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Bowness agrees to two-year contract to return as Stars coach –



Rick Bowness agreed to a two-year contract to return as coach of the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

“(General manager) Jim [Nill] was very easy to work with. He wanted me back, I wanted to come back,” Bowness said. “It wasn’t that difficult a decision, so the negotiations were very easy. Jim and (Stars owner) Tom [Gaglardi] were great. The term is not a big issue. I still love the game, I still have lots of energy and passion for the game, and that’s going to continue for a while longer. We’re not ready to go yet.

“That time in Edmonton (the Western Conference hub city for the postseason) was unlike any experience I have ever had in hockey, and it brought us together as a staff and as a team. We had a great run to the Stanley Cup Final, but we have some unfinished business left and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to build on what we started.

Bowness was promoted after Jim Montgomery was fired Dec. 10, 2019, for unprofessional conduct. The Stars were 20-13-5 in 38 games under Bowness and advanced to the Cup Final, when they lost the best-of-7 series to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

“Rick now has his fingerprints on the team, he knows how he wants to play a certain way, he knows the adjustments he can make, and the players understand that now,” Nill said. “I just think, as we move forward here, there’s still going to be a lot of uncertainty. And that’s one thing we talked about in the bubble, that every day there’s going to be stuff thrown at us, we can’t dwell on it, we can’t panic on it, we just roll with the punches.

“We face some uncertainty moving forward here. When do we start? How long’s the season? What’s the format going to be? How many games are you playing in a week? So knowing you have somebody in charge, the players know he’s in charge, they respect him, he respects them, he knows what buttons to push, I think that’s very important.”

Bowness was hired as a Stars assistant June 22, 2018, after five seasons as associate coach of the Lightning. The 65-year-old is 143-302-8 with 48 ties as an NHL coach for the Winnipeg Jets (1988-89), Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix Coyotes (2003-04) and Stars.

“Probably around January we started to feel more comfortable and I thought, ‘I want to keep doing this,”’ Bowness said. “But it goes to another level in the playoffs, and once the playoffs started there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to keep doing this. There came a point where I didn’t want someone else to come in here and take this seat over. This is a tough league to win in, as you know. I couldn’t give you an exact date, but sometime around January, I wasn’t going to let this team go. Again, it took another level once we got to the playoffs. I’m just thrilled for the opportunity.”

Bowness, who has been an NHL coach for five decades, played 173 NHL games in six seasons from 1975-81 with the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Jets.

“Rick knows how to balance things,” Nill said. “He’s got the passion, he’s willing to call a player out, he’s willing to talk to me about some situation, but they’re healthy discussions and there’s a respect there. Anyone who knows Rick Bowness, they know the respect. It’s communication with respect, and he’s got that through the organization. That goes with experience, that goes with who he is, the person on and off the ice, his family life, those things, they just don’t happen. that’s what’s made him successful.” staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics



Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.

Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”

The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.

Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?



It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.

Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.

Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?

Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.

Jevon Holland

The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.

A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.

He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.

The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.

Benjamin St-Juste

When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.

Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.

The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.

Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.

Chuba Hubbard

The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.

It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.

With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s



Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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