Blades featured on TV
By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The StarPhoenix
June 28, 2012
In addition to their traditional summertime workouts, Saskatoon Blades' players might want to practise their wit and on-camera charm for the coming WHL season.
The Blades, in conjunction with the WHL, have been in talks with Rogers Sportsnet in an effort to create an allaccess television show that will regularly document the team's process during their 2012-13 MasterCard Memorial Cup campaign.
The show will be called On the Edge: Road to the Memorial Cup, according to discussions from a Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications commission hearing on May 7.
Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken expects the series will be similar to the popular 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic episodes that aired on HBO in each of the last two years.
The two respective HBO series were designed as a precursor to the outdoor NHL games featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in 2011 and the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers in 2012.
"We have a bit of an idea of what they want to do," Molleken said. "Obviously, they'll start right at the start of the year. They'll be allowed into the dressing room, onto the bus, different things like that.
"We want to be as open as possible so that people have a good understanding of what it's all about."
The WHL released its schedule Wednesday, but the total number of episodes or the amount of filming time is not yet known.
WHL commissioner Ron Robison said an official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
"Rogers Sportsnet has plans to feature the Blades as a lead up to the MasterCard Memorial Cup throughout the course of the season," Robison said. "That's one of the exciting elements that fans can watch (this season) - the Blades' preparation as it leads up to May."
Blades owner Jack Brodsky met with members of Fadoo Productions, the show's production company, at the 2012 Memorial Cup last month in Shawinigan, Que., to discuss some of the parameters. Brodsky believes Fadoo is close to receiving the green light from Sportsnet. Corey Russell, president of Fadoo Productions, could not comment when contacted.
"Obviously, with these things we have to be respectful of the ages of the players and whatnot, but it's going to be a neat thing," Brodsky said. "It's interesting when you see the 24/7s and things that are going on. I watch those to get an insight into some of the people and the characters.
"The way the thing is done, to have that done around our hockey club especially in a year like this, would be terrific."
The filming will continue into the playoffs, so Molleken has some reservations about giving the crew too much access to his mostly teenaged players.
Molleken added that he wasn't sure at this time when an episode would air after shooting had concluded.
"I think that they'll do a real good job with it," he said. "They know that there's certain guidelines and situations that they won't be involved in.
"We'll cross that when a situation arises. Once I get a chance to sit down with them too, then I'm sure that I'll want to hear what their ideas are and it'll either be a yes or no."
Although discussions are ongoing, Robison is already excited to watch the first episode. He sees it not only as a chance to create interest locally, but league-wide as well.
"Well, not only in Saskatoon, but throughout Western Canada and across the country with Rogers Sportsnet," Robison said. "As a result, it'll certainly get everyone very familiar with the Blades' organization, the preparation, the players and the challenges of being the host team of the Master-Card Memorial Cup."
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