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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he hopes OHL can return with bodychecking – CBC.ca

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving the door open for bodychecking to remain in the Ontario Hockey League for the upcoming season.

Ford tweeted Saturday night that he is working on a return to play plan with the OHL that would involve physical contact. He acknowledged that the plan would need to be approved by health experts.

This comes one day after Ontario’s minister of sport, Lisa MacLeod, said bodychecking would not be allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic in a speech delivered to the Empire Club of Canada.

The minister says the decision to ban bodychecking came after outbreaks in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which led to games being postponed and rescheduled.

WATCH | Minister of Sport Lisa MacLeod on bodychecking in OHL:

Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries discusses the OHL’s return to play proposal during the pandemic. 1:04

Ford says he would like the OHL to return with rules as close to normal as possible.

The QMJHL is the lone league of the three major junior leagues in action. However, eight of the 18 teams aren’t allowed on the ice currently because of Quebec government restrictions.

The OHL plans to start its shortened season Feb. 4.

The Western Hockey League hopes to get going in early January.

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All officials for WJC from Canada only – TSN

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EDMONTON — All 26 on-ice officials at the world junior men’s hockey championships in Edmonton will be from Canada.

International Ice Hockey Federation tournaments normally have an international cross section of referees and linesmen.

The IIHF is limiting the pool of officials to the host country to reduce risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The 10-team world under-20 men’s tournament is scheduled for Dec. 25 to Jan. 5 in the Alberta capital.

“The game officials we would normally choose would have come from many different countries,” IIHF officiating manager Danny Kurmann said Wednesday in a statement.

“Every additional person we bring into the bubble is a risk, so we decided to source the officials locally in order to reduce the risk to travelling personnel and teams.”

The IIHF said all 10 participating countries approved of the decision.

“Special events require special measures, and we are confident that this group will be able to uphold the officiating standards of this tournament,” IIHF officiating committee chairman Sergej Gontcharov said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.

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Diego Maradona, an Argentinian hero and a global phenomenon – Aljazeera.com

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The unique gifts of football legend Diego Maradona throughout his career appeared to come from a higher force.

He once infamously referred to a “hand of God” and the unique football talents of Diego Armando Maradona, who died on Wednesday, appeared to come from a higher force.

Born in 1960 and raised in a shantytown on the outskirts of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, Maradona became a national hero and a global football superstar.

Just 1.65 metres tall, stocky and powerful, his dribbling skills and balance made him unstoppable. A prolific creator and scorer of magnificent goals, he is regarded as one of the best footballers – if not the best – ever.

He began playing for his country as a teenager and shone in 1986, when he led a simply good team to football greatness and a World Cup title.

It came after an unforgettable quarter-final against England, where Maradona punching the ball into the net for the first goal – what he was to call “the hand of God”.

Then, he scored a second goal of scarcely believable quality, when he dribbled past almost the whole England team before scoring, widely seen as the greatest individual goal in World Cup history.

In this file photo taken on July 3, 1990, Argentinian forward Diego Maradona, right, celebrates during the World Cup semifinal football match between Italy and Argentina in Naples [File: Daniel Garcia/AFP]

Maradona also thrived in club football, playing for Spanish giants Barcelona in the early 1980s, and then for Napoli in Italy, whom he took to its first-ever Italian titles and where he is still treated as a favourite son.

But off the field, there was turbulence for Maradona. He became addicted to cocaine and was banned from both club and international football for failed drug tests.

He was banned again from football worldwide for 15 months after testing positive for doping at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

In 2004, he spent time in intensive care after a heart attack and his weight fluctuated during his battles with alcohol and drug addiction.

He had two daughters through his marriage with Claudia Villafane that ended in divorce, and a son born outside of the marriage.

In retirement, he was still visible – politically, in entertainment, even on the football field in charity matches.

Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona waves to supporters prior to the World Cup quarter-final match between Argentina and Germany on July 3, 2010, in Cape Town, South Africa [File: Javier Soriano/AP Photo]

In 2010, Maradona also managed his beloved Argentinian national team at the World Cup in South Africa.

Many doubted he could get the team to play as a coherent unit, but Maradona defied the critics until the team was defeated by Germany in the quarter-finals.

He dipped in and out of club management as well. Coaching in the United Arab Emirates was followed by a stint in 2018 taking over at Mexican second division club Dorados de Sinaloa.

It was not long before he returned to Argentina to lead Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata in 2019.

In true Maradona style, he stepped down after only two months in charge, only to rejoin again two days later.

His last public appearance was at a game on his 60th birthday on October 30, where he appeared frail and left at half time.

A few days later he was admitted to hospital, initially with anaemia and dehydration, but things quickly escalated and he needed surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

The operation went well but less than two weeks later, he died of a heart attack.

Whether he is the greatest ever footballer is open to debate, but his incredible talent and contribution to the game’s history make him a phenomenon.

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‘Eternal genius’: World mourns Diego Maradona’s death – Aljazeera.com

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The football world has gone into mourning after the death of Argentinian football legend Diego Armando Maradona, with tributes pouring in from all over the globe.

Long considered one of the greatest players, the 60-year-old superstar who led his country to a World Cup title in 1986 died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack in the city of Tigre.

Here’s how the world reacted:

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning, expressing his sorrow for the loss and thanking Maradona “for having existed”.

“You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for having existed, Diego. We will miss you for a lifetime,” he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, where he has long been worshipped as “El Dios”, the God, people began pouring onto the streets gathering in the San Andres neighbourhood where he lived and also in La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.

Argentinian football superstar Leo Messi, widely seen as the best active player in the world, said that this was a “very sad day for all Argentines and football”.

“He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”

Retired Brazilian football star Pele, considered by many as the only player to have come close to Maradona’s skill level, was among those to express his sorrow.

“Sad news today. I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend,” Pele, 80, wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of Maradona hoisting the World Cup trophy in 1986.

“There is much more to say, but for now may God give his family strength. One day, I hope, we will play soccer together in the sky.”

Portugal and Juventus superstar Christiano Ronaldo described Maradona as an “unparalleled magician”.

“Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best of our times. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too early but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace. You will never be forgotten,” he said on Instagram.

Victor Hugo Morales, Argentina’s most popular sportscaster, said Maradona will ultimately be remembered for a thrilling style of play that has never been duplicated.

“He has been one of the great artists of my time. Like great masters of music and painting, he has defied our intellect and enriched the human spirit,” Morales said. “Nobody has thrilled me more and left me in such awe as Diego.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker hoped Maradona will now “finally find some comfort in the hands of God”, he said on Twitter, referencing the Argentinian’s infamous “hand of God” goal in the World Cup quarterfinal match against England in 1986.

“By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time,” he added, posting in another tweet a video showing the two players meeting in 2006.

Italian football club Napoli, where Maradona played from 1984-1991, said it was impossible to describe the sadness felt after the news of Maradona’s death broke.

“What words can we use [to describe] a sorrow as the one we are living through? Now is the moment of tears. Then there will be the moment for words,” it said on Twitter.

Maradona was adored in Napoli after taking the team to two Serie A titles. Videos on social media showed people in the southern city mourning the football star in front of murals depicting Maradona.

Translation: Napoli mourns for a son.

Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora, a native of Naples, also paid tribute to Maradona.

“The death of Maradona is terrible news. He was more than a champion, he was a football genius, an absolute champion,” Spadafora said. “In an unrepeatable season he represented the dreams and hopes of the people of my city. Naples is crying tonight.”

French footballing great Michel Platini said, “a bit of our past has gone”.

“I am very sad. I am nostalgic for what was a wonderful era,” Platini, who starred for France in the 1980s and played for Juventus against Maradona’s Napoli, told French radio station RTL. “Diego left a mark on my life.”

The Argentinian Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expressed its deepest sorrow. “You will always be in our hearts,” it said on Twitter.

Maradona also played for the Spanish team Barcelona for two years starting from 1982.

“Thank you for everything Diego. FC Barcelona expresses its deepest condolences regarding the death of Diego Armando Maradona, a player for our club (1982-84) and an icon of world football,” Barcelona said in a statement.

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales praised Maradona as a person who “fought for humble people”.

“With pain in my soul I have learned of the death of my brother, Diego Armando Maradona. A person who understood and fought for humble people. The best player in the world.”

Former Argentina player Javier Mascherano expressed his gratitude to the football star.

“Eternally Thanks Diego for everything you gave us !!! Rest in peace. You earned it more than enough,” he said on Twitter.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Diego Maradona’s legacy to football.

“There was a banner in Argentina one time I read years ago, it said: ‘It doesn’t matter what you have done with your life, it matters what you have done with our lives.’

“There are a few incredible players in all of history, he is one of them. For people of our generation, the World Cup in ’86 in Mexico was something which made this sport better.”

Boxer star Mike Tyson also paid his respects for the football player saying he was both a hero, and a friend.

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