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NHL Winter Classic Winter Classic rink preparation for Predators, Stars 'ahead of schedule' –



DALLAS — Preparations for the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1 are rolling along despite up-and-down temperatures and rain in the forecast.

“I won’t say we’re very far ahead of schedule, but we are ahead of schedule heading into what we will have as a Christmas break,” NHL executive vice president and chief content officer Steve Mayer said on Monday. “We’re super excited at how it’s coming out so far.”

The NHL Ice Plant Truck for the game between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators on New Year’s Day (2 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVAS) arrived in Dallas on Dec. 17. The 53-foot, 300-ton capacity refrigeration unit was set up outside Cotton Bowl Stadium and began making the ice surface on Dec. 22, following the conclusion of the rink build.

[RELATED: ‘Road to the NHL Winter Classic’ set for first episode]

The temperature in Dallas has ranged from 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit in the past few days and skies have gone from sunny to overcast. Mayer said the crew building the rink is equipped to handle anything. 

“We have the greatest ice team in the world that builds our rinks,” Mayer said. “We’ve now been able to master building rinks in any condition. The sun is shining bright here in Dallas and temperatures have been ranging from the 40’s through the 60’s. Honestly, that is okay by us. We’re able to make ice in those types of conditions.”

The 10-day forecast in Dallas calls for temperatures reaching as high as 72 degrees, but the temperature on Jan. 1 is projected to be around 57. Mayer say that regardless of the weather, the ice surface will be ideal for the game.

“What we see in terms of the weather forecast over the next 10 days, it’s staying pretty consistent,” Mayer said. “We’re confident that, based on what we see and the great team we have building the ice, we’re going to have great ice for the game.”

There is a chance of rain in the over the next 10 days, but the crew and the NHL are prepared in case weather has a significant impact on the day of the game.

“We’ll evaluate any of those situations as the week gets closer,” Mayer said. “Based on some of the weather and forecasts we’ve seen, we think we’re going to be just fine.”

The preparations of the ice surface will continue throughout the next week. Mayer has been impressed with the progress made so far and believes that by game time on Jan. 1, the ice will be ideal for the first outdoor NHL game in Texas.

“We’ve already built about half an inch of ice,” Mayer said. “Typically, we get up to between an inch and a half and two inches when it comes to game time. It’s a process that happens on a day-by-day basis. So far, it’s going unbelievably well and 
we’re really happy.”

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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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