Regina poses challenge for kicker

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Regina. Queen City. Not so pretty.

"Yeah, my favourite place to play," said kicker Noel Prefontaine, whose first regular-season assignment may be his toughest.

"I look back over my career and the Saskatchewan games have always been pretty bad in terms of wind, but you can compare it with Winnipeg. Winnipeg hasn't always been the nicest place to play. I haven't travelled to Saskatchewan as much, being from the east."

Bottom line in both Windy Cities?

"They're both bad places to kick," said Prefontaine. "As a kicker, you don't necessarily look forward to going to play there."

That's why he's keeping his fingers crossed that he can avoid being the guy who has to put it through the uprights to win the game with no time left. At least in Regina.

"You hope your offence scores a lot of touchdowns and your defence makes a lot of stops," said Prefontaine. "If it does, I'd more than welcome it."

Prefontaine has a certain amount of sympathy for kickers who have to make their living in Regina. Fans there were none too kind to Paul McCallum, expediting his departure.

"It's not only difficult for the opposing team coming in, it's difficult for their kickers and they know that," said Prefontaine. "I know Paul McCallum very well. He kicked there for a number of years and he was never comfortable kicking there. He was a little better at wind kicking because he had more practice at it. Having said that, it's tough for both sides."

There's an old golfing adage that says: 'Swing with ease into the breeze.' Kickers around the CFL have tried for years to figure out how to deal with the elements.

"Yeah, they always say that but I tend to try and kick a little harder into the wind, which is probably why I don't like it" said Prefontaine, who points out the Rogers Centre in Toronto and Commonwealth in Edmonton pose different challenges and reads.

"The past three years, they opened up Rogers Centre and when they did, it's the worst place to kick because you get swirling conditions just like Edmonton. Other fields we go, it's maybe blowing harder but it's consistent.

"The last thing kickers want to do is where they're standing the wind is going one way and the flags on the posts are going the other way."

It's enough to drive ya goofy.

EXTRA POINTS: Receiver Brock Ralph looked good enough in yesterday's practice to be given the green light for the Esks' 42-man game-day roster.

"Right now, it looks like he's ready to go," said head coach Danny Maciocia. "It looks like he'll make the trip."

Maciocia would not tip his hand as to which four (two imports and two non-imports) roster players will not be in Regina this morning.


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