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Dramatic 48 hours sets up Canadiens’ Petry for career game vs. Panthers – Sportsnet.ca

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MONTREAL — It wasn’t so much that Jeff Petry had a career-high four points, assisting on all four goals the Montreal Canadiens scored in a matinee win over the Florida Panthers, as much as it was that he did it under the type of chaotic and highly distracting circumstances we almost never hear about.

The drama started in the lead up to Montreal’s 3-1 win in Buffalo over the Sabres on Thursday. Petry was taking his pre-game nap when his phone started vibrating on his hotel nightstand. It was his wife calling and she was in a panic.

“Usually Julie never calls me, so I heard my phone vibrate and saw that she was calling,” Petry said after Saturday’s game. “So chances are it wasn’t something good.”

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Julie Petry was driving on the inbound highway to Montreal from the south shore, en route to meet her four-year-old son Boyd at the Montreal Children’s Hospital because he had suffered an allergic reaction. Boyd, who was at daycare, was given an EpiPen to control the reaction and then he was placed in an ambulance.

Can you imagine how helpless Jeff felt as he made his way to KeyBank Arena?

It wasn’t until an hour or so later, after the Canadiens held their standard pre-game meeting, that he received an update from Julie that Boyd was being looked after and being held under observation before being released.

A short while later Jeff received a message from Julie that she and Boyd were on their way home and all was well again. He went on to play 24:04 in the win against the Sabres.

When he came off the ice, a message from Julie was waiting for him.

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“She says ‘Call me, ASAP,” Jeff recalled.

He assumed Boyd might have had a flare up, but as Julie explained, when she and the couple’s eldest arrived back at their home, their middle child — two-year-old Barrett — was so excited to see them that he tripped down the stairs and broke his arm.

They packed back into the car drove straight back to the emergency room.

“That was wild,” Petry said.

But with Boyd feeling better, and with Barrett now accustomed to life in a cast, he came to the Bell Centre on Saturday prepared to play the team’s biggest game of the season—against a Florida team that was eight points up in the standings and sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Not only did Petry notch four assists and earn the game’s first star, he helped the Canadiens control 85 per cent of the shot attempts in his 15:45 at even strength. He also helped them kill five third-period penalties and took the shot that was tipped by Brendan Gallagher for their only power-play goal of the game.

If Petry had played so well with all the distractions he had to deal with over the last 48 hours, he believes it’s in part because he’s had to perform with distraction hanging over his head for most of the last month.

With the Canadiens dipping in the standings, Petry’s name has been circulating in the rumour mill. Even if he knows it’s because several teams will be interested in his services as a strong, right-handed defenceman who averages over 23 minutes per game, who’s on pace to beat his career high 46 points in 82 games last season and still has one year left on his contract at a digestible $5.5-million cap hit—and not because Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is actively shopping him—it doesn’t make it any easier to play.

As he put it, “I think there’s obviously some things that you hear throughout the media with stories coming out about different players, but you can have a horrible game and not many people know what’s really going on if there is something going on. So, it obviously does play a role in things. Something happens at home and then you go out and play. You’re the only one that really knows about it.”

What we know is that Petry has a 15-team no-trade list that was submitted to the Canadiens long ago and that he hasn’t been approached by Bergevin to waive it.

For what it’s worth, the six-foot-three Michigan native doesn’t want to go anywhere.

“From the day I got here, it’s been a special place for me here,” Petry said. “Getting to play in the playoffs for the first time here was incredible and I honestly believe I don’t think there’s a better place to win than it would be here. I think, like I said, we have our work cut out for us this year. But I still believe this group can do it.”

If Carey Price continues to play like he did on Saturday, it will improve Montreal’s odds.

Price came up with 29 saves, including 17 in the third period, and passed Ken Dryden for third place on the Canadiens’ all-time shutout list.

The Canadiens also got goals from Nick Suzuki, Artturi Lehkonen and Tomas Tatar and Price qualified their performance as “a good team effort.”

But without Petry’s standout game, it would have been a different story.

“He’s part of that—when we talk about a core group—every team has a core group (and) he’s part of that group,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. “That says a lot about him. Not just us as coaches, but even his teammates see him as a leader, and we make him part of that core group that sometimes coaches lean on and try and get a feel for certain things. So he’s part of that. He’s also got a letter on his jersey when there’s some injuries, so that kind of stuff. So we consider [him] definitely as a leader, as well.”

You have to think the odds are that Petry will continue to be one with the Canadiens for the foreseeable future.

The team might fall further back in the race, but Petry’s not a player they can easily replace and they know it.

“Obviously I’m not the GM, but I would never trade Jeff Petry,” said teammate Max Domi. “He’s so valuable, he’s one of the best skaters in the NHL on the back end. You look how smooth he is out there, and the stuff he can do with the puck too—he’s feeling it. He’s a tough man to stop, so he’s a big part of our hockey team.”

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Bedard, Fantilli headline Canada’s selection camp roster for 2023 World Juniors – Sportsnet.ca

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Recap: Brazil vs South Korea – World Cup 2022 – Al Jazeera English

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Neymar has returned from injury to help Brazil thump South Korea 4-1, setting up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia.

Four unanswered Brazilian goals in the first half at Stadium 974 on Monday set an imperious tone for a team with their sights firmly on a sixth World Cup title.

And while the game settled in the second period, it was never sluggish or scrappy, and a spirited South Korea fought hard to score a consolation goal in the 76th minute.

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It took just seven minutes for Brazil to get off the mark, with Raphinha picking up the ball just outside the box and rushing in on the right side, sending in a pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain number 10 was brought down by his marker and the ball ended up at the feet of Vinicius Jr, in acres of space.

The Real Madrid star steadied himself before placing it to the right of Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean goal.

Brazil celebrating their third goal, with goalscorer Richarlison in the centre [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Just three minutes later, Richarlison was brought down by Jung Woo-young inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar, who had reportedly flown his barber out to Qatar to dye his hair blonde following previous victories over South Korea with bleached hair, wasted no time in slotting it into the bottom-right of the net. Brazil was up two-nil with less than 15 minutes on the clock.

South Korea had their share of chances, with Hwang Hee-chan, fresh off scoring the winner against Portugal, having a go from a distance but sending the ball comfortably over the bar. Moments later, Allison was forced to make a diving save to his left, his first save of the tournament.

But Paolo Bento’s men were simply outclassed in every part of the pitch.

A remarkable piece of skill in the 26th minute saw Richarlison juggling the ball, heading it to himself three times while evading defenders on the edge of the South Korean box. He then passed the ball before running through on goal to receive the return, firing the ball in for Brazil’s third.

Just 10 minutes later, Vinicius Jr set up Lucas Paqueta with a cheeky chip, and the midfielder shot low and right. Kim Seung-gyu could do little but look at the ball nestling in the back of the net.

With four goals before half-time, Brazil was putting down a marker for any teams who think they might have a chance of lifting the trophy on December 18.

Son Heung-min nearly clawed one back for South Korea straight after the restart, but Alisson — who must, through this game alone, be in contention for the Golden Glove — got enough of his arm onto the shot to tip it wide.

Faced with the intensity of Brazil’s onslaught, South Korea tried to slow the game, but more chances for Raphinha and Vinicius Jr followed despite the best efforts of the men in red.

Then came the 77th minute, and out of nowhere, Paik Seung-ho scored from outside the box. A free kick for South Korea was bundled clear by the Brazilian defence, falling to Paik, who belted it past Alisson’s dive to find the top-right corner. Finally, the South Korean fans had something to cheer about.

South Korea continued to work hard in defence and create chances in attack, but that goal was to be their only score, and they head home having been soundly beaten by one of the best teams in the world.

Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals at Education City on Friday.

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Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson reveal pro Canadian women's soccer league set for kickoff in 2025 – CBC Sports

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Professional women’s soccer is coming to Canada.

Christine Sinclair and former national teammate Diana Matheson announced on Monday plans to kick off a domestic professional women’s league in 2025, featuring eight teams throughout Canada.

The two players sat down with The National‘s Adrienne Arsenault to reveal the news.

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After the duo helped Canada capture bronze at the 2012 Olympics — Matheson scored the medal-clinching goal — Sinclair expected progress. After all, the team had just snapped Canada’s 108-year podium drought in the sport.

“I really thought that 2012 was going to be a turning point for this country in bringing professional soccer home,” Sinclair told Arsenault. “But it never happened. And there’s still no pathways within this country.”

And so, a decade later, Sinclair and Matheson took matters into their own hands.

The still unnamed league would begin in April 2025 with an inaugural champion crowned sometime in the fall. Each team will have at least one Canadian international, and the goal is to bring home about half of the over-100 Canadians currently playing abroad.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler examines absence of top domestic women’s league:

Canada’s greatest athletes still without a domestic league of their own

2 months ago

Duration 2:53

Host Signa Butler explains the landscape of women’s sports leagues in Canada, as some of the country’s best athletes are without a league in their own backyard.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Calgary Foothills Soccer Club are confirmed as the first two teams to join the upstart league.

“Whitecaps FC are thrilled to be one of the first teams to sign on to a professional women’s soccer league in Canada,” said Stephanie Labbe, Whitecaps FC general manager of women’s soccer. “The creation of this league is something we have been advocating for over many years, and to be part of seeing it come to fruition is truly exciting.”

The league is being built by Matheson and her business partners at Project 8 Sports Inc. Sinclair, soccer’s all-time international scoring leader, is on board as an official advisor.

“The whole idea behind this is to aim high. And like, if you’re not, what’s the point?” Sinclair said.

“So let’s go out from the get-go and compete with the best leagues in the world and bring in the top talent. And yeah, have 10 year olds watching a game that 10 years later is on the Whitecaps, for instance. That would be my dream.”

Matheson, who retired from playing in July 2021, has visions of the league pushing the entire Canadian women’s sports infrastructure forward.

“It’s health and wellness. It’s confidence. It’s tied with better academics. There’s a huge tie between women in sport and women in business,” Matheson said. “And this is about soccer, but it’s about the coaches, it’s about the referees, it’s about women in executive roles in sport.”

Part of that women’s sports fabric comes down to marketing like jersey sales. Sinclair said she can’t even get her hands on her own jersey to gift to her niece.

“I don’t know if they exist,” Sinclair said.

Pursuing diversity

Matheson, 38, said she’s been working on obtaining her Master of Business Administration, as well as partaking in UEFA programming. She’s hoping the league becomes a Canada Soccer member by 2023, with full sanctioning by 2024

Sinclair, left, and Matheson, right, at the 2012 Olympics. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

She said Air Canada and CIBC are already on board as sponsors, and that it’s especially important to have the right team owners involved in the league.

“One of the things is having more diversity to begin with — more women, diverse voices to begin with, more players voices to begin with. And that’s top to bottom. I want women owners, women in the executive, women’s player voices as part of this,” Matheson said.

The Oakville, Ont., native made the case that the buy-in, which is expected to be between $8-10 million, is a worthwhile investment, noting that National Women’s Soccer League clubs, which were bought for $150,000 US 10 years ago, are now valued at a minimum of $35 million US. The Orlando NWSL franchise was purchased in 2021 for about $400 million US.

Matheson said her league can compete with average player salaries across the world right now.

“We just have way more opportunities to monetize our own brand. Players can do appearances, they can work with companies, they can run camps in a way that they just can’t when they’re playing in Italy and England,” she said.

Another point of importance for Matheson and Sinclair is ensuring players in their league are protected. Reports of abuse in the NWSL last season resulted in the resignation of half of the league’s coaches.

Sinclair is captain of the Portland Thorns, whose CEO Merrit Paulson stepped down in October following reports of systemic emotional and verbal abuse, as well as sexual misconduct.

“[It’s] unfortunate just how women are treated and taken advantage of. That’s why we need women owners. We need female executives,” Sinclair said.

Added Matheson: “It’s training, it’s vetting, it’s independent reporting systems. And for us, that’s going to mean working with those groups that are really good at doing those things.”

Sinclair autographs a fan’s ball during a men’s World Cup watch party in Toronto in November. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press)

Establishing pathways

At its crux, though, the league intends to establish pathways for young Canadian women to stay in soccer and work their way onto the national team — to foster future generations so that one day they could get their golden moment like Sinclair had in 2021 in Tokyo.

“It’s time to change the narrative and inspire the next group,” Matheson said. “I believe kids need to see it to believe that it’s possible to happen. And with the launch of this league, kids will be able to go into their own backyard and watch their heroes play and dream of one day representing their hometown professional club and maybe representing Canada.”

Sinclair said she was once one of those kids, watching the 1999 World Cup with a dream to be on that pitch herself one day.

23 years later, the Burnaby, B.C., native has accomplished nearly everything she could in her sport.

“We’ve inspired Canadians on the podium,” Sinclair said. “Now it’s time to actually make an impactful difference here in Canada.”

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