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Kansas City mayor, star quarterback want Raptors to make Missouri temporary home – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Some of Kansas City’s most famous residents want to call the Toronto Raptors their home team.

On the heels of reports the NBA season will tip off Dec. 22, and with federal and provincial restrictions around COVID-19 potentially keeping the Raptors out of Scotiabank Arena, there’s been rampant speculation about where the 2019 NBA champions will play.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif took to social media to advocate for the Raptors to play there.

Mahomes, the 2020 Super Bowl MVP, posted on Twitter “Bring them to KC!” with a flexed-arm emogi, to which Mayor Lucas replied: “Working on it.”

On Tuesday morning, the mayor wrote: “Good morning, Kansas City! It’s currently 13 degrees colder here than in Toronto (7 degrees Celsius),” with the hashtag “We the North.”

The Chiefs’ right guard Duvernay-Tardif, a medical school graduate from Quebec who opted out of the NFL season due to concerns around COVID-19, replied: “Merci monsieur! Definitely feels like home,” with a happy face.

The T-Mobile Center in Kansas City has close to 19,000 seats for basketball. The 13-year-old downtown arena has hosted games in the NCAA women’s and men’s basketball championships as well as NBA and NHL pre-season games.

Kansas City, Louisville, Ky., Hartford, Conn., and the New York area have been some of the suggestions as temporary home courts for Toronto.

Raptors spokesperson Jennifer Quinn, however, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday “Our focus is on playing in Toronto.”

After the federal government denied the Toronto Blue Jays permission to play at Rogers Centre this season, the Major League Baseball team played home games in Buffalo, N.Y., after politicians from just across the border pitched the city as a temporary home.

All three Canadian Major League Soccer teams have been playing recent home games in the United States. Toronto FC is in East Hartford, Conn., the Montreal Impact are in Harrison, N.J., and the Vancouver Whitecaps are in Portland.

TFC coach Greg Vanney told reporters Tuesday he’d love to have the Raptors in Connecticut.

“I don’t think our hotel could accommodate both of us at the same time, but it would be great to have them nearby,” Vanney said.

The Connecticut experience has been excellent, the coach said.

“For me . . . it’s the living situation, and the field,” Vanney said. “Those are the most important things, and so far the place that we’ve been staying has been phenomenal in terms of the living conditions, the food and everything has been great.”

He said some of the fields have been “touch and go” as the weather gets colder.

“(But) In terms of basketball, I assume you find a court and the court is generally the same, so it’s doable.”

Toronto FC’s hotel is across the street from the XL Center in Hartford, a potential home arena for the Raptors. It seats around 16,000 for University of Connecticut basketball games, and is also home to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League.

The Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in nearby Storrs, Conn., seats just over 10,000 and also hosts some UConn basketball games.

The Raptors haven’t played a game at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena since Feb. 28, a 99-96 loss to Charlotte. The 2019 NBA champions were ousted in the second round of the playoffs by Boston once the season resumed in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

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Why adult sports in B.C. are shut down, but kids can keep playing – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
From hockey to soccer, curling and even bowling, nearly all adult sports have been suspended in B.C. 

“A lot of these adult team sports are as much social gatherings as they are sport,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday. “It’s the going for a coffee or a beer after a game that has been the most (common) source of transmission. But sometimes it’s very difficult, because a lot of that is built into the culture of many of the adult team sports.”

Henry says kids’ sports don’t have the same history of COVID-19 transmission, so they’re allowed to continue, but players can only practice with their teams. No games are being held and there is no travel between jurisdictions.

“We are hoping we can preserve, safely, those opportunities for young people without the riskier parts of what they’re doing around playing games and travel,” said Henry.

The Adult Safe Hockey League is one of the largest organizations impacted by the adult sports shutdown. Its 400 teams play out of three Canlan Ice Sports facilities in Burnaby, Langley and North Vancouver, and they just resumed full-game play last week.

“It’s frustrating for our hockey players, those that come to play, they need an outlet,” said Canlan Ice Sports executive vice president Mike Gellard.

He said Canlan facilities have done everything they can can to keep players and staff safe, including plexiglass dividers on the bench and strict time limits in dressing rooms. But he recognizes pre-and post game gatherings can be an issue.

“It’s not the on ice where the risk is,” said Gellard. “The biggest part of an adult hockey game was having a beer after the game in a room. Well, obviously that doesn’t happen anymore. Where they go after the game, we really can’t control that.”

The owner of Scottsdale Lanes is disappointed bowling is included in the adult sports ban. Families can still drop in to play with the members of their household bubble, but adult league games have been suspended.

“Our leagues are totally our bread and butter,” Ken Clarke said. “If we don’t have our leagues, it’s questionable whether it’s even worth being open. I would say 80 per cent of our revenue is league-based revenue.”

Children’s bowling leagues can continue, and kids can keep practicing with their sports teams. Dance studios have also been allowed to reopen, but again, for children’s programs only.

With all adult hockey programs now cancelled, Canlan Ice Sports facilities will be nearly empty at what is normally a very busy time of year.

“We’re going to have a lot of open ice, so if you want to buy some ice, give us a call,” Gellard said.

As for when the adult teams could return?

“The only way we’re going to be able to reopen is if COVID numbers get better and the vaccine starts to get distributed,” he said. “So I think we are in this for a little bit longer.” 

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NHL 'taking our time' planning for start of 2020-21 season – NHL.com

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The NHL is planning for what could be an unusual 2020-21 season with the goal of returning to normal in 2021-22.

The League has targeted Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of this season. 

“That is a work in progress, influenced largely by what we’re hearing from the medical experts, and we talk to some pretty highly placed people without name-dropping,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.

“COVID[-19] is going through a second wave, which could be worse than the first wave, and between Thanksgiving and the aftermath and what they think is going to happen for Christmas and the aftermath, we are taking our time and making sure that as we look for ways to move forward we’re focused on health and safety and doing the right things.”

Commissioner Bettman made the comments in an online interview during Sports Business Journal’s Dealmakers in Sports conference.

The Commissioner said the NHL Players’ Association would sign off on a training camp of appropriate length, which might be slightly shorter than past seasons. Teams probably would want to play a preseason game or two, he said.

Based on what the NHL is being told by medical experts, particularly regarding the availability of vaccines to the general public, Commissioner Bettman said arenas could be full in 2021-22, when the Seattle Kraken begin play as an expansion team.

“I think this is perhaps the most important thing,” the Commissioner said. “What we’re focused on is trying to get through the ’20-21 season so that we can be back in position for ’21-22 to normalcy. … We are hopeful and optimistic based on everything we’re hearing that we can look at normalcy by the time we get to ’21-22 whatever happens this season.”

Commissioner Bettman said the NHL has not asked the NHLPA to renegotiate the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement after the League and union announced a four-year extension July 10 that takes the agreement through 2025-26.

The Commissioner said the NHL and NHLPA are discussing short-term issues and the long-term economic impact.

Short-term issues include what the season will look like; whether teams will play in home arenas, hubs or a hybrid; and potential for temporary divisional realignment.

The Canada-United States border is closed to nonessential travel, and Canada has said it will remain so until the pandemic is under control. Commissioner Bettman said even if NHL teams could cross, the issue of quarantine remains.

“If you’re playing a regular schedule of games, you can’t quarantine players for 14 days as you’re moving in and out of the country, which is why, among the other issues that are going to impact a possible season, is we literally would have to realign and create a situation where maybe the teams in Canada only play each other, and we have to realign the way all of our teams are playing competitively,” the Commissioner said.

“It’s part of the myriad of issues that we’re dealing with, which is why when people say, ‘Oh, well, they’re trying to renegotiate,’ the answer to all of this is, we’ve got a lot of issues and a lot of problems to deal with, and the system is going to be stressed for everyone. And is there an appetite for working through all of those issues?”

The owners and the players split hockey-related revenue 50-50 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. A portion of players’ salaries is held in escrow during the accounting process. The extension capped escrow, starting at 20 percent for 2020-21 and descending to 6 percent by 2023-24.

The NHL salary cap is tied to hockey-related revenue under the teams of the collective bargaining agreement as well. It will remain at $81.5 million until hockey-related revenue surpasses $3.3 billion, according to the extension.

It is unclear how many fans, if any, could attend games in 2020-21. Governmental limits on gatherings for public events vary from market to market.

“Whatever the revenues are, the players only get 50 percent,” Commissioner Bettman said. “And if we overpay them and they don’t pay us back in the short term, they have to pay us back over time. There will be stresses on the system, and we’ve had discussions about what those stresses are and how they might be dealt with, but we’re not trying to say you must do X, Y and Z. We’re trying to look for ways to continue to work together.

“I know it’s being portrayed as something else, and it’s unfortunate and it’s inaccurate, because at the end of the day, if the system gets stressed, it’s going to be stressed for both of us.

“If we have to pay out lots of cash, two-thirds of which is going to come back to us, that may cause some stress, but we’ll have to deal with it if we’re going to move forward. And by the same token, if the players owe us more money than anybody imagined, the salary cap could be flat or close to flat for the next five or six years, and players into the future will be repaying what we’re owed.

“So the [situation] isn’t like, well, we demand a renegotiation. To the contrary, it’s we see the way the system is going to be impacted. Is it something that makes sense to deal with in the context of everything else that we may have to do, which is out of the ordinary and unanticipated, in order to be in a position to possibly play?”

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Davies voted Canada's top soccer player – TSN

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Five trophies with Bayern Munich. And now a second Canadian Men’s Player of the Year award in three years.

Alphonso Davies, at 20 already Canada’s most famous soccer export, has been on a roll in 2020.

It took torn ankle ligaments to slow down the pacey fullback dubbed the Bayern Road Runner by teammate Thomas Mueller, after the lightning-quick cartoon character. But Davies, who was sidelined in late October in Bayern’s 5-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, is back.

And he may be even better.

“The road to recovery was tough … but I knew I had to do it, I had to fight,” he told reporters Thursday. “I couldn’t be disappointed, I couldn’t be sad. I just had to get up and keep the smile on my face and get back.

“Every day working out, I think I got a little big bigger up top through the six weeks,” he added, pointing to his torso. “So that was a bonus as well.”

Davis has had plenty to smile about in 2020, earning worldwide acclaim while helping Bayern Munich fill its trophy case.

That success has earned him Canadian Men’s Player of the Year honours in a landslide. Canada Soccer, which will announce the women’s award winner on Friday, said Davies earned a record vote total from Canadian media and coaches, finishing just ahead of Christine Sinclair’s record set in 2012.

Davies also captured the award in 2018, then the youngest-ever winner of the men’s award at age 18. He was named Canada’s U-17 Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

“To see what Alphonso Davies has accomplished this year is awe-inspiring for the next generation of players,” Canada coach John Herdman said in a statement. “His achievements have raised the flag in our sport higher than anyone else in our lifetime on the men’s side of the game and he has helped put this country as a football country on the world map.”

Davies is looking forward to resuming play in Canadian colours next year, with World Cup qualifying and the Gold Cup on tap.

He says the current crop of Canadians including Jonathan David, Milan Borjan and Scott Arfield as well as members of the women’s team — he dates fellow Canadian Jordyn Huitema who plays for the Paris Saint-Germain women — have shown with their play in Europe that Canada is more than a hockey hotbed.

“When I was growing up, I felt like no one gave Canadians a chance. And now that they see we have quality in Canada … it’s amazing to see,” he said.

Davies has helped lead the way. Converted to fullback by Bayern, he has turned heads with his speed and ability to create attacks.

In June, Davies was named Bundesliga rookie of the year in voting by fans, clubs and the media. Kicker magazine, a German sports magazine that focuses mainly on football, included him in its Bundesliga team of the season.

This week ESPN ranked Davies as the second-best left fullback in the world, behind Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.

He was third in voting for the Golden Boy award won by Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. The annual award, run by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, honours the best young player in Europe.

And he was shortlisted as a nominee for UEFA’s Team of the Year and Defender of the Year,

Davies shone on the biggest stage.

In an 8-2 beatdown of Barcelona in Champions League quarterfinal play in August, he set up Bayern’s fifth goal in the 63rd minute with a sensational run down the left flank. Davies beat three Barca players, befuddling Portuguese international Nelson Semedo before racing past several more defenders into the penalty box and sending a perfect pass to Joshua Kimmich to slot in from close range.

“That was unbelievable,” Kimmich said later. “Even I was a bit ashamed when I celebrated. He gets 99 per cent of the credit for the goal. I only had to get the ball over the line.”

Davies, who turned 20 on Nov. 2, also excelled in Bayern’s 3-0 win at Chelsea in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie in late February. Davies made a lightning run down the left flank and crossed to Robert Lewandowski for a tap-in in the 76th minute.

“Alphonso Davies’ parents fled Liberia in the civil war. He was born in a refugee camp in Ghana and moved to Canada when he was five. Here he is playing beautifully for Bayern at 19. What a wonderful story,” former England striker Gary Lineker, now an analyst with BBC Sport, posted on Twitter.

“Alphonso Davies is a world-class left back,” added former U.S. international Stuart Holden. “Top five in world soccer right now easy.”

The six-foot Davies, listed at 165 pounds by Bayern, set a Bundesliga speed record out in a 1-0 win at Werder Bremen that earned the Bavarian powerhouse an eighth straight league title. He was clocked at 36.51 km/h in the first half against Bremen, according to the Bundesliga. That erased the fastest recorded speed in league history (36.19 km/h by Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi) since detailed data collection began in 2011.

In 2020, Davies has helped Bayern to the Champions League and Bundesliga titles, the DFB Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup. He is the first Canadian male to lift the Champions League trophy.

Davies seems to keep it all in perspective, grateful for everything that has happened to him. He says he has help keeping him humble.

“I have a lot of people that are down to earth around me. I surround myself with good friends that help me keep my feet on the ground,” he said.

“Me winning all these trophies is amazing and I want to keep going. And I know that at the snap of a finger it can be taken away. So each and every moment I have to enjoy — and stay humble as well. Because you don’t want to get too ahead of yourself. Day by day, step by step, you go on with life.”

Covering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons from January through October 2020, Davies featured in 33 matches and scored two goals and six assists. Along the way, he was chosen Canada Soccer’s Player of the Month in February, July and August as well as FC Bayern’s Player of the Month and the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Month in May.

The young Canadian international joined Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a then-MLS record US$22-million transfer. The deal was done in July 2018, but Davies finished out the MLS season before joining Bayern in January 2019.

In April, he signed a contract extension with Bayern that will keep him with the German champions through June 2025.

Davies has won 17 caps for Canada, with five goals and seven assists. Off the pitch, he has attracted a huge social media following with 3.1 million followers on Instagram, 2.9 million on TikTok and 233,000 on Twitter.

Davies manages to hit the right chord on social media, playfully tweaking teammates with prank calls or horsing around with Huitema on TikTok. People take notice. After he wore a Pascal Siakam jersey in a photo, the Raptors star was quick to issue a plea for Davies’ Bayern jersey.

A former refugee, Davies also uses his platform for more serious needs. He became a Supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees this year, using his social media channels and his public profile to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

“Alphonso has to be commended for his passion and spirit with which he plays, but also for his ability to connect with people off the field,” said Herdman. “He is a real ambassador for our sport in Canada and on the global stage.”

The Canadian Players of the Year Awards are presented by Allstate.

Past winners of the Canadian Players of the Year Award

2019: Jonathan David and Ashley Lawrence

2018: Alphonso Davies and Christine Sinclair

2017: Atiba Hutchinson and Kadeisha Buchanan

2016: Atiba Hutchinson and Christine Sinclair

2015: Atiba Hutchinson and Kadeisha Buchanan

2014: Atiba Hutchinson and Christine Sinclair

2013: Will Johnson and Christine Sinclair

2012: Atiba Hutchinson and Christine Sinclair

2011: Dwayne De Rosario and Christine Sinclair

2010: Atiba Hutchinson and Christine Sinclair

2009: Simeon Jackson and Christine Sinclair

2008: Julian de Guzman and Christine Sinclair

2007: Dwayne De Rosario and Christine Sinclair

2006: Dwayne De Rosario and Christine Sinclair

2005: Dwayne De Rosario and Christine Sinclair

2004: Paul Stalteri and Christine Sinclair

2003: Pat Onstad and Charmaine Hooper

2002: Jason deVos and Charmaine Hooper

2001: Paul Stalteri and Andrea Neil

2000: Craig Forrest and Christine Sinclair

1999: Jim Brennan and Geraldine Donnelly

1998: Tomasz Radzinski and Silvana Burtini

1997: Mark Watson and Janine Helland

1996: Paul Peschisolido and Geraldine Donnelly

1995: Alex Bunbury and Charmaine Hooper

1994: Craig Forrest and Charmaine Hooper

1993: Alex Bunbury

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020

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