Thursday, 10 April 2014

Could the Vanier Cup be a success in Montreal

This fall, the 50th edition of the Vanier Cup is coming to city of Montreal and is set to be played at Percival-Molson Stadium on the McGill campus. 

This is big news in the CIS circles, however, could this occasion be a success in a cosmopolitan city that has a lukewarm passion for CIS football.

Already CIS is a bit behind the eight-ball in announcing their signature game set to be played in less than eight months time. A lot of work needs to be done.

In order for the Vanier Cup to be successful, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, the Montreal Alouettes, and CIS committee will need to go full out in promoting this event. Billboards, strategic signage within Quebec university campuses, and constant television/radio promotions have be to  visible in a community that is hockey mad.

That means having key CIS public relations people involved that know the Montreal area such as McGill's own Earl Zuckerman, and Montreal Carabins Benoit Mongeon. These two are the best at what they do, and would be key additions in raising the profile of this game. Moreover, McGill University as a whole will do a fantastic job in making sure their student body, and alumni know about this crown jewel of an event.

This year's playoff rotation will have the RSEQ taking on Canada West, and OUA battling AUS. It is imperative the right match-up occurs for this event to be successful.

Now, on paper a Calgary-Western battle would look appealing, but could it fly in Montreal. From a local standpoint, if defending champions Laval, Montreal (who literally play on the other side of the hill), or host site McGill were to make it to the big game it would generate an increase in ticket sales.

It is hard to imagine smaller communities from outside the province of Quebec traveling in droves to Montreal. Are hotels planning to block off section of rooms for traveling parties coming to this game?

Aesthetically, it would be an eye sore if only a few thousand show up particularly if a RSEQ team is not involved. As one football representative who has a strong pulse on the community told me over the weekend, the organizing committee needs to get as many minor football programs to attend. Instill the idea of the next generation of kids playing in this game in the near future.

At the same time, with the Vanier Cup essentially going head to head with Grey Cup weekend in VancouverThe CIS could be staring at an abyss of national media coverage considering all eyes will be on Canada's biggest signature game on the other side of the country. Furthermore, if the Alouettes were to make it to the big game, it could result in the top local media personalities covering the game in Vancouver.

At the end of the November, Montreal weather can be unpredictable where a snowstorm could happen, or simply it is bitter cold. Organizers need to hope it is a nice, comfortable day for the fans to enjoy the game.

Finally, if the Vanier Cup goes head to head with a Montreal Canadiens home game it could mean trouble. Historically, the Canadiens will play a bulk of home games at the end of November before their predominant road schedule in December. If the Canadiens happen to play the Toronto Maple Leafs, or another big name NHL team, it could pose problems from the attention being directed towards the hockey team than the game itself.

There are a lot of moving variables in this project. It is a big leap of faith for CIS to give the 50th edition of this game to a city that has never been a part of the rotation.

Now the hard work begins for the committee in making this a successful event.    

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Photo credit: Edmonton Journal

Friday, 4 April 2014

Potential Alouettes 2014 starting lineup for week one

With about two months until training camp for the Montreal Alouettes, it is not too early to start projecting what their starting lineup could be when they begin the season in Calgary on June 28th.


QB: Troy Smith: Going into camp, Smith will be given the first shot to convince the coaching staff he is the man to replace retired Anthony Calvillo. However, it shouldn't surprise anyone if the Alouettes take a long look at Ottawa REDBLACKS pivot Kevin Glenn as an insurance policy.

RB: Brandon Whitaker: This is a big year for him, as the last two years were marred by injuries. Could "2-Way" rekindle the form he had in 2011 in being one of the dangerous players on the field? If not, Tyrell Sutton will be hot for the starting position.

WR: S.J. Green: Without question, the most dangerous receiver on the roster.

WR: Duron Carter: Comes from a strong family tree, he showed why he will be on a NFL roster in 2015. He has plenty of room to grow in honing his skills before he jumps to the next level.

WR: Jamel Richardson: "Optimus Prime" has looked crisp in his videos he's posted up on social media in rehabbing his 2013 season ending injury. Team him with Carter and Green it is a nightmare for the opposition.

WR: Brandon London: For now, he gets the last spot. 2013 was a tough year, but head coach Tom Higgins loves big receivers which could bode well for London.

OT: Josh Bourke: Alouettes re-signed one of their cornerstones. It’s very rare to find a non-import who 
can dominate the most important position on the field.

OG: Scott Flory: With Flory being named CFLPA president, the transition has already started with him to ride off in the sunset. Keep an eye at this position if he stays or goes. See Ryan Bomben as potential replacement.

C: Luc Brodeur-Jourdain: Continues to be the central rock of the offensive line.

OG: Kristian Matte: Could this be the year where he becomes a mainstay on the Alouettes offensive line? He will face a lot of competition.

OT: Jeff Perrett: Continues to be the good soldier, this could be the year where he will be a mainstay starter.

Non-Import player rotation: Dave Stala: Second go around with the Alouettes. Was he brought in to give incumbent Eric Deslauriers competition?


DE: John Bownman: Unquestionably the leader of the defense, he is in the prime of his career, hoping to keep the Alouettes defense a force.

DT: Scooter Berry: Coming off a season ending knee injury, he was a force inside.

DT: Alan-Michael Cash: A strong season, continues to get better each day.

DE: Aaron Lavarias: The Alouettes’ hardest worker who has constantly harassed the opposing quarterback. Going into year two should make him more refined.

LB: Chip Cox: The CFL defensive player of the year in 2013.  At age 31, in the prime of his career he could put up stronger numbers in his second year under Noel Thorpe's system.

LB: Kyries Hebert: He had a strong 2013 season. He will turn 34 during the season; could he still continue to dominate?

LB: Marco Brouillette: With Shea Emry now in Toronto, it’s time for Brouillette to take over a position he has been groomed for.

CB: Geoff Tisdale: A solid signing by Jim Popp in 2013, he will man this position in 2014.

HB: Billy Parker: At 33, Parker has defied father time, and continues to be a force playing a tough position.

S: Mike Edem: Naturally gifted, Edem enters his second season where Thorpe could ask more from him. Physically gifted, once he masters the mental game, he should be fine.   

HB: Jerald Brown: See Billy Parker assessment.  Brown continues to defy the odds by being a mainstay in the Alouettes secondary.

CB: Ed Gainey: Showed why he is one of the underrated players on this squad. His versatility makes him appealing.

In-play rotation: The Alouettes have gone retro with their signings, keep an eye on Jermaine McElveen, a big body who adds depth to the defensive line.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Photo credit: CTV News