is based on the extensive positive feedback, and that the hate that was expressed by a portion of people – particularly on social media – does not align with the core values of our institution in any way,” Nunoda says. “It was never our intention to start this type of negative conversation, and we acknowledge that a number of people were impacted and hurt on a personal, organizational and community level. Inclusiveness is and will continue to be one of our values, and we stand behind that.”
Looking to the future, RDC will develop a foundational strategy on what inclusiveness and equity looks like within our institution. This will be modelled on best practices with human equity strategies, and adapted for the specific and unique needs of students, faculty, staff and stakeholders that make up the post-secondary community.
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