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Hornets Interested In Trading For Russell Westbrook – RealGM.com

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The Charlotte Hornets have emerged as a potential trade partner with the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook. Charlotte owns the No. 3 overall pick in next week’s draft.

Westbrook is seeking a trade from the Rockets. Westbrook has three seasons and $132 million remaining on his deal.

Westbrook endorses Jordan Brand.

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Roller derby star Jean Porter was known for her speed and beauty – The Globe and Mail

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Roller derby Hall-of-Famer Jean Porter.

Courtesy of the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame & Museum

Jean Porter relied on grace and speed to zip past larger roller derby opponents with such nicknames as Slugger, Toughie and Big Red.

The petite Ms. Porter, who has died at 90, was a dervish on the professional circuit’s banked wooden ovals. A moon-faced beauty with jet-black eyes and a flawless complexion, her photograph appeared in newspapers across the continent as well as in such magazines as Life, Collier’s, and Picture Post. Fans of the sport voted her Roller Derby Beauty Queen in 1955 and she was runner-up for the title in the following two seasons.

She portrayed herself as the ingénue in Roller Derby Girl, a five-minute film released in 1949 about a rookie skater in the burgeoning sport. The Paramount Pacemaker featurette, which promised “sock ‘em thrills & spills” in its billing, was screened along with cartoons and newsreels before main features at cinemas across North America. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950.

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The skater was a fan favourite in the sport as an undersized underdog who tried to avoid the elbows, knees and, sometimes, fists of rivals. At a top speed of 35 miles per hour (56 kilometres an hour), collisions were common, injuries a part of the job.

“You get a lot of elbows in the ribs,” she told the Vancouver Sun in 1959. “Pinching is the best trick but you have to watch that the referees don’t see you.”

In the unsubtle marketing of the era, Ms. Porter’s Mohawk-Oneida ancestry was promoted in programs. She was photographed wearing a feather in a headband. Newspaper accounts typically described accounts of her races with such words as “warpath,” “war whoops” and other racist tropes owing more to Hollywood fiction than her own proud heritage.

Jean Helen Porter was born on the Six Nations reserve in Ontario at Ohsweken, a village near Brantford, on Jan. 31, 1930, to the former Marjorie John and MacDonald (Mack) Porter. She was raised in Buffalo, N.Y., where her father was a mechanic and automobile spray painter while her mother was a homemaker and a sewer with Broadway Knitting Mills.

The infant girl spent her first few summers on the rodeo circuit, as her parents joined a country-and-western band led by her maternal grandfather, Thomas John, a sapper with the Canadian Expeditionary Force who was shot and wounded on the Western Front in the First World War. (The family later changed the spelling of their name to Johns.)

In 1946, the self-described tomboy, whose brothers played baseball and lacrosse, became enamoured with roller derby after her family watched a match in Buffalo. She had a successful tryout and was invited to join the circuit for training in Chattanooga, Tenn. Her mother, who at first disapproved of her daughter’s wishes but later became a convert, accompanied her, soon after leaving her in the care of a house mother who cooked and chaperoned underaged skaters.

After a few weeks of training, Ms. Porter took part in her first match at the North Side Coliseum in Fort Worth, Tex.

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She learned to skate with her left arm behind her back, which helped her take deep breaths to ease the symptoms of asthma and allergies. She chewed gum to keep her mouth moist as the track’s green slate paint was churned into dust by skaters’ wheels. More importantly, in terms of self-preservation, she learned a valuable and venerable lesson, as she recounted in a memoir on a website run by the former skater Loretta (Little Iodine) Behrens. Said Ms. Porter: “‘Do unto others’ became a motto.”

Roller derby originated as a gruelling endurance event created by Leo Seltzer during the Depression. The writer Damon Runyon helped transform the exhibition into a sport by composing rules in which contact was allowed and points scored for passing other skaters. After a wartime lull, the fast-paced, thrill-a-minute showbiz sport with mixed co-ed teams became a phenomenon driven by exposure on the new medium of television. The razzle-dazzle of the spectacle lured to trackside such movie and television stars as Jimmy Durante, Eleanor Powell, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Milton Berle.

The legal mayhem was occasionally interrupted by a resort to fisticuffs, as happened in a 1951 match in Boston when hometown favourite Ms. Porter, said to have an “atomic temper,” battled rival Annis (Big Red) Jensen. “While coasting round a corner in the sixth (period), Miss Jensen gave Miss Porter an elbow,” the Boston Globe reported. “Miss Porter retaliated with an elbow and a knee. Then fur began to fly. Some solid blows were landed before the referees pulled them apart. Both were fined $10.”

In a 1960 contest at the Mutual Street Arena in Toronto, Ms. Porter and Judy McGuire engaged in a “fist-swinging, hair-pulling duel,” according to a report in The Globe and Mail.

At five-foot-three, 114-pounds (or four-foot-eleven½ and 103 pounds if you believe some of the ballyhoo), Ms. Porter relied on speed and guile to avoid the brutal ferocity employed by such rivals as Annabelle (Slugger) Kealey, Midge (Toughie) Brasuhn, and Ann Calvello, the Queen of Mean.

Ms. Porter, right, and rival Midge (Toughie) Brasuhn.

Courtesy of the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame & Museum

Concussions were common, as were cuts and bruises, not to mention broken bones, including legs, arms, fingers and even vertebrae. Sometimes, skaters were poleaxed into the guardrails surrounding the track. The unlucky caught a wheel in the treacherous gap separating the track from the out-of-bounds infield.

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In a 17-year career, mostly spent as a jammer, a skater who attempts to lap the other team, Ms. Porter skated for such teams as the Jersey Jolters and Los Angeles Thunderbirds. She also wore the uniforms of the Chiefs, Ravens, and Braves.

Ms. Porter’s naturally demure character served her well in a sport where those who defied traditional notions of femininity were more often portrayed as villains.

“Because of my being Indian, you had to be good, and never draw attention to ourselves,” she once said.

Ms. Porter married Jolters teammate Don (Jughead) Lewis in Buffalo in 1949. They had a daughter and later separated. She retained her maiden name as a competitor.

After leaving the circuit, she worked as a stone setter for a Buffalo jeweller for 19 years. She was a long-time volunteer as a bingo runner and served on the board of directors of the Fort Erie (Ont.) Native Friendship Centre, where she was also known for baking scones and fry bread, while her strawberry shortcake was a popular treat at the centre’s annual mid-winter powwow.

Ms. Porter died on Sept. 8 at St. Catharines (Ont.) General Hospital, about three weeks after abdominal surgery. She leaves common-law husband Roger Werner and a sister, Faye. She was predeceased by a daughter, Linda Dale Lewis, who died of a blood disorder as a teenager in 1969. She was also predeceased by a sister, Carol; as well as brothers Raymond, a U.S. Army veteran of the Second World War; Carmen, a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War; and Orval, known as Brownie, who was posthumously inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in St. Catharines in 2001.

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Ms. Porter, who was a six-time roller derby all-star, was inducted into the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame and Museum, now based in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2007.

Her lone movie role is often incorrectly attributed to a contemporary Hollywood actress of the same name, a reflection perhaps of the ordinary life she lived away from the hullabaloo of the roller derby track.

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Toronto FC: Everything "caught up with us" in playoffs exit, already looking to 2021 – MLSsoccer.com

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Toronto FC, simply put, didn’t have the sharpness required to keep dancing in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Head coach Greg Vanney was quick to acknowledge that after the East’s No. 2 seed got upset by Nashville SC, the East’s No. 7 seed, on Tuesday night in a 1-0 defeat at Rentschler Field. The Round One game-winner didn’t arrive until Daniel Rios scored in the 108th minute for the expansion side, but they generated plenty of chances throughout and had three would-be goals called back via offside decisions.

Everything that this season threw Toronto’s way reached a tipping point, Vanney said.

“I think our guys put an incredible shift in over the course of the body of work of the regular season,” Vanney said. “In the end, pushing, things caught up with us a little bit. Some of what you would call our top players, our guys that are difference-makers, our guys who are important to us in getting results in big games were in an out with injuries, starting to come back in the tail end of the season and I felt like we lacked a little bit of fitness, we lacked a little bit of sharpness, a little bit of continuity at times tonight. 

“That might have been part of why we were a little bit slow in some of our actions and didn’t connect as fast as we normally would or would like to, maybe some of that fluid combination play just wasn’t as sharp, so I think we hit the tail end.”

Highlights: Toronto FC 0, Nashville SC 1 (AET)

Toronto were hit hard by injuries down the stretch, and it showed with the club going 1W-3L to end the year. The 2019 MLS Cup finalists were in the running for the Supporters’ Shield until Decision Day presented by AT&T, but they trended in the wrong direction as single-elimination soccer neared.

Club captain and center mid Michael Bradley took stock of the match in a similar light, noting Toronto couldn’t solve the riddle posed by Nashville. The Reds were credited with 850 passes to Nashville’s 530 and had nearly 62% of the possession, but were outshot 21-10. It was a case study in how those first two stats don’t always tell the whole story.

“By and large we had decent control of the game, but we weren’t able to really put them on their heels consistently enough,” Bradley said. “We weren’t able to really create situations of wave after wave of really being dangerous. Look, they’re defensively a good team, a team that understands who they are and what they’re about and they don’t give away a ton of goals and they don’t give away a ton of chances.”

Now, after spending the last few months playing in East Hartford, Connecticut – travel conditions with Canada around the COVID-19 pandemic meant TFC set up camp stateside – they’re looking ahead. Vanney highlighted as much, with Toronto denied a chance at a fourth MLS Cup appearance in the last five years.

“Obviously the playoffs will sting a great deal, just because we feel like we have a team that has quality and we should do better, so that will hurt,” Vanney said. “But we’ll lick our wounds, we’ll regroup, we’ll continue to try make the team better and then set afoot again next year for another journey. 

“Hopefully it won’t look like this year, and hopefully we’ll be able to get back into our stadium and hopefully teams will be playing in front of fans and some of that excitement will be driven back into the stadiums and the games and all that stuff. Hopefully it will look like a different season, but the guys will get themselves turned around and ready for another year when that time is right.”

Bradley assumed a similar tact, hoping that public heath in 2021 allows for more games at BMO Field. At the same time, he stressed they don’t want to make any excuses for exiting in Round One. 

“I think when you look at the news that’s come out in the last week or two in terms of some of these vaccines, you certainly hope that as we move deeper and deeper into 2021, that little by little the world can start to return to a new normal,” Bradley said. “Certainly, what that will mean for us as a team and as a club, hopefully getting back to playing at BMO Field as soon as possible with fans at a certain point. So we’re certainly very excited about the prospect of that and hopefully that’s coming quickly.”



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Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL trailblazer, dies at 86 after battle with Covid-19 – CNN

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“This Covid virus just did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn’t keep responding, his body just couldn’t keep up,” Sasakamoose’s Neil said in the video.
Sasakamoose played 11 games for the Chicago Black Hawks during the 1953-54 season, according to NHL’s website. He is widely believed to be the first Indigenous player in the league’s history, though the NHL tells CNN this is impossible to determine.

NHL honors a trailblazer

An outpouring of respect has come from across the NHL following the news of Sasakamoose’s death.
“That lasting impact of his legacy will forever be celebrated and continue to bring people together for generations to come,” the Black Chicago Hawks organization said on its website. “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.”
Craig Conroy #22 of the Calgary Flames and Alexei Zhamnov #13 of the Chicago Blackhawks pose for the ceremonial face off being dropped by Fred Sasakamoose at the United Center on October 19, 2002.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement that Sasakamoose was the first Cree player to appear in an NHL game at age 19. Sasakamoose then dedicated his life to “serving the First Nations community — using hockey and other sports to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth,” 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,” Bettman said.
Bryan Trottier, who is also of Indigenous heritage and is a Hockey Hall of Fame center, called Sasakamoose “a pioneer, somebody looked at with First Nation blood who was an achiever, broke barriers,” according to NHL’s website.
“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,” Trottier said.
Fred Sasakamoose reacts as he is presented with a check for Johnny's Jems and Jets Hockey team during a ceremony celebrating at the United Center on October 19, 2002 in Chicago, Illinois. Fred Sasakamoose reacts as he is presented with a check for Johnny's Jems and Jets Hockey team during a ceremony celebrating at the United Center on October 19, 2002 in Chicago, Illinois.
Reggie Leach, who played for the Boston Bruins, California Golden Seals, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings, said he didn’t know about Sasakamoose until he was 16. He felt proud to be of First Nation heritage when he found out about Sasakamoose, the NHL website said.
“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.”
Residential schools “were 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,” according to the NHL.
The Blackhawks honored Sasakamoose in 2002 and the Edmonton Oilers did the same in 2014 as part of their Celebration of First Nations Hockey, the NHL said.
Sasakamoose was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, according to the NHL.

Father seemed in good spirits hours before death

Neil spoke to his father on the telephone mere hours before his passing and said he seemed in good spirits and was unafraid of what may lie ahead.
“I’m not scared, I’m ready to go, if I gotta go, I’m going to go,” Neil recalled his father saying.
“You know what, dad? If you’re tired, you go. You go and don’t worry about us over here. You go. If you’re getting tired and you’re getting beat up and your body is fighting, you go ahead and you go,” Neil told his father.
Neil said his mother Loretta — his father’s partner of 65 years — was currently in lockdown, as were Neil’s sisters. Prior to his death, Sasakamoose lived on the Ahathkakoop Cree Nation reserve in Saskatchewan.
Sasakamoose has an autobiography scheduled to release in the spring of 2021, titled “Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player.”

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