To honour the involvement of Byron Bitz in Saturday’s Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic, we proudly present some tid-Bitz — thumbnails of the former NHL players who are to participate in the inaugural charity hockey game.
Faceoff is set for Saturday, 7 p.m., at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon. Proceeds will go to KidSport.
- Born: July 21, 1984, Saskatoon.
- Registered 10 goals and 12 assists in 97 NHL regular season games, spent with Boston Bruins (2008-10), Florida Panthers (2010) and Vancouver Canucks (2011-12).
- Drafted by Boston in fourth round in 2003; spent next four seasons at Cornell University.
- Notched an assist in first NHL game (Jan. 10, 2009 versus Carolina Hurricanes).
- First NHL goal was scored for Boston on Feb. 7, 2009 versus Philadelphia Flyers netminder Martin Biron.
- Scored two goals Feb. 24, 2009 vs. Florida.
- First playoff goal was scored for Boston on May 14, 2009 in Game 7 of second-round series, won 3-2 in overtime by Carolina.
- Born: Dec. 9, 1980, Saskatoon.
- Recorded 16 goals and 24 assists in 179 NHL games with Carolina — which drafted him in third round in 2000 out of University of North Dakota.
- First NHL goal was scored in third big-league game — Feb. 18, 2003 against the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ed Belfour, a future Hockey Hall of Famer.
- First NHL multi-point game was March 4, 2003 versus Boston. Bayda figured in both Carolina goals, scoring one himself and setting up Ron Francis — another Hall of Famer — for the other.
- Added two goals in 15 playoff games with Carolina in 2009; Scored in back-to-back games against legendary New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
- Played in 326 AHL games before completing pro hockey career in Germany (2010 to 2016).
- Born: Jan. 6, 1984, Saskatoon.
- Scored 100-plus goals for bantam AA Saskatoon Knights in 1999-2000.
- Scored 40 goals for 2004-05 Saskatoon Blades.
- Played in six games with 2009-10 Ottawa Senators.
- NHL debut was Nov. 25, 2009 against New Jersey.
- Spent all or part of five seasons in the American Hockey League before playing in Switzerland from 2012 to 2016.
- Scored 41 goals for United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury in 2005-06 and added 34 for AHL’s Binghamton Senators in 2010-11.
- Added 25 points in 23 playoff games with Binghamton in 2011.
- Born: Feb. 11, 1979, Craik.
- After playing in the Western Hockey League with Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current Broncos, Reich played in 99 NHL games and suited up for another 637 contests in the AHL.
- Drafted by Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (39th overall) in 1997.
- Registered both NHL goals while playing for Boston in 2007-08.
- First NHL goal was Dec. 15, 2007 in a 2-0 victory over Columbus Blue Jackets. Reich opened the scoring at 3:20 of the first period with what proved to be the game-winner.
- Second NHL goal was empty-netter March 25, 2008 as Boston beat Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 at Air Canada Centre.
DUCKS AND PUCKS
The NHL connections extend to former Roughriders receiver Chris Getzlaf, whose brother Ryan played for the Anaheim Ducks from 2005 to 2022. Ryan Getzlaf helped Anaheim win the Stanley Cup in 2007. Later that year, Chris Getzlaf was traded by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Roughriders, who also won a title in 2007. Chris was named the most outstanding Canadian in the 2013 Grey Cup game, in which Saskatchewan defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-23 at Mosaic Stadium.
Greg Fieger, who played for the Roughriders from 1980 to 1984, is the rare athlete who is a member of the CFL and WHL alumni. He played left wing for the Regina Pats during the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons. Fieger had one point (an assist) in 35 games as a rookie with the Pats before registering 16 points (including six goals) in 65 appearances in 1975-76. Later in 1976, Fieger was a rookie with a Regina Rams team that won a Canadian junior football title … Fieger scored two goals for the Pats when they defeated the Flin Flon Bombers 9-1 on Oct. 22, 1975 at Regina Exhibition Stadium … Fieger’s first WHL goal scored in the 1975-76 regular-season opener, won 5-3 by Saskatoon at Exhibition Stadium. Bernie Federko, a future Hall of Famer, led the Blades with two goals … Federko hails from Foam Lake — also the hometown of Roughriders president-CEO Craig Reynolds.
Saturday’s teams are to be captained by Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther and former Saskatchewan receiver Rob Bagg — neither of whom played competitive football until high school. Lauther and Bagg both played hockey growing up. Lauther was also a soccer player, which helps to explain his placekicking prowess … The Green and White will also be represented Saturday by the following past or present CFLers: Mitch Picton, Brayden Lenius, Evan Johnson, Dan Clark, Jorgen Hus and Jason Clermont. Regina-born University of Huskies head football coach Scott Flory will also suit up … Flory was part of a Montreal Alouettes team that defeated the Roughriders in the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup games. A perennial all-star guard, Flory was enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame … Flory’s late father, Phil, was a long-time volunteer in Regina minor hockey circles.
Tickets for the Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic are $25 each for spectators aged 13 and above. Children 12 and under will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit https://www.riderville.com/winterclassic/