The Yahoo New app will no longer feature vertical entertainment news video after November 20, 2020.
The Yahoo New app will no longer feature vertical entertainment news video after November 20, 2020.
The Raptors will open the 2020-21 season against the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 23.
It's the final week of the fantasy football regular season, so make sure to check out these rankings before you set your lineup.
It seems the NHL and NHLPA had some meaningful discussions over the last few days.
Kyrie Irving did things his own way Friday.
Karl-Anthony Towns said he "hasn't been in a good place" since his mother died in April.
Chris Young, who pitched in the big leagues for parts of 13 seasons, has been named Texas Rangers GM.
Tom Brady signed a two-year, $50 million deal with the Buccaneers in 2020.
New Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch has a long history with head coach Nick Nurse and is excited to coach alongside him instead of against him. Finch discusses his relationship with Nurse, improving the Raptors half-court offense and how playing in Tampa will have its perks.
What the NFL doesn’t want is a repeat of the messy back-and-forth between the 49ers and Santa Clara County officials.
William Lou is joined by Vivek Jacob of CBC Sports to discuss the journey of Pascal Siakam.
The Lakers duo's number trade was spiked by Nike last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented Canadian Enock Makonzo and upstart Coastal Carolina with their stiffest challenge of the season. The No. 14-ranked Chanticleers (9-0) were scheduled to face No. 25 Liberty (9-1) on Saturday. But that game was cancelled Thursday due to COVID-19 issues within the Flames program. So Coastal Carolina will host No. 8 Brigham Young (9-0) instead. The Chanticleers and Cougars are two of only three 9-0 teams in the NCAA this year, with No. 2 Notre Dame being the other. Coastal Carolina, a 10-point home underdog Saturday, sits atop the Sun Belt Conference and is coming off a 49-14 road win last weekend over Texas State. Earlier this season, BYU defeated Texas State 52-14. Makonzo, a five-foot-11, 195-pound linebacker/defensive back, is enjoying a stellar season at Coastal Carolina, The redshirt junior from Lachine, Que., has recorded 55 tackles (36 solo, eight for a loss), two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. --- MORE COVID-19 ISSUES: Michigan (2-4) has cancelled its game Saturday versus Maryland (2-2) due to COVID-19 issues. The Wolverines cancelled practices this week and aren't scheduled to resume on-field sessions until Monday. Luiji Vilain, a six-foot-four, 253-pound senior defensive lineman from Ottawa, has four tackles (two solo) in five games with Michigan this season. The Wolverines' game versus Maryland won't be rescheduled. They're slated to visit Ohio State (4-0) next weekend, a contest that's important to the No. 4-ranked Buckeyes, who've already had two games cancelled this year and must play at least six contests to qualify for the Big 10 championship game. Ohio State was forced to cancel last weekend's game versus Illinois because of the pandemic. It resumed team activities this week and is slated to visit Michigan State on Saturday before finishing up against Michigan on Dec. 12, needing to play both to keep its CFB playoff hopes alive. This week, the Las Vegas Bowl became the 10th bowl game to be cancelled because of the pandemic. The others include: the Bahamas; Celebration; Fenway; Hawaii; Holiday; Motor City; Pinstripe; Redbox; and Sun bowls. --- SABAN SET TO RETURN: John Metchie III and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) should have their head coach back this weekend. Nick Saban missed Alabama's 43-13 win over No. 22 Auburn last weekend following a positive COVID-19 test. Savan said this week he expects to be on the field Saturday when the Crimson Tide face LSU (3-4). Metchie, a six-foot, 195-pound sophomore from Brampton, Ont., had six catches for 55 yards and two TDs versus Auburn. On the season, Metchie has 31 catches for 590 yards and six touchdowns. Alabama, which is a 30-point road favourite Saturday, could have redemption on its mind. Last year, then No. 2-ranked LSU improved to 9-0 with a 46-41 win in Tuscaloosa over No. 3 Alabama, which had won eight straight prior to that contest. --- QUESTION REMAINS: It's still unclear if Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard will play this weekend when the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2) face TCU (4-4). Hubbard missed Oklahoma State's 50-44 win last weekend over Texas Tech with an unspecified leg injury. Backup LD Brown also didn't play as Dezmon Jackson ran for 235 yards and three TDs in his first career start. Hubbard, a six-foot, 208-pound redshirt junior from Sherwood Park, Alta., has run for 625 yards on 133 carries (4.7-yard average) with five TDs. He led the country with over 2,000 yards in 2019. Calgary's Amen Ogbongbemiga, a six-foot-one, 235-pound redshirt senior linebacker, had 11 tackles (seven solo) against Texas Tech. This season, Ogbongbemiga has recorded a team-high 62 tackles (36 solo, four for a loss) and two sacks, --- BACK TO BACK: It's been a solid couple of weeks for defensive lineman Mohamed Diallo. The six-foot-four, 305-pound Toronto native had six tackles (3.5 for a loss) and two sacks in Central Michigan's 31-23 win last weekend over Eastern Michigan. That came after he recorded six tackles (three solo) and a half-sack in a 53-44 loss Nov. 18 to Western Michigan. This season, Diallo has 17 tackles (eight solo, nine for a loss), 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Central Michigan (3-1) takes on Ball State (3-1) on Saturday. --- BULLS WAIT: The Buffalo Bulls are in a holding pattern. Buffalo (4-0) was to face Ohio (2-1) this weekend but the game was cancelled Friday and declared a no-contest due to COVID-19 issues for the Bobcats. At first glance, that appeared to clinch the Bulls the MAC East Division title — and a berth in the conference final Dec. 18 in Detroit. After all, Ohio was the only team in the East with a shot to win the division heading into weekend action. But it's unclear if the MAC will attempt to make up the game or the Bobcats' Nov. 17 contest against Miami University that was cancelled due to the pandemic. The Associated Press reported Friday night that Buffalo was still awaiting word from Mid-American Conference officials. Buffalo is scheduled to host Akron next week while Ohio is scheduled to face Kent State. Redshirt freshman Kurtis Rourke of Oakville, Ont., completed 10-of-11 passes for 63 yards and a TD in Ohio's 52-10 win last weekend over Bowling Green. He also ran for 43 yards on three carries. Defensive back Jett Elad, a six-foot, 191-pound freshman defensive back from Mississauga, Ont.., had three tackles and an interception for the Bobcats. Rourke has completed 30-of-44 passes (68.2 per cent) for 386 yards and three TDs this season. He took over starting duties from his older brother, Nathan, who was selected in the second round, No. 15 overall, of the 2020 CFL draft by the B.C. Lions. Last weekend, Buffalo made national headlines when Jaret Patterson ran for 409 yards and eight TDs in a 70-41 win over Kent State. He has also rushed for 710 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last two contests. Dominic Johnson, a six-foot-five, 220-pound senior receiver from Windsor, Ont., had five receptions for 43 yards against Kent State. He's one of three Canadians on the Bulls' roster, including tight end Cole Burniston of Grimsby, Ont., and offensive lineman Gabe Wallace of Salmon Arm. B.C., both sophomores. --- BIG PLAY: Calgary's Deane Leonard came up big for Ole Miss in its 31-24 win last weekend over Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl game. Leonard, a six-foot-two, 195-pound defensive back who transferred from the Vanier Cup-winning Calgary Dinos this off-season, returned a fumble 84 yards in the contest. It was the fourth-longest fumble return in school history. Leonard, a senior, also had two solo tackles and two pass breakups. The fumble return and pass breakups were his first of the season. Leonard has also registered 10 tackles (six solo). Former Guelph Gryphon Tavius Robinson, who also transferred to Ole Miss this off-season, had a quarterback hit against Mississippi State. This season, the six-foot-seven, 245-pound junior linebacker from Guelph, Ont., has 16 tackles (eight solo, 1.5 for a loss), one sack and three quarterback hits. Ole Miss (4-4) is off this weekend. Makeup dates and times of games with LSU and Texas A&M haven't yet been announced. POINT AFTER: Canadian linebacker D.K. Bonhomme recorded a sack for a safety in Indiana's 27-11 win over Maryland. The six-foot-three, 235-pound sophomore from Ottawa sacked Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa for the safety that put Indiana ahead 9-3. Bonhomme also had four tackles (three solo) in the contest and has recorded 12 tackles (eight solo, two for a loss) and a sack on the season, The No. 11 Hoosiers (5-1) face No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1) on Saturday . . . Jared Wayne, a six-foot-three, sophomore receiver at Pitt, registered five catches for a team-high 62 yards in last weekend's 52-17 loss to Clemson. The Peterborough, Ont., native has 16 receptions for 266 yards (16.6-yard average) and a touchdown this year. The Panthers (5-5) take on Georgia Tech (2-5) on Dec. 10 . . . Penn State (1-5) looks for a second straight win Saturday when it takes on Rutgers (2-4). The Nittany Lions are coming off a 27-17 victory last weekend over Michigan. Junior linebacker Jesse Luketa, a six-foot-three, 242-pound Ottawa native, had four tackles (two solo) and on the season has 35 tackles (20 solo, one for a loss). Junior safety Jonathan Sutherland, also of Ottawa, had an assisted tackle in the contest. This season, the five-foot-11, 202-pound Sutherland has six tackles (three solo, 0.5 for a loss) . . . Sam Emulis, a six-foot-one, 195-pound junior receiver from Montreal, had four catches for 82 yards — both team highs — in the University of Massachusetts' 45-0 loss to Liberty last weekend. Emulis has 17 catches for 168 yards and a TD this season. UMass (0-4) opted to play a limited number of games this season following a review of the program's COVID-19 safety protocols . . . There will be three Canadians in action Saturday when Iowa (4-2) takes on Illinois (2-3). Alaric Jackson, a left tackle from Windsor, Ont., who was on Pro Football Focus's team of the week, suits up for the Hawkeyes while twin brothers Chase and Sydney Brown, of London, Ont., line up at running back and defensive back, respectively, for the Illini. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2000. Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Chris Voth's sexuality cost him a job with a professional volleyball team overseas four years ago. The Winnipeg native, who has never named the team nor country, was told outright that the club wasn't interested in having a gay player. The 30-year-old came out publicly seven years ago because he hoped to be a role model for young LGBTQ athletes, and given the chance to go back and change that, he wouldn't. But Voth was disheartened to learn that the majority of gay athletes still don't come out, and that homophobic language on the field or court remains rampant — and Canada is among the worst offenders."That was disappointing, because I always like to think that we're a bit more further ahead up north (compared to the U.S.)," said Voth, recently home from coaching in the Netherlands.The former national team player was responding to two studies released Thursday by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The first study analyzed survey responses from 1,173 lesbian, gay and bisexual people aged 15 to 21 living in Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The study found that about 48 per cent of Canadian youth who come out to teammates reported being the target of homophobic behaviour, including bullying, assaults and slurs — and it was more prevalent among Canadian youth than Americans (45 per cent). Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who've come out to teammates reported being victimized — more than any other country surveyed by Monash's Behavioural Sciences Research Laboratory. "It's easy for Canadians to dismiss the data and say, 'No, no, that's not in our country. We're inclusive and welcoming. And we're known around the world for being friendly and polite and nice,'" said lead author Erik Denison, who's Canadian. "Canada has been a laggard globally, full stop. There's no other way to say that."Young people who came out were significantly more likely (58 per cent versus 40 per cent) to report they’d been the target of homophobic behaviors in sport settings than those who didn't, the study found. Every study over the past 15 years has shown that LGBTQ kids play sport at lower rates than straight kids, Denison said, and while there's a perception that the gap is more prevalent in boys than girls, that's not accurate. "And seeing these big gaps in participation, I can only use the word alarming," said Denison. "We're really alarmed about both discrimination in sport, and the fact these kids are avoiding sport. "Because the No. 1 thing we could be doing to reduce rates of suicide and self-harm is encouraging these kids to become active in safe and supportive environments."Numerous studies have shown that suicide attempts and ideation about suicide are significantly higher in LGBTQ kids.Voth's experiences as an out athlete varied wildly. The 30-year-old believes discrimination cost him spots on several pro clubs, contract negotiations inexplicably stalling with no explanation. On the other hand, when he signed with a pro team in Finland, he was "the first gay person that any of them had met. And only a month-and-a-half later, we were the first pro volleyball team to walk in a pride parade. So it can really go either way."Voth said LGBTQ youth are doubly impacted, losing out on the mental health benefits that come from being part of a team. The second Monash study investigated why some athletes use homophobic language.Denison pointed out that while there are "homophobes, racists and sexist people everywhere," they tend to control their behaviour around others. "The opposite is happening in sport. In sport, the culture is very supportive of homophobic language being used," he said. "Canadian sport has three official languages: French, English and homophobic language."And while most people believe it's slurs aimed at opponents during games, their studies found that homophobic language is being used at practices, in the locker-room, and at social events, as jokes and banter. "And we're not just talking about words like 'gay,' we asked about much more severe language,'" Denison said.He is working with the University of British Columbia among other schools around the world on a program aimed to train team captains to be leaders on this issue, because coaches can't necessarily create change, it's more effective when it comes from an athlete's peers.Denison said that Volleyball Canada is the only national sport organization in the country that has done work specifically targeting homophobia, and it occurred around the same time Voth came out publicly."I don't want to denigrate what the NHL (among other leagues) has done, but at the end of the day, the NHL is a professional sporting organization, they're ultimately a business," Denison said. "It's up to Hockey Canada, it's up to Soccer Canada, it's up to Rugby Canada, it's up to those bodies and provincial bodies as well to be driving change."The Canadian Olympic Committee has done anti-homophobia social media campaigns, mall installations, and regularly marches in pride parades across the country.Pro sports teams such as Toronto FC and the Toronto Raptors host annual pride games.Denison said his research, however, has shown those initiatives do little to reduce homophobic behaviour and language among fans. He'd rather see pro teams work with teams and programs at the grassroots level to hold their own pride games, among other initiatives."What we've seen is that when amateur-level teams hold pride games, the players on those teams use half the homophobic language than those who don't hold these events," Denison said. "These events are really good at getting those conversations going around 'Hey, guys, what kind of language do we actually want on our team?' That's where we can change those norms and culture, we think quite effectively."Denison pointed out that there are openly-LGBTQ people in entertainment, government, and major corporations, but by comparison, they largely remain invisible in sports, particularly on the men's side, and have since David Kopay came out in 1975 after he retired from the NFL. He's believed to be the first pro athlete to come out. Michael Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. Brooklyn Nets forward Jason Collins came out in 2013, and former Major League Soccer midfielder Collin Martin followed suit in 2018. Collins has retired, and Martin plays in the USL, and there have been no active gay players in any of the five major North American sports leagues since. Women's pro sport has been a different story. Sports power couple Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are two of the numerous out athletes in the WNBA, NWSL, and other women's leagues. For Denison, Canada's track record is particularly disheartening."It's quite embarrassing for me as a Canadian researcher who happens to be down in Australia now to see that Canada is a laggard. Because I'm a proud Canadian, and I think Canadians have a reputation for being friendly and inclusive. "But it looks like either Canadians have been ignoring this issue, we're not aware of this issue, or worse, maybe there's some deliberate resistance to do anything about this problem."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
The "Dipsy Do for 2" had the entire defense fooled.
TORONTO — Midfielder Jonathan Osorio has been handed a one-game suspension and undisclosed fine for violent conduct in Toronto FC's 1-0 playoff loss to Nashville SC.Hacked to the ground in the 32nd minute by Nashville midfielder Alex Muyl, Osorio kicked up with his left leg while on the ground, catching Muyl in the groin area during the Nov. 24 match at East Hartford.While Osorio escaped punishment from referee Robert Sibiga, the play was subsequently reviewed by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.The committee is allowed to step in in cases where the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) acknowledges an on-field referee or video review error — and the committee is unanimous that the play warrants at least a one-match suspension as a "clear and unequivocal red card, is egregious and/or repeat behaviour in nature, and/or the committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game."Osorio will serve his suspension in Toronto’s first match of the 2021 regular season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020The Canadian Press
The Celtics star isn't a fan of Joseph Wheeler, who led Confederate cavalry in the Civil War.
Canada will open its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign March 25 at home to Bermuda, the first of a possible 20 matches the Canadian men will have to play if they are to book their ticket to Qatar. The qualifying draw, which was held in mid-August, was fleshed out Friday with exact dates by CONCACAF. Several previous qualifying road maps were rendered useless by the pandemic, with international match windows coming and going without play. The top five teams in the region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, skip the first two rounds and go directly to the final qualifying round-robin round. The other 30, including 72nd-ranked Canada, will battle it out to see which three join No. 9 Mexico, the 22nd-ranked Americans, No. 47 Jamaica, No. 51 Costa Rica and No. 64 Honduras. After opening Group B play against No. 169 Bermuda, the Canadians play March 28 at the 193rd-ranked Cayman Islands and June 5 at No. 200 Aruba before wrapping up first-round play June 8 at home to No. 141 Suriname. The six group winners advance to the second round, with the Group B victor facing the winner of Group E (which consists of No. 84 Haiti, No. 149 Nicaragua, No. 170 Belize, No. 175 Saint Lucia and the 203rd-ranked Turks and Caicos Islands) in a home-and-away series. Should Canada survive the first round, it will open the second round June 12 at the Group E winner before hosting the rematch on June 15. Success in the second round would mean the Canadian men open the final round-robin in September at home to Honduras, away to the U.S., and home to the A/F winner. In October, the Canadians would visit Mexico and Jamaica and host the C/D winner before closing out 2021 play in November at home to Costa Rica and Mexico. Canada would then visit Honduras, host the U.S. and visit A/F, all in January 2022, before closing out in March 2022 at Costa Rica, home to Jamaica and at C/D. The top three teams will qualify directly to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The fourth-placed team qualifies for the FIFA Intercontinental Playoff, scheduled for June 2022. Canadian venues will be announced at a later date. Coach John Herdman is looking at holding a camp in January, as the team has done in recent years. The Canadian men, who are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and the U.S., have only ever qualified for one World Cup — 1986 in Mexico where they exited after failing to score in losses to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union. 2022 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying First Round March and June 2021 (four match-dates) Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands. Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba. Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands. Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla. Group E: Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, Saint Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands. Group F: Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas. Second Round June 2021 (two match-dates for home-and-away series) Group A winner vs Group F winner Group B winner vs Group E winner Group C winner vs Group D winner Final Round September, October, November 2021; January and March 2022 (14 match-dates) A round-robin features the three second-round winners along with Mexico, the U.S, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras. The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each country playing 14 matches. Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Watching Connor McDavid let a slapshot fly or Fred VanVleet sink a deep three can be a salve to the soul of a sports fan run down by the difficult realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. But while health experts agree that the NHL and NBA saw great success in wrapping up their seasons in "bubbles", some are concerned that the return of professional sports could see the virus spread not only between athletes, but into the larger community. Here’s a look at risks they see with various return-to-play scenarios as the sports calendar attempts to fill up after a quiet November: BUBBLE UP When the NBA and NHL announced they were creating sealed-off environments in which to finish their seasons in the summer, some skeptics expected to see COVID outbreaks. Neither league saw a single positive test result in their bubbles. “We didn’t see those massive transmission events that we were concerned about,” said Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist with the University of Manitoba. “The bubble aspect worked. The problem that we get into is how well can you maintain that for an entire season?” While effective from a health perspective, players weren’t enthused about spending months locked down and separated from loved ones. They aren’t eager to repeat the experiment this season, with the NBA having all teams play in home markets (except for the Toronto Raptors, who will call Tampa, Fla., home because of border restrictions). Some sports are trying to repeat the bubble experience, albeit for shorter time periods. The world junior hockey championship is expected to begin in a bubble in Edmonton later this month. Team Canada’s selection camp is already underway in in Red Deer, Alta., though all athletes and staff are currently under quarantine after two players and a staff member tested positive for the virus. Because there are more cases in the community now than earlier this summer, there’s a greater chance of the virus crossing into a protected environment, as anyone with access to the facilities can bring it in, Kindrachuk said. “If there’s high community transmission, you’re hoping that those people stay negative,” he said. “But even if they have a negative test, that doesn’t mean necessarily that the next day they’re not going to become positive and that they’re potentially spreading the virus. So it becomes extremely difficult.” Frequent testing in a walled-off environment allows for positive cases to be identified quickly, but the virus can be passed on before a person is tested, he added, and the number of tests needed over an extended period can take up resources needed elsewhere. “How much extra pressure do we potentially put on to communities that are underneath much larger restrictions in regards to being able to maintain these bubbles?” Kindrachuk asked. Another bubble could add extra pressure to Alberta’s health-care system. Curling Canada announced this week that it is planning to stage events in a protected environment in Calgary. The organization has not yet released details on dates, event specifics or formats. The National Women’s Hockey League, which includes the expansion Toronto Six, will also need to protect its bubble when the league begins play in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Jan. 23. While most leagues with deep pockets have found ways to play during the pandemic, sports like curling and women's hockey face the threat of being replaced if they spend too much time away from fans, said Moshe Lander, a sports economist with Concordia University. “If you’re not even on TV, then you can quickly find yourself irrelevant,” he said. “And that poses an existential threat to those leagues, to those circuits, where you miss a season. And that’s a problem.” PLAY ON Some leagues have opted to return with seasons that look almost normal, albeit with more face masks and less fans. The NFL has gone 12 weeks with teams travelling between cities and some stadiums even allowing a limited number of fans in the stands. But outbreaks among players and staff have climbed recently, forcing the league to postpone games and teams to play without stars. The NFL shows what happens when you combine the lack of bubbles with a high number of community cases, Kindrachuk said. “We’re seeing a lot of players, a lot of coaching staff that are testing positive. All these things start to come down to the question ‘Is it worth the risk?’” he said. After seeing success with a bubble in Florida earlier this year, NBA teams — except the Raptors — are returning to their home arenas for a season set to begin on Dec. 22. The league tested players as they started individual workouts and announced on Wednesday that 48 players — about nine per cent — tested positive. Those athletes are now isolating before they can join group workouts. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League also decided to forge ahead with travelling when it started its season in October. It hasn’t been a smooth journey, though, with five teams having to halt activities due to outbreaks, and provincial restrictions postponing games and practices. The league hosted a temporary bubble in Quebec City last month to help alleviate some of the schedule crunch, then announced last week it will suspend play until at least Jan. 3. When teams are moving between communities, there’s a much higher risk of transmitting COVID-19, said Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto. “(Teams) can do things to reduce it, and they’re trying to, but it’s not perfect,” he said. Junior hockey “absolutely” poses a unique challenge because athletes are together for long bus trips and are integrated with their communities, living with billet families, Morris said. The QMJHL is the only major junior league to have started its season, with the Western Hockey League saying it plans to begin in early January and the Ontario Hockey League setting early February for its return. Lisa MacLeod, the Ontario sport minister, has said OHL players will not be allowed to body check in the 2021 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Morris isn’t convinced that banning body checking is the best way to cut down on transmissions. “I would say that’s ill informed and has no relation to our understanding of the transmission of the disease,” he said. SOMETHING NEW Details for the 2021 NHL season have yet to be unveiled, but the league has is now targeting mid January for a start date. Several possible scenarios have been floated, including temporarily realigning divisions to reduce travel and deal with border restrictions. The possibility of an all-Canadian division “really would help” because the pandemic is at very different stages in the U.S. and Canada, and each country has different approaches to public health, said Dr. Brian Conway, head of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre. “The Canadian division makes a lot of sense,” he said. Conway also doesn't see huge concern in having players return to Canada from other countries, assuming each man is tested and quarantines upon arrival. Testing athletes as they arrive for training camps allows teams — and the league as a whole — to create a baseline where no one is infected, Conway said. “It’ll start out well, they’ll be reassured by how things go, and then as you move forward, there will be more and more cases,” he said. After the baseline is established, athletes and staff will interact with people in the community. Because numbers in the community are currently so high, each interaction will carry greater risk than it would have earlier this year, Conway said. Those interactions between the community and athletes are what’s driving up numbers in the NFL, he added. Conway said he’s worried about what happens when athletes get time away from the rink. There have already been cases this year of NHL players being caught out at nightclubs despite the pandemic, he noted. “I’m very, very concerned that people who are in a bubble or are in a very, very controlled environment and then are (allowed) to loosen the rules for the next couple of days, that people are going to view this as a licence to do whatever they want, the old normal,” he said. “That’s a big risk.” In order to keep transmission of the virus low, the NHL needs to come up with serious consequences like steep fines or forfeited games for breaking COVID protocols, Conway said. “There needs to be in place a lot of education. Sort of ‘This is what you need to do and this is why,’” he said. WHAT TO DO? As COVID-19 cases climb, questions are being raised about how much longer professional sports will be able to continue. “With the (way) things are going in the U.S., it’s hard to imagine any of the major sports reasonably continuing to have games outside of a bubble,” Morris said. “So they’ll either have to bubble or take a pause. I think that’s the high likelihood.” Even if games can be played, some experts wonder whether they should. The long-term impacts of the virus are still relatively unknown, Kindrachuk said, and leagues should be asking whether returning to play right now is worth the risk. “If we just put this off by the months that we need to be able to get things back in our communities to where we need, get transmission back under control, to me, that is more worthwhile,” he said. Others say society needs to continue to function in order to maintain people’s mental and physical health. “In North America, team professional sports is so much a part of the day-to-day lives of many that it has to exist in some way,” Conway said. “So I think if we were to turn around at this stage, given what’s been done, and shut it down, there would be a very big push back that would affect health.” Sports also need to continue from an economic perspective, with multi-billion dollar TV deals that need to be fulfilled, said Lander. Leagues also need to find a way to keep players safe so competition remains at a high level, he added. “The show has to go on and it has to be legitimate. It can’t just be trotting out a bunch of third stringers or practice squads, or there’s a problem,” Lander said. Getting fans back in the stands is important, too, Lander added, but having people take in a sporting event live can’t risk public health. A super-spreader event or a death linked to a game would be catastrophic, he said. “The public backlash would be so severe that it’s not worth violating for a season or maybe even two seasons to get things done.” Athletes and sports leagues are in a unique position to help others, Morris said, but in order to do so, they’ll need to focus on public health instead of playing games. “If I were in professional sports — every single professional sport — if they want to have the greatest chance of success moving forward with the least risk to their athletes, they would be spending the time right now on mobilizing the public to follow public health measures and to encourage people, when the vaccine comes, to take the vaccine,” he said. “Sports are really influential and they can make a huge difference in the trajectory of the pandemic.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020. — With files from The Associated Press. — Follow @gkarstenssmith on Twitter Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
The next step of growth for the Browns will be to go toe-to-toe with a playoff caliber team, and show they can beat the Titans at their own game.
After weeks, maybe even months, of waiting and wondering what the curling season might look like in 2021, there is finally some clarity. But for as much excitement as there is around Curling Canada making it official that Calgary will be the curling hub city, there are many who are massively skeptical about why it's being held in what is now the COVID hotspot in the country. CBC News broke the story — just 24 hours after the hub city announcement — that Alberta is calling on the federal government and Red Cross for help that includes field hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton to treat hundreds of patients. The optics of planning curling events in a province spiralling deep into a pandemic emergency are bad. And while many of the curlers are excited about the potential of playing in these events, there are others who are asking themselves if this all really worth it. WATCH | CBC Sports' Devin Heroux, Colleen Jones discuss Calgary curling hub: It raises the question, why Calgary? In an email to CBC Sports, Curling Canada's communications director Al Cameron said there were a few cities in consideration for the curling bubble, but that it's their policy not to name other cities. "Calgary has an international hub airport, great host facility with international size ice surface [a big deal for spacing on ice for players and the on-ice camera people], no potential junior hockey tenants to kick out and modern ice plant, and proximity to host hotels was very good, and the city and province put together a good bid," Cameron wrote in the email. Curling Canada officials won't really get into details, but perhaps the most important thing to note when it comes to where this curling bubble was going to be held is that it needed the approval of all levels of government. Alberta's government was ready to jump at the opportunity. So too was Calgary's city council, while the federal government is still in conversation with Curling Canada about some of the restrictions and protocols. "This series of championship curling events is a fantastic opportunity for Alberta to once again show the world that our ability to host major hub-city sporting events is second to none," Alberta's Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Leela Sharon Aheer, said. WATCH | Gushue disappointed by cancellation of curling world championship: In fairness to Curling Canada, they have agonized over this entire process, spending countless hours to come up with the safest environment imaginable for these events. And let's not forget, this is a national sport organization with relatively limited resources as opposed to the big bucks of the NHL and NBA that can spend millions to make their bubbles happen. So while Calgary prepares to host the Scotties, Brier, mixed doubles nationals, men's world championship, as well as two Grand Slam events, in the background provincial and territorial curling associations are scrambling to come up with ways to qualify representatives for the events. To that end, Northern Ontario late Thursday night made the decision to forego any playdowns and have handpicked Brad Jacobs and Krista McCarville as their representatives. This comes just days after Saskatchewan cancelled the venue for its provincials which were supposed to take place in an arena in Estevan in late January. Sources close to a number of provincial associations say many of the provinces and territories have come up with two or three scenarios to determine their representatives: smaller fields, two-team playdowns and handpicking reps are all common scenarios. Is it all worth it? The key reason why Curling Canada is holding all of these events, aside from keeping sponsors happy, is to get teams in line for the world championships. Remember, Canada has not yet qualified for the Beijing Olympics and will need top-six finishes to do so at the upcoming worlds. On Thursday, USA Curling said it would not be holding nationals before any of the world championships and instead just picked its women's, men's and mixed doubles representatives — that includes 2018 Olympic champion John Shuster. Could Curling Canada not just have sent Scotties winner Kerri Einarson and Brier winner Brad Gushue to this year's world championships? Neither were able to go last spring because of the pandemic — and many people would not be all that upset to see these two teams wearing the Maple Leaf. Finally, we're getting more details about the restrictions of life in the bubble, including what life will be like for competitors with young children, especially new mothers who are nursing. Curling Canada is not allowing any family members inside the bubble and each curler will get their own room. However, nursing-mother competitors will be allowed to bring their baby and a care-giver into the green zone with them. It's becoming clear very quickly that there are many curlers across Canada who are going to be forced to make difficult personal decisions about whether or not they want to spend multiple weeks away from their families, not to mention take time off work, to play in events in the COVID hotspot of Canada.