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'I honestly never saw myself being in this position' –



EDMONTON – It’s safe to say that prospect Kieran Ruscheinski will never forget attending his first Canadiens game.

Back in his hometown of Calgary while his Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) were on break, the 18-year-old defenseman hit up the Scotiabank Saddledome press box on Thursday night to see Claude Julien’s squad battle the Flames.

Ruscheinski was treated to a memorable affair, of course, with Max Domi settling the score in overtime to send Habs fans home happy.

“I honestly never saw myself being in this position, but it’s pretty cool,” said Ruscheinski, who was selected in the seventh-round, 206th overall this past June in Vancouver. “It’s even better that the game is on home turf at the Saddledome. Ten times better.”

Since being drafted by the Canadiens, Ruscheinski has made a point of keeping a close eye on their games and the play of several defensemen in particular.

“I watch a lot of their games. I’m watching guys like [Shea] Weber and [Cale] Fleury. I just watch each shift from each guy and try to take little pieces of their game and learn from it so I can make myself a better hockey player,” explained Ruscheinski, who has three assists and 25 penalty minutes in 30 games during his first BCHL campaign. “I’ll watch Fleury and [Victor] Mete because they play hard and they’re the younger guys. And Shea, he’s big like me. He plays more my style of game from a defensive standpoint, so he’s good to follow.”

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

Like Weber, Ruscheinski is most definitely a towering figure. The left-handed shooting blueliner stands 6-foot-6 and tips the scales at 210 pounds.

Knowing full well that size isn’t everything in hockey and that skill development matters, however, he’s making the most of his time with Salmon Arm to take his game to another level.

“It’s a learning process, but I feel I’ve gotten better with each game,” said Ruscheinski. “We have a really good team this year and a really good coaching staff. I kind of got put in the perfect position to succeed and grow. And it’s also a very competitive league. If you’re not bringing your best, you’re going to lose. You’ve got to make sure that you’re ready every night.”

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

With the help of head coach Scotty Atkinson, the Canadiens’ hopeful is focusing his efforts on polishing his stick skills and learning the intricacies of getting pucks through to the net.

But in their short time together, the Silverbacks’ bench boss has become a mentor for Ruscheinski with respect to off-ice matters, too.

“He’s probably the smartest person I’ve ever talked to. He knows a lot about the game and about life,” praised Ruscheinski, regarding the former longtime head coach at Mount Royal College and the University of Calgary. “He knows what it takes to be successful as a person and as a player, so I make sure to listen to him.”

A significant switch

How has life changed for Ruscheinski since joining the Canadiens’ fold? 

“I guess I’m getting a lot more attention, and I’m still learning how to deal with that attention,” confided Ruscheinski. “Everything I’ve been doing from that point of bring drafted has been about preparing to hopefully one day make it if I keep working hard.”

With that in mind, Ruscheinski spent six weeks in Montreal over the summer training at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard and living with fellow prospects Josh Brook and Cole Fonstad.

It proved to be another motivating experience for last season’s Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League (AMHL) MVP, and only strengthened his resolve to achieve his long-term objective.

Photo Credit: Pure Life Photography

“I learned a lot, and I keep saying that, but I really did,” insisted Ruscheinski. “Getting to experience that and watch how things operate, it taught me a lot about what I’ve got to keep doing and what it takes.”

And as far as going late in the Draft is concerned, Ruscheinski isn’t going to let a simple number pre-determine his future.

“There’s guys playing in the National Hockey League that didn’t even get drafted. They just kept working and grinding and perfecting their craft,” concluded Ruscheinski. “As excited as I was to get drafted, I know it doesn’t really mean much at the end of the day until you make it, so I’m taking it as it is, making sure that I come prepared every day, and I just bring that effort and intensity.”

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



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.”


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



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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Andreescu splits with coach Bruneau after French Open exit



World number seven Bianca Andreescu on Tuesday announced she has split with longtime coach Sylvain Bruneau, a week after falling in the first round of the French Open.

The pair had worked together for four years as Andreescu made her breakthrough with three titles in 2019, including the U.S. Open.

“It is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform my fans that my long time coach, mentor and friend, Sylvain and I, have mutually decided to end our incredible coaching relationship,” Canadian Andreescu wrote on Twitter

“Our friendship will live forever … I am very grateful for everything we accomplished together and all of our great memories.

“Sylvain was more than a coach… he is family.”

Andreescu, 20, returned to action at this year’s Australian Open, having missed 15 months due to a knee injury.

A positive COVID-19 test subsequently ruled Andreescu out of both Madrid and Rome before an abdominal injury forced her to pull out of Strasbourg at the quarter-final stage.

Her most recent appearance at Roland Garros ended with a 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 defeat by Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek.


(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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