Mark Hunter heads home, takes over as GM of London Knights - Canadanewsmedia
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Mark Hunter heads home, takes over as GM of London Knights



Mark Hunter is leaving the NHL ranks. (Getty)

After losing out on the throne to Kyle Dubas, Mark Hunter has, as expected, found a general manager position to call his own following his departure from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Only he’s chosen it in a league that maybe some wouldn’t have expected, however familiar it might be.

The Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, to which Hunter co-owns, announced Friday that the ace scout will return to run hockey operations for the junior hockey giants, bumping incumbent Rob Simpson down into an associate role.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“I am very happy to be back in London,” Hunter said, through team release. “We have a strong group within our organization and I look forward to returning to work with everyone to develop an even stronger team for our fans and for our city and the community.”” data-reactid=”24″>“I am very happy to be back in London,” Hunter said, through team release. “We have a strong group within our organization and I look forward to returning to work with everyone to develop an even stronger team for our fans and for our city and the community.”

Hunter ran hockey operations in London for 14 highly successful seasons before leaving to join the Maple Leafs as a scout in 2014. He served as a key draft resource in Toronto, which selected Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews in consecutive lotteries before his promotion to assistant general manager in August of 2016.

He spent the next two seasons working beside Dubas and under Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello until Shanahan chose his counterpart to succeed Lamoriello at the end of the veteran’s three-year tenure.

Lamoriello was hired to run hockey ops with the New York Islanders shortly after Dubas’s promotion, while Hunter departed without securing an NHL job.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports:” data-reactid=”28″>More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports:

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Harden scores 27 as Rockets rout Warriors




HOUSTON — James Harden scored 27 points and the Houston Rockets routed the Golden State Warriors 107-86 on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference finals.

The Rockets (7-7), who announced before the game that they were “parting ways” with 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, have won three straight and six of their last eight games after starting 1-5 to reach .500 for the first time since they were 1-1.

The Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry for the fourth straight game, have lost two of their last three. Curry has already been ruled out for Golden State’s next two games because of a groin injury.

Houston had a 13-point lead at the end of the third and opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run to make it 88-65 and spur Golden State coach Steve Kerr to call a timeout. The Warriors had two shots blocked and committed two loose ball fouls in that span to help Houston pad the lead. The Rockets got 3-pointers from James Ennis and Isaiah Hartenstein to cap the run.

The Rockets then scored the first nine points after the timeout, with six from Ennis, to make it 97-65 midway through the quarter and put the game out of reach. Both teams cleared their benches a couple of minutes after that.

Kevin Durant had 20 points for the Warriors on a night they were just 4 of 18 on 3-pointers.

Draymond Green had five rebounds and five assists in his return after serving a one-game team-imposed suspension for a dustup with Durant in Monday night’s overtime loss to the Clippers. Green addressed the situation for the first time after shootaround but did not apologize for his actions in the heated exchange.

He said he and Durant had spoken and that they were “moving forward.”

“I think there’s no secret that I am an emotional player,” he said. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I play with that same emotion. Sometimes they get the best of me. And (if) it doesn’t work to my favour I’m going to live with that.”

While the Warriors dealt with the drama between Green and Durant, the Rockets were left to answer questions about the decision to move on from Anthony.

Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal during the off-season.

“In the summer we tried to hit a home run and it didn’t work out,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He tried everything he could. He was great while he was here. It just didn’t work out for whatever reason. I just thank him for his professionalism. It was good. He tried everything he could to make it work and it just didn’t work out.”

The Rockets led by six at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to stretch the lead to 54-43.

Harden scored five straight points to make it 63-47 after his 3-pointer with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.

Golden State got going on offence after that, using an 8-2 spurt to get within 65-55 a couple of minutes later.

Gary Clark ended the run with a 3-pointer, and two more 3s by him within a minute of each other late in the third extended the lead to 76-59. It was 76-63 headed to the fourth.


Warriors: Curry was with the Warriors on the trip but it’s unclear when he’ll return. “We’re going to be very, very careful, and obviously he’s going to need plenty of court time before he returns,” coach Steve Kerr said. “When I say court time, I mean live action. He hasn’t had that.”… Kevon Looney scored a season-high 12 points.

Rockets: Gerald Green returned after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle. … Ennis finished with 19 points and Eric Gordon had 17 off the bench. … Houston made 16 of 47 3-pointers.


Warriors: Visit Dallas on Saturday night.

Rockets: Host Sacramento on Saturday night.

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Bell: Nenshi whines sour grapes over Olympic loss




Poor, poor Nenshi.

But we knew it all along.

Only a matter of time. Just the way the mayor rolls.

Yes, on Thursday, we get the next act.

Nenshi whines.

That’s what happens when a city kisses its mayor’s butt, treats him as a rockstar who can do no wrong but then his appeal wears thin and they turn against him and his pet project.

And Nenshi loses the Olympic vote.

Now we hear the complaining. Now we see the finger pointing. It’s someone else’s fault. None of this is on Nenshi.

Nenshi says both the provincial and federal governments “dithered.”

They are accountable for the Olympic loss.

He goes after the province.

“If you’re the province and you’re making a $700-million commitment for something, own it,” says Nenshi, admitting he’s not happy.

“Talk about why it’s a good thing instead of writing a press release in the middle of the night on a Friday and then disappearing.”

Your Worship, truth to power, they had to give you the money but they didn’t have to like it.

After all, if they hadn’t coughed up the cash, imagine the headline. Alberta Government Kills Calgary Olympic Dream.

They weren’t going there. They weren’t playing that game.

What’s this? Premier Notley is in Calgary on Thursday.

In this city and she doesn’t visit with Nenshi! What is the world coming to? Doesn’t she know who he is?

In fact, the mayor says no one from the province has talked to him since the Yes side lost. Oh dear.

Notley says it wasn’t appropriate for the Alberta government to go Yes or go No on the Olympic bid. They wanted to hear from Calgarians.

That’s why they demanded a plebiscite city council didn’t want to give Calgarians.

Ricardo Miranda, Notley’s culture minister, says Nenshi is looking for someone to blame.

No kidding.

Then Nenshi says the federal government’s sport minister fumbled the Olympics and “probably should be held accountable.”

Nenshi says the federal government could have announced their Olympic funding earlier.

The day before, Nenshi said the Yes side had terrific momentum and wondered what would have happened if the feds had come in earlier and Yes had more time.

Oh well.

Nenshi hasn’t heard from the federal government either. Sad.

The mayor doesn’t realize a lot of people voted No because Calgary city hall screwed up.

Remember the time when I held up a document on Olympic finances.

Remember the best parts were all blacked out and treated as top secret, including one whole page about revenue projections and expense projections and construction budget projections and financial guarantees.

That was a City of Calgary document.

City hall talked a lot about the Olympics but they didn’t say much that made sense.

Methinks even the Olympic bid people would have loved them to shut up.

But city hall didn’t.

They spent time telling us what they couldn’t tell us.

But, oh no, a No vote to the Olympics couldn’t be a failure of Nenshi’s leadership.

This is how city hall works.

When they screw up, they try to hide it or fudge it or pretend it isn’t there.

When that doesn’t work, it’s on to Plan B. Blame somebody else.

Taking some responsibility? Forget about it.

Putting the mirror up to someone else is so much easier than looking in the mirror yourself.

And, while we’re letting cats out of the bag, more than a few Calgarians voted No to the Olympics because they don’t like Nenshi.

Remember last year when Nenshi was re-elected with a very slim majority.

He’s a mere mortal now.

What could be worse for Nenshi on this day? The Olympic vote stats came out.

Let’s go ward by ward. Did they go Yes or No?

Ward 1. No. Ward 2. No. Ward 3. No. Ward 4. No. Ward 5. No. Ward 6. No. Ward 7. No.

Isn’t this fun?

Ward 8. Yes. The ward includes Mount Royal.

Ward 9. Really No. The ward includes Forest Lawn, Dover and Ogden. Way to go!

Ward 10. Really No. The ward includes Marlborough Park, Temple and Rundle. More great neighbourhoods!

Ward 11. No. A shout out to Braeside, Cedarbrae and Acadia, among others.

Ward 12. No. Riverbend, Cranston. Among the smart ones.

Ward 13. A big No. Nice to see Canyon Meadows on board!

Ward 14. No.

My oh my. Thirteen wards go No and one ward goes Yes.

Somebody is out of touch. Who could it be?

Does his name start with a N?

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Ontario excludes OHL players from provincial employment standards




PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — The Government of Ontario is excluding Ontario Hockey League players from provincial employment standards legislation in order to keep a “level playing field” with other major junior hockey leagues across the country, the province said in a release Thursday.

The move maintains the status of the league’s 425 players as amateur athletes, and prevents them from becoming employees regulated by the Employment Standards Act.

“Hockey is central to so many childhoods, so many great family moments, part of all our communities,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “Our government is proud to take action and cut red tape to provide clarity and help make sure the OHL is able to continue training players and showcase this great sport.”

The provincial government called the application of the legislation to OHL players “unnecessary” and said it is “protecting the long-term sustainability of local junior hockey teams.”

Ontario said players will still be protected by legislation, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“Amateur hockey is part of Canadian life, and we’re ensuring it stays that way,” said Ford.

The Canadian Hockey League — the parent organization of the OHL, along with the Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — is currently embroiled in an $180-million class-action lawsuit, filed in 2014 by Toronto-based Charney Lawyers. The suit on behalf of all current and many former players seeks outstanding wages, overtime pay, holiday pay and vacation pay.

Sam Berg, a former Niagara IceDogs forward, and Daniel Pachis, a former member of the Oshawa Generals, were recognized as the representative plaintiffs against the OHL when the lawsuit was certified in March 2017. The OHL appealed the certification and is expected to be heard in court on Jan. 29.

The league lauded the Government of Ontario’s decision Thursday.

“I want to thank the government for its leadership in ensuring that our 17 Ontario teams can continue to be leaders in the community and contribute to the economic development of the communities in which we play,” said OHL commissioner David Branch, who also serves as CHL president.

“This also allows our teams to continue to focus on our most important role, and that is providing our 425 players with the best on and off-ice experience, the hallmark of which is our scholarship program.”

Branch sent a letter to the province on Nov. 5, pushing for the government to keep players’ amateur status.

Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer at Goldblatt Partners, which is also pursuing the suit against the CHL, told The Canadian Press earlier this week it wasn’t given an opportunity to present its side before the Ontario government publicly threw its support behind the league.

Junior players are currently eligible for post-secondary school scholarships, with each season spent in the league being worth one year of tuition, books and compulsory fees. Players also get money for out-of-pocket expenses, equipment, billeting and travel costs while on a CHL roster.

The news comes after nearly all other jurisdictions in which CHL teams play have reviewed this issue and already passed exemptions/clarifications on employee standards, including Quebec, New Brunswick, B.C, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, as well as the states of Washington and Michigan.

With files from Kyle Cicerella in Toronto

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