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Mike McIntyre | On Sports
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Looking forward to a sports double-double
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Looking forward to a sports double-double

It’s been a few years — more like decades, actually — since I last pulled off the local sports equivalent of a double-double.

But the drought will end on Sunday, when I begin my day by attending a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game, then follow it up by taking in the Winnipeg Jets affair.

Unlike the handful of times I did this as a kid with my dad, we won’t be stopping at Chi-Chi’s for a late lunch/early dinner in between.

Sigh. I miss that place.

And unlike the past, I won’t simply be there as a spectator. No, I’ll be covering Super Sports Sunday for the Free Press, along with a team of colleagues that includes Jeff Hamilton, Taylor Allen and Jason Bell. Yes, it’s all hands on deck around here. Just the way we like it!

The Bombers, of course, are hosting the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Final with kickoff at IG Field set for 3 p.m. I figure the final gun should go around 6:15 p.m.

Assuming I don’t duck out a bit early — I likely will if it’s one-sided — I don’t like my chances of being in my press box seat at Canada Life Centre in time for the 7 p.m. puck drop between the Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Especially since I’ve promised sports editor Steve Lyons I won’t get a speeding ticket racing between the two events.

Might have to catch the first few minutes on the radio as I make my way downtown.

The CFL and NHL actually worked together on creating a bit more separation between the two games, moving the Bombers up and pushing the Jets back. Which has me curious: how many of you will be joining me and bearing witness to both games?

Regardless of where you’re watching, it should be an interesting, action-packed day. I’ll have a full summary of how it all looked through my eyes in a column I’ll be penning for Monday’s paper.

And if you want my prediction on who battles for the Grey Cup next weekend in Hamilton, read on. I’ve dusted off the crystal ball and share the findings at the bottom of this email.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre

Speaking of big events

A buddy of mine, attending his workplace Christmas party a couple weeks ago, happened to win the grand prize: two tickets to any sporting event in North America.

He’ll still have to handle the air fare and hotel, but it’s still a lucrative jackpot if he plays his cards right.

Apparently nothing is off-limits.

Which got me thinking what I would pick if I were in his position. Naturally, the big ones come to mind — Super Bowl, a Stanley Cup Final game, a World Series game, that kind of thing.

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But it didn’t take me long to arrive at what would be my obvious No. 1 choice.

I’d be heading to Augusta to take in the Masters. No doubt about it.

Earlier this year, honorary starter the late Lee Elder, who broke the colour barrier, gets five from six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus during the ceremonial tee shots to begin the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / TNS files)

The chance to see the world’s best golfers teeing it up on hallowed grounds is definitely a bucket-list event, one that I would leap at the chance to attend.

I’m not sure what my friend is going to choose. He’s still mulling it over. But I’d love to hear what your selection would be. Fire me an email and let me know. I’ll share the results next week in this space.

 

I’ve got the ho-ho-holiday spirit now

Faithful readers will know I’m a sucker for everything Christmas. And I’m officially in the holiday spirit after attending a terrific performance last night by the Tenors at the Centennial Concert Hall.

The talented Canadian trio belted out a couple hours' worth of classics, including several of their own original songs, and it truly was a toe-tapping good time.

A perfect way to kick off December.

I’m not going to lie: last year was tough. Real tough. COVID-19 restrictions really sullied the season, scrapping the usual festive gatherings with family and friends.

And while we’re far from out of the pandemic woods, I’m thankful that being fully vaccinated has opened things up considerably this year.

Enjoy every moment, folks. And stay safe.

 

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for

I’m so confident in these that I won’t even call them predictions. They’re more like spoilers!

Unless I’m wrong, of course. In that case, you didn’t hear nuthin'.

Let’s start with the East Final, where I believe the visitors will be highly motivated to advance to the Grey Cup being played in their own backyard. And the home team likely won’t have much of an advantage, given the sparse crowd they’re likely going to attract.

Give me: Hamilton 24, Toronto 19.

Over here in the West, the Bombers are certainly the heavy favourites. They dominated the Roughriders during the regular season, and there’s no reason to suspect that won’t continue, right?

Well, if there’s one concern I have about Winnipeg, it’s the fact that a couple of bye weeks combined with a couple of weeks they rested a good chunk of starters, with first place locked up, runs the risk of bringing all the momentum they had to a screeching halt. And they’re going to have to ramp it back up against an opponent coming to town on an emotional high after a dramatic victory last weekend.

The other wild card is the weather, with the forecast calling for a cold front to move in at some point, switching the winds around from the south to the north and dropping the temperature considerably.

It should be a good one.

Give me: Winnipeg 27, Saskatchewan 23.

Feel free to send me your predictions. I promise not to mock and ridicule them. At least not too much.

What I've been working on


Jetcetera Ep. 82: Jets flying low

The Winnipeg Jets have tumbled out of a playoff spot, thanks to a tough two weeks in which they've won just once in their last seven outings. Free Press sports editor Steve Lyons and columnist Mike McIntyre look at where it's suddenly gone wrong, including an alarming power outage from the club's potent forwards. The duo discuss how the struggling squad can potentially shake the slump as they skate into December. Turning to football, they preview this Sunday's West Division Final between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan and whether the heavily-favoured Blue Bombers should be worried at all. Other topics include Mike shopping for a new used car, and Steve enjoying a musical trip down memory lane.

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