Claudia Conway is auditioning for a ticket to Hollywood on the upcoming season of “American Idol.”
Claudia Conway is auditioning for a ticket to Hollywood on the upcoming season of “American Idol.”
The Flames announced late Thursday night that they had fired head coach Geoff Ward and hired Sutter to replace him.
Walter Gretzky, a blue-collar symbol of a devoted hockey parent in a country filled with them, has died.
Griffin has reportedly drawn interest from most of the top playoff contenders.
Former Toronto Argonauts and Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Chris Schultz has died at the age of 61, the CFL team announced on Friday.
Brent Seabrook is hanging up his skates due to injury, leaving behind a legacy as one of Chicago's all-time great defensemen.
Alex Smith offered insight last month into his comeback and a lack of support from the team.
Maia Chaka was named to the NFL Officiating Development Program in 2014.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares reflects on the news of Walter Gretzky's passing, which was announced in a statement by his son Wayne Gretzky on Thursday.
It’s an exciting week ahead in the Premier League as the battle for Champions League qualification spots heats up.
TORONTO — Friends and fans remembered Chris Schultz as a gentle giant, who became a respected TV and radio analyst after a successful playing career with the Dallas Cowboys and Toronto Argonauts. Schultz, a native of Burlington, Ont., died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 61. At six foot eight and 277 pounds during his playing career, Schultz was hard to miss on and off the field. The former offensive tackle was a big man with a grip to match. "He was a genuine personality. He was himself," said TSN broadcaster Rod Smith, a longtime friend and colleague. "There was no pretence to him. "He could be gentle with people. He always asked about my family. But at the same time, he was strong, he was imposing. And oh that handshake. It was the most crushing handshake — and I've got big hands — that I've ever experienced in my life. "I think of him right now and I just think of shaking his hand. You always had to be ready." In an era when a Canadian in the NFL was something special, Schultz turned heads when he was drafted by America's Team in 1983. Taken in the seventh round (189th overall) after a college career at the University of Arizona, Schultz played 21 games for the Cowboys from 1983 to 1985 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry before returning home to play for the Argonauts in 1986. Toronto had selected Schultz in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1982 CFL draft. Schultz played for Toronto from 1986 to 1994 and was named a CFL all-star twice (1987 and '88) and East all-star three times (1987, '88 and '91). He was named to the Argonauts all-time team in 2007. "Chris Schultz was made to play football, or football was made for Chris Schultz," Argonauts GM Michael (Pinball) Clemons said in a statement." Either way it was a symbiotic relationship … His passion reverberated on radio, television, coaching kids or walking the dog. He was always willing to talk football. "I'm disappointed because he had more to give, and my fervent hope is he knew how much he was loved," he added. Clemons, Schultz and quarterback Matt Dunigan, who joined Schultz as a TSN analyst, combined to win the 1991 Grey Cup for the Argos, capping a season to remember under the ownership of Wayne Gretzky, John Candy and Bruce McNall. Schultz also played in the 1987 Grey Cup, which saw the Argos lose on a last-second Edmonton field goal. After his playing career, Schultz moved into radio before spending 20 years as an analyst for TSN. He spent the last two seasons as colour commentator on the Argos' radio broadcasts. Smith recalls interviewing him back for a broadcast position in 1998. "I remember doing this audition with him and immediately being impressed by not only his knowledge and his passion but just his presence. He was a big man with a big presence," he said in an interview. "And I could tell instantly how good he was going to be on television." Schultz got the job and became a fixture on TSN's CFL panel. Bell Media senior vice-president Stewart Johnston called Schultz "a gentle giant who brought passion, dedication, and energy to his coverage of the game. “Chris was a unique voice in Canadian football broadcasting, and an iconic figure to fans across the country." "A big bear of a man but so funny, warm and welcoming," added TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie, who shared the same seat as Schultz when football turned to hockey in the network's studio. Schultz took his broadcast duties seriously. Part of a panel that could occasionally take a comedic detour, he would look to stick to football and ensure everyone had their say. "He was a real student of the game," said author/CFL historian Paul Woods. Schultz would be one of the last Argos to leave the locker-room, staying to work out or watch film. It would serve him well in his role as analyst. Woods is author of "Bouncing Back: From National Joke to Grey Cup Champs," which tells the story of the Argos in the early '80s. He interviewed Schultz for his next book, expected out this year, which focuses on the years around the '91 Grey Cup victory. Woods, a former Canadian Press reporter and manager, says while the 1991 Argos were a relaxed bunch who liked to have fun during their pre-game walkthroughs, Schultz was all business. He told Woods he had to operate on the field as a robot, in a zone. "He was an intense guy," said Woods, noting Schultz was once ejected from a pre-season game after getting into a fight with several Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Away from the job, Schultz was a private man. Mike Hogan, who shared the Argo radio booth with Schultz, called his friend a "complex" person who "liked to separate work life from real life." On the job, he shone brightly. "We called Chris Schultz the Big Man for so many reasons beyond the obvious," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, who played with Schultz with the Argos, said in a statement. "He had a big personality. He could make you think as easily as he could make you laugh. "He had a big presence on CFL on TSN, breaking down each game with incredible passion, insight and joy … But most of all, my teammate and friend had a big heart. It was oversized even for his frame." Schultz started his football career in the Burlington Minor Football Association and played for the Aldershot Lions during high school. While he also played basketball, he looked south of the border for football opportunities, travelling by bus to Michigan State and Syracuse to gauge interest. He earned a scholarship at the University of Arizona, where he started life as a defensive lineman before switching to the offensive line as a senior. His played for the Wildcats from 1978 to 1982, appearing in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl. Football took a toll on Schultz's body. The big man walked with a shuffle, paying the price for past knee injuries. Away from football, he made the Purolator Tackle Hunger program a cause close to his heart. "When he spoke publicly about working at and with food banks, and what it meant to him and to families in need, Chris’s sincerity and empathy moved everyone," said Ambrosie. "Those moments not only made the program stronger. They made everyone who experienced them want to be better, to be more like Chris." Schultz was inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. "The CFL is filled with countless men and women who make it spectacular, and we lost one of them (Thursday)," said Blue Bombers coach Mike O'Shea. --- Follow NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Tiger Woods "said he did not know" how he crashed in Southern California last week, and that he "did not even remember driving."
The 2021 world women's curling championship is back on the calendar. The event has been added to the list of bonspiels that will be held in the Calgary bubble at the Markin MacPhail Centre. Competition is set for April 30-May 9, the World Curling Federation said Friday in a release. The world championship was originally scheduled to be held March 19-28 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. That plan was scrubbed last month after Swiss health authorities declined to provide permission due to COVID-19 concerns. The Canadian women's curling championship kicked off play last month in a spectator-free, controlled environment at WinSport Arena on the grounds of Canada Olympic Park. Kerri Einarson's Manitoba-based team repeated as Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions and will represent Canada at the world championship. "I feel absolutely amazing, I've heard rumours about this and I just didn't want to get my hopes up," Einarson said on a Zoom call with the media. "So, to finally get a confirmation that it's a go-ahead, it feels so unbelievable." The addition of the WCF event brings the list of curling bubble events to seven. The Canadian men's championship was set to begin Friday night and run through March 14. The Tim Hortons Brier will be followed by the March 18-25 Canadian mixed doubles playdowns, the April 2-11 men's world championship and two Grand Slam events. Many top international women's teams will already be in Calgary ahead of the worlds to play in the Slams. The Champions Cup is set for April 14-18 and the Players' Championship will be played April 20-25. The world women's championship serves as the main qualifier for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The top six finishers will earn berths for their countries at the Games. The 14-team field includes host Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, the U.S., and defending champion Switzerland. "We are delighted to have reached an agreement to hold the LGT world women's curling championship in the Calgary bubble," WCF president Kate Caithness said in a statement. "This is a vitally important championship for Olympic qualification. "We are extremely grateful to Curling Canada and all our stakeholders for their willingness to work together, and at such short notice, to ensure that qualification for Beijing 2022 happens on the ice and in competition." Einarson's team defeated Ontario's Rachel Homan to win the Hearts title last Sunday. It was a rematch of the 2020 final. Einarson was denied the opportunity to play at last year's world championship in Prince George, B.C., after that event was cancelled last March. "It was challenging for sure, being sent home," said third Val Sweeting. "And we didn't just miss out on our world championship, we missed out on the entire next season as Team Canada. So, it was challenging, to be told there won't be a worlds, you're going have to win again . . . "The fact that we were able to put everything together, and win that again . . . and we now get to play in worlds, I don't think you could have written it up any better." Einarson was guaranteed the Canadian spot if the 2021 world championship was rescheduled for this season. If the event was pushed to the 2021-22 campaign, Curling Canada said the Hearts winner would be "factored in" to the representation decision. Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson said the early events in Calgary have proved successful in keeping athletes, officials, and the host city safe, "So we feel good about this plan carrying on successfully through to the end of the LGT world women’s curling championship. "Our board of governors has been truly supportive of our plans from Day 1 as we started down this road, and then as this late situation presented itself, they again stood behind us. It is a result of the positive relationships between our board and the World Curling Federation that we have been entrusted with this opportunity." The Canadian Olympic Trials will be held Nov. 20-28 in Saskatoon. A last-chance WCF qualifier is planned for December to fill out the 10-country field for Beijing next February. The WCF also changed the dates for the world mixed doubles championship — also an Olympic qualifier — on Friday. Originally set for April 24-May 1, it will now be played from May 16-23. An announcement on a host city will be made at a later date, the WCF said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
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NASHVILLE — Just three seasons removed from hoisting the Presidents’ Trophy, the Nashville Predators find themselves on the verge of rebuilding. The only question is when does the NHL's winningest general manager start tearing down what he's built. David Poile wants to see how the Predators fare over a stretch against the Central Division's best. Poile recalled earlier this week Nashville's run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, which the Predators followed by winning the Presidents' Trophy the next season. Rebuilding isn't a word Poile wants to use, not the GM who built this franchise from the ground up starting with expansion. “Obviously at the start of this season we were perfect fodder for any conversation for trades and a rebuild, and that's going to continue until we either climb higher in the standings or we actually make a trade,” Poile said Tuesday on ESPN 102.5 The Game. Yet Nashville is just 1-8 against the top three teams in the Central Division after a 5-4 loss to Florida on Thursday night. After winning four of five to show signs of improvement, the Predators have lost two straight. Injuries to defenceman Ryan Ellis and goalie Juuse Saros don't help either. Nashville currently is sixth in the Central Division, nine points out of the last playoff spot. The Predators are 24th overall with a 10-13-0 record. The team that created Smashville showing off the likes of Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill with catfish chucking the signature lucky charm can't match that star power on the ice. Nashville is 28th scoring an average of 2.35 goals a game, and only five teams are giving up more goals per game than the Predators' 3.17. The Predators also rank 28th in 5-on-5 play. They're also last trailing after both the first and second periods. The Predators have been outscored 52-22 through the first two periods combined, though they have a 30-21 edge in the third. “There's something we have to fix and pretty quick,” said forward Filip Forsberg, the Predators' leading scorer with 22 points in 23 games. It's been an issue all season. Nashville has led after the first period only three times this season and is 1-2 in those games. Forward Viktor Arvidsson, who had three assists Thursday night, said they know they can play better and just need to play that way for 60 minute instead of the final 20. “I don't know why we’re not doing that," Arvidsson said. Poile made a rare in-season coaching change in January 2020, firing Peter Laviolette and hiring John Hynes a day later. Hynes has had to coach through the NHL's pause, a restart that Nashville lost its best-of-five qualifying series to Arizona in four games. Hynes has been trying to get the Predators to start games better. He said Wednesday they had to understand they can't “dip our toe into the water" to see how a game might go. “We seem to be a reactionary group,” Hynes said. “We're going to go in the game and see how the game's going to be played. That's not how you get off to a good start.” Hynes' job security also is in question. He's 26-24-1 through 51 games. Asked if he's concerned about his job after the latest loss, Hynes said no. Once Poile decides it's time to rebuild, defenceman Mattias Ekholm could be the first traded. He has nine points in 16 games, including four goals in four games, earning $3.75 million a year through next season. Forsberg has another season left at $6 million. Forward Mikael Granlund will be a free agent. But Nashville will be limited by some of the contracts Poile gave out. Ryan Johansen, who scored his first goal this season Thursday night and has only five assists, is being paid $8 million a year through the 2024-25 season. Center Matt Duchene also is getting $8 million through the 2025-26 season. Yet Duchene has just eight points in 23 games with a minus-11 rating. Poile wants to see what happens through an eight-game road trip ending March 21 at Dallas. “This next stretch of games playing against the Carolinas, Floridas and Tampa Bays are really going to show us whether we're one of the top teams in our division, a playoff team or possibly that we're not,” Poile said. ___ Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press
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Brent Seabrook gutted out injuries and played through pain to win the Stanley Cup three times for the Chicago Blackhawks and take home an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada. His physical style slowly took a toll and eventually ended his career. “I told my body to screw off for 15 years," Seabrook said. "It finally turned around and said, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore.’” Seabrook announced Friday that his career is over because of a right hip ailment that rendered him unable to walk just before Christmas and didn't let up when he tried skating again. The 35-year-old defenceman isn't technically retiring because there are three years left on his contract, but he knows he won't suit up in an NHL game again. “I think I could’ve made this decision a month ago,” Seabrook said. “I don’t know if it was a decision I made or my body made for me.” Seabrook put off surgeries throughout his career because Chicago was consistently making long playoff runs and he didn't want to miss the majority of the next season. His last NHL game was on Dec. 15, 2019. He had right shoulder surgery later that month, left hip surgery in January 2020 and right hip surgery last February. “We have tried all available conservative treatments, and nothing has worked well enough for him to live life as an athlete,” team physician Dr. Michael Terry said. “We support his decision to prioritize his long-term physical health.” An examination of Seabrook’s right hip showed zero cartilage left in it. Doctors advised a hip replacement at some point, and he’ll do what he can to manage the situation. Seabrook hopes to continue an active life and looks forward to skiing and snowboarding with his wife and daughter. The 6-foot-3 Seabrook was a key player and leader for Chicago for more than a decade. He had 103 goals and 361 assists in 1,114 games, plus 20 goals and 39 assists in 123 playoff appearances — all with the Blackhawks after they selected him 14th overall in the 2003 draft. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015, and his gold medal came from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. “In a lot of ways, he always put the team ahead of himself,” Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said. “Brent was very unique that way — to the point where he had injuries over the years which he probably could have or should have taken care of sooner, but he didn’t want to miss any time.” Seabrook, who turns 36 next month, tried to return last summer when the season resumed amid the pandemic. But he decided he didn’t have enough time to reach a level where he would be comfortable playing again. Preparing for this season was the best he'd felt in a long time until he woke up Dec. 21 unable to walk. Doctors and trainers tried what they could, but Seabrook gave up the comeback attempt and told longtime defence partner Duncan Keith and other teammates last weekend it was over. “It was throwing darts at a dartboard figuring out what was going to get me back skating and playing,” he said. “We did a lot of stuff with injections, cortisone, trying to get it back to manageable and something I can play with. It just sort of is what it is.” Seabrook is owed $15.5 million over the next three seasons before his contract expires. NHL rules allow Chicago to keep him and pay him without his $6.875 million salary-cap hit counting against the team's spending up to the $81.5 million limit. Bowman said Seabrook is on long-term injured reserve for now. “It’s something we’re going to work through as we go forward," he said. "It’s hard to map things out that far into the future.” ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jay Cohen And Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press
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Accidental handballs in the buildup to a teammate scoring will no longer lead to the goal being ruled out after the law was eased on Friday. The move by the International Football Association Board follows irritation in the game about how goals seem to be harshly ruled out since the law was changed two years ago. “After analyzing everything it was felt this was maybe one step too far," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said. "This was the perception of the public and the perception we had at IFAB. For this reason we amended this regulation. It’s not embarrassing or a climbdown." IFAB said an “accidental handball that leads to a teammate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.” On the eve of the virtual meeting, Fulham was denied an equalizer in its English Premier League match against Tottenham when Davinson Sanchez's clearance hit the hand of Fulham's Mario Lemina, whose arm was down the side of his body, before Josh Maja netted. “What happened yesterday is evidence that the decision taken today is correct, but it was not a reaction to the incident,” said Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of FIFA’s referee committee. Goals will still be ruled out if a player using their hand before or while scoring. But referees are being urged to “use their judgment” when assessing the position of hands and arms when a ball hits them. “As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence,” IFAB said. Changes to the laws of the game take effect from July 1, although IFAB said competitions have the flexibility to introduce them sooner. Another thorny spinoff from the introduction of VAR in recent years is how forensic decisions are being taken on offsides with an array of dotted lines being used to assess the position of often blurred body parts. FIFA is trialling semi-automated offside mapping of the players and the pitch to provide an offside decision as quickly as technology determines if the ball has crossed the line by buzzing a referee's watch. “The fan experience is negatively impacted by waiting to see if a goal has been scored,” said English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham, who holds one of the eight IFAB votes. IFAB also received a presentation from Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager who is FIFA’s chief of global football development, on a proposal to change the offside law. He thinks a player should be deemed onside if any part of the body that can score is in line with the second-last defender. “We have been seeing that maybe we can think about a new law which allows a bit more attack in football,” Infantino said. IFAB also opened the door to the use of five substitutes being extended through the 2022 World Cup. The congested calendar due to the pandemic saw competitions last year permitted to give teams two additional substitutions in matches. That currently runs through July 2022 for national team competitions but IFAB said it will “remain under review.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
If he’s healthy, Griffin could help a few teams as a secondary playmaker and occasional low-post scorer, along with providing a veteran presence on a contender.