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Foles carted off late as Bears fall to Vikings in sloppy affair – Sportsnet.ca

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CHICAGO — Kirk Cousins will take a victory any day of the week. That he finally got one on a Monday night didn’t seem to matter.

Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings overcame a 104-yard kickoff return by Chicago’s Cordarrelle Patterson to beat the Bears 19-13.

Cousins won for the first time in 10 career Monday night starts. He hit Adam Thielen with a 6-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota ahead by the final margin, and the Vikings (4-5) held on for their third straight win. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against Chicago (5-5).

“Great to get a win,” Cousins said. “We’ll try to keep building on it now, and it’ll be so important to keep stringing these together if we can. That’s really what the rest of the season will be all about.”

Bears quarterback Nick Foles got taken from the field on a cart in the game’s final minute. Coach Matt Nagy said Foles’ leg and hip were being evaluated after he got slammed on his right side by Minnesota’s Ifeadi Odenigbo as he threw the ball away.

Patterson joined Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington as the only players with eight kick returns for touchdowns when he ran back the opening kickoff of the second half to give Chicago a 13-7 lead. It was the longest kickoff return in franchise history, surpassing Gale Sayers’ 103-yarder against Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, 1967.

Patterson had all the room he needed as he sprinted up the sideline and raised two fingers as he closed in on the end zone.

“I don’t know what I did, man. I was blacked out at the time,” Patterson said.

The record return was the lone bright spot for the Bears as they lost their fourth in a row and matched their longest skid since Nagy was hired in 2018.

Cousins completed 25 of 36 passes with two touchdowns to Thielen, who has nine on the season. His one-handed TD grab in the first quarter was particularly impressive.

Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook ran for 96 yards on 30 attempts. Justin Jefferson caught eight passes for 135 yards and tied Randy Moss’ club rookie record with his fourth 100-yard receiving game.

The defence did not allow an offensive touchdown for the first time in 20 games, including the playoffs, and the Vikings won for just the fourth time in 18 games at Soldier Field since it reopened in 2003 following renovations.

“It’s a goofy year for everybody,” said Harrison Smith, who had an interception. “We’re starting to have a little bit of a feeling of how to make our own energy and our own confidence. I think we’re starting to figure it out a little bit.”

STRUGGLING Offence

With offensive co-ordinator Bill Lazor calling the plays after Nagy handed off those duties in an effort to lift a unit that ranks near the bottom of the NFL, the Bears managed 149 yards. It was their lowest total since they had 147 against San Francisco on Dec. 3, 2017.

“We need to make sure that we’re really honestly going back now and saying OK, what’s going on, where are we at now that we have some time to really see,” Nagy said.

Foles threw for 106 yards and an interception. It was a far cry from his previous start against the Vikings, when he led Philadelphia past them in the NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title in 2018.

Khalil Mack had his first interception since 2018. But the fading Bears came out flat again on a Monday night; they were dominated by the Rams in Los Angeles last month. And to left tackle Charles Leno Jr., that makes it even worse.

“Disappointment,” he said. “A lot of emotions, negative emotions right now. We’ve got to process. We know it’s two Monday Nights we didn’t perform well. It’s just frustrating.”

RETURN, REGROUP

The Bears led 13-7 when Chicago’s Dwayne Harris muffed a punt. The Vikings’ Josh Metellus recovered at the 20, leading to Dan Bailey’s 37-yard field goal. Bailey added a tying 43-yarder with just under two minutes left in the third.

QUOTABLE

“Yes.” — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on whether the struggling specials are aging him.

INJURIES

Vikings: The Vikings were without TE Irv Smith Jr. (groin) and CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion).

Bears: Besides Foles, DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring) and Harris (triceps) were injured.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Host Dallas on Sunday.

Bears: Have a bye, then visit Green Bay on Nov. 29.

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Fred Sasakamoose, one of NHL's first Indigenous players, dies after COVID-19 diagnosis – CTV News Saskatoon

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SASKATOON —
Fred Sasakamoose, the first Indigenous hockey player from Saskatchewan to make it to the NHL, died Tuesday after falling ill with COVID-19, his son said. 

“He was a grassroots guy. He wasn’t he wasn’t a suit and tie. He didn’t belong there. He knew where he belonged. He belonged with his people on the reserve. He belonged with local people in small towns,” Neil Sasakamoose said in a video update posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

Sasakamoose had been admitted to hospital for treatment for COVID-19 last week. Neil Sasakamoose said he died around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

“He was able to survive about (five days after) going into the hospital and just the COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn’t keep responding,” he said.

“When I talked to him, I asked him how he is feeling, if he was scared. He said, ‘I’m not scared.’ He said ‘I’m ready to go. If you gotta go, I’m gonna go.’ I said ‘You know what, Dad? If you’re tired, you go. You go and don’t worry about us over here.'” 

Sasakamoose is from Big River First Nation and lived on on Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation.

“He had some good, good strengths about that old guy,” Neil Sasakamoose said.

“He believed in his in his culture, his language, his people. He believed in us getting along with non-native people, races around the world. He believed in a lot of good qualities of what we should be striving for.”

Sasakamoose had been admitted to hospital for treatment for COVID-19.

In the video he asked people to comply with health orders and listen to political leaders to protect others during the wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“And if you have any sincerity towards other people, just keep quiet about the way you talk about anti-masking and that. I lost a father now too. We lose a grandparent and a parent just because of stubbornness and silliness and selfishness.”

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Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at 86 – NHL.com

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Sasakamoose, who had lived on the Ahathkakoop Cree Nation reserve in Saskatchewan, was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 19 and the test came back positive two days later, according to his son, Neil Sasakamoose.

He received antibiotics intravenously and was placed on oxygen, but his lungs could not recover, his son said.

“This COVID virus just did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn’t keep responding, his body just couldn’t keep up,” Neil said in a video posted on Facebook. “When I talked to him, I asked him how he was feeling, if he was scared. He said, ‘I’m not scared, I’m ready to go, if I gotta go, I’m going to go.’ I said, ‘You know what, Dad? If you’re tired, you go. You go and don’t worry about us over here.'”

Sasakamoose did not have a point in 11 games with the Black Hawks in 1953-54.

“Only 125 hockey players and six teams, and I was one of them,” he told Global News in 2018.

Family, friends and the hockey world mourned the loss of a man who overcame Canada’s abusive residential school system to become the first Indigenous player with treaty status in the NHL.

“Fred Sasakamoose was a Canadian original who attained one of his life goals at the age of 19, by becoming the first Cree player to appear in an NHL game, and then dedicated the rest of his long life to serving the First Nations community — using hockey and other sports to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The story of Sasakamoose’s groundbreaking, 11-game NHL career with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1953-54 was the culmination of years of dedication to overcoming adversity in pursuit of a dream, and the pivot point at which he turned his focus to helping others pursue their dreams.

“On a personal note, I will always treasure meeting Fred at the 2019 Heritage Classic in his native Saskatchewan, getting to spend some precious time getting to know him and the gift he gave me that day — a statue depicting his NHL rookie card. The National Hockey League mourns the passing of this special man and sends its condolences to his family and the countless young men and women of the First Nations community whose lives he touched.”

Sasakamoose’s NHL career was brief, but he blazed a trail for players and coaches of Indigenous heritage, including Carey Price, Jordin Tootoo, Bryan Trottier, Reggie Leach, George Armstrong, Ted Nolan, Craig Berube, Sheldon Souray, Gino Odjick and Theo Fleury.

Trottier, a Hockey Hall of Fame center who scored 1,425 points (524 goals, 901 assists) for the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins and won six Stanley Cup championships, called Sasakamoose “a pioneer, somebody looked at with First Nation blood who was an achiever, broke barriers.

“He didn’t realize how inspiring he was, which makes him a humble man, which, to me, is much like Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe and all of those guys who we hold in such high regard.”

Leach, who scored 666 points (381 goals, 285 assists) in 934 games with the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings and was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the 1976 Stanley Cup Playoffs, said he didn’t know about Sasakamoose until he was 16 and playing junior hockey in Flin Flon, Manitoba.

Leach said that when he learned Sasakamoose was First Nation, he was instilled with pride.

“He was one of the players that we wanted to be like him and play in the National Hockey League,” Leach said. “He accomplished his goal and that was a big feat at that time in the 50s, being First Nation and playing in the NHL. If you think back, it’s unbelievable the things he had to go through and what he went through going to residential school and accomplishing what he did. It’s just amazing.”

Sasakamoose made his NHL debut Nov. 20, 1953, against the Boston Bruins and played against the Toronto Maple Leafs two days later. He was then sent back to junior but was informed on the night of his final game with Moose Jaw of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League that the Black Hawks wanted him to report for a game at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 27, 1954. 

“That night. I was on that train,” he told the Edmonton Sun in March 2014. “Going to Toronto. Going to play. Three days on a train. I don’t know how the word got out that fast that there was an Indian going to play. 

“I was warming up on the ice, and somebody skated up to me and said, ‘Somebody wants to talk to you over there.’ I’d never seen (broadcaster) Foster Hewitt in my life. He was just on the radio. He said, ‘How do you pronounce your name?’ … It was big news. It was a big deal. I was an Indian with an Indian on my sweater.” 

Sasakamoose went to training camp with the Black Hawks in 1954 but was sent to the minors. He played minor and senior hockey until retiring in 1960.

“Today we lost a luminary in the hockey world with the passing of Fred Sasakamoose,” the Blackhawks said in a statement. “Fred inspired many across the sport and throughout North America after becoming one of the first Indigenous-born athletes to play in the National Hockey League when he played 11 games with the Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season. Fred’s family spoke of his love for his culture, his people and his language. That lasting impact of his legacy will forever be celebrated and continue to bring people together for generations to come. 

“To the entire Sasakamoose family that includes his wife, Loretta, four children and over 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the Chicago Blackhawks organization extends our deepest condolences.”

After his playing career was over, Sasakamoose returned home to the Ahathkakoop First Nation to help give others the same kind of opportunities he received. He worked to build and develop minor hockey and other sports in the community. Tournaments, leagues and sports days followed as a result of these initiatives, as well as the Saskatchewan Indian Summer and Winter Games. Sasakamoose also was on the NHL Diversity Task Force as well as the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

Sasakamoose had a long, difficult path to the NHL, which included being taken from his family’s home and shipped to the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. The school was part of a government-sponsored, religious education system designed to assimilate the country’s Indigenous children. The schools, which began in the 1880s and closed in 1996, were rife with abuse.

But Sasakamoose never abandoned his language, cultural beliefs or way of life. He testified before Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2012 about his experiences at the residential school.

He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. The Blackhawks honored him in November 2002, and the Edmonton Oilers did the same in 2014 as part of their Celebration of First Nations Hockey, with Sasakamoose performing the ceremonial puck drop before a game against the New York Rangers. In 2017, Sasakamoose was invested in the Order of Canada, an honor that recognizes Canadian citizens for outstanding achievement, dedication to community or service to the nation.

Sasakamoose’s death came a week after he finished the final edits on his memoir. “Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player” is scheduled for release April 6.

“At least his story is documented and now it’s done,” Neil said.

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Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dead at 86 – CBC.ca

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Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League, has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

He was 86 years old. 

Sasakamoose’s son, Neil Sasakamoose, said in a video on Facebook that his father had died Tuesday afternoon, five days after he was admitted to the hospital.

“The COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn’t keep responding,” Neil said. “He just couldn’t keep up.”

During his NHL career, Fred played 11 games with Chicago during the 1953-54 season, splitting time with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League.

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