Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Flint Firebirds (formerly Plymouth Whalers) unveil name, colours (VIDEO)

    Flint Firebirds OHL logoFlint Firebirds OHL logo
    Flint Firebirds: it works on so many levels — well, two, to be exact.

    On Monday, the Ontario Hockey League franchise that is moving from Plymouth unveiled its name and colour scheme.

    A good hockey team moniker should roll right off the tongue; the double F slides off just so, plus Firebirds can refer to both the classic sports car and a phoenix, the bird from Greek mythology that rises from the ashes of its predecessors, which in this case would be other hockey teams to play in the Michigan city. 

    Nice touch.
    The team's colours will be blue and orange, which isn't far off from the fictional Flint Tropics in the 2008 Will Ferrell basketball comedy Semi-Pro.

    Flint Phoenix was also one of the suggested names, but that would have been untenable due to a conflict with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

    The name announcement comes in the wake of the franchise's' streak of 24 consecutive post-season appearances ending when the Whalers were eliminated from the

    Read More »from Flint Firebirds (formerly Plymouth Whalers) unveil name, colours (VIDEO)
  • The Belleville Bulls. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL ImagesThe Belleville Bulls. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

    The relocation of the Belleville Bulls last week to Hamilton fomented great anger, sadness and shock.

    In hindsight, the handwriting was on the walls for years; the local municipal government had higher priorities than replacing Yardmen Arena, and the Bulls' lease was up. There was also the chain reaction of moves in the AHL that left Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer in need of a team. Yet the manner which it became publicly known, with only two weeks left in the Ontario Hockey League season, came off as callous and cold. In the case of the OHL's two previous transfers, Plymouth-to-Flint earlier this season and Brampton-to-North Bay in 2012-13, there was enough lead time to digest the news.

    Belleville's first game since the news, fittingly, was their last game of the season against the archrival Kingston Frontenacs. There was a great moment after the first stoppage of play in the second period. The Frontenacs put a "Goodbye Old Rivals" message on the scoreboard of the K-Rock

    Read More »from Watch Belleville Bulls, Kingston Frontenacs players and fans salute end of OHL rivalry (VIDEO)
  • Carleton Ravens coach Dave Smart (centre) congratulates Phil Scrubb (right) as Thomas Scrubb walks past as they celebrate defeating the Ottawa Gee-Gees' to win the CIS basketball final in Toronto on Sunday March 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungCarleton Ravens coach Dave Smart (centre) congratulates Phil Scrubb (right) as Thomas Scrubb walks past as they celebrate defeating the Ottawa Gee-Gees' to win the CIS basketball final in Toronto on Sunday March 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

    Between any Canadian baller whom TSN will be talking up during its coverage of that other hoops tournament and the Brothers Scrubb, Dave Smart will take his guys.

    With Phil Scrubb scoring 28 points and handing out 10 assists to secure tournament MVP honours and Thomas Scrubb fulfilling his usual role as a 6-foot-5 left-handed Swiss Army Knife with his own double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, the Carleton Ravens played near-perfectly in a 93-46 title-game win over rival Ottawa on Sunday in front of 3,917 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto. That wraps up a 5-for-5 run during the siblings' Ravens tenure, which they should be allowed to savour before people debate their ceiling in the cutthroat pro basketball world.

    "It's a little weird to think about this being our last game," said Phil Scrubb, who totalled 88 points across Carleton's three wins. :It was great to win with this group. We wanted to give it our best. We made some adjustments all throughout the year. Every time

    Read More »from 'There's no NCAA kid better': Dave Smart on Phil Scrubb, Thomas Scrubb after Carleton Ravens win again
  • For Ottawa Gee-Gees, bitter end in CIS Final 8 shouldn't diminish special season

    Carleton held Johnny Berhanemeskel (centre) to four points on 1-of-10 shooting (Chris Young, The Canadian Press)Carleton held Johnny Berhanemeskel (centre) to four points on 1-of-10 shooting (Chris Young, The Canadian Press)

    It's a shame that, to many who only drop in on CIS basketball for the Final 8, the last image o fthe Ottawa Gee-Gees is a 47-point loss and coach James Derouin getting the heave-ho after his second technical foul.

    Relatively few universiity teams make successive finals or medal thrice in succession at nationals. Only Ottawa has to breathe the same air as the Carleton Ravens, whose starting lineup was fittingly introduced to The Imperial March from Star Wars at Mattamy Athletic Centre on Sunday before they won a fifth consecutive title with a 93-46 shellacking. The Gee-Gees, who had overcome halftime deficits in their past three games, couldn't overcome the Ravens' help defence or Phil Scrubb, who had 28 points and 10 assists to secure MVP honours.

    When Carleton drubbed Lakehead by 50 in the 2013 final, everyone saw it coming. No one expected a similar margin, seeing how the Ravens lost to Ottawa in January.

    "We were down 13 at halftime and I thought if we could get a little run

    Read More »from For Ottawa Gee-Gees, bitter end in CIS Final 8 shouldn't diminish special season
  • Cave (right) had his third hat trick this season on Saturday (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)Cave (right) had his third hat trick this season on Saturday (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    No. 1 star: Colby Cave, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)

    Cave, Swift Current's overage captain, and his teammates found some holes behind goalie Nick McBride and won 7-3 against the Prince Albert Raiders, eliminating them from playoff contention. Cave (4G-1A, +3), fellow 20-year-old Carter Rigby (4A, +3) and 18-year-old NHL draft hopeful Jake DeBrusk (2G-2A, +3) were the main demolition crew for Swift Current, which only had one goal on 53 shots against McBride and the Raiders on Friday night.

    Cave served notice the night would proceed different, scoring twice in the first period and also getting the primary assist on a power-play goal by Montreal Canadiens prospect Brett Lernout that opened a 3-1 lead. After Prince Albert took a penalty in the closing seconds of the period, Cave completed his third hat trick of the season early in the second. The Battleford, Sask., native also had an early third-period goal that opened a 5-2 lead. The result kept Swift Current four points clear of Moose

    Read More »from Broncos' Colby Cave busts out for 4 goals, eliminating Raiders: Saturday's 3 Stars
  • Ottawa Gee-Gees have better handle on quick turnaround for CIS Final 8 championship

    Ottawa Gee Gees' Michael L'Africain (11), Calem Agada (6) and Mehdi Tihani (5) celebrate as Ryerson Rams Jean-Victor Mukama (8) hangs his head following CIS semi-final action in Toronto on Saturday, March 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnOttawa Gee Gees' Michael L'Africain (11), Calem Agada (6) and Mehdi Tihani (5) celebrate as Ryerson Rams Jean-Victor Mukama (8) hangs his head following CIS semi-final action in Toronto on Saturday, March 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

    The thought that popped to mind while the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Ryerson Rams were battling tooth and nail on Saturday night was, hey, whoever wins has to regroup for Carleton on championship Sunday.

    The Gee-Gees, with 4-of-5 starters logging at least 32 minutes, outscored the Rams over the final three minutes for an 84-75 CIS Final 8 semifinal win, disappointing a standing-room-only crowd of 4,056 at Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto. With the win, the cross-town rivals from the nation's capital, who took turns in the No. 1 spot in the coaches' poll this season, will meet at 3 p.m. ET Sunday in the third championship-game rematch in tourney history. 

    "We've been prepping all year for that," said Gee-Gees forward Vikas Gill, who scored 18 points in just 18 foul-limited minutes, including 13 in the third quarter when Ottawa made a huge surge, just as it did at the stage against the Rams seven days earlier in the OUA bronze-medal game. "We knew, three games in four days, so we

    Read More »from Ottawa Gee-Gees have better handle on quick turnaround for CIS Final 8 championship
  • Ryerson Rams' Aaron Best (12) battles Ottawa Gee Gees' Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (4) for a rebound during first half CIS basketball action in Toronto on Saturday, March 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnRyerson Rams' Aaron Best (12) battles Ottawa Gee Gees' Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (4) for a rebound during first half CIS basketball action in Toronto on Saturday, March 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

    Roy Rana did his best to see another Gee-Gees gutting through the lens of the Ryerson Rams' bad old days.

    Once again, Ottawa found a way during winning time while the Rams found mostly iron, quieting Ryerson chants of "this is our house!" by pulling away in the final three minutes for an 84-75 win in the CIS Final 8 semifinal in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 4,056 at Mattamy Athletic Centre. The win dashed the Rams' dream, and there might be some long nights ahead for the three-headed monster backcourt: Ottawa wings Caleb Agada and Mehdi Tihani held fifth-year guard Jahmal Jones to two points on 1-of-7 shooting, while Aaron Best was 3-of-13. The Rams' hottest shooter, Adika Peter-McNeilly, fouled out on a questionable call with 3:42 left just after hitting a tying three-ball. 

    "There is sadness, but immense pride for our kids," said Rana, whose Rams have also been beaten by Ottawa in the OUA playoffs for three consecutive seasons. "They're young men, some are still kids. It's

    Read More »from For Roy Rana's Ryerson Rams, there's 'sadness, but immense pride' after CIS Final 8 heartbreak
  • Phil Scrubb says Carleton Ravens must 'dig in' to complete drive for five

    Carleton U Ravens G #23 Philip Scrubb. Mike Carroccetto / Yahoo! Canada SportsCarleton U Ravens G #23 Philip Scrubb. Mike Carroccetto / Yahoo! Canada Sports

    All Phil Scrubb wanted to talk about was the Carleton Ravens' defence, or lack thereof, the final 20 minutes against Victoria.

    Not putting a team away once it's down at CIS Final 8 is un-Carleton-like. Dollar-store sports psychologists could make a lot out of the Victoria Vikes hanging around — were the Ravens thinking about another all-Ontario championship Sunday against a tough opponent? — before Carleton won 83-74 in the early semifinal at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

    “I thought we didn't play well in the second half,” said Scrubb, who had a near triple-double with 29 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. “If we play like that on Sunday we're likely going to lose. We have a lot of stuff to work on – each individual guy knows what he has to do.

    “I think we started playing a little more individual defence instead of team defence,” Scrubb said of a second half where Victoria, paced by point guard Marcus Tibbs' 27 points and nine points and 15 off the bench from Grant Sitton

    Read More »from Phil Scrubb says Carleton Ravens must 'dig in' to complete drive for five
  • Swift Current Broncos' goalie Landon Bow, right, makes a save against Calgary Hitmen's Connor Rankin during first period WHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, Nov.28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougalSwift Current Broncos' goalie Landon Bow, right, makes a save against Calgary Hitmen's Connor Rankin during first period WHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, Nov.28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

    No. 1 stars: Landon Bow, Swift Current Broncos and Nick McBride, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

    Bow and McBride went save for save over 65 gripping minutes between two teams eyeing the last East Division playoff berth. Ultimately, Bow, who gave up a faith-shaking goal during Swift Current's last visit to Prince Albert in February, stopped 46-of-47 shots during the game and nixed 2-of-3 breakaway contest attempts to help Swift Current take the 2-1 shootout win. Bow was excellent on chances from close-range, especially during the third period and overtime, while defenceman Jordan Thomson had one of his strongest nights since joining the Broncos.

    McBride stopped 52-of-53 for the Raiders and the only goal he allowed came after Coda Gordon pounced on a loose puck after a point shot was blocked. Glenn Gawdin and Jake DeBrusk each converted in the shootout.

    The win moved the Broncos closer to clinching a playoff berth over Moose Jaw (four points adrift) and Prince Albert (seven back, but with

    Read More »from Swift Current's Landon Bow, Prince Albert's Nick McBride lock up in goalie duel: Friday's 3 Stars
  • Ryerson Rams' Jordon Gauthier, centre, battles for a loose ball with Windsor Lancers' Mike Rocca, left, and Brad Parker during second half CIS Final Eight basketball action in Toronto on Thursday, March 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnRyerson Rams' Jordon Gauthier, centre, battles for a loose ball with Windsor Lancers' Mike Rocca, left, and Brad Parker during second half CIS Final Eight basketball action in Toronto on Thursday, March 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

    Ottawa has the track record, while Ryerson has the home floor entering the all-Ontario tilt on Semifinal Saturday at the CIS Final 8.

    The Gee-Gees own seven consecutive wins over the host Rams dating back to early 2013, including post-season eliminations in each of the past two seasons and an OUA bronze-medal game win on March 7, all in the nation's capital. Yet the margin between the rivals is razor-thin entering the showdown at Mattamy Athletic Centre (Sportsnet 360, 8:30 p.m. ET), which follows the Victoria Vikes-Carleton Ravens matchup (6 p.m.  ET).

    "The thing about Ryerson is you play roulette," says Gee-Gees coach James Derouin, whose team is in its third consecutive national semifinal. "It's red, it's red, it's red, at some point it's going to hit black. They're an amazing team. We have all the respect in the world for them and their players and their talent. We know how good they are. So with every game that we play, we're kind of like, 'when is it going to hit black?' And

    Read More »from CIS Final 8 Semifinal Saturday preview: host Ryerson due against Ottawa, but it is a pick 'em

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