KINGSTON, Ont. — Traditional handshakes still rule at the Tim Hortons Brier despite a Curling Canada suggestion for athletes to bump fists at this week’s national men’s curling championship.
The eight teams left in the field were asked by the federation on Thursday to consider using the closed-fist gesture instead, part of a reminder for players to remain vigilant about their health.
Handshaking remained the norm on the ice before and after games, even during flu season and amid heightened public concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As of Thursday evening, Ontario health officials have confirmed 23 known cases of COVID-19 in the province.
The annual Brier competition has remained business as usual for curlers, almost all of whom opted for regular handshakes before Thursday’s draws. A few players wore competition gloves and only a couple curlers opted for fist bumps or forearm taps.
“I go with whatever makes the other person comfortable,” said Alberta’s Darren Moulding. “I’m comfortable with handshakes. I wash my hands a lot. I’m not too worried, but with what’s going around maybe that’s something we have to look at.
“I’m not an alarmist-type guy. I just try to maintain good hygiene and I think most of the curlers do that.”
Curling stone handles were treated with a commercial-grade sanitizer before the competition, a Curling Canada spokesman said in an email. The treatment, which lasts two weeks, was done a second time Thursday as a precaution.
In pre-competition team advisories, Curling Canada reminded players to be vigilant on the health front. Bottles of hand sanitizer are also kept on coaching tables at ice level.
Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue said he’s comfortable with traditional player handshakes.
“I think we should continue because we had to go do autograph sessions where we’re shaking hands with hundreds of people,” Gushue said. “I think that was probably a misstep on Curling Canada’s behalf to put us in that vulnerable a situation. But for the players to shake hands, I think if we’re willing to do that we could still do it.
“Obviously you’ve got to make sure you do your due diligence and wash your hands and make sure you’re covering your coughs. All that stuff, that’s important. I think all the players realize that.”
The Brier continues through Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Video Poker and Its Difference from The Regular Poker Played at Casino
Poker is one of the most popular games to play at casinos and is enjoyed by millions of players all over the world. One of the reasons why poker is so popular is because of all the different varieties that can be played. The most common version of poker is Texas Hold ‘Em, but you can also play five-card draw, stud poker, casino hold ‘em and video poker. Video poker is a unique version of the game that can be described as a combination of poker and slots. It’s different from regular poker in that it isn’t played against other players and because the payouts depend on the hand.
While it’s usually played in person with real cards, it can also be played online. Poker sites that offer online games have become more popular than ever, and a growing number of people are now choosing to play online. Casumo is an online casino in Canada that offers lots of exciting poker games, including regular poker and video poker. Below are some of the key differences between regular poker and video poker.
For most people, video poker is a lot easier to play than regular poker. While they share a lot of similarities, the main difference is probably that video poker is easier to understand. In regular poker, you’re playing against other players, and you need to understand the strategy to get ahead. Choosing whether to fold, raise or call can be challenging, and there’s a lot more pressure when you’re sitting at a table playing against real players.
When you play video poker, you simply press the button on the screen or the terminal to deal. You then choose which cards to keep and which to swap and try to create the best poker hand. The game plays in the same way as five-card draw, only it’s all electronic. That means there’s no waiting for other players or deciding on the correct strategy.
In poker, payouts can vary quite a lot, as they’ll depend on how much each player adds to the pot. Different tables will have different big and small blind amounts, and these will also change later on in the game. For tournaments, buy-ins can vary quite a bit. Sometimes, they’re free to enter, while others will cost thousands of dollars for a single entry. On the other hand, video poker displays its payouts on the pay-table, showing just how much, you can win.
Unlike regular poker, where you win the pot by beating the other players, the payout in video poker is determined by your hand. If you have Jacks or better, you’ll win the lowest amount, while a royal flush will win the highest. For most video poker games, the royal flush awards a huge payout of 800x your stake. One thing to note is that for some games, the higher payout is only available for maximum stake bets. So, if you’re betting less than the maximum, it could be lower than 800x.
In regular poker, you need to wait for each player to choose an action before you can make yours. If you’re playing online, there’s normally a time to speed things up, but it’s still time that you’ll be sitting and waiting around. This isn’t the case with video poker, where the cards are instantly dealt to you when you press the button. There’s no waiting for a dealer to shuffle or any other players to make their decision because there aren’t any. As soon as you press the button, you’ll see your cards appear and can plan out whether you want to keep them or draw new ones.
Families of Flight PS752 victims call for cancellation of soccer match with Iran – CBC News
Families who lost loved ones in the destruction of Flight PS752 are demanding that Canada Soccer abandon its plan to host Iran for a men’s soccer friendly next month in Vancouver.
The families call the planned match a slap in the face and say they want the federal government to refuse to grant visas to Iranian soccer players and those travelling with the team.
“They have no understanding, they have no sympathy, they have no hearts, in my opinion, Canada Soccer,” said Hamed Esmaeilion, spokesperson for the association representing families. His wife and 9-year-old daughter died on the flight.
“I feel betrayed by the organization and betrayed by the government … This is a way to normalize the relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s called sports-washing.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukrainian jetliner with a pair of surface-to-air missiles shortly after takeoff in Tehran in 2020, killing all 176 people onboard, including 85 Canadians and permanent residents.
Iran has blamed a series of human errors for the downing of the commercial plane. Canada’s own forensic analysis found that the IRGC’s “recklessness, incompetence, and wanton disregard for human life” was to blame.
A UN special rapporteur went further, accusing Iranian authorities of multiple violations of human rights and international law in the lead-up to the missile attack and its aftermath.
The families say this soccer match opens up the border to the IRGC and they wonder whether Iranian intelligence agents will travel with the team to Canada.
Kambiz Foroohar, a journalist and strategic consultant focusing on Iran, has written that in recent decades most sports clubs in Iran have been “taken over by political or security-military organizations, with former Revolutionary guards holding the top positions.”
“Because of football’s popularity, there is significant involvement by regime insiders,” he wrote on the Middle East Institute’s website.
‘It wasn’t a very good idea’ — Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CBC News that arranging the game was not a good idea and that Canada Soccer needs to explain itself. Asked whether the federal government might refuse to grant visas to the visiting Iranian team, Trudeau did not answer.
“This was a choice by [Canada Soccer],” Trudeau told a press conference in St. John’s. “I think it wasn’t a very good idea to invite the Iranian soccer team here to Canada, but that’s something the organizer’s going to have to explain.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement that it could not comment on any specific visa requests “without written consent” due to privacy rules. It said that all visitors are “carefully screened” before coming into Canada and can be considered inadmissible for violating human or international rights, or if there are security concerns.
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacts to news of soccer match with Iran
On Tuesday, Canada Soccer issued a statement defending the decision to stage the match in Canada.
“At Canada Soccer, we believe in the power of sport and its ability to bring people from different backgrounds and political beliefs together for a common purpose,” said the statement.
“Iran is one of 32 participating member associations at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Canada Soccer continues to follow all international protocols in staging this match. We are focused on preparations for our Men’s National Team to compete on the world stage.”
The destruction of Flight PS752 isn’t the only source of questions about the planned June 5 soccer match at B.C. Place Stadium.
Discrimination against women at soccer matches
FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, ordered Iran in 2019 to allow women to access its stadiums without any restrictions. Iran promised to end its roughly 40-year ban and changed the rules on paper.
But Human Rights Watch reported that Iranian authorities stopped dozens of women on March 29 from entering a soccer stadium to watch a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying match between Iran and Lebanon.
A video on social media appears to show women in front of the stadium alleging pepper spray was used to disperse them after they already had purchased tickets to the game in the city of Mashhad.
The Iranian Football Federation later issued a statement saying that, “due to a lack of preparation,” they couldn’t accommodate women at the game and that fraudulent tickets were given out by fans.
Iranian soccer fan Sahar Khodayari, nicknamed Blue Girl, died after setting herself on fire outside a court in Tehran in 2019. Khodayari had been charged after trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man.
‘My daughter Reera loved soccer’
Esmaeilion questions why a Canadian government that takes pains to present itself as feminist would want to have anything to do with this team.
“This government claims they are a defender of women’s rights,” he said. “They invite Iranian football federation here. They have no respect for women’s rights.”
His wife Parisa Eghbalian and 9-year-old daughter Reera Esmaeilion died on Flight PS752. Reera played for the Richmond Hill Soccer Club.
“My daughter Reera loved soccer and played the sport every week,” he said. “My memory of her love for this game makes this situation even more confusing and difficult to process.”
He said there’s a double-standard at work in the soccer realm that encourages countries to sanction Russia through sports, but not Iran.
Victims’ families have written letters to Canada Soccer and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. The families say they have not received a response yet. They’re also calling on Canadian players to push back against the game.
Oilers and Flames alumni recall Battle of Alberta from playoffs past – TSN
Marty Gelinas saw the Battle of Alberta from both sides over a number of years but there’s one memory that stands out above the rest.
On April 14, 1991 during overtime of Game 6 of the Smythe Division Semifinals, Calgary Flames forward Theo Fleury picked off a Mark Messier pass in the neutral zone and beat Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr to tie the series at 3-3.
Gelinas was just 20 and in his third season as a left-winger with the Oilers, in the last playoff series they played against the Flames, back in 1991. There were plenty of goals, fights, and penalties in that seven-game series, but the former first-round draft pick will never forget Fleury’s celebration after he scored in OT to end Game 6.
Fleury slid on his knees across centre ice at the old Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, an iconic celebration that still makes highlights reels three decades later. For the home team Oilers that night, however, Fleury’s celebration was motivation for Game 7, which Edmonton won with an overtime goal of its own by Esa Tikkanen.
Gelinas, who now works in player development for the Flames, still remembers – 31 years later – the impact Fleury’s celebration had on his underdog Oilers team.
“I remember Theo Fleury coming in our building in Edmonton and he scored a goal in overtime and went the full length of his ice and got on his knees and celebrated,” Gelinas recalled. “You know, those things fuel up the opposite team and it fuelled us up. We went there to Calgary in Game 7…that goal [by Fleury] stuck with us.”
Gelinas, now 51, spent parts of five seasons with the Oilers (and was part of the return for Wayne Gretzky when No. 99 was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings on Aug. 9, 1988), and also scored several big goals for the Flames during their 2004 run to the Stanley Cup Final.
In the old Smythe Division, postseason Battles Of Alberta were not once-in-a-generation events, but almost an annual rite of spring. Between the 1982-83 and 1990-91 seasons, the two teams met in the playoffs five times, with the Oilers winning four of the meetings.
“I think it was more or less the cities that were excited that the two teams were always facing off back then,” Joel Otto, who was a big rugged centre for those Flames teams, told TSN.
“Having bragging rights is a big thing out here in Alberta. Unfortunately Edmonton got the better of us more often than not, but they were some memorable series and we are all looking forward to this round. It’s been a long time coming.”
In those days, the Alberta rivals would play each other up to 16 times during the regular season – and that built-up animosity would carry over into the postseason. For the now 60-year-old Otto, the physicality of those rounds stands out.
“I do remember the ‘91 playoffs was very physical,” he said. “I kept saying after the fact that I’d never been hit that hard so many times. Edmonton had a pretty big defence. That was how the game was played.”
He isn’t alone.
“There was a lot of hate involved,” former Flames goalie Mike Vernon said. “I was fortunate enough to play in the ‘86 series and it was just mayhem. Even the trainers got into it, hopping over the glass to get a stick that was thrown in the crowd. There was a lot going on. It was probably a lot more physicality.”
“It was a jungle out there,” said Gelinas.
While the games were raucous on the ice, the fans were cordial off it.
“The fans were very respectful,” Otto said. “They were awesome…the passion from the fans for the most part was the same, it’s just the stakes are higher during the playoffs.”
Vernon agreed, although he did have one intense experience involving Flames fans in Edmonton.
“One time, I made the mistake on an off-day of going to the golf course and hitting some balls on the range,” he said. “My own fans were like, ‘Shouldn’t you be practising? Shouldn’t you be doing this? Shouldn’t you be doing that?’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m out of here.’”
Vernon, now 59, also remembers the gamesmanship.
“The coaches don’t say much, they hide things, they say things that are off the wall, and you’re scratching your head,” he said. “It’s all about keeping your team focused in what their job is on the ice.”
Vernon, being from Calgary, felt the extra pressure of shining against the provincial rivals.
“There’s a lot of excitement about it but there’s also that pressure,” he said. “Grant Fuhr was the same way [growing up in Edmonton]. Patrick Roy played for the Montreal Canadiens and he grew up in Montreal. It adds a lot of pressure, there’s no doubt. That’s just part of the game. That’s what drives us a bit and maybe forces us to play better. Us three, we had longevity in the NHL. It also pushed us to be better players, I believe.”
Alumni from both teams will no doubt be watching as this second-round series unfolds starting Wednesday in Calgary, and a new chapter of the Battle Of Alberta is written.
“I anticipate good hockey but very physical,” Vernon said. “I think that with the two-referee system, you can’t get away with anything on the ice. I think discipline is going to be a big key in this. Teams don’t want to be in the penalty box. Both teams have great power plays…I think both teams are going to play very cautiously from that standpoint so you’ll just see good hits. You’ll see great hockey. It’s a given.”
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