Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Rathan-Mayes was considered one of the top 30 college basketball recruits

    Canada's growing pipeline of basketball talent has been big news this summer, but it has some leaks.

    Last year, CBC's The Fifth Estate aired a scathing report chronicling how Toronto-area coach Ro Russell misled several highly touted Canadian players about about enrolling at Christian Faith Center Academy, a North Carolina prep school (a euphemism for "scholarship factory"). The newest fallout from the rather sordid saga is that Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a highly touted guard, cannot practise or play this season at Florida State. So that's one fewer all-Canadian guard matchup this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which already boasts Boston College sophomore Olivier Hanlan and Syracuse frosh Tyler Ennis.

    From Jeff Borzello:

    Sources tell CBSSports.com that the NCAA did not accept a full year of credits he took at a high school in North Carolina. Rathan-Mayes previously attended Christian Faith Center Academy (N.C.). Florida State is continuing to work with the NCAA to get the issue resolved. (CBS Sports)

    Read More »from The fallout from Ro Russell: Canadian guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes must sit out season at Florida State
  • Actor Wyatt Russell played Junior A for teams in Ontario, B.C. and the U.S. (The Associated Press)An actor with a junior hockey background playing a fraternity member, that's wise casting.

    When Wyatt Russell was toiling as a junior hockey goalie for teams in locales such as Richmond, B.C., Brampton, Ont., and Chicago a decade ago, playing up his celebrity bloodline seemed to be missing the point. Being the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son obviously made for a privileged childhood that would have been a huge leg up in pursuing a hockey dream. But having parents who were bankable stars in 1980s Hollywood isn't going to help anyone stop pucks with enough consistency to land a starting job.

    Russell's background and his ambitions crossed paths while he was playing. In 2003, some of his teammates on the Richmond (B.C.) Sockeyes, where some of his teammates ended up working as extras in the film Miracle, where his father played the famous coach Herb Brooks. Now that he's out of hockey, Wyatt Russell is finding his way in the acting game, where he's hit to have a major role in an upcoming big-budget comedy.

    From Borys Kit:

    Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, is joining Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street, the sequel to Sony’s hit action comedy 21 Jump Street.

    ... The part is a major coup for Russell, who up until now has been known for his minor league hockey career. (In fact, he played a hockey player in last year’s Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40.) But he has been slowly making in-roads into screen work, with recent credits that include Cowboys & Aliens and Love and Honor, a drama that also starred Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer.

    His part in Jump Street is sizable: He plays a frat brother who bonds with Tatum’s character and is the lead suspect in the case. (The Hollywood Reporter)

    Read More »from Wyatt Russell, former Junior A goalie, getting breakout role in ’22 Jump Street’
  • Nicolas Roy (right) declined to visit Cape Breton (The Canadian Press)The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles believed they tried to allay Nicolas Roy's family's concerns about his schooling, but there's only so much they can do about geography and their recent history.

    Cape Breton, over the weekend, confirmed the inevitable by saying it will consider the QMJHL's No. 1 overall pick a no-show. The compensation starts with the No. 5 overall pick in 2014, plus whatever Eagles coach-GM Marc-André Dumont can get from the inevitable bidding war due to break out among many of the Q's 12 teams based in La Belle Province.

    The Roys' emphasis on education is probably equal parts sincere and cover. Reaction's been divided. François Parenteau of La Presse expressed frustration with advisers and parents who want their son to reap all the rewards of playing major junior, but don't want to take the risk of not landing with a magnet franchise. Radio-Canada's Martin Leclerc was more temperate, pointing out that even a 16-year-old as ballyhooed as Roy is not guaranteed of NHL riches.

    From Monty Mosher:

    “We feel we have exhausted all options in convincing him,” Marc-Andre Dumont, Cape Breton’s head coach and general manager, said in a release.

    “We put together a very sound academic program for Nicolas. We have answered each of the family’s concerns. We have also invited the family to visit Cape Breton but they have declined our invitation.”

    Read More »from Cape Breton Screaming Eagles will deal Nicolas Roy, who wouldn’t even visit with QMJHL team
  • Eagles have ‘exhausted all options’ on Nicolas Roy: the coast-to-coast

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    No friends on the ice, eh? Winnipeg Jets draftee JC Lipon chipped his 16-year-old brother Mitch's front teeth with a check during a Kamloops Blazers camp scrimmage. (Kamloops Daily News, Kamloops This Week)

    Minnesota prospect Tyler Nanne has ruled out playing for the Vancouver Giants, opting to return to high school hockey. (Vancouver Province)

    Hypothetically and in reality, Yakima, Wash., would not be a good site for a WHL team. (Yakima Herald)

    It sounds a little dubious that the "hockey scholarship fairy" ignores the emerging talent pools in the western United States. (Washington Times)

    OHL

    Owen Sound's heavy turnover means Attack coach Greg Ireland is setting the goal of "not being one of the bottom four" in the league. (Owen Sound Sun Times)

    The Sarnia Sting have been downgraded in most preseason prognostications, but the players haven't accepted that. (Sarnia Observer)

    Read More »from Eagles have ‘exhausted all options’ on Nicolas Roy: the coast-to-coast
  • Carleton's Phil Scrubb, two-time CIS player of the year, drives against Syracuse's Canadian guard Tyler Ennis on Friday (Mike Carroccetto photo)

    It did not feel extraordinary that the Carleton Ravens made the Syracuse Orange, a flippin' Final Four team a season ago, work overtime for a 69-65 exhibition win on Friday in front of 6,004 in the nation's capital.

    Carleton, over the years, has forced Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals to overtime, lost a one-pointer to Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks and nearly won on the Villanova Wildcats' home floor. Earlier this week, playing with a 24-second shot clock at Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's behest, it ran by the Big Ten's Badgers 95-82 ("we have never given up more than 90 points, that I can remember," Badgers forward Sam Dekker said afterward).

    The Ravens led the 'Cuse for 36 minutes until wearing down in the face of the Orange's characteristic quickness and length — which you might remember from such March Madness runs as 2013's when they held five tournament foes to a piddly average of 48.8 points. There's no shame in that. Plenty of teams have their worst shooting nights against coach Jim Boeheim's Orange, who racked up 11 blocks on Friday — six by Rakeem Christmas — and harried two-time CIS player of the year Phil Scrubb into a 5-of-18, 14-point night.

    The amount of hype the game received in Ottawa — Final Four team vs. nine-time CIS champions, Syracuse's 2-3 zone vs. Carleton's man-to-man defensive pressure, winningest Canadian program against Ontario's most-beloved U.S. college powerhouse, a matchup of ,Canadian national-team quality guards with Carleton's senior Scrubb and Syracuse frosh Tyler Ennis — might have been priming for some inevitable letdown. But that was only the case due to a prevailing post-game what now?. Carleton took Syracuse to the wire. Will it face a game remotely as tough before it hosts the CIS Final 8 next March in the same building?

    While it's laid waste to Canadian competition while winning 99 of 101 CIS games during its present three-year reign, Carleton is first to point out it is merely several notches above the 10-ish university squads which can go toe-to-toe against D1 teams under the right circumstances. They do it without benefit of full scholarships, million-dollar TV contracts, 24/7 media coverage or fanatical student support on on U.S. college scale, . The question should be, how did that happen and how do you get the country to take notice?

    "I don't think it's a whole different ballgame up here," acting Carleton coach Rob Smart, filling in while Dave Smart is with the Canadian men's national team in Puerto Rico, said after matching wits with Boeheim for 45 minutes. "I hope that the last few games [Carleton has played against D1 teams] have shown that. There are probably 10 to 15 teams in Canada that are really close. I think you'll see a breakthrough in the next five to 10 years where they're competing with the top level.

    "People who know it are really passionate about the game and we love what we're doing. I think it's a matter of time before other people grab onto it and realize it's a really good product."

    Read More »from Carleton Ravens take Syracuse Orange to overtime, offering umpteenth reminder of CIS hoops’ untapped potential
  • Brampton, Ont.'s Tyler Ennis talks with legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim during the Orange's OT win over Carleton (Mike Carroccetto photo)

    One can only imagine the grind of going 44 minutes against the Carleton Ravens stays with Tyler Ennis in spirit until some time in the new year, when Syracuse's newest Canadian bringing the ball up the floor against Duke or North Carolina.

    Cameron Indoor Stadium bears little resemblance to Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre, where the ballyhooed Brampton, Ont., native and his Syracuse Orange outlasted the Carleton Ravens 69-65 in overtime in Friday perhaps the most highly anticipated August exhibition game between a NCAA and Canadian university powerhouse yet played. The 'Cuse colours heavily dotting the the crowd of 6,004 — "got to get the students some red shirts, there was a lot of orange," Ravens acting coach Rob Smart quipped — created more a neutral-site atmopshere. Nevertheless, on the eve of his 19th birthday, Ennis exuded the quiet certitude Jim Boeheim is hoping the freshman point guard will deliver in due time. Ennis' line on the night, 15 points on 4-of-17 shooting with five steals and four assists against what Boeheim called "as tough a team defensively as anybody," didn't do him justice.

    "A game like this teaches me a lot," said Ennis, who had to put up few expiring-clock heaves as the Orange struggled to get open looks vs. Carleton's well-drilled defence. "It's easy to go through plays and go through sets when we're up by 40 [as Syracuse was in the first two games of its Canadian tour]. But in a game when a team plays good defence and the game's really tight, it's definitely going to help in the future. It just felt like a real game.

    "Just coming out and playing them tough helps. We're a young team and we have a lot to learn."

    Read More »from Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis shows he’s Canadian tough vs. Carleton Ravens, in a valuable lesson for a young point guard
  • Sarnia Sting rookie Nikita Korostelev moved from Moscow to Toronto at age 14 to pursue his NHL ambition (Sarnia Sting photo)

    A creative Russian forward in Sarnia, why no, that's never happened.

    Okay, at least not through the means that Nikita Korostelev used to make himself one of the Ontario Hockey League's most intriguing newcomers. Erstwhile NHL first overall pick Nail Yakupov and current draft prospect Nikolay Goldobin came to the Sarnia Sting through the import draft. Montreal Canadiens centre Alex Galchenyuk, whose namesake dad's itinerant pro career made for a well-travelled childhood, played in Chicago during his minor-midget season. The 6-foot-1½, 194-pound Korostelev, on the other hand, got an early start on living apart from his family two seasons ago when Toronto-area minor hockey coach Dave D'Amizzio, who speaks Russian, recruited him to play for the Vaughan Kings and, later, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens.

    Korostelev, a Muscovite who models his game after Alex Ovechkin, figures that after two years in the GTA, he's well-adapted to North American hockey.

    "It was hard at first, being a 14-year-old, living by myself in a house with a couple other guys on my team," says Korostelev, whom the Sting took No. 9 overall in last spring's priority selection. "Then my parents [father Dmitriy and mother Natalia] started to come, about half the time, more so last year. I'm completely fine with where I am now."

    Read More »from Sarnia Sting’s Nikita Korostelev settled in after early arrival in Canada: Making The Jump
  • Lawson Crouse, at 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds, is a projected power winger in the OHL (OHL Images)

    For Lawson Crouse, the timing and tide is right.

    The No. 5 overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League priority selection typically comes to a team which is hoping to make an incremental improvement on a modest result from the previous season. Crouse, the first wing selected last spring, is joining the Kingston Frontenacs right a point where they are expected to be an Eastern Conference challenger. The big-bodied forward with sneaky speed and good patience offensively, is joining a nucleus that includes the highly touted 17-year-old trio of centre Sam Bennett, defenceman Roland McKeown and wing Spencer Watson. Kingston played above-.500 hockey last season until the 68-game grind caught up to its youngsters after Jan. 1 and ultimately had to scramble to get into the playoffs.

    "We're coming out of a rebuild year, so this is going to be an important year for the team," says Crouse, who hails from Mt. Brydges, Ont., near London. "We have to show others that we're in the league and it would be nice to keep the train rolling this year. Hopefully we play as a team and things keep going our way.

    "Everything's just beginning for me," adds Crouse, who will report to coach Todd Gill's training camp at a strapping 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds. "I just have to keep working."

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs’ Lawson Crouse joining talent-laden young team: Making The Jump
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Former Sarnia Sting defender David Nemecek will have ample opportunity on the Saskatoon Blades' overhauled blue line. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    With Kevin Constantine back as coach and a bevy of newcomers, perhaps the Everett Silvertips are ready to move out of what Nick Patterson calls "WHL irrelevance." (Everett Herald)

    In no-brainer news, the Edmonton Oil Kings have rewarded coach Derek Laxdal with a two-year contract extension. (Edmonton Journal)

    Malcolm Cameron never missed the playoffs as an ECHL coach, and his Regina Pats have missed the Eastern Conference playoffs in four of the past five seasons. Something has to give, eh? (Regina Leader-Post)

    Top bantam selections Dante Hannoun and Matt Phillips might help the Victoria Royals corner the market in stumpy, skilled forwards. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    The legacy of Milan Doczy? Czech forward Robin Soudek, a Royals grad, is playing university hockey with the UPEI Panthers. (Charlottetown Guardian)

    OHL

    BTN favourite Sergey Tolchinsky has inked a NHL free-agent pact with the Carolina Hurricanes; how was he not drafted after a 51-point rookie year with the Soo Greyhounds? (NHL.com)

    Connor McDavid's rookie-of-the-year campaign with the Erie Otters and winning turn with various national junior teams has whetted the appetite for big shiny things: "Now, it seems like there’s a lot of pressure. I’ve got to be better than last year." McDavid's training this week with NHL players. Yikes. (Globe & Mail)

    Anyone betting on who puts up more points, No. 1 pick Travis Konecny with the Ottawas or No. 2 pick Dylan Strome with the Eries? Please keep in mind it's not about the points. (The Hockey News)

    Read More »from McDavid put to test, Tolchinsky fine with Carolina, Brandon Shea rejoins Remparts: the coast-to-coast
  • Jordan Boyd, 16, was laid to rest last SaturdayWhile the cause of Jordan Boyd's death is not yet known, what's paramount is to determine what safeguards can be erected to reduce the possibility of another teenage junior hockey player dying after going into cardiac arrest.

    [Previously: Boyd’s death sends shockwaves throughout hockey community]

    The 16-year-old Boyd was eulogized last Saturday after collapsing during workouts on Aug. 12 on the first day of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan's training camp. There are no easy answers, especially since the consensus appears to be that there are often almost no warning signs that a young person has hypertrophy cardiomyopathy (HCM), the underlying heart condition which the late Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud was found to have had after his passing in 2008. Ultimately, since no one in the hockey industry wants to see this recur, it's a safe bet new measures are likely in the QMJHL. Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell expects as much.

    From Glenn MacDonald:

    “Our league is looking into the medical exams that we give our players,” Russell said in an interview Tuesday. “When you’re talking about your kids’ health, that’s a No. 1 priority for our league to look into.

    “Obviously with a tragedy like this happening, we’re looking to improve them. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy to improve part of the process.

    “We have never put anyone on the ice without a full medical exam. It’s one of those things where you’re always looking to see what else you can do now when something like this happens. How can we improve it?”

    Read More »from Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell expects improved medical testing in wake of Jordan Boyd tragedy

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