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Canadian sportscaster Brian Williams retires following distinguished 50-year career – CBC.ca

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Ask Brian Williams about his half-century long broadcasting career and he’ll rifle off player names and memorable moments with specific detail like they happened yesterday.

There was Liz Manley’s skate and the Battle of the Brians at the 1988 Calgary Games. Ian Sunter’s game-winning field goal for the Tiger-Cats at the 1972 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau’s golden performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Williams, who announced his retirement Thursday, covered just about every sport imaginable over his remarkable sportscasting career. The Olympics and the CFL were two of his mainstays as a principal studio anchor and longtime host with CBC and later CTV and TSN.

“I could sit here and talk about horse racing, car racing, World Cup skiing, tennis, so many things,” Williams said. “But those two come to mind as I’ve probably done those events more than any other.”

Knowledgeable no matter the sport, Williams also lent his voice to coverage of hockey, Major League Baseball, World Cup soccer and much more.

The Winnipeg native was named to the Order of Canada in 2011 for his broadcasting career and community and volunteer work.

“I just feel very fortunate and very happy to have worked with great people at great events,” Williams told The Canadian Press. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Williams won eight Gemini Awards, two Foster Hewitt Awards and one Canadian Screen Award. Considered one of Canada’s leading authorities on the Olympics, he covered the first of his 14 Games in 1976 at Montreal.

‘An icon’

Reached by phone on Thursday, he said he noticed that Canadian athletes had a change in attitude at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

“They were going saying, ‘We’re going to do our best and we’re going to stand on top of that podium,”‘ he said. “There was a pride in this country and I remember I said on my sign-off something to the effect of the sea of red pride and love that has flowed from coast to coast to coast, from Vancouver right across this country.

“Canadians with a new pride in ourselves, our country and our athletes. There was always pride for the athletes but this was like something I had never seen. So that was special.”

Williams also co-hosted the syndicated radio show Grapeline with Don Cherry for 35 years. A longtime host of CFL coverage on both CBC and TSN, Williams estimates he covered the Grey Cup upwards of 40 times.

“An icon. Absolutely, an icon,” radio broadcaster and columnist Don Landry said on Twitter. “A brilliant interviewer, a once-in-a-generation broadcaster. And a wonderful, gem of a man.”

“There are legends and then there is Brian Williams,” tweeted Sportsnet anchor Ken Reid. “I grew up on CBC Sports Weekend. Was honoured to meet the man in London in 2012. Congrats to you Mr. Williams.”

Williams covered his first Olympics in 1976 and was the principal studio anchor for 13 Games with both CBC and CTV. (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Williams was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and was given the Commissioner’s Award at the 2012 Grey Cup in recognition for more than 40 years of contributions to the game.

“It’s been coming, so we’ve known,” Williams said of his retirement. “They were going to do it at the Grey Cup in Regina but that was cancelled last year and of course then with COVID everything was delayed.

“It’s here and I [am] looking forward to years of retirement.”

Began career covering university basketball

Williams began calling university basketball play-by-play in 1967. He started his professional career in radio with Toronto’s CHUM.

After a year at CFRB Radio in Toronto, Williams joined CBLT, the CBC’s English-language flagship channel. He remained with CBC until his move to CTV and TSN in 2006.

“Brian is a true legend who has brought extraordinary knowledge, warmth, and humour to TSN broadcasts,” Bell Media senior vice-president Stewart Johnston said in a release.

“A remarkable storyteller with a generous spirit, Brian has dedicated so much of his time to causes close to his heart. We miss him on-air and around the office, but are grateful for all the incredible years he has spent with TSN.”

The network said it will celebrate Williams’ career on Dec. 12 in advance of the 108th Grey Cup broadcast.

“You have children and grandchildren and there comes a time to retire,” Williams said. “At 75, for me, it’s the right time.”

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Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu suffers concussion on opening drive vs. Bills – Sportsnet.ca

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buffalo Bills after suffering a concussion while trying to make a tackle on the opening drive.

The Chiefs had held the Bills to fourth-and-2 at midfield when Allen took off on a designed run. Mathieu went low trying to tackle the 240-pound quarterback and his helmet collided with the knee of teammate Jarran Reed.

Mathieu was checked briefly in the blue sideline tent before he was taken to the locker room.

Allen converted that fourth-down run, then the Bills converted again on fourth-and-goal at the Kansas City 1 to take a 7-0 lead in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game won by the Chiefs.

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Beijing introduces more COVID measures as cases mount before Olympics

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Beijing‘s city government on Sunday introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of COVID-19, as China’s capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, of which six were in the city’s Fengtai district.

Fengtai will organise nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said.

Authorities have asked residents of “risky areas,” including a neighbourhood of Fengtai, to not leave the city, a local government spokesman said at a Sunday news conference, adding that Fengtai residents have been asked to avoid mass gatherings.

Beijing city has also asked residents to proactively conduct nucleic acid tests if they find themselves with COVID-19-like symptoms within 14 days of receiving any deliveries from overseas, local authorities said in a statement dated Saturday.

Authorities have suggested Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could have arrived via a package from Canada.

In Fengtai, some kindergartens have told parents that children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to attend, two parents told Reuters.

Reuters could not determine whether the requirement is a government regulation or the kindergartens’ own rules.

A mother surnamed Wang, whose child attends at a private kindergarten in Fengtai, said a teacher told her on Friday that unvaccinated children will not be allowed to return from Monday citing new government regulations, without providing Wang any official documents.

“This is not on a voluntary basis. This is coercion,” Wang told Reuters. She said she has filed a complaint with authorities in the hope of having the requirement removed.

Reuters could not reach local authorities for comment on a non-business day.

Mainland China reported 56 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 22, down from 63 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

Of the new cases, 19 were locally transmitted, versus 23 a day earlier, it said.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 34 from 43.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 4,636.

As of Jan. 22, mainland China had confirmed 105,603 cases.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Roxanne Liu, Jing Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard and Christopher Cushing)

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ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen release Jacob Panetta after Jordan Subban calls out racist gesture – The Athletic

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The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen released defenseman Jacob Panetta on Sunday after South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban said he was subjected to a racist gesture during Saturday’s game. The league suspended Panetta indefinitely, pending a hearing under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Later Sunday, Panetta released a response on Twitter, tagging Subban and captioning the video, “racism has no place in this world and no place in the game we love.” He said the gesture he made toward Subban was a “tough-guy, bodybuilder-like” one during a confrontation on the ice. He also said he’s made the same gesture to “non-racialized players a number of times” in his career.

Subban said Panetta made monkey gestures in his direction. His brother, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, later tweeted a video of the incident, which occurred 23 seconds into overtime.

“More like (Panetta) was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Jordan Subban tweeted after the game.

In his video, Panetta said “no racist slurs, noises, or anything of the like, were said by me during the incident.” While he said there were no racial intentions behind the gesture, Panetta apologized for the “pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this.”

“I acknowledge the impact of my gesture and will commit to better understand the impact going forward,” Panetta said. “Those who know me understand (it) was not intended to be racial, it is not who I am, it is not how I have been raised.

“But at the same time, I need to and I will learn from this. Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place in society, including hockey. I believed that before, and I still believe that now.”

Panetta’s release is “effective immediately” and the investigation is still ongoing at the league level, Jacksonville said in a statement.

South Carolina president Rob Concannon said the club is “disgusted and appalled” by Saturday’s incident.

“Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as the other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behavior has to stop and is unacceptable.”

The NHL also issued a statement Sunday, saying it “will continue to make its resources available to the hockey ecosystem to educate and inform, with the goal of making the game welcoming and safe for all players and fans.”

“Incidents of racism, whether they occur in hockey or anywhere else, are abhorrent,” the league said.

Later Sunday, the Devils released a statement backing the Subbans. “We stand in support of Jordan, P.K., the Subban family and anyone who has experienced discrimination within our sport,” team said. “This week’s racist acts within the hockey community are unacceptable and have no place in the game or anywhere.”

On Friday, the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL suspended forward Krystof Hrabik 30 games for using a racial gesture during a game earlier this month.

(Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)

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