Thompson Sports News Archives for 2021-08

Winnipeg Blue Bombers sign veteran American receiver Naaman Roosevelt

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed veteran receiver Naaman Roosevelt.

 

The native of Buffalo, N.Y., played with the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2015-19.

 

Roosevelt was Saskatchewan's most outstanding player in 2016 when he had 76 receptions for 1,095 yards in just 11 games.

 

He was named a West Division all-star in 2017 with 75 receptions for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games.

 

He was most recently with the Montreal Alouettes in training camp before being released last month.

 

Roosevelt has 301 receptions for 4,134 yards and 20 touchdowns in 67 career CFL games.

 

Canada's Marco Arop captures second consecutive Diamond League 800 title

 

Canada's Marco Arop held off Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir to win his second consecutive Diamond League 800-metre title on Thursday in Lausanne.

 

The 22-year-old from Edmonton, who didn't advance out of the semifinals in his Olympic debut earlier this month in Tokyo, ran one minute 44.50 seconds on a gusty night.

 

Arop beat what was nearly an identical field to the Olympic final. Korir, who made a push to catch Arop down the homestretch, was second in 1:44.62, while Kenyan teammate Ferguson Rotich, the silver medallist in Tokyo, was third on Thursday in 1:45.48.

 

Arop beat virtually the same field to win the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

 

The Canadian is relatively new to track and field, capturing his first international title at the Pan American Games in 2019 in Lima, Peru. He grew up playing basketball, and dreamt of one day playing in the NBA.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2021.

 

Springer making strides in recovery from knee injury, runs bases without issue

 

TORONTO - Star outfielder George Springer appeared one step closer to returning to the Toronto lineup after completing base-running drills Thursday before the Blue Jays' afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox.

 

Springer, who went on the 10-day injured list Aug. 15 with a left knee sprain, ran hard around the bases several times under the watchful eye of team staff.

 

“(It went) great, that's probably why I'm smiling a little bit now,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said in his pre-game media availability.

 

Springer became eligible for activation Wednesday but his return was ruled out for the four-game White Sox series. The Blue Jays will begin a weekend series at Detroit on Friday night.

 

“What he did today was a pretty good test,” Montoyo said. “He did run close to 100 per cent I would say. He looked pretty fast, he looked comfortable and he felt good.”

 

Springer also did some work in the batting cage and participated in regular batting practice at Rogers Centre.

 

Women soccer players leave Afghanistan on evacuation flight

 

KABUL - Afghanistan women's national soccer team players are among a group of more than 75 people evacuated on a flight from Kabul.

 

Global soccer players' union FIFPRO has thanked the Australian government for making the evacuation of players, team officials and family members possible.

 

The union has been working with governments in six countries to help more players leave Afghanistan.

 

The union says “these young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger.”

 

The Afghanistan women's team was created in 2007 when women playing sport was seen as a political act of defiance against the Taliban.

 

Paralympics open in empty stadium - just like Olympics

 

TOKYO - The Paralympics have begun in the same empty National Stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Japanese Emperor Naruhito again had the official honor of getting it all started. The Paralympics open with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Tokyo and Japan.

 

Daily new cases in Tokyo have increased four to five times since the Olympics opened on July 23.

 

Tokyo is under a state of emergency until Sept. 12. The Paralympics end Sept. 5.

 

Organizers say they are confident the Paralympics can be held safely.

 

 

Canada downs Russia 5-1 in women's world hockey championship

CALGARY - Canada got offensive contributions throughout the lineup in a 5-1 win over Russia at the women's world hockey championship Sunday.

Sarah Fillier, Ella Shelton, Erin Ambrose, Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston scored for the Canadians in their first meeting with the Russians since beating them for the bronze medal at the 2019 world championship.

Fourteen players in Canada's lineup earned an offensive point in the game. Ann-Renee Desbiens made six saves for the win.

Olga Sosina scored a power-play goal with one second remaining in regulation for Russia.

Nadezhda Morozova had 33 saves in the loss. She was replaced in the second period by Anna Prugova, who stopped 24 shots.

The host Canadians (2-0) meet Switzerland (0-2) on Tuesday in Pool A before wrapping the preliminary round Thursday against the defending champion U.S.

Jays to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test to enter Rogers Centre

TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays say those wishing to enter Rogers Centre will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test starting Sept. 13.

The Blue Jays announced the change to their health and safety protocols Monday in advance of releasing tickets for its last batch of home games later in the week.

Fans aged 12 and over and all staff will be required to follow the new protocols. Fans aged 11 and younger are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result when accompanied by a parent or guardian that meets the entry requirements.

After being based in the United States for the entire 2020 season and the first three months of 2021 due to restrictions at the Canada/U.S. border around the global pandemic, the Blue Jays returned to Rogers Centre on July 30.

Toronto has 10 home games remaining until the new protocols kick in, starting Monday with opening game of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

The new requirements will begin when Blue Jays start a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 13.

 

MLB to end 70-year partnership with Topps trading cards

 

Major League Baseball is ending a 70-year relationship with trading card company Topps after signing a new partnership with a rival company.

 

The loss of the MLB partnership immediately scuttled a deal announced earlier this year that would have made Topps a publicly traded company.

 

The special-purpose acquisition company Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II said Friday that its agreement to merge with Topps to take the company public was terminated by mutual agreement after it found out that MLB and the league's players' union would not be renewing their respective agreements with The Topps Co. when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022, respectively.

 

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime through to quarterfinals in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime clinched his spot in the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati Thursday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 5 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

The 21-year-old from Montreal won 3-of-11 break points across the one-hour, 34-minute match.

Auger-Aliassime, seeded 12th in the tournament, used a solid serve to overpower Berrettini, firing seven aces and winning 88 per cent of his first serve points.

Auger-Aliassime will face No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the semifinals of the ATP Masters 1000 event on Friday.

Earlier Thursday, Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil advanced to the women's doubles semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Japan's Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara.

Dabrowski and Stefani, seeded sixth in the tournament, will face the No. 2 seeds Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova, both of the Czech Republic, on Friday.

TFC striker Altidore undergoes foot surgery, midfielder Priso done for season

Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore has undergone surgery on his right foot and his recovery is expected to take up to six weeks.

Toronto FC said in a release that the surgery was carried out Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The Major League Soccer team said Altidore was in New York to receive a second opinion on what has become a chronic injury and it was decided that he should undergo the procedure immediately.

Altidore was held out of Toronto's 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday after feeling some discomfort in his foot during training. He also missed TFC's 1-0 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

Altidore, in his seventh season with TFC, has two goals in 10 appearances.

Toronto also announced midfielder Ralph Priso will undergo surgery on his right ankle and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Stampeders list rookie Maier as the starter for CFL contest versus Montreal Alouettes

CALGARY - Rookie American quarterback Jake Maier will make his first CFL start Friday when the Calgary Stampeders host the Montreal Alouettes.

Maier was listed ahead of Canadian Michael O'Connor when Calgary (0-2) released its depth chart Thursday for the game against Montreal (1-0).

Maier replaces veteran Bo Levi Mitchell, who went on the six-game injured list earlier this week with a broken fibula.

The move is surprising as O'Connor, a 25-year-old Ottawa native, was expected to start in Mitchell's absence.

O'Connor is in his second CFL season, first with Calgary. He dressed for nine games with Toronto in 2019, seeing action in two.

It's time to come home: Raptors exec Ujiri says everything points to playing at home

TORONTO - Masai Ujiri says it's time to come home.

The Raptors president and vice-chairman said everything points to his team playing home games at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena this season.

Ujiri says his staff is in regular talks with municipal and provincial health authorities and the Prime Ministers office and that there are no discussions about playing anywhere but in Toronto this coming season.

“We can't wait to get back to Toronto here and we can't wait to get back to playing, we can't wait to get back to basketball, and life, and I am really genuinely excited about this,” Ujiri said.

Ujiri was addressing the media live in Toronto for the first time since the pandemic struck in mid-March of 2020.

The Raptors were forced to call Tampa, Fla., home last season because of the province's COVID-19 protocols and border restrictions.

Bell's three-run homer lifts Nats to sweep of Blue Jays

WASHINGTON (AP) - Josh Bell hit a three-run homer off former teammate Brad Hand, and the Washington Nationals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-5 on Wednesday.

Juan Soto and Carter Kieboom also connected for Washington, which won back-to-back games for the first time since July 27-29. The Nationals had dropped 12 of 13 prior to the two-game interleague series.

Marcus Semien homered twice and Teoscar Hernandez went deep for the fourth consecutive game for Toronto, which has lost five of six since reaching a season-high 11 games over .500 on Aug. 11.

Hand (5-7), who was acquired on July 29 as part of Washington's sell-off at the trade deadline, entered with one on in the seventh and Toronto clinging to a 5-4 lead. After Soto walked, Bell hit a drive to right for his 20th homer. Two batters later, Kieboom tacked on a solo shot to left.

Mason Thompson (1-1) recorded the last two outs of the seventh for his first major league victory. Kyle Finnegan pitched 1 1/3 innings for his fourth save.

Washington starter Josiah Gray, acquired last month in the deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.

Raptors exec Ujiri pays tribute to departed guard Lowry, calls him 'greatest Raptor'

TORONTO - Before getting into the details of his anticipated new contract, and new title, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri paid tribute to outgoing star point guard Kyle Lowry.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since signing a contract extension to stay with the NBA team, Ujiri heaped praise on the player he called the “greatest Raptor.”

Lowry joined Miami this off-season following a sign-and-trade deal with the Heat.

That ended the 35-year-old's wildly successful nine-year run in Toronto that included six all-star appearances and a championship in 2019.

Ujiri said he wishes Lowry all the best in Miami, except when he faces his former team. Asked about whether Lowry will get his jersey retired in Toronto, Ujiri said: “He's going to get everything, and some.”

Ujiri signed a new deal to stay in Toronto on Aug. 5, adding vice chairman to his existing title of president. His previous deal was set to expire this summer.

Nick Arbuckle to get start at quarterback in Argos' home opener versus Blue Bombers

TORONTO - Nick Arbuckle will make his first start for the Toronto Argonauts.

Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie announced Wednesday that Arbuckle will start the Argos' home opener Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Veteran McLeod Bethel-Thompson started Toronto's opening two games but was relieved in the third quarter of Friday night's 20-7 road loss to Winnipeg by Arbuckle.

Arbuckle came into the game with Toronto (1-1) trailing 10-0 and promptly marched the offence to its lone touchdown of the game, John White's 30-yard scoring run.

But that's as close as the Argos got as Winnipeg (2-0), the defending Grey Cup champion, scored 10 fourth-quarter points to cement the win.

Arbuckle finished 10-of-19 passing for 96 yards with an interception while Bethel-Thompson completed 10-of-20 attempts for 70 yards.

Nationals snap seven-game slide, beat Blue Jays 12-6

WASHINGTON (AP) - Riley Adams homered and drove in three in his first game against his former team, Erick Fedde won for the first time in more than two months and the Washington Nationals snapped a season-high, seven-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 12-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Adams, acquired last month from Toronto for reliever Brad Hand, had three hits. He delivered a two-run double in the eighth to provide some insurance after the Blue Jays trimmed a seven-run deficit to 8-6. The catcher also homered in the fourth.

Yadiel Hernandez went deep and drove in three for the Nationals, who had dropped 12 of their last 13. Washington is 4-13 since a trade deadline selloff scattered Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and others to playoff contenders.

Teoscar Hernandez homered for the third consecutive game for Toronto, which has lost four of five since reaching a season-high 11 games over .500 on Wednesday.

Fedde (5-8) was 0-4 with a 6.32 ERA in his previous 10 starts, and he needed 94 pitches to get through five innings against the Blue Jays. He allowed three runs on five hits - including Hernandez's two-run shot in the fifth - while striking out four.

Still, he received plenty of support. Yadiel Hernandez homered off Toronto starter Alek Manoah (5-2) in the second, then was in the middle of a six-run outburst in the third.

Calgary Stampeders put veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell on six-game injured list

 

CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders' season has gone from bad to worse.

 

Head coach Dave Dickenson said Tuesday the club is placing veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell on the six-game injured list with a broken fibula.

 

Mitchell, twice the CFL's outstanding player, was hurt in Calgary's season-opening 23-20 home loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 7.

 

The 31-year-old Texan played in Calgary's 15-9 loss to the B.C. Lions on Thursday, throwing four interceptions.

 

This season, Mitchell has completed 44-of-73 passes for 542 yards with a TD and five interceptions.

 

The expectation is Ottawa's Michael O'Connor will start for Calgary (0-2) when it hosts the Montreal Alouettes (1-0) on Friday night.

 

MLSE says proof of vaccination or negative COVID test needed for access

 

TORONTO - Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment says those looking to access its sports facilities or restaurants will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

 

The Toronto-based company said in a release Tuesday that new health and safety protocols will go into effect in mid-September and will apply to employees, event staff and guests.

 

MLSE owns the NHL's Maple Leafs, NBA's Raptors, CFL's Argonauts and Toronto FC of MLS, among other teams.

 

It also owns Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Leafs and Raptors, the Raptors' OVO practice facility and Maple Leaf Square, a development beside Scotiabank Arena that includes retail space and restaurants.

 

MLSE operates BMO Field, the home of the Argonauts and Toronto FC, and Ricoh Coliseum, the home of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies. Both facilities, located at Exhibition Place, are owned by the City of Toronto.

 

The company said details and dates on the implementation of the new protocols will be provided in the coming weeks.

Jays outfielder Hernandez named American League player of the week

 

TORONTO - Teoscar Hernandez has been named the American League player of the week, making it three consecutive weeks that a Blue Jay has earned the honour.

 

Hernandez batted .500 (14-for-28) with eight runs scored, two doubles, three home runs, 10 runs batted in and a .893 slugging percentage across seven games played. The Blue Jays went 3-4 over that span.

 

The outfielder is on an eight-game hitting streak, totalling 17 hits during the stretch.

 

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer was named the league's top player the previous two weeks.

 

It's the second time in franchise history that the Blue Jays had three consecutive weekly winners. Pitchers Luis Leal and Dave Steib and outfielder Lloyd Moseby did so in May of 1983.

 

Arizona pitcher Tyler Gilbert, who threw a no-hitter in his first Major League start on Saturday, was named the National League player of the week.

 

Calgary Stampeders cancel outdoor practice because of poor air quality

CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders cancelled outdoor practice Monday because of smoke from forest fires.

 

The city's air quality health index was eight on a scale of one to 10 and thus deemed high risk for outdoor activities.

 

There were 64 active fires burning in southeastern B.C., as well as another four west and northwest of Calgary on Monday.

 

Rain was forecasted for late Monday and Tuesday, so the Stampeders may get back on McMahon Stadium turf Tuesday under clearer skies.

 

The Stampeders (0-2) are at home to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2021.

 

No. 1-seed Medvedev beats American qualifier Opelka to win National Bank Open title

Russia's Daniil Medvedev has won the men's title at the National Bank Open in Toronto with a 6-4, 6-3 win over American qualifier Reilly Opelka.

The tournament's No. 1 seed, Medvedev saved 4-of-4 break points and won 73 per cent of his total service points in the one-hour, 25-minute match on Sunday.

The six-foot-11 Opelka, playing in his first-ever ATP Masters 1000 final, couldn't dominate the game with his booming serve, winning 63 per cent of his first service points with eight aces and three double faults.

Medvedev, 25, previously made it to the tournament's final in 2019 when the event was known as the Rogers Cup but lost to Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

Italy's Camila Giorgi won the women's title in Montreal earlier on Sunday, beating No. 4-seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5.

Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil took the women's doubles title with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Croatia's Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia.

Blue Jays use 4 homers to avoid sweep, top Mariners 8-3

SEATTLE (AP) - Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk both homered in the second inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays used four long balls to avoid a sweep with an 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Hernandez and Grichuk each hit their 20th homers of the season as part of Toronto's three-run second inning against Seattle rookie Logan Gilbert, and the Blue Jays escaped Seattle without losing more ground in the American League wild-card race.

Alejandro Kirk added a two-out, two-run double in the third inning and the offensive surge, along with a solid start from Steven Matz, snapped a three-game losing streak for the Blue Jays.

Seattle missed a chance to jump ahead of Toronto in the wild-card race. After moments of offensive bursts in the first two games of the series, Seattle was mostly punchless against Matz. The Mariners' lone run off the left-hander came in the first inning and without the ball leaving the infield as an infield single, two wild pitches and a passed ball allowed J.P. Crawford to score.

Seattle's only other runs came on Kyle Seager's 26th homer in the eighth inning.

Hernandez homered for the second straight game and the Blue Jays took advantage of times Gilbert (5-4) fell behind in the count and missed location with his fastball. Both Hernandez and Grichuk homered on fastballs from Gilbert that failed to get far enough inside and stayed over the plate.

Torrens' HR, 5 RBIs lift Mariners over Blue Jays 9-3

SEATTLE (AP) - Toronto center fielder George Springer departed with an ankle injury, part of a tough Saturday night for the Blue Jays during a 9-3 loss to Luis Torrens and the Seattle Mariners.

Torrens' three-run homer off Trevor Richards in the seventh inning lifted the Mariners to their fourth straight win. Jarred Kelenic followed with his sixth homer, making it 6-3.

Springer hurt his left ankle while attempting to catch Ty France's leadoff triple off the top of the wall in right-center in the seventh.

Hyun Jin Ryu (11-6) walked Abraham Toro two batters later and was replaced with Richards, who gave up the back-to-back homers to left field. It was the fourth time the Mariners have hit consecutive homers this season.

Toro singled in Mitch Haniger and Torrens added a two-run double in the eighth. Toro has reached safely in each of his 17 games since he was acquired in a trade with Houston on July 27.

Keynan Middleton (1-2) struck out one in the seventh inning for the win.

Rasheed Bailey catches first CFL touchdown, Bombers beat Argos 20-7

WINNIPEG - Sophomore receiver Rasheed Bailey caught his first CFL touchdown and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't let a change in Toronto quarterbacks throw them off on the way to a 20-7 victory over the Argonauts on Friday.

Toronto (1-1) quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson started the game, but was replaced by Nick Arbuckle with 4:17 left in the third quarter and the score 10-0 for Winnipeg (2-0).

Arbuckle, who didn't play in the Argos' first game because of a hamstring injury, promptly led Toronto on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with John White's 30-yard touchdown run with 1:11 left in the third.

Winnipeg replied with a Nic Demski touchdown, and then Arbuckle was intercepted by defensive back Deatrick Nichols with four minutes left in the game. That led to a Tyler Crapigna 22-yard field goal with 2:07 remaining.

Arbuckle finished the game completing 10-of-19 pass attempts for 96 yards and one interception. Bethel-Thompson was 10-of-20 for 70 yards.

Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros was 32-of-40 for 292 yards with two TDs and one pick in front of 22,143 fans at IG Field.

NHL announces start times for 2021-22 season, no update on Olympics

The NHL has announced start times for the 2021-22 season, with an opening-night doubleheader featuring the defending champions and the league's two newest teams squaring off.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will raise the Stanley Cup banner at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 12, before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

That's followed by the debut of the league's 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken, who are on the road to take on its 31st, the Vegas Golden Knights, at 10 p.m. ET.

There are five Canadian teams in action the following night, with Montreal visiting Toronto, Vancouver at Edmonton and Winnipeg in Anaheim to face the Ducks - a game that's been moved up by a day.

The Ottawa Senators start their season on Thursday, Oct. 14, when they host the Maple Leafs. Calgary is the last Canadian team to get started, welcoming the Oilers for an early Battle of Alberta on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The NHL schedule for this season includes a two-week break in February for the Beijing Olympics, but the league says talks are still ongoing on whether players will participate in the Games.

Winnipeg Jets announce vaccination requirement for fans to attend home games

 

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets will require all fans to be fully vaccinated to attend home games at Canada Life Centre this season.

 

The Jets' parent company, True North Sports and Entertainment, made the announcement on Twitter, saying season ticket holders had made it clear that was their preference.

 

The policy also applies to Burton Cummings Theatre, a performing arts centre also owned by True North.

 

The company says it plans to fill the arena for Jets home games this year, and will require all employees, event staff and guests to provide proof of vaccination. The team's website says fans will also be required to wear masks in the arena.

 

A spokesperson for the team says the policy will not apply to players, whose vaccination status will be up to the league and the NHL Players' Association.

 

The Jets start their season on the road in Anaheim on Oct. 14, and play their first home game against the Ducks a week later.

 

After Olympic soccer gold, Canadian women turn sights to World Cup: Priestman

Having achieved her goal of Olympic soccer gold, coach Bev Priestman says the Canadian women are now setting their sights on success at the World Cup.

Canada has won bronze, bronze and gold at the last three Olympics, but did not make it out of the round of 16 at the 2019 World Cup in France.

Its best finish at the tournament was fourth in 2003.

Priestman says she wants to ensure the gold medal from Tokyo is not a one-off. And she says she plans to push her players more than ever.

The next World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. Priestman says she wants to have her team in a position to contend there, knowing there may be changes in personnel as players leave the program.

Priestman says she hopes to convince veterans such as Christine Sinclair and Desiree Scott to stay on board.

Winnipeg Jets sign forward Andrew Copp to one-year deal worth $3.64 million

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets have signed forward Andrew Copp to a one-year deal worth $3.64 million.

The 27-year-old Copp had a career season in 2020-21, recording career highs in goals (15), assists (24) and points (39).

The native of Ann Arbor, Mich., has played 411 regular season games with the Jets over the past seven seasons, along with 34 playoff appearances.

He was selected by Winnipeg in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2013 draft.

With the deal, the Jets and Copp avoid a salary arbitration hearing that had been set for later this month.

He could become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Top-ranked Sabalenka ends Canadian Rebecca Marino's run at National Bank Open

Canadian Rebecca Marino's stunning run at the National Bank Open in Montreal came to an end Thursday with a 6-1, 6-3 loss to No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

The wild card entry from Vancouver fell behind early, with Sabalenka, the world No. 3, saving four break points to cruise to a 5-0 lead in the first set.

Marino came out strong in the second set with a pair of aces and held her serve through the first six games of the set, but struggled with break points, going 0-for-5 across the 59-minute match.

The Canadian, ranked 220th in the world, made it to the round of 16 by upsetting No. 16 seed Madison Keys and Spain's Paula Badosa, No. 31 in the world rankings.

Marino is still in the doubles portion of the tournament with partner Montreal's Leylah Annie Fernandez and is scheduled to face Sabalenka and Elise Mertens of Germany on Thursday afternoon.

Fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu, the tournament's No. 2 seed, is set to face Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in singles action later on Thursday.

Canadian men climb 11 places to No. 59 in latest FIFA world soccer rankings

Canada has climbed 11 places to No. 59 in the latest FIFA world men's rankings, on the strength of its performance at the Gold Cup and in World Cup qualifying.

The Canadians now rank fifth in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, after leapfrogging No. 63 Honduras and No. 64 El Salvador. It marks Canada's highest ranking since February 2010 when it was 57th. The Canadian men's highest-ever position was No. 40 in December 1996.

Canada went 7-2-0 since the last rankings were released May 27, losing only to the U.S. and Mexico at the recent Gold Cup.

The Americans eventually beat the Mexicans in the CONCACAF championship final. Both regional powerhouses cracked the top 10 with Mexico moving up two places to No. 9 and the U.S. climbing 10 spots to No. 10.

Belgium, despite being eliminated in the European championship quarterfinals, retained the top spot in the latest rankings. Brazil and France swapped places with the South Americans moving to No. 2. Euro 2020 finalist England remained fourth while champion Italy rose two places to fifth.

Argentina, which downed Brazil to win Copa America, rose two places to No. 6 while Spain (down one) and Portugal (down three) dropped to No. 7 and 8, respectively. Mexico and the U.S. moved into the top 10 at the expense of Denmark (No. 11, down one) and Uruguay (No. 13, down four).

Angels' Ohtani hits 38th HR, but Jays hit 4 in 10-2 win

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 38th home run this season, but the Toronto Blue Jays hit it out of the park four times, including two from George Springer and a grand slam by Teoscar Hernandez, to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 10-2 Wednesday night.

Lourdes Gurriel also homered for Toronto, which has won 12 of its last 14 games and is second in the majors with 172 home runs. Rookie Alek Manoah (5-1) struck out 11 and won for the fourth time in his last five starts.

Springer extended Toronto's lead to 2-0 in the third inning with a solo shot to left-center off Dylan Bundy (2-9). He connected again in the ninth for the 17th multihomer game of his career and third this season.

On a night when fans entering Angel Stadium got shirts adorned with Ohtani's face, the Japanese two-way sensation hit a two-run drive to center field to tie it at 2 in the third inning. The Blue Jays responded with a five-run fifth to break it open.

Gurriel, who led off the third inning with a solo shot to left, lined a double off the left-field wall to start the fifth and chase Bundy. Gurriel scored the tiebreaking run on Santiago Espinal's hit.

After Springer and Marcus Semien drew walks, Hernandez sent an 0-1 hanging slider from Sam Selman beyond the left-field bullpens and into the stands for his first career grand slam.

Messi agrees to join Paris Saint-Germain, flies to France

 
 

Lionel Messi has finalized agreement on his Paris Saint-Germain contract and is flying to France to complete the move that confirms the end of a career-long association with Barcelona. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the 34-year-old Argentina star has agreed a two-year contract with the option for a further season. The person says Messi is expected to earn around $41 million net annually. Messi's father and agent Jorge also confirmed Messi was moving to PSG in a brief exchange with reporters at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport.

Canada's Olympic champion women's soccer team wants to see investment in the game

 

TORONTO - Members of Canada's women's soccer team believe their gold medal will inspire future generations of young girls to play the game.

 

Players Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Leon were at Toronto's BMO Field on Tuesday to show off their gold medals.

 

The Canadian women were crowned Olympic champions after beating Sweden 3-2 in penalty kicks in Friday's gold-medal game. The game was tied 1-1 after extra time.

 

Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis says the gold-medal win proves investing in women's soccer is worthwhile.

 

Canada doesn't have a professional women's soccer league, but players including captain Christine Sinclair and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe are calling for one.

 

The Canadians stated going into the Tokyo Olympics that their goal was to change the colour of their medal after they earned bronze at both the 2012 and 2016 Games.

 

Canada's Moh Ahmed races to silver in 5,000 metres at Tokyo Games

 

TOKYO - Canada's Moh Ahmed has won a silver medal with a gutsy effort in the men's 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Ahmed ran a fast final lap and challenged Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder in the distance, for the gold on the final stretch, but couldn't catch the Ugandan.

 

Cheptegei finished in 12 minutes 58.15 seconds followed by Ahmed at 12:58.61.

 

Paul Chelimo of the United States took bronze in 12:59.05.

It's Canada's first Olympic medal in the men's 5,000, and it's fitting that Ahmed delivered it.

 

The 30-year-old runner from St. Catharines, Ont., has blazed a trail for Canadian distance runners on the global scene in the past few years.

 

Canadian sprinters win bronze in men's 4x100 relay; De Grasse gets 6th Olympic medal

 

TOKYO - Andre De Grasse ran a blistering anchor leg, and Canada's men's 4x100 relay team won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

It's the third medal of the Games, and sixth Olympic medal overall, for De Grasse.

 

The 26-year-old from Markham, Ont., overtook the Chinese runner in the final leg as Canada finished in a season-best time of 37.7 seconds.

 

Italy finished first in 37.5 seconds, followed by Britain in 37.51.

De Grasse led a team that included Toronto's Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake of Kelowna, B.C., and Toronto's Brendon Rodney.

It's Canada's second straight Olympic bronze in the event.

 

Canada beats Sweden in penalties to win gold in women's soccer

 
 

YOKOHAMA, Japan - The Canadian women's soccer team is celebrating an Olympic title at the Tokyo Games.

Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 on penalty kicks to win the gold medal after the teams finished extra time tied at one.

After Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe denied Jonna Andersson's attempt, Julia Grosso scored the winner to end it.

Sweden's Stina Blackstenius opened the scoring in the 34th minute but Jessie Fleming equalized from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.

It's the first-ever Olympic title for the Canadian women's soccer team.

Canada won bronze at the 2012 London Games and finished third again at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Start time of Canada-Sweden women's soccer gold-medal game changed to evening

 

CHIBA, Japan - Olympic organizers are changing the start time of the women's soccer gold-medal game between Canada and Sweden.

 

A Canada Soccer spokesperson confirms the match will now be played Friday night (9 p.m. local time, or 8 a.m. Eastern Time) at International Stadium Yokohama.

 

The kickoff was originally set for Friday morning (11 a.m. local time, Thursday 10 p.m. ET) at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

Both teams requested a time change due to concerns about the players' health and safety.

 

Temperatures have hovered in the mid-30s all week in the Tokyo area and the forecast is calling for more of the same Friday afternoon.

 

It's Canada's first-ever appearance in the Olympic women's soccer final.

 

Canadian Damian Warner wins gold in decathlon, sets Olympic record

 

TOKYO - Canadian Damian Warner has won gold and set an Olympic record in the decathlon at the Tokyo Olympics.

Warner capped off the 10-discipline event with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500 metres and became the first Canadian to win gold in the decathlon.

 

The 31-year-old from London, Ont., shattered the Olympic record with 9,018 points. The previous Olympic record was 8,893 points, shared between Ashton Eaton of the United States (2016) and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic (2004).

Warner became the fourth man in history to top the 9,000-point mark.

 

World record-holder Kevin Mayer of France won silver with 8,726 points while Australian Ashley Moloney took bronze with 8,649.

Canada had two men in the decathlon. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., finished fifth after 10 events with a personal-best score of 8,604.

 

Canadian golf world mourns as legendary player Jocelyne Bourassa dies at 74

Canadian golf legend Jocelyne Bourassa has died at the age of 74.

Golf Canada confirmed her passing late Tuesday evening.

The native of Shawinigan, Que., first distinguished herself as an amateur, winning three Quebec Junior Championships (1963, 1964 and 1965) and four Quebec Amateur Championships (1963, 1969, 1970 and 1971).

Bourassa also won the Canadian Women's Amateur in 1965 and again in 1971 and then turned pro the following year.

She joined the LPGA Tour in 1972 and won their Rookie of the Year award.

That helped her garner the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award that year as The Canadian Press's best female athlete.

Canadian Damian Warner wins gold in decathlon, sets Olympic record

TOKYO - Canadian Damian Warner has won gold and set an Olympic record in the decathlon at the Tokyo Olympics.

Warner capped off the 10-discipline event with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500 metres and became the first Canadian to win gold in the decathlon.

The 31-year-old from London, Ont., shattered the Olympic record with 9,018 points. The previous Olympic record was 8,893 points, shared between Ashton Eaton of the United States (2016) and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic (2004).

Warner became the fourth man in history to top the 9,000-point mark.

World record-holder Kevin Mayer of France won silver with 8,726 points while Australian Ashley Moloney took bronze with 8,649.

Canada had two men in the decathlon. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., finished fifth after 10 events with a personal-best score of 8,604.

Start time of Canada-Sweden women's soccer gold-medal game changed to evening

CHIBA, Japan - Olympic organizers are changing the start time of the women's soccer gold-medal game between Canada and Sweden.

A Canada Soccer spokesperson confirms the match will now be played Friday night (9 p.m. local time, or 8 a.m. Eastern Time) at International Stadium Yokohama.

The kickoff was originally set for Friday morning (11 a.m. local time, Thursday 10 p.m. ET) at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

Both teams requested a time change due to concerns about the players' health and safety.

Temperatures have hovered in the mid-30s all week in the Tokyo area and the forecast is calling for more of the same Friday afternoon.

It's Canada's first-ever appearance in the Olympic women's soccer final.

George Springer hits another leadoff homer, Blue Jays beat Cleveland 8-6

TORONTO - After smashing his 42nd career leadoff homer, a single and double in the first three innings, hot-hitting Blue Jays veteran George Springer was not thinking cycle in his fourth at-bat.

“If it happened, great,” Springer said after the Blue Jays' 8-6 victory against Cleveland before 14,410 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. “But I'd rather have a quality at-bat.”

Springer did have a quality at-bat in the fifth, singling to left field. He already had knocked in three runs with his 4 for 5 evening that saw the Blue Jays win their fifth in six games since their Rogers Centre return last Friday.

Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo remarked Springer's hot bat was a product of his increased playing time since the off-season free-agent signing missed significant time in the first half with a left oblique strain and right quadriceps ailment.

The 31-year-old Springer, named American League player of the week on Monday, also clearly is comfortable in the leadoff spot. He has three leadoff homers in five games. In 16 games as the Blue Jays' leadoff hitter, he has gone 24 for 64 (.375) with eight homers, eight doubles, 16 RBIs and eight walks.

“I was groomed to hit first my whole career,” he said. “I understand it's the same thing as any other at-bat. I just happen to hit first.”

Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe wins silver in women's 200m canoe sprint

TOKYO - Laurence Vincent-Lapointe's long, winding road to the Tokyo Olympics has ended on the podium.

The Canadian canoeist has won silver in the final of the women's C-1 200-metre race at Sea Forest Waterway.

The 29-year-old paddler from Trois-Rivieres, Que., finished the sprint in a time of 46.786 seconds.

American Nevin Harrison took the gold with a time of 45.932, while Ukraine's Liudmyla Luzan claimed bronze.

Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., finished 8th with a time of 47.834.

A dominant canoeing force for more than a decade, Vincent-Lapointe had to wait for the sport's international federation and the International Olympic Committee to make room for women to race at the Olympics.

Star guard Kyle Lowry pens emotional farewell message to teammates, Toronto, Canada

TORONTO - Star Raptors guard Kyle Lowry has penned a farewell message to Toronto, saying his bond with the city is unbreakable.

The 35-year-old is headed to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal that has yet to be formally announced.

He handed out a lot of thank you's in a lengthy Instagram post, including shout-outs to teammates Pascal Siakam, O-G Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, whom Lowry called his “little brother.”

He also thanked Canada and Toronto, saying the city would always be home.

And of course the Raptors' global ambassador, hip-hop star Drake, got a mention as well.

Lowry spent nine years as a Raptor and holds club records ranging from steals and assists to three-pointers.

He became a free agent this week, paving the way for his move to Miami.

Canadian Tajon Buchanan continues remarkable rise with MLS all-star selection

 

Canadian international Tajon Buchanan's remarkable rise continued Wednesday when he was named an MLS all-star.

 

The 22-year-old winger from Brampton, Ont., who plays for the New England Revolution, was one of two picks by commissioner Don Garber for the Aug. 25 all-star game against a Mexican league all-star side at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The other commissioner's pick was 17-year-old Cade Cowell, a forward with the San Jose Earthquakes.

 

The all-star roster was determined through a combination of fan, player and media voting (selecting 13 players), picks by all-star coach Bob Bradley (13 players) and the commissioner's picks.

 

The all-star honour for Buchanan comes on the heels of a breakthrough performance for Canada at the Gold Cup, where the young Canadian won the Youth Player Awards and was named to the CONCACAF championship Best XI.

 

Buchanan, in his third season with New England, has recorded three goals and three assists in 12 appearances for New England this season. Internationally, he has one goal and four assists in nine appearances at the senior level for Canada. His goal came in Canada's 2-1 semifinal loss to Mexico.

 

“Give him another year and get him hopefully into the Bundesliga or into the Premier League, because that's where this kid's destined,” Canada coach John Herdman said after the Mexico game. “He'll build that quality, that durability at the top, top level.”

 

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse races to gold in men's 200 metres

 

Canada's Andre De Grasse has raced to a gold medal in the men's 200 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

De Grasse roared to the finish line in a Canadian-record time of 19.62 seconds.

 

Kenneth Bednarek took silver in 19.68 seconds and fellow American Noah Lyles earned bronze in 19.74.

 

Aaron Brown of Toronto was sixth in 20.20.

 

Winning his fifth Olympic medal - and second in Tokyo after taking bronze in the 100 metres - De Grasse tied Phil Edwards for the most by a Canadian track and field athlete. Edwards captured five bronze medals between 1928 and 1936.

 

De Grasse's victory comes 25 years - plus a week - after Donovan Bailey raced to 100-metre gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

 

 

Canada's Ellie Black finishes fourth in women's beam, Biles takes bronze

 

Ellie Black finished fourth in the beam final at the Tokyo Olympics, just missing a first Olympic medal in women's artistic gymnastics for Canada.

 

Black finished with a score of 13.866 points. The total was tied with Sunisa Lee of the United States, but Black finished ahead after receiving a better execution score.

 

The 25-year-old from Halifax competed despite a sprained ankle that forced her to withdraw from the all-around competition.

 

Simone Biles of the United States picked up the seventh medal of her Olympic career, taking bronze with a score of 14. Biles competed in her first final in Tokyo after pulling out of the team and all-around events to focus on her mental health.

 

China took the top two spots, with Guan Chenchen earning 14.633 and Tang Xijing finishing with 14.233.

 

Black had aggravated a previous ankle injury dismounting from the beam during training a week earlier.

Canada advances to Olympic women's soccer final with 1-0 win over United States

KASHIMA-SHI, Japan - Jessie Fleming scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute to help the Canadian women's soccer team to a 1-0 semifinal victory over the United States at the Tokyo Games.

American defender Tierna Davidson was called for a foul after her left foot hit Deanna Rose's leg just inside the penalty area as they chased a loose ball.

Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul pointed to the penalty spot after a review. American goalkeeper Adrianna Franch dived to the correct side but couldn't get a piece of Fleming's powerful right-footed shot.

Canada will next play the winner of the other semifinal between fifth-ranked Sweden and No. 9 Australia. That game goes later at Yokohama Stadium.

The gold-medal game was set for Friday at the Olympic Stadium, a day after the bronze-medal game at Kashima.

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair had a hat trick in the last Olympic meeting between Canada and the U.S. in 2012, a memorable 4-3 win for the Americans in extra time at Old Trafford.

Canada would go on to win bronze that year and would repeat that third-place result four years later at the Rio Games.

Canada's Ellie Black finishes fourth in women's beam, Biles takes bronze

TOKYO - Ellie Black finished fourth in the beam final at the Tokyo Olympics, just missing a first Olympic medal in women's artistic gymnastics for Canada.

Black finished with a score of 13.866 points. The total was tied with Sunisa Lee of the United States, but Black finished ahead after receiving a better execution score.

The 25-year-old from Halifax competed despite a sprained ankle that forced her to withdraw from the all-around competition.

Simone Biles of the United States picked up the seventh medal of her Olympic career, taking bronze with a score of 14. Biles competed in her first final in Tokyo after pulling out of the team and all-around events to focus on her mental health.

China took the top two spots, with Guan Chenchen earning 14.633 and Tang Xijing finishing with 14.233.

Black had aggravated a previous ankle injury dismounting from the beam during training a week earlier.

Raptors announce trio of new coaches, including ex-Suns head coach

TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors say a trio of new coaches has joined the team ahead of the 2021-2022 NBA season.

The team says Trevor Gleeson, Nathaniel Mitchell and former Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson are all joining head coach Nick Nurse's coaching staff.

They will join lead assistant Adrian Griffin, along with assistant coaches John Corbacio, Jon Goodwillie, Jim Sann and player development consultant Jamaal Magloire.

Gleeson joins the team after eight seasons as the head coach of the Perth Wildcats in Australia's National Basketball League, where he compiled a record of 171-98.

Mitchell spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets, and previously worked for the Raptors organization as an assistant with the G League's Raptors 905.

Watson played 13 seasons in the NBA, and spent parts of three seasons as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns.

Blue Jays trade Axford to Brewers for cash considerations

TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays say they have traded John Axford to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash considerations.

The 38-year-old right-handed pitcher has a 0.84 ERA over 10 2/3 innings in Triple-A, striking out 14.

Axford made his major league debut with the Brewers in 2009.

The Simcoe, Ont., native won the National League's Rolaids Relief Man Award in 2011 as the league's top relief pitcher.

Although Major League Baseball's trade deadline was Friday, this move was still allowable because Axford is a minor league player who wasn't on anyone's 40-man roster.

Axford has a career record of 38-34 with a 3.86 ERA and 144 saves in 543 games with Milwaukee, St. Louis (2013), Cleveland (2014), Pittsburgh (2014), Colorado (2015), Oakland (2016-17), Toronto (2018) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2018).

Kyle Lowry leaving Toronto for the Miami Heat

TORONTO - Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry is headed to the Miami Heat.

Lowry put out a social media post to his more than 907,000 Twitter followers saying “Miami Heat X Kyle Lowry” and “Let's Goo!!” followed by five fire emojis.

The post came less than 45 minutes after free agency officially kicked off Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Deals will not be considered official until noon Friday, with the Raptors saying they would have nothing to say until then.

Citing sources, ESPN reported Lowry had agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated US$90 million in a sign-and-trade with Toronto.

A 15-year NBA veteran, the 35-year-old Lowry has spent the last nine seasons as a Raptor.

Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, the New York Knicks and Philadelphia had been seen as possible suitors come free agency. The debate over Lowry's future had started prior to the trade deadline but he remained a Raptor, finishing out a difficult 27-45 season played in Tampa due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

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