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Flames down Canucks in regular-season finale

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Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals and Brett Ritchie added another with two assists in a career-best three-point game as the Calgary Flames earned a 6-2 home victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in the season finale for both teams.

Dillon Dube scored a goal in a two-point outing, while Andrew Mangiapane and Connor Mackey also scored in the win, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for the Flames (26-27-3, 55 points), who finished the season winning four of five games.

Derek Ryan netted three assists for the Flames, who won seven of 10 meetings this season and finished fifth in the North Division.

Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller replied for the Canucks (23-29-4, 50 points), who ended up as the last-place team in the North. Goalie Braden Holtby stopped 22 shots.

Both teams failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Tkachuk sent the host team off and running to a three-goal opening period with his first goal at the 7:41 mark. It came on a redirect of Johnny Gaudreau’s pass from deep in the zone to run his goal-scoring streak to five games.

Dube doubled the lead at the 12:16 mark when he sped around Quinn Hughes, drove to the net and slipped the puck through Holtby’s legs for his 11th goal of the season. Mangiapane tallied in his fourth consecutive game by pouncing on a rebound for his career-best 18th goal of the season with 3:42 left in the first period.

Ritchie extended the lead to 4-0 just over five minutes into the middle period when he found the mark from the top of the slot for his fourth goal of the season, after which the Canucks finally showed life.

Horvat’s power-play goal to finish a perfect passing play — his 19th of the season — put the Canucks on the scoreboard at 8:34 of the second period, and Miller deflected Boeser’s point shot 58 seconds later to cut the lead in half.

Tkachuk quashed any Vancouver comeback hopes less than a minute later when he buried a one-timer for his 16th goal on the season. Mackey’s first NHL goal less than four minutes into the third period rounded out the scoring.

Gaudreau’s pair of assists gave him 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in a five-game point streak. Gaudreau, who struggled for much of the middle of the season, finished the season with 22 points in the last 16 games.

Dube left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. He is scheduled to play for Team Canada at the coming world championships.

-Field Level Media

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CFL to return in August

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The Canadian Football League (CFL), which saw its entire 2020 campaign wiped out by the COVID-19 outbreak, said on Monday its board of governors voted unanimously to kick off a shortened 14-game season in August.

The CFL, whose biggest source of revenue comes from ticket sales rather than TV deals like those enjoyed by larger U.S.-based leagues, also said fans will be able to return to the stands in line with provincial guidelines.

“This is an exciting day for Canadian football and for Canada itself,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a news release.

“I want to thank our fans, players, coaches, and partners for their incredible support and patience as we’ve worked together towards this day.”

The season will begin Aug. 5 while the Grey Cup championship game will be played Dec. 12 in Hamilton, Ontario.

The full schedule will be released on Tuesday along with each of the league’s nine team’s plan for distributing tickets to season ticket holders and, where government restrictions on stadium capacity allow, ticket sales to the general public.

After first delaying its 2020 season, the CFL decided to scrap it entirely following a last-ditch effort to secure financing from the Canadian government to stage a shortened campaign that would have been held entirely in Manitoba was turned down.

The CFL had previously said it would only move forward with a 2021 season if it could secure the government approvals for its plans to keep players and coaches safe and the green light to allow a “significant” number of fans to attend games.

“We are on track to receive all of the necessary health and safety approvals, thanks to our tireless medical advisers and staff, and the dedicated government officials who have been working with them,” said Ambrosie.

“And while the outlook for fans in the stands varies from province to province, we are confident that process is also on the right track.”

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Mixed Martial Arts-Door is open for YouTube’s Paul brothers in MMA

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Logan and Jake Paul would make great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, Bellator president Scott Coker has said as he targets exhibition matches featuring the YouTube personalities such as the former’s boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul went the distance, surviving eight rounds against unbeaten (50-0) five-division world boxing champion Mayweather in an exhibition on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.

USA Today reported the fight brought in one million pay per view buys with $50 million generated from sales in the United States.

It was only the second fight of Paul’s career, while his brother Jake has fought in three professional boxing matches, beating former MMA fighter Ben Askren in April.

Critics have labelled the bouts a sideshow due to the lack of sporting credibility of the duo, who made their names as social media personalities and have millions of subscribers on YouTube.

However, Coker told Reuters the brothers have impressive physiques and the door is open for them to move into MMA.

“I met with Logan Paul about two years ago and I’ve spoken to Jake Paul’s manager and Jake on a zoom call recently… The one thing I said was hey, if you want to do MMA we would love to promote you guys,” the 58-year-old said in a Zoom interview.

“These guys are young, athletic, strong and you saw the fight on Sunday night these guys they came and did their work.

“Mayweather couldn’t finish him and I know he tried, I heard he wanted to knock this kid out so bad,” he added.

“When I heard both had high school wrestling backgrounds in Ohio, which is a prominent wrestling state in the U.S., it really made me interested in pursuing them in some super fights in Mixed Martial Arts – and that door is continually open.”

HEADLINE FIGHT

Bellator, owned by Viacom, is gearing up for a busy month of events, starting with Bellator 260 on Friday with the headline fight between reigning welterweight world champion Douglas Lima and the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov.

However, super fights and exhibitions are where Coker is targeting a younger audience.

“My 14-year-old niece, I told her I was going to the Logan Paul fight and she thought that was the greatest thing,” he said.

“She asked me who he was fighting and I said Floyd Mayweather and she said ‘who’s that?’ – I thought wow, she doesn’t know boxing, she doesn’t know MMA, she’s just a 14-year-old girl on the internet doing what they do.”

As the sporting world gears up for the delayed Tokyo Olympics starting in July, Coker believes MMA will feature in future Games.

“When you think about mixed martial arts, what you’re talking about is boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, karate – those are all Olympic sports,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t mixed martial arts eventually get into the Olympics because six out of the seven disciplines MMA is known to use really is already there.

“There’d be a lot of details to work out but to me I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Wednesday, after the 2020 event Canada was to host was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The championships will return to Montreal from March 18-24, marking the 11th time Canada has staged the event.

“Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montreal,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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