Thompson Sports News Archives for 2021-12

NHL postpones eight more games in Canada due to attendance restrictions


The NHL has postponed eight more games in Canada due to attendance restrictions implemented in response to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.


The league postponed Ottawa's home game Monday against Minnesota, Vancouver's home game Wednesday against the New York Islanders, Edmonton's home games Saturday against the Islanders, Jan. 12 against Minnesota and Jan. 14 against Vegas, Calgary's home game Jan. 11 against the Islanders and Jan. 15 against Vegas and Winnipeg's Jan. 16 home game against Edmonton.


The NHL said the games will be rescheduled for later in the season when restrictions may be eased or lifted.


The Islanders' other game on its Western road trip on Tuesday at Seattle was also postponed.


The NHL did not announce any further postponed dates for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are scheduled to host Ottawa on Saturday and Edmonton on Wednesday.


The Ontario government limited capacity at large indoor venues to 1,000 people on Thursday.


Major League Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Maple Leafs and the NBA's Toronto Raptors, has said its games will be held without fans while that restriction is in place.



Another Canadian bobsledder tests positive for COVID-19, 14 team members now affected


SIGULDA, Latvia - Another member of Canada's bobsled team has tested positive for COVID-19.


That brings the total up to 11 athletes and three staff members affected by the outbreak.


A spokesman for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton confirmed the new positive case on Thursday.


All 14 of the affected bobsled team members are in quarantine in Latvia.


No members of Canada's skeleton team have tested positive for the virus.


Canada's bobsled team had spent the holiday break in Latvia to minimize travel ahead of the upcoming World Cup event in Sigulda.


John Madden, Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster, dies at 85


The NFL says Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster John Madden has died at age 85.


Madden's exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades.


The league says he died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning and did not provide a cause.


Coaching the renegade Oakland Raiders, Madden compiled a stellar 103-32-7 regular-season record and led his team to victory in the Super Bowl after the 1976 season.


He became an even more impactful figure after he stopped coaching at age 42, entertaining millions who tuned in to NFL football.


He also was the name behind the hugely popular sports video game, “Madden NFL Football.”


Roughriders re-sign national offensive linemen Evan Johnson and Logan Ferland


Offensive linemen Evan Johnson and Logan Ferland have signed contract extensions with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


The club announced the signings on Monday.


Johnson re-signs with Saskatchewan after initially signing with the Roughriders in 2021's free-agency period.


He played all 14 regular-season games and two playoff games at right guard.


A first-round pick of the Ottawa Redblacks in 2017, the Regina-born Johnson played three seasons in the nation's capital.


Ferland played all 14 regular-season games in his rookie season with the Roughriders, starting 13 at left guard, before moving to centre.


The native of Melfort, Sask., also started at left guard for the West semifinal and West final.


Ferland played the most snaps of any Roughrider player in 2021.



Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly enters NHL's COVID-19 protocol


The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Thursday that defenceman Morgan Rielly and a staff member have entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.


The Maple Leafs now have a total of 12 players - including captain John Tavares and goaltender Jack Campbell - in isolation along with head coach Sheldon Keefe, two assistants, and four other members of the organization.


The NHL shut down for its annual Christmas break after Tuesday night's lone remaining game.


Four contests originally scheduled for Wednesday and 14 for Thursday are among the 45 that have been postponed since Dec. 13 due to pandemic-related concerns.


The league is scheduled to resume play with 14 games on Monday, including Toronto at Columbus, although more postponements are possible with a number of clubs dealing with multiple COVID-19 cases.



Canadian forward Jonathan David's late goal rescues Lille in Bordeaux

BORDEAUX, France - Canadian striker Jonathan David scored the winning goal Wednesday as defending champion Lille rallied twice at Bordeaux to win 3-2 in French Ligue 1 play.

Tiago Djalo started the play, forcing a Bordeaux turnover in the 84th minute. The ball found its way to David in the penalty box and the 21-year-old from Ottawa slotted a left-footed shot into the corner of the goal for the winner.

David ran to the sidelines where he was handed a pink flower, which he held up in the air - an apparent tribute to his mother Rose who died two years ago this month.

It was David's 12th goal of the season which leads the French league in scoring. Clubs from England's Arsenal to Real Madrid have been linked to the young forward, who also has 18 goals in 24 appearances for Canada

Honduras striker Alberth Elis, a former Houston Dynamo forward, scored for Bordeaux in the 17th and 45th minute. Benjamin Andre, in the 33rd minute, and Burak Yilmaz, on a 77th-minute penalty, also scored for Lille.

The win moved Lille into eighth place in the Ligue 1 standings. Bordeaux stands 17th.

NHL players officially not going to Beijing Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns

The NHL has officially announced that its players won't be going to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The move, confirmed to The Canadian Press on Tuesday by a person with direct knowledge of the decision, comes amid COVID-19 concerns that have seen an explosion of cases and 45 games postponed since Dec. 13.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement that “profound disruption” to the league's schedule caused by COVID-19-related events made Olympic participation “no longer feasible.”

The NHL and NHLPA officially committed to sending players to China for the 2022 Games back in September, but that agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation allowed either party to withdraw if COVID-19 conditions rendered participation “impractical or unsafe.”

The league currently has more than 15 per cent of its players in virus protocol, forcing a string of postponements.

NHL Players' Association executive director Don Fehr said in a statement that while players are disappointed in not being able to participate in the Beijing Games, completing an 82-game season in a campaign mired with interruptions caused by COVID-19 took precedence.

'A little overkill': Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck not keen on NHL's schedule pause


Connor Hellebuyck isn't a fan of the NHL's latest move to combat the spread of COVID-19.


The league pushed up the start of its traditional holiday schedule pause by 48 hours because of coronavirus concerns and full-on outbreaks fuelled by the Omicron variant that have led to 45 games being postponed since Dec. 13.


The Winnipeg Jets goalie, however, doesn't agree with a decision that will see players off starting Wednesday before returning to work Sunday.


“I can't speak for everyone, but the feeling for myself it's a little overkill,” Hellebuyck told reporters in Winnipeg on Tuesday.


“You see leagues like the NFL, who are adapting and, I think, doing things right.”


The NFL recently reduced COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players that are asymptomatic.


The NHL had been testing players every third day, but returned to a daily regimen through at least Jan. 7 amid a surge in cases.


More than a third of NHL teams had either been shut down or voluntarily closed facilities through the holidays before the league announced Wednesday's schedule would be added to the list of contests needing new dates.


As it stands, roughly 15 per cent of players - all but one NHLer is considered fully vaccinated - are in the league's COVID-19 protocol.


“It sucks, but it's Christmas time, so we're enjoying the break,” said Hellebuyck, who contracted the virus last summer before receiving his jab. “Use this time as a little mental reset."


“See family, enjoy the holidays, and enjoy what we have.”


Raptors add Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn to COVID-19 protocols


Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn have been added to the NBA's COVID-19 protocols by the Toronto Raptors.


There are now five Raptors in league protocols.


Gary Trent Jr. was added to Toronto's list on Monday, joining Pascal Siakam and Dalano Banton.


Toronto was set to host Orlando on Monday night but that game was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Magic.


Raptors players were limited to individual training sessions on Monday, with one player working with one coach at a time.


Toronto is scheduled to play in Chicago on Wednesday night.


Nik Stauskas of Mississauga, Ont., Brandon Goodwin, Juwan Morgan, and Tremont Waters have been signed by the Raptors from the G-League under the NBA's hardship clause.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.


Norman Northstars win against the Winnipeg Bruins to break their losing streak

The Norman Northstars struggled heading into the weekend when they faced the Winnipeg Bruins.

Saturday was a challenge as they lost 4 - 2.

In their second game of the weekend, the Northstars broke their nine game losing streak by taking an overtime win against the Bruins 6 - 5.

The next Norman Nothstars game is at the C. A. Nesbit Arena on January 8th where they face off against the Pembina Valley Hawks.

Leafs captain John Tavares, forward Alexander Kerfoot placed in COVID-19 protocol


Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares and forward Alexander Kerfoot have been placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol, the team announced Friday.


The Leafs subsequently cancelled their practice at the University of British Columbia for precautionary reasons.


Toronto was supposed to play in Calgary on Thursday, but that game was one of four involving the Flames postponed this week with 32 members of the organization - including 19 players - in protocol.


The Leafs say all players and travelling staff were tested Thursday for COVID-19 in Vancouver.


The club was informed of the test results Friday morning, and each individual will undergo additional testing.


Toronto is scheduled to play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday before visiting the expansion Seattle Kraken on Sunday.


The NHL has seen a rash of players enter into protocol this week as the fast-moving Omicron variant propels the pandemic's latest wave.


Saturday's NHL game between Canadiens and Bruins at Montreal's Bell Centre postponed


The Montreal Canadiens' home game against the Boston Bruins scheduled for Saturday has been postponed.


The NHL announced the decision Friday morning.


No reason for the postponement was given, but the Canadiens played Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers without fans inside the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec health authorities due to the “spiralling rise of COVID-19 cases in the region.”


The Bruins are also dealing with a coronavirus outbreak that has seen six players placed into the league's protocol.


A total of 11 games have been postponed by the NHL this season, including six this week.


The Calgary Flames have seen four of their contests scratched since Monday with 18 players and 12 members of the team's staff in protocol.


Leafs, Raptors to prioritize season ticket holders with capacity cut to 50 per cent


TORONTO - The company that owns the Maple Leafs and Raptors will prioritize season ticket holders through mid-January at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena following the Ontario government's announcement capacity is being capped at 50 per cent in response to the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment says all holders of non-season seats will be refunded for NHL and NBA games scheduled at the venue over the next month.


The same goes for non-season tickets purchased for individual games on the secondary ticket market.


Ontario announced Wednesday that beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday indoor venues with a capacity greater than 1,000 people - including sports facilities, theatres and concert venues - will move to 50 per cent use following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the province.


MLSE says season seat holders for both teams will be divided into two groups to ensure “equitable access” to games beginning Saturday when the Raptors host the Golden State Warriors.


Tom McDonald, MLSE's senior vice-president of ticket sales and service, told The Canadian Press the aim is for the Leafs and Raptors to play in front of 10,000 fans when including private suites.


The Leafs have averaged 18,819 spectators through 17 home dates this season, while the Raptors have averaged 19,777 in their 15 contests.


The province's move to cap capacity is also impacting the NHL's Ottawa Senators, two American Hockey League teams, the Ontario Hockey League and the Raptors' G League affiliate Raptors 905.


NHL reintroducing enhanced COVID-19 restrictions


With the number of coronavirus cases and game postponements climbing, the NHL is reintroducing enhanced COVID-19 protocols that include restricting players to staying in their hotels while on the road in a bid to limit a growing outbreak among players and staff.


The enhanced protocols will be put into effect immediately and last through at least Jan. 7, a person with direct knowledge of discussions between the NHL and NHL Players' Association told The Associated Press on Wednesday.


The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.


Daily testing will also return for players and coaches as part of the decision, which was reached after two days of meetings and worsening conditions across the league on Wednesday as players and staff from three more teams were added to the league's COVID-19 protocol list.


That included 17 members of the Calgary Flames, who also had a fourth game postponed (Saturday's home matchup against Columbus).


Coach Darryl Sutter and two assistants were on the list along with players including Rasmus Andersson, Johnny Gaudreau and others, raising the number of Calgary players in the protocol to 16.


The league said Calgary's “return to game play is being delayed at least through Saturday” following discussions among medical experts.


Calgary's training facilities were closed to players until further notice.


Four teams - Calgary, Carolina, Ottawa and the New York Islanders - have had outbreaks force game postponements, a total of 10 in all. But alongside that is a growing number of affected players, who under typical COVID-19 guidance would be tested at least every 72 hours if vaccinnated.


Seven Flames players, three coaches and seven support staff enter COVID-19 protocol


Seven players, three coaches and seven support staff with the Calgary Flames were the latest members of the organization to be added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.


The team, which has already had three games postponed due to the outbreak, said head coach Darryl Sutter, associate coach Kirk Muller and assistant coach Ryan Huska were on the list.


In a Twitter post, the Flames also said that Rasmus Andersson, Byron Froese, Johnny Gaudreau, Erik Gudbranson, Trevor Lewis, Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Pitlick were the latest players to be added.


Affected support staffers weren't identified.


The additions brought the number of Calgary players in protocol to 16.


Noah Hanifin, Milan Lucic and Sean Monahan were added to the list on Tuesday.


Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and a member of the training staff were added Monday.


Also Wednesday, Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron was added to the league's protocol list, a day after teammate Brad Marchand was added.

Steph Curry new all-time leader in 3-pointers

The NBA has a new all-time leader in 3-pointers, with the record falling at one of the league's most storied venues.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry passed Ray Allen's old mark by nailing two in the first 4 1/2 minutes of a 105-96 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The second was his 2,974th 3-pointer, which was punctuated by Curry waving his arms toward the sky as he jogged backward down court. The Warriors then committed a foul and quickly called timeout to let the celebration begin. Curry exchanged hugs with coach Steve Kerr, longtime teammate Draymond Green, family members and Allen, who was at the arena.

Curry finished with 22 points and Jordan Poole had 19 points and nine rebounds, going 13 for 13 on free throws to overcome a 3-for-11 night from the field.

Canucks cancel morning skate after Schenn, Lahmmikko test positive for COVID-19


The Vancouver Canucks have cancelled practice after two players tested positive for COVID-19.

The club says it was informed of defenceman Luke Schenn's positive result on Monday and winger Juho Lammikko's positive result on Tuesday morning.

Canucks president Jim Rutherford says at least one player is experiencing symptoms.

Both Schenn and Lahmmikko have been placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol and Tuesday's morning skate was cancelled as a precaution.

The team was tested again on Tuesday morning and Rutherford says the results are expected to be received by about 6 p.m. local time Tuesday, about an hour before Vancouver was scheduled to host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL postponed a game between the Hurricanes and Wild Tuesday after Carolina placed six players and a member of the training staff in COVID protocol.

The Canucks played the Hurricanes on Sunday.

Vancouver was the NHL team hit hardest by COVID-19 last season, with 21 players and four coaches testing positive for the virus, and several games being postponed.

New president Jim Rutherford embracing challenge of revamping Vancouver Canucks


Veteran NHL executive Jim Rutherford says he knows taking over the Vancouver Canucks will be a challenge, but he also sees it as a special opportunity.

Rutherford was named president of the Canucks (12-15-2) on Thursday, days after the club fired head coach Travis Green and number of front-office staff, including general manager Jim Benning.

Rutherford spoke with reporters on Monday, saying he's going to do his best to make Vancouver a consistent playoff team that can ultimately compete for a Stanley Cup.

The 72-year-old native of Beeton, Ont., was general manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2014 to 2021 and led the team to back-to-back championships in 2016 and '17. He was also Carolina's GM for 20 years, and saw the Hurricanes win the Cup in 2006.

A former NHL goaltender, Rutherford was named the league's general manager of the year in 2016 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder category in 2019.

Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini says Rutherford was on the top of his list of candidates to take over the team and build a new culture.

Beijing Games relying on charters, temporary flights



Already affected by the pandemic and a partial diplomatic boycott, the Beijing Winter Olympics face another challenge in finding flights for all of the athletes and officials.

The director of the organizing committee's Arrival and Departure Center says ensuring the smooth arrival of participants has “become everyone's concern” because of a reduction in regular passenger flights due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Zhang Liang says the committee and civilian aviation authorities have “established the principle that chartered and temporary flights will be the main means, supplemented by commercial flights.”

Zhang said 17 domestic and foreign carriers have signed on to provide temporary flights, adding 15 inbound and 13 outbound flights per day.


Burntwood Curling Club team heading to Master Men's Provincials


Last weekend, the Burntwood Curling Club team made up of  Curtis Ross, Alex Sutherland, Konrad Jonasson and Sam Antila won the Manitoba Credit Unions Master Men's North Regional Event in Flin Flon.


The will represent the north region at the Manitoba Credit Unions Master Men's Provincials in Winnipeg from March 2-7.  


They will also represent the northern region at the Strathcona Senior Men's Provincials in Beausejour March 16-21.

Canada joins US and allies in Beijing Olympics boycott


Canada is joining the United States, the United Kingdon and Australia in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns.

The announcement came after the White House, the Australian government and the UK government confirmed diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics in February to protest Chinese human rights abuses.

China has vowed to react with “firm countermeasures.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has been talks with allies about it in recent months.

The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia do not affect their athletes' ability to compete in the Winter Games.

China will Have a Men's Hockey Team at the Beijing Olympics

China will have a men's hockey team on the ice at the Beijing Olympics.

The International Ice Hockey Federation says the hosts have been given the green light following a council meeting in Zurich.

China opens the tournament February 10th against the United States before playing Germany and Canada to wrap up round-robin action in Group A.

N-H-L players are scheduled to participate in Beijing after skipping the 2018 event in South Korea, but the league could still pull out due to COVID-19 issues. (13)


Winnipeg Blue Bombers hold off Saskatchewan Roughriders in CFL West final

Andrew Harris ran for 136 yards and one touchdown as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers overcame six turnovers in a 21-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division final on Sunday.

The result set up a Grey Cup rematch next weekend in Hamilton. The defending Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers will face the Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field after Hamilton beat Toronto 27-19 in the East final.

Harris, playing his first game since Oct. 15 because of an injured knee, had 23 carries and a three-yard TD run in front of 31,160 fans at IG Field, who braved on-and-off snow, gusty winds and a wind chill that made it feel like minus-20 C.

Winnipeg ended a 28-season CFL title drought by defeating Hamilton 33-12 in the 2019 championship game. The 2020 Grey Cup wasn't held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bombers finished first in the West Division this season and earned a bye into the final after putting up an 11-3 record in a shortened 14-game campaign. Saskatchewan went 9-5 and beat the Calgary Stampeders 33-30 in overtime in the semifinal.

Winnipeg also got touchdowns Sunday from receiver Rasheed Bailey and backup quarterback Sean McGuire on a sneak. Kicker Sergio Castillo made all three converts.


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