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CFLPA says it has secured financial assistance for members – TSN

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There will be no pro football in Canada in 2020, but the CFL Players’ Association says it has tentatively secured its membership some financial help.

The union told players in an email Wednesday those under contract would be eligible for wage subsidy from July through December. The CFLPA added the benefits could go beyond that if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is extended.

A CFL source said league teams will make applications to the subsidy program on their players’ behalf. The union added it is hoping to finalize matters in the next day or so.

The CFLPA also says CFL players will have their medical coverage extended through to the start of training camp in 2021.

Those are significant developments for CFL players. The league cancelled the 2020 season Monday after being unable to secure a $30-million, interest-free loan from the federal government.

The union also said CFL players in the final year of their deals can be released immediately if they wish. But those that are won’t be entitled to “the ongoing medical coverage.”

Calgary linebacker Nate Holley, the CFL’s top rookie last season, has exercised that right and was released Wednesday to pursue NFL opportunities.

While the CFL did not secure a loan from Ottawa, it has been receiving government aid. Two sources familiar with the situation told The Canadian Press on Wednesday the league was to collect between $7 million and $9 million in wage subsidy from March to August. And if the program remains intact, that number could climb to as high as $12 million by year’s end.

One of the sources said if the CFL had staged a shortened ’20 season, it was expecting to generate as much as $45 million in revenues. But even with that, the league was destined to incur substantial financial losses in 2020, expected to be at least $50 million.

“The fact is the federal government eventually chose not to fund the proposal it requested from the CFL for a return to play in 2020,” the league said in a statement. “It is also a fact the CFL and its clubs have participated in the wage subsidy program along with thousands of other employers.”

The CFL is one of many businesses accessing the wage subsidy program. The government says the CEWS has provided $27.53 billion in subsidies to more than 290,000 employers.

“While we regret we could not find a way to stage a season in 2020 in the face of COVID-19 and the loss of our No. 1 source of revenue, fans in the stands, we value our relationship with the federal government and provincial governments across the country and we have now shifted our focus to 2021 and our long-term future,” the CFL said in a statement.

CEWS is aimed at helping employers protect jobs and rehire by covering 75 per cent of an employee’s wages (up to $847 weekly) for businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

The funds for the CFL are reportedly earmarked to pay coaches, football and business operations staff.

The sources were granted anonymity because neither the CFL nor the federal government have divulged details of the loan request or CEWS information.

The CFL had repeatedly stated that money from Ottawa was required to salvage a shortened ’20 season. The inability to reach an agreement with the federal government was bitterly disappointing for many league officials, including Winnipeg Blue Bombers president Wade Miller, who was upset with how long the entire process took.

“I’m not sure if you don’t help in a pandemic, when you’re going to help,” Miller told TSN 1290 radio in Winnipeg. “When you work with the government for over four months, you think you’re going to get somewhere by the end, twice they asked us to come back in different ways and the federal government support never materialized.

“Nobody plans for a pandemic, so I would suggest nobody is in great shape. We’ll most likely figure this out on our own and come up with CFL made solutions is my guess.”

The CFL sent Ottawa the $30-million request Aug. 3 after asking for $44 million in July. In April, the league had presented the federal government a three-tiered financial-assistance proposal that began with $30 million immediately, more in the event of a shortened season and up to $150 million for a cancelled campaign.

Sources have said the $30-million request fell through when the assistance couldn’t be provided to the league under the terms it sought. And last month, the CFL ruled out a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada because it felt the interest rate was too high.

Ottawa has maintained its willingness to help the CFL through existing programs and not league-specific funding. It’s an approach the government has already taken with Canadian businesses requiring assistance as a result of the pandemic.

“There are over 97,000 restaurants, bars and cafes facing the same challenge as the CFL, having their revenues plummet due to this pandemic,” said Liberal MP Bob Bratina (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek), who spent 20 seasons broadcasting Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts games. “Our government’s response has come in the form of programs such as the wage subsidy, CEBA and others accessible to businesses across the country.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the league collectively lost upwards of $20 million in 2019.

Following the CFL’s decision to cancel its season, Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault said the league did benefit from some existing government programs but never provided specifics.

“Our government helped the CFL navigate through the existing COVID-19 emergency response programs that are helping tens of thousands of businesses across Canada with revenue and liquidity challenges during this time,” he said in a statement. “Although the league was able to benefit from some of these programs, its board members ultimately made the decision not to pursue the upcoming season.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2020.

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Blue Jays sit 1 win away from clinching playoff berth after thumping Yankees – CBC.ca

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The Toronto Blue Jays showed Wednesday night why they could be a dangerous wild-card team in the playoffs.

Danny Jansen hit two solo homers as the Blue Jays used a 16-hit attack and eight-run sixth inning to bulldoze the New York Yankees 14-1 at Sahlen Field. Jansen had four hits and three runs to help the Blue Jays move closer to nailing down a playoff berth.

“Putting ourselves in this spot is a great feeling,” Jansen said. “But we’ve still got work to do.”

Toronto (29-27) trimmed its magic number to one with the victory and can secure its first post-season spot since 2016 with a win in Thursday’s series finale.

Cavan Biggio scored three times, Randal Grichuk added a pair of runs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., had three RBIs. Starter Robbie Ray was effective over four-plus innings and A.J. Cole threw a scoreless fifth inning for the win.

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the post-season. Division winners will be seeded No. 1 through No. 3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

The Los Angeles Angels, currently ninth in the AL, kept their faint playoff hopes alive earlier Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

Facing veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-3), the Blue Jays took advantage of a couple breaks to put up two quick runs in the first inning.

With Biggio on after a leadoff walk, Teoscar Hernandez hit a double-play ball up the middle that took an unexpected high bounce near the lip of the grass and rolled into the outfield.

Guerrero stroked a single that scored Biggio with the game’s first run. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tried to pick the young slugger off first base but a wide throw went down the right-field line as Hernandez trotted home.

Ray earns timely outs

Ray breezed through the first inning but issued two walks in the second. Gio Urshela singled to load the bases and a passed ball allowed Luke Voit to score the Yankees’ lone run.

New York loaded the bases with none out in the fifth inning. But Cole (3-0) held off the heart of the Yankees’ order by fanning Giancarlo Stanton and getting Voit — who leads the majors in homers — on an infield fly and then Gleyber Torres on a flyout.

“That was really the game,” Jansen said. “Saving that was huge for us. Bases loaded, no outs, coming in and getting that. There’s a lot of momentum swing right there.”

Toronto followed New York’s lead by putting its first three batters on base in the sixth. The Blue Jays took full advantage by batting around with a two-run single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Biggio’s two-run double serving as highlight blows.

The victory came a day after New York dumped Toronto 12-1.

“Today was a big game after yesterday,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “That’s what they’ve done all year — come back from top losses. It was great to see, facing another good pitcher like Tanaka, coming back tonight and scoring all those runs. A big win for us.”

New York (32-24) had four hits and a season-high four errors. The Yankees have a magic number of one to secure a second-place finish in the East Division.

Ray, who was pulled after the first two batters reached in the fifth, allowed three hits, four walks and had five strikeouts. Tanaka gave up three earned runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out five.

Jansen, who went deep off Tanaka in the fourth, added another shot in the eighth off Yankees catcher Erik Kratz, giving the Toronto backstop six homers on the season.

Toronto was a wild-card entry when it last reached the post-season four years ago. The Blue Jays went on to reach the AL Championship Series for the second straight year.

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Jays win big, magic number is 1 – Bluebird Banter

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Yankees 1 Blue Jays 14

Our magic number is now 1. A win tomorrow (or in any of our last four games) would put us into the playoffs.

It is nice when the other team forgets how to play baseball. The Yankees made 4 official errors and a few unofficial ones. They were just playing bad baseball all night.

We got a good start from Bob Rae (as much as it hurts the old man in me to say that 4+ innings is a good start). Through four innings he allowed just 2 hits and 3 walks with 5 strikeouts. There was an unearned run against him, scoring on a passed ball (he and Jansen got crossed up, Ray threw a fastball, Jansen thought something bendy was coming). He went to full counts too much, but he kept the Yankees off the bases.

Ray allowed a walk and a single to start off the fifth and that was it. A.J. Cole came in a gave up a walk to load the bases. Looking at the final score, it doesn’t seem like there should have been a big moment of the game on the pitching side, but this was a big moment. We were up 5-1 with Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Viot and Gleyber Torres coming up. But Cole got a strikeout, popout and fly out. It was nice to see because Cole has had a rough time of it lately.

Ross Stripling pitched the last four inning, giving up just 1 hit with 1 strikeout. He gets a save on a game we won by 13.


We scored 2 in the first, 1 in the third, 2 in the fourth, 8 in the sixth and 1 in the eighth. Our hitters:

  • Cavan Biggio was 2 for 5 with a walk, double and 2 RBI.
  • Bo Bichette was 2 for 4, with 2 walks, double, 2 RBI (he had 3 walks on the season before tonight).
  • Teoscar Hernandez 1 or 4.
  • Randal Grichuk 1 for 4, 1 walk, 1 RBI.
  • Vladimir Guerrero was 2 for 5, double, 3 RBI. He had an interesting night. He misjudged a popup in the first inning. Thankfully it didn’t cost us a run. He drew a pick off throw from Gary Sanchez, by taking a few steps towards second on a strike and Sanchez threw wide of first, getting us a free run. Then an crushed RBI double in third, an RBI ground out. And he made a very nice play, again a going a long way off first to get a ball, but Stripling got to the bag at first in plenty of time, and Vlad made a nice throw hitting the moving target.
  • Lourdes Gurriel was 3 for 5 with an RBI.
  • Travis Shaw was 1 for 5 with an RBI.
  • Joe Panik only managed a walk.
  • Danny Jansen hit 2 home runs on a 4 for 4 night, with 3 RBI. Yes, one of the home runs was off Yankees’ catcher Erik Kratz (but it still counts).

Jays of the Day: Cole (.119 WPA), Vlad (.190) and Jansen (.107).

No Suckage Jays. Shaw had the low mark at -.063.

Tomorrow is our last game of this four game series against the Yankees and then we have a weekend series against the Orioles to end the season.


We had 847 comments in the GameThread. I led us to victory (and I didn’t even have a beer tonight). But I did have a nice day. I took a drive out in the country and saw the changing of the colours, while avoiding the news for a day. I’d say it was a mental health day, but there really is no mental health left.

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Lightning’s Stamkos secures place in Cup lore with Game 3 goal vs. Stars – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — Seven seconds.

That’s how much time the puck spent on Steven Stamkos’s stick blade on this night, and perhaps that’s all it will spend there throughout the entirety of this Tampa Bay Lightning playoff run.

That’s all the hard-luck captain needed to secure his place in Stanley Cup lore. Seven freaking seconds.

Somehow, after spending 60 days as a practice-only player inside the NHL bubble and going 210 days between games, Stamkos scored the biggest goal of a career overflowing with them.

He was in full stride down the right boards when Victor Hedman hit him in the neutral zone. He blew past Esa Lindell, who defended the play poorly and managed to settle a bouncing puck in time to tuck it up under the crossbar behind Anton Khudobin.

The Lightning bench exploded. Jon Cooper said the reaction was “just a little bit louder” than any of the others during a playoff run that has included five overtime goals. The coach saw it as a sign his team wouldn’t be denied, and they weren’t while grabbing a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars with a 5-2 victory Wednesday.

“It was pretty damn cool,” said Cooper.

Stamkos called it a dream come true.

Forget the unfortunate timing of the injuries that have cost him big playoff games and a chance at playing for Team Canada at the Olympics in recent years. Just being trapped inside the bubble with no guarantee of playing would be agony for someone who has given as much to the Lightning as Stamkos.

And then to get in for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, and only be able to play five shifts and score on one of them after not playing for seven months?

Hollywood might not accept that script.

“At this time of the year, you want to do anything you can to help your team win,” said Stamkos. “I’ve watched these guys be so committed to what our end goal is, and to be part of it tonight, it was a dream come true and I’m so proud of these guys. And to be able to share that moment with them and just even be on the bench and watch how well we played tonight, I have told these guys before: It’s inspiring.

“It was great to be part of.”

Quickly, the backstory: Stamkos underwent core muscle surgery on March 2 and was supposed to be recovered in time for the second round of a normal playoffs. Then we had the COVID-19 pause, he had some kind of setback while preparing for the NHL’s return to play and the Lightning have gone on a run without him.

But he’s remained a large figure in the shadows.

You could see him dousing Brayden Point with water after he scored a quintuple overtime goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 and he was summoned to the ice to help the Lightning accept the Prince of Wales Trophy after they eliminated the New York Islanders.

Everything he had to endure in order to even play for two minutes 41 seconds of Wednesday’s game has happened behind the walls. And based on the fact he sat on the bench while not taking a shift for the final 46 minutes here suggests we might not see him in uniform again for the rest of this series.

So that goal? That was something.

“He’s worked extremely hard to get back to a spot where he could play,” said Brayden Point. “Just seeing him day in and day out — the positivity that he brings, and the leadership that he brings. It’s nice to see him work that hard to get back into the lineup. And then to score one? It’s pretty inspirational for everyone.”

Added Victor Hedman: “This is how much he means to us as a teammate and as a leader and as a friend. We were just super happy for him.”

Stamkos played six games against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Final and didn’t manage to score. In this situation, the Lightning put him on the fourth line alongside Cedric Paquette (zero goals this playoffs) and Pat Maroon (one goal this playoffs) and he produced one in limited minutes before his injury forced him to become a spectator.

What happens next will determine what this means historically.

But what it meant to Stamkos and the Lightning won’t change no matter what. He’s only going to get so many chances like this one.

“It was amazing to be a part of a huge win for us,” he said. “I was just really happy to obviously contribute in a game that I didn’t play too much.”

This was a kid who used to go to shooting school twice per week and fire 500 pucks per session. That’s a skill that endured the injuries, the layoff, everything.

It made this moment possible.

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