Skyrocketing or plummeting?

An inside look at how prognostications are made./Brett Nielsen

An inside look at how prognostications are made./Brett Nielsen

We take a look at which teams are set to progress and which ones are looking at declining

Sports at the University of Regina last year were as up and down as me when I accidentally took the slalom run at Whistler. On one hand, we were treated to impressive, exciting seasons by the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the women’s hockey team. However, the men’s hockey team was pretty poor. With players coming and going each year there’s always a chance that, in one year, teams can improve or regress drastically, which is why I am going to try to predict which teams are set up to improve, which will regress, and which will stay about the same.

The Cougars men’s hockey team, after a sub-par season, is set to lose one of only two defensemen with a positive plus-minus, Jordan Reeve. I know, plus-minus is a flawed stat, but when the majority of a team is in the minus, it can’t be good to lose one of the only positive players. However, the team will still have most of its top scorers returning so for that reason I am going to predict that the men’s hockey team will remain at about the same level with a small chance of improvement.

Unlike the men’s team, the Cougars women’s hockey team will be coming off of consecutive good seasons. In fact, you could even call them great seasons with the Cougars being a contender across the CIS. I don’t think that’s about to change anytime soon with the team only losing one player in Triston Riemer. I expect the women’s hockey team to have another great season and build on the success that they have enjoyed in the last couple seasons.

The Cougars women’s basketball team also had a successful season, but I don’t think they are going to improve as much as the hockey team will. They are only losing a couple of players in Jennilea Coppola and Taylor Pelletier, but the loss of Coppola will hurt big-time. Coppola was one of the leaders in blocks, offensive rebounds, and defensive rebounds, not to mention she was 6’3”. Whenever a team loses that kind of size they are in for a slight regression, but don’t get me wrong, they will still be very competitive.

The men’s basketball team almost made it into the playoffs last year. This year, I expect them to improve on that and they may even have a chance to go deep in the playoffs. I say this because they are not losing a single player, so having the entire team coming back after a playoff season is going to make them exponentially better.

The Rams just said goodbye to longtime coach Frank McCrystal last season, and welcomed his replacement, Mike Gibson. Sometimes when a new coach is brought in, he can make an immediate impact and improve the team, but I don’t think that’s what we’ll see. In those scenarios, the team needs to have some skill to help the new coach’s system along, and that is exactly what the Rams are set to lose. Tevaughn Campbell and Addison Richards spent the summer at an NFL camp and followed that up by each being drafted into the CFL. However it’s not all bad news for the Rams, QB Noah Picton will gain some much-needed experience at the Saskatchewan Riders’ development camp.

Whether all the teams regress or improve, we should be in for an entertaining sports year from our U of R athletes.

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